Friday, May 17, 2013


Accompanying this post are three views from 1995 of what originally had been the Fifth Church Of Christ Scientist, a dome-roofed Classical Revival structure built in Cleveland, Ohio, at Lake and W. 117th in 1926, from designs created by architect Frank Bail.  Abandoned by the congregation in the 1980s, it has been unused since that time.  It is now only a short spell of time away from its demolition.  A small, grass-roots group -- named, simply and appropriately, "Save Fifth Church" -- had attempted to grab the attention of someone who could be a new owner, who they hoped would renovate the deteriorated structure.  Now even they have abandoned this historic structure, compromising their original position -- reinventing themselves as "Neighbors In Action" and now primarily advocating only the preservation of the church's portico as a sort of classy entrance to a small, neighborhood park.  Of course, none of this can happen without extensive community support, particularly of the political persuasion, and many thousands of dollars, which of course has not materialized.  More than likely, all that is going to occur is that the entire structure will be demolished so that the owner, now in the process of constructing a new retail complex immediately adjacent to the site, will be able to provide more parking.  It is nothing less than impressive that a group of individuals, that are not the usual very tiny group of genuine preservationists, formed in the first place with a goal of trying to save an attractive, historic building -- a rare occurance, indeed, in a city notorious for obliterating as much of its built past as it possibly can, and having a general population who otherwise are either passive and indifferent, or who blindly support only anything that is new.


Blogger Greg madachik said...

You have a great blog here, I'm very sad to see that no one seems to visit. I'm an extremely devoted preservationist and I really appreciate your blog entries. Thank you.


9:58 PM  
Blogger CraigB said...

Thank you for YOUR visit. You shouldn't concern yourself with the "lack of traffic". A great place gets ruined by too many tourists. There are so few visitors, by the way, Mark, because there are so few in our region committed to preservation. Most people do not understand it. Most people fail to recognize the beauty and durability of older buildings. Most would rather see as much old replaced by new as possible. They want to live in the cartoon world of the Jetsons.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

News! Sign the petition! I've been inside and know it's big enough for climbing walls!
And don't anyone tell me they don't like the idea...I remember EONS ago when someone first wanted to make a concert venue, and a banquet hall, and everything else, and the fussy Cannetellas came out of the woodwork whining until the ideas were off the table and the building mothballed--until the Gas Well Incident reduced it to its present state. Oh, no, wait. The Bookstore they liked, but as much as I myself liked it it was never seriously going to materialize, let alone last, in this market.
Actually, I'm sure they'll whine about this idea, too...God Forbid you should have people coming to the neighborhood, reusing a great old building and enjoying themselves.
Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, folks--let's keep pushing!

3:10 PM  
Blogger CraigB said...

Hey, "Unknown", who I suspect is Jeon Francis, thank you for your post. I'm glad your are still trying to prevent the building's demolition. Call me a pessimist, if you wish -- although I think of my self as simply a realist -- signatures on a petition will not change anything like this in Cleveland. Only MONEY will.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sorry, not Jeon, though I have been contacting him. No, you're not pessimistic but it won't stop me or many others from flinging mud until something sticks (or, unfortunately, until the wall has been destroyed, as I fear). Agreed on money, though it should be pointed out that if money has been raised and spent on any number of questionable projects, maybe there is a way to market this and get the necessary support. I hope this will help make a point. (After the amount of effort/time/money put towards the Medical Mart and Euclid Corridor, is it unreasonable to play up the advantages of repurposing a distinctive local landmark for something towards health & fitness concerns?)
Meanwhile, I'll keep forwarding and hoping against hope...

5:05 PM  

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