HOWARD HANNA SMYTHE CRAMER, one of the largest real estate firms in the country, can trace its roots to the 1903 founding of the A. B. Smythe Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Following his graduation at Oberlin College, Alfred Burns Smythe established a real estate office under his own name in the Citizens Building on Euclid Avenue. Within the first few years of operation, the company opened its first branch office in LAKEWOOD, Ohio, on Detroit Avenue. In 1906, Smythe put his company on hold to help organize the real estate department of the CLEVELAND TRUST COMPANY, which he managed until 1913.
In 1914, Smythe returned to his original company, which opened again in a suite of offices in the Erie Building at the corner of East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. In the 1920s, the A. B. Smythe Company opened its first branch on the east side of Cleveland at the intersection of Surrey Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard.
Alfred Smythe remained the head of the firm until 1931, when his sons, Marcus and Charles, assumed control. During the 1930s, the company was located at 1001 Huron Avenue, which was then known as the Smythe Building.
In 1972, the A. B. Smythe Company merged with the Arthur J. Cramer Company to form Smythe-Cramer, Cleveland’s first countywide realty organization. Cramer had started doing business in 1952 at an office at 20111 Lake Road in Rocky River, Ohio. In the 1960s, Cramer opened his first branch in Lakewood on Madison Avenue.
In 2003, Smythe-Cramer merged with Howard Hanna Realty, a firm located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that was founded in 1957. After the merger, Howard Hanna III was named chief executive of the company, and Lucius McKelvey retained his title as Smythe-Cramer’s Chairman. In 2005, the Howard Hanna name was finally added to the company, which was then called Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer. The firm also adopted Howard Hanna’s green and yellow colors to better distinguish themselves from their competitors.
In 2017, Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer still operated in the northern Ohio region and Pennsylvania. The company also had business in Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina. Howard Hanna III served as Chairman and CEO, and Helen Hanna Casey served as president.
Jennifer Graham, Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland Plain Dealer