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Male, born 1827, died 1919-05-29

Associated with the firms network

Cleaveland and Swain, Architects; Cleaveland and Williams, Architects; Cleaveland, Henry W., Architect

Professional History


Apprentice, Richard Upjohn, Architect, New York, NY, c. 1843; For a time in the 1850s, Henry W. Cleaveland operated an architectural partnership with brothers, Samuel Danielson, Jr., (12/26/1825-04/1896) and William Backus (06/13/1828-08/08/1861) in New York, NY; (PCAD earlier erroneously indicated that William and Samuel were Henry's brothers. Errata note made 03/14/2013.) The Backus Brothers were both born in CT, Samuel being two years older than William. They resided with parents at home in Brooklyn, NY, in 1860. Their father, Samuel D. Backus, Sr., (born c. 1787) was a CT-born Congregationalist clergyman, their mother, Sarah, (born c. 1791 in CT), worked in the home. According to a New York City Directory of 1857 (p. 157), Henry Cleaveland and the Backus Brothers had their office at 33 Wall Street; Henry's uncle, John, had his legal practice, Cleaveland and Titus, at 38 Wall Street. Together, Cleaveland and the Backus Brothers wrote and illustrated a popular architectural pattern book, Village and Farm Cottages, (New York: Appleton, 1856).

Principal, H.W. Cleaveland, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1861; in 1861, Cleaveland operated an office at 420 Montgomery Street. (See San Francisco City Directory, 1861, p. 371.)

Partner, Cleaveland and [Stephen Hedders] Williams, Architects, San Francisco, CA, c. 1860s; Principal, Henry W. Cleaveland, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1865-1882; in 1865, Cleaveland had an office at 505 Montgomery Street (See San Francisco City Directory, 1865, p. 485) and, by 1873, his office had changed to 507 Montgomery, Room 20.

Principal, Henry W. Cleaveland, Architect, San Francisco, c. 1869- 1877. In 1869, Cleaveland maintained his architectural office in the Occidental Hotel. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869, p. 676.) By 1877, he had moved his practice to 507 Montgomery Street. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1877, p. 465.)

Partner, Cleaveland and [Edward H.] Swain, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1882-1885; this partnership first appeared in the San Francisco City Directory of 1882 (p. 280). In that year, Cleaveland and Swain had its offices in Room 70 of the St. Ann's Building. In addition to work in San Francisco, Cleaveland also designed several houses in Northern CA and Portland, OR, a geographically wide practice for the time.

Cleaveland, along with 12 others, participated in the founding of the American Institute of Architects in New York, NY. This occurred on 02/23/1857, in the office of Cleaveland's mentor, Richard Upjohn. Cleaveland, along with colleagues Henry Dudley, Leopold Eidlitz, Edward Gardiner, Richard Morris Hunt, J. Wrey Mould, Fred A. Petersen, J. M. Priest, John Welch, Joseph C. Wells, and Charles Babcock (Upjohn's son-in-law), met to "promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members" and "elevate the standing of the profession." (See "History of The American Institute of Architects," Accessed 12/02/2008)





Born in MA, Cleaveland moved to New York, NY, for his architectural education during the 1840s and traveled in Europe, before returning to practice architecture in New York during the 1850s. In 1857, he resided at 148 Hicks Street in Brooklyn, NY. (His brother, John, also lived in Brooklyn, at 63 Irving Place. He migrated to San Francisco, CA, in 1859. He resided at the Oriental Hotel in 1861. (See The San Francisco directory for the year commencing September, 1861, p. 99.) In 1862, Henry W. Cleaveland lived at 109 Montgomery Street in San Francisco. (See San Francisco City Directory, 1862, p. 104.)

From at least 1865-1883, Cleaveland resided in the Occidental Hotel, San Francisco. During the late 19th century, Cleaveland worked in CA and OR. He left CA to retire in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he died in 1919.


Nehemiah Cleaveland (1796-1877), his father, was a student and professor at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, and maintained a long relationship to the school. The Bowdoin College Library has written: "When he was eleven years old he was sent to Brunswick [ME] to live with his cousin, Bowdoin professor, Parker Cleaveland. Nehemiah Cleaveland entered Bowdoin at the age of thirteen, graduating with the class of 1813. From 1814-1848, he held a number of positions in education including Bowdoin tutor of Latin and Greek (1817-1820), and principal of Dummer Academy (1821-1839). Cleaveland was a writer and delivered numerous addresses, including an address on the history of Bowdoin College, given during the College's 1852 semi-centennial celebration." (See Bowdoin College Library, "Nehemiah Cleaveland Papers, 1806-1877, n.d.,"Accessed 03/14/2013.) The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume II summarized his life: "He was graduated from Bowdoin in 1813 and studied for one year at Andover theological seminary. He was a teacher at Topsfield, Mass., and at Gorham, Maine, 1814-16; and in Portland, Maine, 1816-17. From 1817 to 1820 he was a tutor at Bowdoin college, and from 1821 to 1840 was principal of Dummer academy at Byfield, Mass. For a short time he held the chair of Greek at Phillips Exeter academy, removing to Lowell in 1841 to become principal of the high school. He was principal of a young ladies' school in Brooklyn, N.Y., 1842-50, retiring to private life in the latter year. After 1850 he resided in New York, Topsfield, Mass., and Westport, Conn." (See John Howard Brown, Twentieth century biographical dictionary of notable Americans [Boston: Biographical Society, 1904]; viewed on His parents were Nehemiah Cleaveland and Experience Lord Cleaveland, married in 1792. The younger Nehemiah Cleaveland married Abby Pickard of Ipswich, MA, (d. 1836), daughter of Dr. Joseph Manning of Charleston, SC, on 09/06/1823; from this marriage came four children: Joseph M. (born c. 1824 in MA), George N. (born c. 1825 in MA), Henry W., and Abby E. Cleaveland (born c. 1836 in MA). Abby Pickard Cleaveland died young, and Nehemiah remained a widower for a long period, thereafter, residing with relatives. In 1850, Nehemiah lived with his daughter and brother, John (d. 12/12/1863 in Westport, CT) in Brooklyn, NY. Twenty years later, he dwelled with his son, George, and daughter, Abby, in Westport, CT. A prosperous farmer, George had an estate was worth $15,000, and whose household maintained two servants. Nehemiah died in NY, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY, on 04/21/1877.

Biographical Notes

Following his apprenticeship with Richard Upjohn (1802-1878), the noted New York architect. Cleaveland traveled throughout Europe, Cleaveland and his partners, William and Samuel Backus, produced a planbook--Village and Farm Cottages. The Requirements of American Village Homes Considered and Suggested; with Designs for Such Houses of Moderate Cost, (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1856)--along the lines of Cottage Residences, or, A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage-villas, and Their Gardens and Grounds : Adapted to North America (New-York: Wiley and Putnam, 1842)--produced by New York architect, Alexander Jackson Downing (1815-1852).

PCAD id: 5199