Cozad-Bates House to Show Cleveland’s Underground Railroad History

Restore Cleveland Hope, Inc. retells, promotes and celebrates Cleveland’s Underground Railroad history.

Sitting back on a deep front lawn, the Cozad-Bates House, built in 1853, is one of the finest examples of Italianate architecture, and the only pre-Civil War structure still standing in the University Circle area. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, it stood empty, abandoned and neglected for 15-20 years.

The City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission has documented that the University Circle area was a major center of Abolitionist and Underground Railroad activity during the three decades preceding the Civil War.

The Cozad and Ford families owned much of the land that is now known as University Circle. These families were prominent members of the anti-slavery effort when Cleveland was an active station on the Underground Railroad.

The Cleveland Restoration Society and the City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission have been working to preserve the Cozad-Bates House for years.

Restore Cleveland Hope’s mission is to preserve and transform Cozad-Bates from a house into a teaching center celebrating Cleveland’s Underground Railroad history.

The initial phase of the Cozad-Bates House’ multi-phased rehabilitation has been completed. The first step, to rehabilitate the home included a critical replacement of its slate roof, guttering systems, and construction repairs to the belvedere and chimneys. This four-month-long, $200,000 project was completed in August 2010. Funding for this project was made possible by a state capital appropriation of $100,000 and donations by private donors. This project was necessary to stabilize and protect this historic home as they continue to raise funds for its complete rehabilitation.

It will serve as a resource for children and adults to inform and inspire them through educational programs; acting as a unifying force in the community by providing a venue for open dialogue, reflection, and reconciliation among freedom-loving people.

They look forward to opening to the public in the Spring of 2021.

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