Showing posts with label 1920s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1920s. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Strange Disappearing Houses of the Lomond Neighborhood, in Shaker Heights, Ohio

My colleague, Korbi Roberts, put together this video, The Strange Disappearing Houses of the Lomond Neighborhood, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. It illustrates that the issues concerning the demolition of homes in historic neighborhoods are not limited to the inner city.

Rather than reading my continued ramblings (I could go on and on, you know) please take a look at the video.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Vanishing Forties - No Longer Quite So Vanished

Rudolph Stanley-Brown (American, 1889-1944). The Vanishing Forties, Cleveland, Ohio. Etching. The Cleveland Museum of Art. In memory of Rudolph Stanley-Brown 1950.185

In my quest for compelling historic imagery, I come across plenty of things that I can't use, simply because I can't figure out where the scene portrayed was physically located. This print, The Vanishing Forties, Cleveland, Ohio, by Rudolph Stanley-Brown, is one such case - one that's been bugging me since I first saw it, more than a year ago.

It's likely that Stanley-Brown made the print in 1924 or 1925 - he entered The Thirties and The Fifties into the Cleveland Museum of Art's May Show that year (May Show Database).

Photograph by Carl Waite for the Historic American Buildings Survey, November 2, 1936. Detail of the original, used courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The style of the house is very similar to two Cleveland structures, both now lost - the H. Mould house, at 2637 Cedar Avenue, and the Leonard Case homestead - documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), one of the many make-work projects that came under the auspices of WPA in the 1930s.

Leonard Case Homestead, 1295 East Twentieth Street, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, OH
Photograph by Carl Waite for the Historic American Buildings Survey, November 2, 1936. Detail of the original, used courtesy of the Library of Congress.

I covered the Leonard Case house, which was built c. 1820, in detail, back in 2009. The H. Mould house is said to have been built later - 1860 - but the large central chimney makes me suspect an earlier date. I would guess, based on the title of the work, The Vanishing Forties, that the house was built in the 1840s - or at least that's when the artist thought it was built.

Detail, T.P. May residence
Detail, T.P. May residence. Rendered in 1935 by Isadore Wasserstrom for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Yesterday, I was browsing through the HABS drawings for this region, when I came across the T.P. May residence, at 1458 East 12th Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

Detail, T.P. May residence
Detail, T.P. May residence. Rendered in 1935 by Isadore Wasserstrom for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

It looked similar to the house in Stanley-Brown's print - but only similar - there were several significant differences. The bases of the columns were different, as were the windows. The roof lacks the vertical lines, too, but that could be the artist's choice.

I was going to dismiss the possibility of the HABS drawings being of the same structure that Stanley-Brown depicted, but, out of stubbornness - I really wanted it to be the same one - I persisted, trying to identify details that were the same.

The tops of the columns and the trim above them are the same. So are the proportions of the porch. The same can be said for the spacing of the windows and the pitch of the roof. Both have brick foundations, at a time when stone would have been more common.

Detail, T.P. May residence
Detail, T.P. May residence. Rendered in 1935 by Isadore Wasserstrom for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

The front steps cemented my opinion that The Vanishing Forties does, in fact, depict this house. This detail, of the floorplan, illustrates them clearly. It can also be seen, in less detail, in the renderings above. Note that the steps aren't entirely in front of the porch, as would usually be the case, but partially set into it. Perhaps this was done when the sidewalk was widened, or perhaps the house was originally this way, allowing the builder to make the house a little bigger than he might have otherwise. Whatever the cause, it's an uncommon detail, one that confirms the identity.

I've seen other houses where the HABS architects reconstructed the original appearance of structures that have been changed considerably. One example is the H. M. Gillette residence, near Wellington, Ohio. In that case, a porch had been added around most of the house, concealing much of the detail. They were able to make measured drawings to show it as it was, and used an earlier photograph, by I.T. Frary, to aid in the illustration.

The HABS documentation includes some background information about the house:
The East Twelfth Street House was built previous to 1865 on the easterly end of T.P. May's sub-division. T.P. May was an influential early settler of Cleveland and a member of the first Board of Health. His sub-division extended from Erie Street (E. 9th) to Muirson Street (E. 12th) along the northerly side of what in 1865 became the extension of Superior Street...

The house while still having evidence of good design and sturdy construction has been used in recent years as a ware house and consequently many of the better details have been destroyed.

T.P. May residence, sheet 1 T.P. May residence, sheet 2
T.P. May residence, sheet 3 T.P. May residence, sheet 4
T.P. May residence. Rendered in 1935 by Isadore Wasserstrom for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

The four pages of renderings provide an incredible amount of detail - the hardware is included, as is the exact dimensions of the seam on the metal roof. With the information present here, one could build a house virtually identical to the original. The biggest obstacle would likely replicating the method of construction - modern tools simply don't leave the same tool marks as tools used in the 1840s.

One final note: the building in the background is the Hotel Statler, at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 12th Street.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Church, Again

Dominance of the City
The Dominance of the City. Ora Coltman, 1933-34. Image used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

When I came across this painting, The Dominance of the City, by Ora Coltman, I was impressed. The canvas, painted in 1933-1934, was the first New Deal mural in Cleveland. The description on the Cleveland Public Library website notes:
The large center panel shows a view of bridges over the Cuyahoga River in the Cleveland flats. The artist's intent was "to glorify the genius of Cleveland which contemptuous of the obstacles of the river and its valley, had thrown across it these broad level highways making one community out of two, the mercantile east side…linked up with the south-side foreign residents. " The right panel of the mural shows the St. Theodosius Cathedral and its surrounding Tremont neighborhood. The left panel is the Ohio Bell building representing Cleveland as a center of commerce.

Detail, Dominance of the City
Detail, The Dominance of the City. Ora Coltman, 1933-34. Image used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

My attention was drawn to the right hand panel, illustrating St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Church. It reminded me of another painting of the church and the Flats, painted in 1912 by Frank Nelson Wilcox, which I discussed in Caboose and Russian Church.

The historic church remains today, while many of the houses around it are gone. But that's not the most significant change in the appearance of the church.

In these paintings, the church is portrayed as sitting at the very highest point in the landscape, while the viewer is placed in the Flats. In such an elevated position, it is impressive, and suggests grander things.

Today, most of those who view the church see it from Interstates 90 and 490. They're (physically) closer to the position of the church, and as a result it loses something of what makes it impressive.

Little Russia, Cleveland View of Tremont from the Clark Ave. Bridge
Little Russia, Cleveland. Ora Coltman, 1926. Image used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

This can be seen in a lesser degree in Coltman's Little Russia, Cleveland, painted for the Jefferson Branch of Cleveland Public Library.

Am I saying that we should remove the interstate highways for a more appropriate historical landscape? No. I bring this all up to suggest that we can better view the landscape as a whole (and the significance of this church within the community) by visualizing the landscape around it at the time it was built.

Imagine yourself in the Flats in the 1910s and try to see what the visual impact of this church must have been.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mystery Photos: A Follow Up

Last week, I asked about the location of four buildings photographed by I.T. Frary.

2611 - House
Photograph by I.T. Frary. 1926. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

One, I noted, was located east of Shalersville. On Father's Day, I went with my wife, son, and daughter on a drive, exploring some of the areas that Frary photographed. I succeeded in locating this house.


Here's the house as it stands today, at 6423 State Route 303, Drakesburg, Ohio. The basic form remains the same, but many of the details have been lost.

The wood siding has been covered with cement shingles. The wood shingles of the roof have been replaced with asphalt ones. The chimney, on the left, is gone, and the porch, to the right, has been enclosed. The fretwork - the wood covering the three small attic windows, the detail for which Frary chose to photograph the house - has been removed.

The front door remains unchanged, along with most of its trim - note that the columns flanking the door are mirrored at the edge of the porch. It was this detail that allowed me to be certain I had found the house in question.

The big surprise of the drive was at how few of the houses that Frary documented remained. Of those that remain, on many of them, the detail he chose to document has been lost. This is often the case even on houses that appear to have been restored and well cared for.

The exhibition Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio runs through July 16. I encourage you to take a look. The Cleveland Artists Foundation is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue, in Lakewood, Ohio.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery Photos - Now With More Detail!

Fret, near Shalersville Fret, Circleville
Fret, near Bellvue Fret, Wooster.
Photos of fretwork at Shalersville, Circleville, Bellevue, and Wooster. By I.T. Frary, from Early Homes of Ohio.

As part of the Cleveland Artists Foundation's exhibit, Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio I'm taking an in-depth look at Frary's published works. Chief among these is Early Homes of Ohio, which is now 75 years old. This landmark title was the first to deal with the architectural heritage of this state, and remains an unequaled standard in the field.

I've been trying to locate all of the structures pictured in Early Homes of Ohio, so that I might document their present condition, and so that others might view them in person. I've located most of them, but some still present difficulties - mostly because, in Early Homes they were only shown in detail. I've scanned photocopies of the images from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society, some of which are presented here.

2611 - House
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This house, located "East of Shalersville, Ohio", was photographed by I.T. Frary in 1926. Given the angle of the shadows, and that Frary tended to stay on the main roads, it's probable that the house is on the north side of the road.

House, Circleville, Ohio.  1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

Frary photographed House, Circleville, Ohio, in 1924. It appears to be the sort of structure that would be in the center of the city.

Wooster, Ohio.  1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This brick structure, in Wooster, Ohio, appears to have been built as a commercial structure - thus the two front doors, for better traffic flow. At the time Frary photographed it, in 1924, it housed a gas station, and Church of Christ, Scientist. I've been unable to determine location for said church that corresponds with the evidence suggested here - the building should be close to the street.

House, West of Bellvue, Ohio - 1923 or 1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This House, West of Bellvue, Ohio was photographed by I.T. Frary in either 1923 or 1924. This is a scan of an actual photograph, so there's plenty of resolution there, if you need to look at it in more detail. While the house appears square, I suspect, based on the roof line, that it might be L-shaped.

This is just the first group - I'll be sharing more in the coming days. If you know where these houses are, or were, either by address or approximate location, please either comment here or send an email to Thanks!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Construction of Severance Hall

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

Sometimes, you come across a group of photographs that give you a new perspective on something you think you know reasonably well. Such is this group of photographs, which I stumbled across on Flickr a day or two ago. Their subject: Severance Hall.

This group of 54 black and white photographs comprise a bound volume, Severance Music Hall, held in Special Collections at Cleveland Public Library. Walker and Weeks, the architects for the building, are listed as the authors. The volume illustrates the construction of the structure, from excavation of the foundation, in November of 1929, to the completion of the basic structure, in August of the following year. It does not extend, alas, to the finish work or interior details - but there are plenty of photos elsewhere of the glorious interior.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

Here, looking south, we see the vacant lot where Severance Hall will be built. It appears that the excavation of the foundation has already begun, yet some debris remains to be cleared. In the distance, slightly to the left of center, is Amasa Stone Chapel, completed in 1911.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

Looking across the site to the north, we find a site very different from what is present today. Behind the trees to the left, in the distance, is the Cleveland Museum of Art. On the right are two structures - what I believe to be present-day Thwing Center. The top of the tower of the Church of the Covenant is visible in the distance.

The set continues with the excavation of the foundation and the first pieces of structural steel, shown from two perspectives.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

The construction progresses to this image, dated February 20, 1930. For the first time, we see the basic shape that we know as Severance Hall. It surprised me how early the shape of the structure was recognizable.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

The photos also document the building of the interior. The form of the main hall can be easily visualized within this steel framework.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

At first glance, the photos appear almost like snapshots. Then, you realize that, if so, they are very lucky snapshots. Closer examination reveals real care in composition - and the clear use of a view camera, revealed in the carefully aligned verticals in many of the images.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

Take this exterior view. The photographer clearly considered the composition quite carefully. Further, while some parts of the print are washed out due to the bright sunlight, the general tonal quality suggests that effort was put into making a high quality print. There's a surprising amount of beauty to be found here.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

A view of work on the roof, dated June 17, 1930, seems a change in style from the vertical emphasis of so many of the rest of the photos. In the distance, to the right, the Church of the Covenant is visible, as is the apartment building at the corner of Ford Drive and Euclid Avenue.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

The exterior work soon progresses to a form that appears, at least from the outside, to be almost complete.

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library

I'll close with one final photo, taken out of sequence. The sun, low in the sky, provides a beautiful source of illumination for this photo. If you just look at the steel framework, you might think that it was a recent construction project. The workers' trucks and the nature of the construction machinery are the only things that give away the date. It seems, in a way, not dissimilar from the scenes that I've witnessed in the construction around the VA Hospital.

This set of photos is both a beautiful set of images and a valuable historical record - something that's worth looking at in its entirety. I give my thanks to the librarian who scanned the photographs and to the Special Collections Department at Cleveland Public Library, where the volume is preserved. It hints at the wealth of material available contained within the collection, available to whoever might venture downtown and ask.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The LaSalle Theater

On Saturday, October 9, 2010 the Cleveland Restoration Society offered a SNOOP tour of the LaSalle theater on East 185th Street at Kildeer Avenue in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland. The theater was built in 1927 by the International Savings and Loan Association as a mixed-use project that included their bank branch, retail store locations, apartments, and the theater. The architect was Nicola Petti and the style was considered Neo-Classical. The original marquee seen here is still intact.

Much of the interior detailing has remained intact although the seating and organ have been removed.

This is a close up of the medallion that adorns the top of the center of the stage.

This photo below of a Peerless lamp was shot in complete darkness inside one of the upstairs projection rooms.

This is the staircase leading up to the projection rooms.

Below is a shot of some of the equipment used behind the curtain area on stage.

This is another snapshot of some of the intricate plaster ceiling decor.

Below is one of the two open areas that flank each side of the main stage. It was thought by one of the attendees who watched shows at the LaSalle when she was young, that these areas were for "premium" seating.

If you have memories of the LaSalle or want to read more from others who visited the LaSalle when it was previously open, visit this page at, which is a great website to read more about historic movie theaters.

Hope abounds for the future of the LaSalle. Northeast Shores (the community development corporation for this area) now owns the structure. They've obtained funding for repairs to the limestone and for stabilizing the building. They are in the second phase of having it added to the National Register of Historic Places. An associate from Northeast Shores stated that there is the possibility for a brew pub inside the structure. Since this building was built when people either walked or took the streetcar to this site, parking could potentially be an issue because there appears to mainly be on-street parking available. Once that issued is addressed, I am sure the LaSalle will make a great venue, and also has the benefit of having an Arabica directly across the street, and great restaurants like Scotti's Italian, Chili Peppers, and Bistro 185 nearby.

In any case, many local residents await the next act for the LaSalle.

Keri Zipay moved to Cleveland from Pennsylvania in 1999 and has since discovered a love for local historic architecture. She has been volunteering with the Cleveland Restoration Society since 2004, and historic structures are her favorite photographic subject, particularly the remaining Millionaire's Row mansions. Contact Keri by email

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10,000 Cheered by Candy Gifts

Old Folks and Poor Remembered by "Sweetest Day in the Year" Committee.

So began the story in the Plain Dealer about the first "Sweetest Day", in 1921. The story, published on October 8 of that year, on page 7, continued:

A little rain and a few black clouds failed to affect the spirits of Clevelanders who have come under the spell of the "Sweetest Day in the Year" committee.

The committee distributed 10,000 boxes candy to Clevelands' orphanages and charitable institutions yesterday. This morning an additional 5,000 boxes of candy will be distributed by Ann Pennington, star of George White's "Scandals" at the Ohio theater this week, and Theda Bara, peerless vampire of the screen, and Cleveland's first Sweetest Day in the Year will be inaugurated.

Twenty-five hundred newsboys are expected to storm the Cleveland Advertising Club at the Hotel Statler this morning to receive candy from Ann Pennington.

At the same time Theda Bara will give away 2,000 boxes of candy in front of Loew's State, Park, and Liberty theaters. The candy will be given to every person who presents a card, mailed this week to families from lists compiled by charitable organizations.

C.C. Hartzell, chaiman of the "Sweet Day in the Year" committee, and E. G. Winger supervised the distribution.

Everywhere we went," Hartzell said, "we were greeted wtih cheers. At the Eliza Jennings Home one old aldy told us with tears in her eyes that no one ever thouht of giving them candy."

The purpose of the Sweetest Day in the Year is to bring happiness to everyone, Hatzell explained. The committee arranged to distribute the candy to those who would be unable to buy it. A movement to establish a national Sweetest Day in the Year will be inaugurated next year, he said.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the Plain Dealer was filled with advertisements and filler copy for the event. One suggested "The Sweetest Day in the Year for Mother, Sister, Sweetheart and all." (October 3, 1921, page 4) Another reminded the reader "Don't forget the Kiddies, Oct. 8. The Sweetest Day in the Year." (October 3, 1921, page 20) Yet another read "The Sweetest Day in the Year. Everybody's happy day. Oct. 8." (October 3, 1921, page 11)

Chandler and Rudd Sweetest Day ad

This detail from an ad for Chandler & Rudd (Plain Dealer, October 7, 1921, page 12) refers to the holiday as "Candy Day".

Crane's Chocolates Sweetest Day ad

An ad for Crane's Chocolates suggests life-changing potential. (Plain Dealer, October 3, 1921, page 4)

The following year, 1922, there were many similar advertisements. Another story, with a similarly charitable note to the one the preceding year, ran, under the headline ""Sweetest Day" Brings Joy to City's Orphans - Woman's Club Gives Candy for Wards of Humane Society." (Plain Dealer, October 13, 1922, page 13) The article read:

Childish joy was brought yesterday to the homes where live the 1,200 children looked after by the Cleveland Humane Society, through the gift by the Cleveland Womans's Club of 300 boxes of candy.

The presentation was made yesterday afternoon in the rooms of the Humane Society in city hall by Mrs. Josiah Kirby, president of the club. Mrs. Evelyn F. Stires received the candy for the society.

The club aggregation which made the presentation consisted of Mrs. Kirby, Mrs. Arthur C. Holt, chairman of the programming committe, and Mrs. J.D. Littlefield.

The gift was among the first of a number which will result in the distribution of 10,000 boxes, according to officials at the "Sweetest Day" headquarters, 1901 Euclid avenue. The candy will go to the inmates of thirty-two hospitals, orphanages, and other charitable institutions.

Newsboys each will receive a box of candy tomorrow morning, the day having been designated as "the sweetest day of the year." The distribution will be made by the Cleveland Advertising Club, which will erect a booth at Euclid avenue and E. 12th street. Miss Dorothy Shoemaker, actress playing with the Robert McLaughlin company at the Metropolitan, will personally present 2,500 boxes. The boys will line up in E. 12th Street toward Chester avenue N.E.

While it is true, as has been suggested elsewhere, that it was created to sell product, the product in question was not greeting cards, but candy, as the name implies. It is interesting that the word "sweetest", in this context, now tends to be seen as referring to the person you find "sweetest", while, as created, it was meant more widely, and to refer both to the product being sold as well as hinting at the possible audience.

The charitable aspect of the holiday, as noted in these articles, is worth thinking about. What would we say today if a group mined the address lists of various local charities for what might be called a publicity stunt? Further, what would the response of the recipients be? Would they travel downtown just to get a box of candy?

It would be interesting to know whether those who went to pick up the candy did it for the sweets or for the opportunity to meet the actors.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Frankie Yankovic boyhood home condemned

Jim Schumacher, a reader of Cleveland Area History recently brought to my attention another condemned property of historic significance. It was outside the area that I tend to focus - mostly because I only have so much time, so the things that are close to my job or home get more attention. I drove out to look at the house, a duplex built c. 1915, a style that is seen throughout the greater Cleveland area.

Boyhood home of Frankie Yankovic - CONDEMNED

While the house shown here, 15702 Saranac Avenue, in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, may be ordinary, the family who resided on the first floor, while renting out the second, was not. It included a young Frankie Yankovic, who would go on to be known as the Polka King. The family lived at this address from approximately 1917-1930 - from when Frankie Yankovic was two through the age of fifteen. More on this part of Yankovic's life can be read in Bob Dolgan's book, America's Polka King: the Real Story of Frankie Yankovic and His Music (Gray and Company, 2006).

I've obtained a list of the code violations. The pages listing the actual violations are pages 2 and 3 from January 20 and pages 4, 5 and 6 from April 20. They indicate that all of the basic fixtures have been removed from the kitchen. One can probably expect that all the plumbing has been removed as well as the hot water heater and furnace. As I've mentioned before, having to start over and replumb the whole structure isn't necessarily such a bad thing. With any old house, you're either going to have to pay for the previous owner having completely replumbed the structure or you're going to have to deal with major plumbing issues yourself. Replacing all of it before you move in is better than the surprise of a leaking ceiling on a cold winter morning.

Other violations speak to a generally deteriorated condition, but not something that is beyond hope. The only one that really concerns me is the state of the foundation. I didn't see any obvious problems from the exterior, so they may not be as major as the violation list suggests.

More photos of the house may be found here.

I contacted the office of Councilman Polensek, whose ward this historic structure falls in. An obvious concern for how the state of this house might affect the neighborhood was expressed. It was noted that "The house in question is a nuisance property and is constantly a target of illegal dumping."

Illegal dumping is a real problem. I suspect that trimming (or completely removing) the massive bushes in front of the house would help to stem this problem. Further, I suspect that the dumping is the result of the house being empty, rather than the physical condition of the property.

Why does Yankovic's boyhood home matter so much? This is a man who sold more albums than anyone else who ever came from Cleveland. He remained in Cleveland, and didn't move away like so many others did once they made it big. His childhood here surely played some role in that. Further, Yankovic toured more than 320 days a year - he likely spent more time in this home than many later residences.

Why does Yankovic matter? Jim Schumacher, who told me about the threat to this historic site put it far better than I can.
"Here's a guy who my grandparents danced to, who created music that made me jump around the house every Sunday after sitting still in church when Polka Varieties came on. The whole world still celebrates happy times - like weddings - dancing to his music. When you stand there, you can really picture how he grew up, something you can't do anywhere else. And besides, where would Big Chuck be without Frankie Yankovic?"

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Historical Significance of the Cold Storage Warehouse

Cold Storage Building
Photograph by Thom Sheridan

If you drive on Interstate 90 through downtown Cleveland, you've surely seen the Cold Storage Warehouse, most notable at this point in time as the large flat surface used as a support for billboards. The building is located just south of the Cuyahoga River.

Built in 1927-1928, the Distribution Terminal Warehouse represented a major change in the way food was handled and distributed in greater Cleveland. This insulated cold-storage structure will be demolished to make way for the new I-90 bridge.

I've wanted to write something about the structure. I recently learned that the Ohio Historical Society had published a document detailing the historic significance of this building. I wrote to the author, Nancy Campbell, who was kind enough to mail me a copy. I present here the PDF (warning: 17 MB!), Historic Context for Cleveland’s Distribution Terminal Warehouse: The Significance of a Cold Storage Building.

In this document Ms. Campbell provides historical context for the Cold Storage Building, explaining why it was needed and how it fit into the food service industry in this area. She further describes grocery shopping in northeast Ohio at the time. In addition to a description of this building, she also describes other extant cold storage structures in Cleveland. Finally, she concludes with a reprint of a 1932 article about the terminal by Wilbur J. Watson, and compares the photos used in the article with recent photos of the same structures.

This structure is likely past the state of preservation. The building appears to many a simple concrete box with few aesthetic merits. The historical significance of it is not in the exterior details, but in the landmark it represents in our commercial history. Nancy Campbell's 48 page analysis is worth a read, or, at the very least, a skim. We need to understand just what it is that we are losing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cleveland in 1927, part 4

I recently obtained ten 4x5 glass plate negatives of Cleveland scenes, taken in 1927. Thanks to the assistance of Bill Barrow, Special Collections Librarian at Cleveland State University and Joanne Cornelius in the Digital Production Unit there I was able to get the negatives digitized at 1200 dpi. This provides a very high resolution look at these parts of Cleveland. Be sure to click through for the highest resolution versions of the files.

In the first post in this series, I shared a few scenes that were reasonably familiar - the Terminal Tower, the Arcade, and Public Auditorium. In the second post, I shared two views of Central Avenue (now Carnegie Avenue) at East 14th Street. In post three, I continued the journey west on Central Avenue. In this, the last post in the series, I share two more view of Central Avenue as well as one that provides a fitting close.

Central Avenue at Woodland Avenue, looking west

For this image, the photographer was looking southwest on Central Avenue (now Carnegie Avenue). In the foreground, to the right, is the intersection with Woodland Avenue. In the midground, Broadway Avenue crosses Central. In the background, Ontario Street intersects with Central. In the version of this image on Flickr, I've noted all these items.

Here we see, on the left, the building with the large awning, seen on the right in the last photograph of the last post. Behind it is the ornate Broadway Hotel, advertising steam heat and rooms at 50 cents, 75 cents, and $1.00.

Behind the Broadway Hotel, we can see several billboards. One advertises Cleveland Wallpaper Cleaner. Another, for a Studebaker, lists the price as $1335. A third is for Lucky Strike cigarettes.

In the background, at Ontario Street, we see an interesting almost-triangular building, which was demolished to make way for the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge.

On the right side of the street, at Woodland Avenue, stands the OK Hotel, advertising beds for 25, 30, and 35 cents. The sign noted that they had free shower baths. Note the building behind it that is three pairs of windows wide.

Central and Ontario (looking northeast)

In this photo, the building that is three pairs of windows wide, as noted above, is seen, from the opposite side. Here, the photographer is looking northeast down Central Avenue. Ontario Street intersects with Central in front of the aforementioned building. Behind it, Broadway Avenue intersects with Central. We can see a sign on the building advertising "the greatest Buick ever."

On the right side of the street, a billboard for the Cleveland Trust notes that it finances "Paint and Varnish, Cleveland's Leading Industries." What else can you see here?

Cleveland, as seen from the Gold Coast

At first, I had assumed that this was another unidentifiable view of Lake Erie. However, the presence of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in the distance (at the far left) helps show us exactly where the photographer was standing - on the Gold Goast, looking east at downtown Cleveland.

This view, probably at sunset, provides a fitting (if slightly cliché) end to this series. I hope to share other previously unseen sets of historic photographs of Cleveland in the near future, but I need your help - I can't afford to keep buying these photographs just for the sake of providing new and interesting content.

If you have such a set of historic photos of the Cleveland area, and are willing to share them, please contact I will scan them and return the originals. I'm not just interested in pictures of buildings - photos of people and of daily life are great, especially if the individuals in the photographs are identified. Your loan of the materials will help better illustrate our local history.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cleveland in 1927, part 3

I recently obtained ten 4x5 glass plate negatives of Cleveland scenes, taken in 1927. Thanks to the assistance of Bill Barrow, Special Collections Librarian at Cleveland State University and the Digital Production Unit there I was able to get the negatives digitized at 1200 dpi. This provides a very high resolution look at these parts of Cleveland.

In the first post in this series, I shared a few scenes that were reasonably familiar - the Terminal Tower, the Arcade, and Public Auditorium. In the second post, I shared two views of Central Avenue (now Carnegie Avenue) at East 14th Street. In this post, we will continue southeast, looking at an area that have been completely changed by the interstate highway system and the construction of Jacobs Field.

Central Avenue, looking northeast

It took me a long time to figure out where this photograph was taken. Unlike the other photographs, there weren't any obvious street signs or named buildings that are still extant. Finally, I saw two buildings in the distance that I knew - the YMCA and the Walker and Weeks building. Between the two, in the haze, one can also make out the outline of a church. From this, I was able to see that the photograph was also taken of Carnegie Avenue (at the time Central Avenue).

The photographer appears to have been on the top of a building, on the north side of Carnegie, at about East 7th Street. In the distance, the water tower and smokestacks of the Independent Towel Company are visible. Near the right side of the image, a square tower with four small domes is Acme Hall. The Hall faced East 9th Street, the intersection of which is visible in the midground.

A poster in the alley advertises a film of the fight between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. On the right side of the street, underneath a billboard for Meadow Butter is the Sencabaugh Company, a grocery wholesaler.

Central Avenue, at Broadway, looking northeast

This view, still looking northeast, shows the intersection with Broadway. As a point of reference, the tower of Acme Hall is visible just behind the traffic light, in the middle of the intersection. The water tower of the coffee company that was visible in the second post can be seen here, from the opposite side. Finally, the Botzum Bros. sign that was visible in the previous photograph can just be seen above the far end of the streetcar. Note the interesting truck on the right, on Broadway, just about to pull onto (or cross) Central.