History of the  West Park
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

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The "Castle House" on West Park Avenue

by Dar McGeady

Kacheleins in front of house 1920s

Nicholas and Margaret Kachelein standing together at the west side of their front porch.  Some of the home’s fine architectural details are evident in this photograph from the late 1920s.  Photo courtesy Betty Popadak Gdovin.

Castle house

The ivy-covered Kachelein-Moore house at , Cleveland, Ohio.  Photo c2007.  Courtesy, Edwin A. E. & Gisela H. Moore.

The imposing house at 16804 West Park Avenue has been owned by Edwin and Gisela Moore since 1970. It is undoubtedly one of the most unique residences in West Park. When the couple first drove through the West Park neighborhood years ago, looking for a home in which to raise their family, Ed was initially put off by the nontraditional style of the house. On a subsequent outing, however, there was an "open house" sign posted and they were curious to view the interior.

Perhaps there was something vaguely familiar about the architecture, reminiscent of Gisela's native Germany, that appealed to the young couple. Ed, who grew up in Lakewood, and Gisela had met in Fulda, Germany, and were married there in 1966. They appreciated the home's handcrafted sandstone exterior and living room fireplace, its windows that filled the rooms with natural light, and the large tree-shaded yard for their future children.

Over the years, the Moores had become accustomed to passersby stopping to comment about their distinctive home, but an unexpected knock on their door in 2005 was especially welcome. It was George A. Kachelein Jr., visiting Cleveland from Lapel, Indiana, who greeted the Moores with, "Hello. My grandfather built this house." George and family members in the car were immediately invited inside to see their ancestor's home after 63 years.

George was referring to his grandfather, Nicholas Kachelein (ne้ Kœhelein), who emigrated from Germany about 1884 with his wife Margaret Knobloch Kachelein. They originally lived on Cleveland's East Side and raised eight children. Nicholas' two brothers also lived nearby. It appears nearly all the Kachelein men worked in the construction trades. Nicholas, a bricklayer, was among those employed in the paving of Lorain Avenue in the early twentieth century.

Cuyahoga County real estate deeds record Herman B. Nolze transferring a substantial parcel of land on West Park Avenue to Nick and Margaret Kachelein in February 1914. Oral history states that Nicholas hauled sandstone from Berea, in a horse-drawn wagon, to the site where he built his new family home.

The walls of the house are 14 inches thick, consisting of the outer sandstone construction and an inner wall of brick finished with plaster. The house has three upstairs bedrooms off a spacious hall, an open front porch, plus extraordinary features built by Nicholas, including an attached garage and a wine/fruit cellar.

Betty Popadak Gdovin, grandaughter of Nicholas and Margaret, was too young to remember her grandfather, who died in 1930 at age 74. She does, however, recall visiting her grandmother Margaret, who remained in the home with two of her adult children for eleven years. Betty has fond memories of a piano in the front vestibule (which no one played). There was a chicken coop, vegetable garden, and a strawberry patch (off-limits to the kids!) in the back yard. The six Kachelein grandchildren played tag in the side yard and enjoyed the swing on the ivy-covered front porch. The house was sold by Margaret's estate in 1942, following her passing at 85 years of age.

Current owners Gisela and Ed Moore raised three children in the now 100-year-old "Castle House." For more than forty years their dining room has been the scene of traditional German holiday celebrations and happy gatherings of family and friends. And, once again, grandchildren play in the beautifully landscaped yard.

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Updated 18 June 2014