In the early 1970s, when the Baptist Home of Ohio was building the addition that would become Judson Park, local architect Bill Collins threw his firm’s hat in the ring for the job. Unfortunately, they came in second place, but when it came time for Bill and his wife to make a move to a retirement community, that didn’t stop them from choosing Judson Park.
“I’ve lived in the same two-mile radius of Cleveland Heights for 85 years!” boasts Bill, a product of Cleveland Heights Schools and a graduate of Western Reserve University’s School of Architecture. “So it made perfect sense.”
Bill opened his own firm in 1962 after cutting his teeth at other firms for nearly a decade. His business grew quickly. “I started with one draftsman in ’62 and retired in 2000 with 27 registered architects and a total staff of 62,” he says.
The work of Collins, Gordon, Bostwick is represented at major hospitals and colleges in Ohio, including the W.O. Walker Center and the Cole Eye Institute at Cleveland Clinic and a whole city block of Cleveland State University that includes its College of Urban Affairs, College of Business, a parking garage, and an addition to its Law School. His firm also supported legendary architect Philip Johnson on the expansion of The Cleveland Play House complex in the early 1980s. Now known as Bostwick and Partners, the firm earned a Gold Medal for Outstanding Firm in Ohio from the American Institute of Architects in 2013.
Bill’s spacious two-bedroom apartment overlooks the richly landscaped hillside at Judson Park, filled with plenty of greenery and blooming flowers in the warmer months and peaceful blankets of snow during the winter. Sleek, clean lines mark most of the furnishings, all with a modern bent.
His bedroom also serves as an office with his Apple computer and the files he keeps for volunteer projects. He’s sat on the Midtown Cleveland/Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee since 1981, which must approve all exterior design proposals of buildings, landscapes and signage from the inner belt freeway to East Cleveland.
His artwork features prominently throughout his apartment. A prolific water colorist, Bill started painting at the Chautauqua Institute in New York where he owned a villa on the lake. “I know every brushstroke.” He estimates he’s created about 550 paintings. Most are now with family members and charities, or on display in public spaces throughout Judson Park for his neighbors to enjoy.
Beyond the comforts of his apartment and amenities like exercise classes and music performances, Bill says that people are a key component of Judson Park’s appeal.
“This is a wonderful place to connect with other people. I’ve made many new friends and we help each other. I’m grateful at this stage in my life to be part of such a vibrant community.”