Sunday, May 29, 2011


The two houses you see with this post are in the Wade Park National Register Historic District, on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, on the edge of the northern campus of Case Western Reserve University.  The larger house has been owned by the congregation of Mt. Zion Congregational Church for over fifty years, and has been used for Sunday School classes and offices (NOT for worship, as originally stated).  Built in 1907 as the residence of George Grandin, it remained as such until his widow sold it to the congregation.  It was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm Bohnard & Parsson.  The other house, immediately nextdoor, is owned by the same congregation and has several secondary uses.  It was built in 1908 as the residence of Francis Line, and a couple of years later it was owned and occupied by John Talmage.  It was designed by Cleveland architect J. Milton Dyer.  The reason this post is here is that there has been a report recently that the congregation wishes to demolish these structures so as to build a new structure in their places.  Another report indicates that there is an effort underway to designate both structures as Local Landmarks, which would at least impede an effort to demolish either.  If true, let's hope this takes place.  Both houses are obviously fine examples of upper-middle-class homes of the first decade of the twentieth century, and certainly are nowhere near the end of their usefulness.  Perhaps the congregation should relocate to a vacant lot (Cleveland has MANY of these) and save the costs that would have been incurred on demolition.


Blogger BBC said...

Thank you Craig...

10:49 PM  
Anonymous PHS said...

First, I take issue with the title of your post, "Cantankerous Congregation.” The church about which you speak is the third oldest African American congregation in Cleveland, having been founded in 1864. Secondly, upon its establishment, on Erie Street in what is now downtown Cleveland, it quickly established a Benevolent Society which helped to relocate free Africans who had made their way to Cleveland following the end of slavery. Some of the most prominent African American leaders in Cleveland history were members of Mt. Zion.

The church is and has been a significant part of the community, for the 58 years that the church has been at its present location. In addition, let me correct you, the house formerly known as the Grandin Mansion, is not, nor has it ever been, Mt. Zion’s place of worship. In 1956 Mt. Zion completed construction of its sanctuary, which sits immediately behind our Fellowship House (Grandin) at the corner of 108th and Magnolia. Fellowship house has been used for Sunday school classrooms and office space since it was purchased by the church in 1953.
Mt. Zion has served over 26,000 people in need in the last 10 years with feeding programs for the hungry, job training for the unemployed, mentoring for youth and care for seniors. In addition the church is actively involved in University Circle Incorporated of which the church is a founding member. Over the years, the church has established collaborative relationships with nearly all of the institutions in University Circle. Far from "cantankerous," the appropriate adjective for this church would be COMMITTED.
Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr.

12:38 PM  
Blogger CraigB said...

Rev. Sadler --
I am very happy to learn that you have read something from this blog. You are certainly correct regarding my mistake pertaining to the use of what you call Fellowship House. I will be correcting the language of that post, accordingly, any minute now. As far as my using the word 'cantankerous', I surrounded it in double-quotation-marks to indicate that it was not to be taken literally. In any event, its use meant to suggest little more than something like 'contentious'. I am sure your congregation is COMMITTED, as you state, but, this blog is, after all, a pro-preservation site, similarly COMMITTED to that cause. I think there could be a way to satisfy the needs of your congregation without the loss of either of these significant historic structures.

1:09 PM  

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