Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I have recently seen an article pertaining to the Old River Road project, discussed in the previous post [thank you, Byron, for finding and sending to me the on-line version of the article!], published May 17, 2005, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. One of the statements made by the developer in this article, apparently to "justify" his destruction of an entire block of mostly historic buildings, was that the block is "blighted" and a "slum". Blighted?!?!? Blight is supposed to be a reference to an obvious, outward appearance that displays extreme neglect of maintenance. This is simply UNTRUE!! Agreeably, the buildings do not "sparkle", as if they were new, but, then again, what buildings other than actually-new ones do?? They do not have any sort of 'shabby' appearance, nor is there any other obvious signs of deterioration or decay. As for the "slum" claim made by the developer, since when does a commerical area get to be labelled a "slum"?? A slum, often synonomously referred to as a ghetto, has been traditionally reserved for referring to RESIDENTIAL areas. It usually includes the afore-mentioned "blight", and almost always is accompanied by various negative social conditions, such as poverty and crime. All this section of Old River Road is is a handful of buildings presently not being used. It should be obvious to everyone that these ludicrous "blighted" and "slum" claims are LIES being used to persuade the community that removing these buildings is 'necessary'. The article elsewhere tells of how this project will ultimately result in the spending of $225 million. Well, one thing is for sure: my arguments, which amount to mostly two or three, mostly pertaining to history and significant architecture, certainly can't stand a chance compared to the 225,000,000 arguments that the developer has -- now, can they??

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Another horrible travesty in the works right now is the planned destruction of AN ENTIRE BLOCK of historic Old River Road, between Main and Front Streets. The plan calls for the construction of some more [why do we need MORE??] high-end housing, and "access to the river". Once again, it is historic buildings that must be 'sacrificed'. Perhaps the most interesting building on this block is the Shepard Building, built in 1891 for J. J. Shepard, to be his office and warehouse for his fire-brick business. The building in the photo with this post is of this building. Other buildings on this block do actually include some fairly new ones, but there is mostly older ones, here. At least one appears to, perhaps, have been constructed in the 1850s. The Cuyahoga River is such a long river. Why does this project have to be located right here? Perhaps what is more important to ask is, why aren't these historic buildings being converted into the desired high-end housing -- like so many have, just up the hill from these, all throughout the Warehouse District? Will this "madness" never end??


The subject for this post is, more or less, a continuation of the previous one -- that being the demolition of several of Lakewood's historic schools, NOW going on. One of the affected schools is Garfield School. What some people may not know is that this particular project involves some sort of "expansion" and, subsequently, an ENTIRE ADJACENT STREET was acquired for this purpose. The street is called Cohassett Place and it contains around a dozen houses, all built, I think, no later than 1915. The image accompanying this post is of one of those houses. The Board Of Education owns these houses, now, and their last occupants are gone and the houses are boarded up, awaiting their demise. The houses are not anything exceptional, architecturally, but what bothers me is that, apparently, it was decided that these historic houses were "expendable". Why are our historic houses ALWAYS "expendable"?? Even such a high number of houses to be lost does not seem to make a difference. These houses are old and, by today's prevailing 'modern' philosphies, that means they should be removed -- right? [By the way, the same fate awaits two more houses on another adjacent street, Hazelwood.]

Friday, August 19, 2005


There seems to be a lot of attention on saving old school buildings, lately, which is of course a good thing. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been pushing it for several years and, locally, a 'partner' of theirs, the Cleveland Restoration Society, has gotten involved in this, as well. Lately, the focus has been on Cleveland's school buildings. But, why has Lakewood's school buildings been seemingly ingnored. Right now, several of Lakewood's older school buildings are in the process of being stripped and demolished. The photo with this post is of Harrison School, one of the schools being stripped and demolished, located in Lakewood's historic Birdtown neighborhood. Why isn't the Cleveland Restoration Society trying to protect these buildings, too? What 'politics' has prevented their involvement on this?