Harold Burdick: Eclectic architect in the Heights

Cleveland native Harold B. Burdick was known for designing 28 houses in Shaker Heights. Although he was best known for his English Tudor designs, Burdick stands out for his eclectic designs in Colonial, French, and Neoclassical styles.

Born in 1895 to Halbert and Mariette Bennet Burdick, he graduated from Cornell University School of Architecture and served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I, where he became interested in aviation and served as an instructor for the U.S. Army Air Service at Love Field in Dallas and Barron Field near Eberman, Texas.

Federal Reserve Building circa 1933Federal Reserve Building circa 1933After the war, Burdick returned to Cleveland and joined Walker & Weeks—a firm known for its Neoclassical, Italian Renaissance, Moderne, and Art Deco architectural styles over four decades. While with the firm, he helped in 1919 with the design of the Federal Reserve Building on the corner of Superior Avenue and East 6th Street, and then worked with Meade & Hamilton before starting his own practice.

Burdick’s first major design came in 1924 with a 4,571-square-foot French Provincial home on 19000 South Woodland Road in Shaker Heights. Many of his Shaker Heights designs can be found on Shelburne Road and Shaker Boulevard. 

Perhaps Burdick’s most unique design was his own Cleveland Heights home at 2424 Stratford Road. He designed and built the glass block International Style home in 1938. He designed the house as a prototype for an economical, quality house.

Its streamlined 1,688-square-foot design features some pioneering first for the 1930s­—an electric kitchen, the first domestic use of fluorescent lighting, open spaces, and walls made of glass and mahogany panels.

The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, was a 2013 winner of the Cleveland Heights Historic Preservation Award, and is a featured home on the Heights Heritage Tour.

Burdick died at the age of 51 on May 24, 1947. He left behind his wife, Marjorie, and two children. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery.

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Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.