Monday, November 19, 2012


Many of you have likely already learned that the Wolfe Music Building, at 2122 Euclid, Cleveland, is very near to demolition.  Owned by Cleveland State University, it and the adjacent university dormitory building known as Viking Hall, are to be demolished so that a new classroom building can be constructed.  Reportedly, the Wolfe Music Building was built in 1927 from designs supplied by Walker & Weeks.  It has a white terra-cotta facade.  It seems various parts of its exterior are being salvaged.  This building is in Cleveland's Ward 8, whose councilperson is Jeffrey Johnson.  Johnson has been a true champion of historic preservation, driving an ongoing project to try to get City of Cleveland Local Landmark status for many of the historic buildings in that ward.  Johnson has done this with seemingly little, if any, regard to objections.  But, sadly, it is to be expected that no politician would disregard the potential political influence of a college/university.  Johnson has stayed well clear of attempting to Landmark this building.  It seems that colleges/universities are determined to believe that all "progress" within their campuses must be manifested via new structures -- as if using older structures is some sort of embarrassment.  Cleveland State University has a long and shameful record of destroying historic buildings.  Entire blocks of historic buildings have been destroyed by them -- e.g., there used to be an East 19th Street and an East 20th Street between Euclid and Chester avenues, both full of elegant apartment-houses built at the turn of the last century for the upper-middle class.  These blocks were entirely wiped out by the 1980s.  In more recent years, the Cadillac Building -- a Knox & Elliot design built in 1914 -- and the coach-house of the Mather Mansion -- a Charles Schweinfurth design built circa 1910 -- were demolished by the university.  They have wanted to demolish the Howe Mansion -- a Coburn & Barnum design built in 1894 -- but were somehow persuaded to not go through with it -- but it is only a matter of time before they have more of a motivation and this unique structure will be lost, as well.  The Mather Mansion will be demolished by the university, some day, also.  The past has no value to a college/university.  Only the future means anything to them -- and that  future will certainly not include anything from the past.