CASE, WILLIAM (10 Aug. 1818-19 Apr. 1862), son of LEONARD CASE, SR., was a prominent businessman, politician, and civic leader. Born in Cleveland, he received his education locally at Rev. Colley Foster's school and privately (1836-38) with FRANKLIN T. BACKUS, who urged him to attend Yale University; but Case chose to attend to business activities in Cleveland. However, he was also ambitious in other areas: natural history, architectural research, horticultural experiments, politics, and founding library and educational institutions.
Case helped form and was first president (1846) of the CLEVELAND LIBRARY ASSOC. (later the Case Library); founded CLEVELAND UNIVERSITY (1850); and chaired the national meeting in Cleveland of the American Assoc. of the Advancement of Education (1851). Case was president of the Cleveland, Painesville, & Ashtabula Railroad, securing the financing allowing the line to complete its Chicago-to-Buffalo route (1852). He was president of Lake Shore Railroad (1855-57), was elected to city council (1846), and served as an alderman (1847-49). He was the first Cleveland-born citizen to become mayor (1850-52), and organized the city workhouse, poorhouse, and house of refuge, as well as the city finances. His large real-estate holdings combined with his horticultural interests in a tree-planting campaign (1852), similar to his father's in the 1820s, firmly established Cleveland's reputation as the "FOREST CITY." Case was the moving spirit of the Ark, individuals with an interest in natural science who organized the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. In 1859, he built CASE HALL, modeling it on Boston's Faneuil Hall. Case never married.