Sunday, November 06, 2011

MORE "POLITICS" -- MORE "BLIND EYES" TO HISTORY


The image you see with this posting was published in 1905, as one of the illustrations accompanying an article on Cleveland architect Frederick Baird and his designs.  Constructed in 1899, this structure can be found today, in the southeast corner of Lakewood, Ohio.  There is an extraordinary Arts & Crafts-inspired fireplace in the corner store-space, connected to the prominent exterior chimney seen in this image.  Unfortunately, the balcony has been converted to interior space and the building is covered in aluminum siding.  It is entirely vacant and quite possibly threatened with demolition.  There was reportedly illegal activities being conducted by tenants a few years ago.  And even though the building had since that time become vacant, the City Of Lakewood declared the building a 'Nuisance'.  This sort of status often leads to demolition.  Complicating matters is the fact that the owner, a mortgage company who became the owner only due to the previous owner 'defaulting', is squabbling with the City regarding how this building is to be used if it were not to be demolished.  The City is determined to prevent its residential areas continuing as a rooming-house (which the City obviously officially permitted in the first place), and the reluctant owner wants to put in only the absolute minimum investments. There is a sort of stalemate situation, but, how long can that last?  And this shameful display of "politics" is holding this historic building "hostage".  What would be best for this building would begin by removing the aluminum, allowing for some of what made this building to be more physically attractive when it was built to return to public view.  It does deserve better than rooming-house use and it obviously needs a new owner who is willing to invest enough to make that happen.  And, this is one of the oldest combination commercial and residential structures surviving in Lakewood (it may even be the oldest).  It deserves true respect for this distinction, rather than declaring it a 'nuisance' because of past transgressions committed by tenants.

NOTE:  This building was demolished late-July, 2012.

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