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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

OLNEY, CHARLES FAYETTE

OLNEY, CHARLES FAYETTE

OLNEY, CHARLES FAYETTE (1832-18 July 1903) provided Cleveland with its principal art gallery in the pre-CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART era and was a leading proponent of the Group Plan of public architecture. A native of Southington, Conn., he was the son of Jesse Olney, author of a widely used series of standard school textbooks. After graduating from the Southington Academy, the younger Olney made a career in the public schools of New York City, where he rose to a supervisory position prior to his retirement. Following the death of his first wife, the former Louisa Brown, he came to Cleveland c. 1885 and married Abigail Bradley Lamson, widow of the co-founder of the LAMSON AND SESSIONS COMPANY. Olney headed the Loan Association which secured art objects for the first of Cleveland's ART LOAN EXHIBITIONS in 1893-4. Its success led to the building of the OLNEY ART GALLERY adjoining the couple's home on Jennings Ave. (W. 14th St.). Olney also taught fine arts in the educational program of the neighboring Pilgrim Congregational Church. As a member of the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, he introduced the resolution in 1899 which resulted in the creation 3 years later of the Group Plan Commission (see MALL). He then represented the Public Library Board (see CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY) on the commission's consulting board. Olney also was active in the Sons of the American Revolution (see PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES) and founding president of the Society for the Promotion of Atmospheric Purity. He died in New Haven, Conn., stricken during a visit to relatives of Mrs. Olney, who was his only immediate survivor. He was buried in New York's Woodlawn Cemetery.