From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
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CASE, LEONARD, JR. (27 Jan. 1820-6 Jan. 1880), a philanthropist who endowed Case School of Applied Science, was born to LEONARD CASE† in Cleveland and educated in law at Yale. Sickly all his life, he neither married nor practiced his profession, but devoted himself to scholarly pursuits. Along with his brother WM. CASE†, Leonard was an Arkite, a group of prominent Clevelanders who conversed about natural science in a small building (the Ark) filled with specimens they shot and mounted. Case helped form the CLEVELAND LIBRARY ASSN. (CLA) Inheriting $15 million in 1864, Case regarded his wealth as a trust to be used for good. In 1859, the Case brothers constructed Case Hall, a civic and cultural center which housed the CLEVELAND ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES, the Cleveland Library Assoc., and the Ark club, as well as theater productions and lectures. Case built the commercial Case Block in 1875.
Case anonymously gave $1 million to establish a technical school to teach pure science, an orientation that attracted support from local businesses, permitting the institution to become an important center for industrial research. To provide annual revenues, Case bequeathed the rental income from his downtown properties to the school. The Case School of Applied Science, as it became known, opened in 1881 on Rockwell Ave. and moved to UNIVERSITY CIRCLE in 1885. Case left the city 200 acres for industrial plants and railroad rights-of-way, which became the city’s first comprehensive industrial district. Other beneficiaries were the Old Stone Church, the Cleveland Orphan Asylum, the Industrial Aid Society, and the CLEVELAND FEMALE SEMINARY.
Overview from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
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CASE, LEONARD, SR. (29 July 1786-7 Dec. 1864), a businessman and philanthropist, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., son of Meshack and Magdalene (Eckstein) Case. He moved in Apr. 1800 to Warren Twp., Trumbull County. In 1806, he became clerk of the court of common pleas for Trumbull County, later becoming clerk to Gen. Simon Perkins of the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. He studied law, passed the bar in 1814, and moved to Cleveland in 1816 when the COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE was formed and one of the founders hired him as the bank’s cashier. After the bank failed, Case stayed in Cleveland practicing law. From 1821-25, as president of the Cleveland village council, he was responsible for planting shade trees along streets, earning Cleveland the nickname “FOREST CITY.” From 1824-27, he served in the Ohio legislature, drafting laws taxing land according to value rather than size. He advocated railroads and canals.
From 1827-55, Case was an agent for the Connecticut Land Bank, acquiring large amounts of land from debtors during the Panic of 1837. In 1832, Case reorganized the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie and became its president. He was also an investor in the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati Railroad. Case married Elizabeth Gaylord in Stow, Portage County, in 1817, and in the late 1840s turned his affairs over to his sons William and Leonard, Jr. Case gave to many charitable organizations, including Cleveland’s first school for the poor, the Cuyahoga County Historical Society, the Cleveland Medical College, and the city’s first lyceum for the arts. Case died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.