Monday, January 19, 2009


A perhaps even larger hole [see previous post] to soon appear on a main Cleveland, Ohio, thoroughfare will be on Euclid Avenue, just east of E. 55th. Also scheduled for demolition are two adjacent commercial buildings, one built in 1882 to the designs of Cleveland architects Albert Smith and Anthony Myers [the bottom image], and its 'annex' built in 1895 to the designs of the same, then-partnerless Albert Smith. These two buildings are the sole surviving vestiges of the period when a bustling commercial district existed right here due to the highly used passenger rail station at E. 55th and Euclid. When rail travel declined, so did this district, followed not long after by the severe decline of all of Euclid Avenue and its nearby streets. Interestingly, with the recent cosmetic overhaul of Euclid Avenue, inflatingly promoted as the beginning of a "revival" of the avenue's glorious past, it was easy to think that what was built literally during that hallowed era would be coveted. But, no -- the hypocrisy here knows no bounds. Other historic buildings, across the street from these two, were recently demolished [see the November 2005 archives of this blog] for a 'bike-lane' (which, of course, has since been "used" about as much as the new sidewalks adjacent to it, in front of the expansive now-vacant lots). Clearly, the misguided "Urban Renewal" philosophies of the 1950s are still "alive and well" in Cleveland, even when the "renewal" results in vacant lots. The Beatles wrote about a presumed-imaginary place called the Sea Of Holes -- but, Cleveland is revealing to the whole world that it wasn't imaginary, after all!! ------ NOTE: THESE BUILDINGS WERE DEMOLISHED IN THE SPRING OF 2009.


Some unusually large holes will soon appear on certain main thoroughfares in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, due to the unusually large historic buildings whose demolition is planned for the very near future. One is St. Peter's Hall, the Gothic-Second Empire structure next door to St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, on Superior Avenue at E. 17th. Built in 1874 as a parochial school and hall for St. Peter's, many Clevelanders will remember it as Erieview Catholic High School, functioning at this location from its founding in 1971 to its demise in 1993. A designated Cleveland Landmark for many years, the local Catholic diocese has been wanting to demolish it for nearly as long. Allowing it to slowly deteriorate (even though this sort of willful neglect is in violation of the Landmark ordinances -- which is cancelled out by the fact that the City has NEVER enforced these ordinances), the diocese has finally been able to demonstate that the deterioration now qualifies for official "nuisance/hazard" designation from the City's Building Department. Meanwhile, with the very successful conversion of a greatly deteriorated historic clothing factory to upscale residential suites, only a block or so from this building, St. Peter's Hall has been an obvious candidate (to at least some of us) for bringing yet more disillusioned suburbanites back to "downtown" Cleveland. But, alas, what we get, instead, is yet another example of "Classic Cleveland" -- one step forward, followed by ten steps backwards. ----- NOTE: THIS BUILDING WAS DEMOLISHED IN THE SUMMER OF 2009. IRONICALLY, THERE IS NOW A BANNER ON THE FENCE YOU SEE IN THE PHOTO THAT REFERS TO THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH'S DEDICATION. THEY SEEM TO BE CELEBRATING THEIR HISTORY -- HOW WAS DESTROYING THE ORIGINAL SCHOOL "CELEBRATING" THEIR HISTORY?

Monday, January 12, 2009


If you live in the Cleveland, Ohio, area and are interested in historic buildings, you almost certainly are aware of the historic house, built in 1903, in the local Tremont Historic District that was demolished, last month, by the City, against the owner's wishes. This event ignited a firestorm of controversy. This posting represents this blog's perspective on the matter. It seems there was a pronounced difference of opinion as to whether or not this house was in the sort of physical condition that could 'necessitate' demolition. But, it seems the more important topic is whether or not this building was demolished because the City's Building Department personally disliked the owner. It is an absolute fact that there are seemingly countless buildings, all around the city, that are in far worse condition than this house could have been considered by anyone -- buildings that have been that way for far longer -- and, somehow, this particular house's fate was seemingly "rushed". The Building Department has had several "run-ins" with the owner over the past several years. "Politics", indeed. It is nigh time that the long-standing 'methodology' in Cleveland -- a Building Code that isn't enforced, followed by easily 'enforced' demolitions -- needs to end. Sometimes it seems like there is more vacant lots in Cleveland than there are ones with buildings on them, and it sure seems like the City is pretty damn comfortable with that. [NOTE: The image accompanying this post is a Board Of Zoning Appeals photo, taken in 1981, of this just-demolished house, courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library's Photo Collection. The house still had its front-porch, at this time, as you see.]