Thursday, March 29, 2018


As the African American community in Cleveland, Ohio, grew substantially after World War I ended, there was a need to find new places to worship in the neighborhoods that were new to this community.  In 1923, East Mt. Zion Baptist acquired what had been Cedar Avenue Baptist, at 10302 Cedar.  This structure was built in 1892 for that latter congregation, according to plans provided by notable church architect Sidney Badgley, of Cleveland.  East Mt. Zion Baptist worshiped here for the next thiry-three years, and in 1955 they acquired the former Euclid Avenue Christian Church on Euclid at East 100th (where they remain today).  In 1956, another African American congregation, Calvary Hill Baptist, moved into the Cedar Avenue building, which they outright purchased in 1963.
Image: CALL & POST - 1956

Fast-forwarding to the present, Calvary Hill Baptist realized that, after being here for sixty-one years, they too had a need to relocate and, luckily for them, found that the former property of Hope Lutheran on North Taylor in Cleveland Heights was for sale.  They acquired it in August of 2017.
Image: Google Maps Street View - Aug. 2017

Simultaneously, they sold the propety at 10302 Cedar.  And, of course, it was purchased by the Monster Who Ate Fairfax (some know them benignly as the Cleveland Clinic), who for the past couple decades has been greedily devouring this entire neighborhood, property by property, hurriedly destroying whatever historic buildings that happen to occupy the properties so that they can construct shiny gargantuan buildings to add to their ever-expanding mini-city within the city.  There are many in the preservation community here that believe that a strong effort has been made in recent times to preserve the heritage of the African American presence in Cleveland.  But, despite this 94-year-long example, the outcome has been anything but preservation.

The church was demolished in March of 2018.

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Monday, March 19, 2018


Lest the readers of this blog think that all the affronts to historic preservation are occurring in Cuyahoga County alone, we must now be the bearer of bad news that is also occurring several counties to the south, in Tuscawaras County.  The name of the city is Dover.  The house that is soon to be lost forever is Dover's most superlative example of the Second Empire style.
It is going to be lost for little more than a handful of parking spaces for the adjacent high school. The house is NOT in deplorable condition.  It is not an "eyesore".  It just happens to be in the "wrong" location, and, apparently, and, as far as can be discerned by us, not a solitary soul in the Dover area has expressed any objection to this travesty.  To see the local newspaper's account of the "wonderful" news of more school parking, here is a link to it.


The Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland has, for the most part, been numerous very successful historic preservation projects on a neighborhood-wide scale.  Much credit has to be given to the late Raymond Pianka, a well-liked and well-respected -- and luckily for preservation -- very influential, life-long resident who never compromised when it came to historic preservation.  This neighborhood most likely would otherwise have become just another neglected, declining Cleveland neighborhood full of abandoned buildings and parking lots.  One might imagine that his legacy would have been to inspire those in leadership positions in this area to continue to do what he fought so enthusiastically to do.  Sadly, though, this appears to be not the case.  A 106-year-old commercial building, in the much celebrated, high-profile business section, is soon to be demolished (if it hasn't already been) so that an organization can build a new structure in its palce.  This will be happening in a City Of Cleveland Historic District and the plan has been approved by the infamous "Cleveland De-Landmarking Commission" (otherwise known as the Cleveland Landmarks Commission).  The building had its street-facing facade horribly mutated a good number of years ago, long before historic facades became popular again.  The City Of Cleveland has a very busy Storefront Renovation Program, which provides certain very desireable benefits to those who use it.  It has been happily used countless times, and of course could have been used again for this structure. There is a historic view showing exactly what it originally looked like.
But the present owners of this building, like so many other Americans, have no interest in history. 

Mr. Pianka is surely turning over in his grave.