Sunday, October 25, 2015


The Cleveland, Ohio, architectural partnership of Granger & Meade (Alfred Hoyt Granger and Frank Meade) lasted only three years -- possibly only two and a half -- before Granger left Cleveland for presumably greener pastures in Chicago.  The designs of this firm were 'ahead of the curve' when compared to most of their contemporaries and nearly all their work were 'country' residences for upper-class owner-occupants.  Because of the brief tenure of the firm and its progressive design ideas, there wasn't a particularly large body of work executed in Cleveland.  And, because of the suburban locations, most were demolished long ago to be replaced by apartment buildings, gas-stations, and the like.  Remarkably, one inner-city example of their work survived -- that is at least until very recently (October, 2015).  It was historically the Harry Vail Residence and was begun in 1896 and finished in 1897.
It had been vacant for many years and had been abandoned and deteriorating.  As always, Cleveland's Building Department did not force owners to maintain the house according to the Building Code, and paid attention to it only after it reached the 'point of no return'.  It was located in a historic district known as the Ingleside Avenue Historic District (named after the street's historic name).  An embarrassingly small Historic District, it contained all of seven buildings.  Now it contains only six.  The District's 'mass' has been reduced by roughly 14% by the demolition of this one building.  It is very likely that three or even four of the remaining structures are headed for the same fate.  Cleveland's extant architectural history -- much of it truly spectacular -- continues to be wantonly disregarded.

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Friday, October 09, 2015


It is with "heavy heart" that we must, once again, and so very soon after the previous post, report even more loss to historic Cleveland, Ohio, buildings due to fire.  In the early morning hours of September 23, 2015, fires erupted in five different locations across the city.  One totally destroyed three adjacent buildings in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.  The most significant of the three was the structure built for John Cain in 1893.  Its exterior had been restored in recent years, and it had even been given a period-appropriate paint job.  [Note:  The owner at that time put an incorrect year of construction, plus his own name, onto the roof-line pediment.]

The two adjacent structures, both still in desperate need of restoration, were equally historic.  The middle building had been built in 1893 for the allotment-owner, Henry Grumbacher, while the one at the other end had also been built in 1893 (with a one-floor addition the following year), for William J. Krause.
One of the other fires severely damaged a house only a block and a half from Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood.
1997 photo

This house had been built in 1887 for 'speculative' purposes by Rollin White, which was then promptly purchased and occupied by Charles W. Foote.

All five fires occurred within hours of each other and spaced enough apart to have made it feasible for them to have been set by the same person[s], if it were to be determined that arson caused them.  To our knowledge, no fire department investigation reports have been released.

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