Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The legend of Cleveland's historic Euclid Avenue, once the location of the homes of over two hundred of Cleveland's economic elite, is known far and wide.  All but a tiny handful of those homes have been destroyed.  Since this street was the 'anchor' for large residential neighborhoods, occupied primarily by the social strata just below the elite, there were also a substantial number of houses of worship built along Euclid Avenue to accommodate their varied religious needs.  A somewhat larger percentage of these have somehow managed to survive, most still being used today by congregations composed of the poor who now occupy what little remains of these neighborhoods.  It has been many a year since one of these has been genuinely threatened with demolition, but, now, this has sadly changed as of this year.  The congregation of the Euclid Avenue Church Of God has abandoned its grand Euclid Avenue facility and wishes to demolish it so that they can sell the vacant property to the Cleveland Clinic, who have an ever-growing campus for blocks in every direction around this property.  Ironically, this very same congregation had this building Landmarked many years ago.  It was designed by famed church architect Sidney Badgley and built 1889-90 for a brand new congregation, the Church Of The Epiphany [see photo with this post, taken only a month prior].  Split off from an Episcopal congregation due to doctrine disagreements, they were the first and only example of a Reformed Episcopal congregation to have ever existed in the greater Cleveland area, making this church the only one ever built for this denomination in this area.  The owners have formally met with the Cleveland Landmarks Commission twice this year.  The first meeting resulted in the commission unanimously voting to deny the demolition request.  The second meeting, though, resulted in a vote from a weak majority to once again deny the request.  There will undoubtedly be a third meeting and it shouldn't be difficult at all to guess what the vote will be.  Historic buildings have always had a low priority to the City Of Cleveland, while big-money local investors like the Cleveland Clinic have always been of the highest priority to the City Of Cleveland.  The De-Landmarking Commission has had quite an impressive 'run', as of late, of de-landmarking local Landmarks -- clearing the way to get yet another one destroyed will help to keep the De-Landmarking Commission in 'fine form'.  And what could be more impressive than removing one of the few surviving remnants of the once-grand Euclid Avenue.

Monday, October 01, 2012


The time has come to make mention of an entity that has appeared in the greater area of Cleveland, Ohio, that may be playing a larger role in the rampant destruction of historic buildings than anyone else.  They are the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, more commonly known as the Cuyahoga Land Bank.  Formed in 2006, they are apparently well funded as they are not only constantly acquiring substantial numbers of foreclosed properties, their funding even allows for the cost of substantial numbers of demolitions.  In March of 2012, they boasted on their website of having accomplished their 750th demolition.  This year they acquired a foreclosed, vacant house in a Local Historic District in Cleveland [pictured with this post] and decided that it should be demolished.  The house, designed by local architect Paul Matzinger, was built in 1903 as a four-family house.  Of course its Landmark status was no real obstacle, since the Cleveland Landmarks Commission (more commonly known as the Cleveland De-Landmarking Commission) put up no fight whatsoever (their usual 'm. o.') and removed the Landmark status so as to facilitate the demolition.