Amasa Stone was an American engineer, bridge builder, and railroad owner. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, colleague of John D. Rockefeller and his gift led to the foundation of what became known as Case Western Reserve University.
Amasa Stone is perhaps best remembered for having created a regional railroad empire centered in Ohio from 1860 to 1883. Stone moved to Cleveland in 1850 and within four years he was a director of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad and the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad.
Stone purchased a home in 1850 on the corner of Superior Avenue and Bond Street (now East 6th Street) in Cleveland. He lived in this house (later the site of the Hollenden Hotel) until 1858 when he purchased a plot of land at 1255 Euclid Avenue (Euclid and East 13th Street) part of what was known world-wide at the time as “Millionaires’ Row” for the large number of extremely wealthy people who built or purchased residences there.
In April 1868, Stone played a major role in bringing together Cornelius Vanderbilt and the oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. He played a critical role in helping the Standard Oil company form its monopoly, and was a major force in the Cleveland banking, steel, and iron industries and was widely regarded by the press as the richest man in Cleveland.
During the Civil War, Stone focused almost all his attention on running his railroads for the benefit of the Union war effort, and became a millionaire He was an ardent supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, and Lincoln consulted with him on both supply and transportation issues.He became a friend of Lincoln’s and raised and supplied troops for the Union cause. Lincoln’s private secretary, John Hay, became his son-in-law.
In addition to his friendship with Abraham Lincoln, he was a key financial backer of James A. Garfield in his bid for the 1880 Republican nomination and his successful campaign for the presidency.
Stone’s reputation was significantly tarnished after the Ashtabula River railroad bridge, which he designed and constructed, collapsed in 1876 in the Ashtabula River railroad disaster. Stone spent many of his last years engaging in major charitable endeavors. Among the most prominent was his gift which allowed Western Reserve College (later known as Case Western Reserve University) to move to Cleveland.
The concept to build a memorial to their father Amasa Stone was conceived by Clara Hay and Flora Stone Mather. With the aid of President Charles F. Thwing (President, WRU 1890-1921), the construction of a campus chapel was encouraged because it met “…a most urgent need of College life.”
10940 Euclid Ave, South side of Euclid Avenue, between Adelbert Road and East Boulevard
Amasa Stone is buried near his peer John D. Rockefeller in Lake View Cemetery.