Thursday, November 16, 2023

Another Nail In The Coffin Of Cleveland's One-Time "Showplace Of America"

Here's the brand-new post -- posted one day later than expected.

Since so much time has passed since the last regular post, the subject matter of this post is obviously WAY later than just one day.

In a 'nutshell', not too very long ago, we lost one more of the tiny handful of survivors from Euclid Avenue's grand residential era.  This house was located at 7218 Euclid.  It was built in 1887, which made it the second oldest of the fore-mentioned survivors.  Its first owner-occupant was Frank Allen.  Additionally, it had been the ONLY frame example.

7218 Euclid - 2014

By the early-1900s, it had succumbed to the same fate that had afflicted a majority of the Euclid Avenue mansions -- being converted to commercial and/or institutional use.  Perhaps its most 'notable' post-residential use was when it served as a clubhouse for the Sons Of Italy fraternal organization, from 1935 to 1945.  The Sons Of Italy had immediately built a spacious and elegant hall, attached to the rear of the house, designed by local architect Frank Azzarelli.

Sons Of Italy clubhouse - 1935 
photo: Cleveland Press Collection, CSU Schwarz Library, Special Collections

Decades later, it served as the Coliseum Party Center for many years.  After they left in the late-1990s, it was vacant and stayed that way.  It was only a matter of time, with all the recent new development along Euclid Avenue east of East 55th Street, that someone with enough capital and resources realized the potential for the property -- but, sadly, not the structures.  These historic and important structures were demolished in June of 2021.

For a far more informative 'biography' of this house, please see the excellent story on Cleveland Historical written by Jim Dubelko.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023


How surprised some or all of you must now be to see a new post on this blog after the few years that have passed in which you saw none.  The only "excuse" for that is certain 'greater' priorities that persisted during that period.

But, right now, in the autumn of 2023, a priority strictly related to this blog suddenly appeared.  Google (the 'parent' company) does not like to see blogs with zero activity for somewhat long periods of time.  They served their official warning that either there be more posting or the blog would be taken down.  Regardless of any 'greater' priorities, taking down the blog was definitely not acceptable at this end.

There is at least one topic that would be typical for the theme of this blog that can be formulated and posted, 'forthwith'.  The present intention is to post it perhaps as soon as later today.  It's likely true that this post alone will 'rescue' the blog from 'extermination', which then should mean that there isn't a need to be in a hurry to post more, but the preference is to want to try to do it, anyway.

Thank you to all of you who ever chose to want to look at the posts on this blog.  It should be true you had no trouble finding others out there posting things of interest to you, and thereby you suffered no 'loss' due to the absence of the posting on this blog.  But, as of now, spotlighting on this blog more recent anti-preservation horrors, which have surely have continued unabated in our region, is back on track.

Monday, August 17, 2020


We think that many of you who subscribe to this blog, or otherwise visit it occasionally, may already know what this post is about.  It had experienced some local attention on at least one local blog and one Facebook page, neither 'historic preservation focused', in early-August of 2020.  This is a very rare occurrence, but apparently occurred due to the high-profile and broad awareness of the structure in question.  The location is right along the heavily-traveled downtown-University Circle 'expressway' Chester Avenue. This had been one of the most visually arresting structures on this thoroughfare for roughly seventy-five years.  In a very genuine way, it had been the truest form of what the public declares a Landmark.  The house was built in 1894 for Henry Trenkamp, Sr., who at the time was the Vice-President and Treasurer of the Schneider & Trenkamp Stove Company.  Later, Trenkamp established the Trenkamp Stove Company and the Cleveland Enameling Company.

The house had been designed by Cleveland architect Fenimore C. Bate, who had created some of the absolute best examples of the Queen Anne style conceived in Cleveland, the Trenkamp house being one of best of these.  Bate's most celebrated commission was the Grays Armory, still extant and still used by the Grays, on Bolivar, near East 14th.  The Trenkamp commission, which included a barn, had a projected cost of, as reported in the Inland Architect & News Record, a then-phenomenal $25,000 -- more than the costs of some of the houses being built on Euclid Avenue at this time.  The house was selected and featured by a Cleveland newspaper in 1905 as an example of a "A Beautiful Cleveland Residence".


A mere six years later, the house was featured in the new edition of "Art Work Of Cleveland", despite its by-then-fading architectural style.

Mr. Trenkamp's neighborhood had been an extremely fashionable one circa 1900.  Eventually, with the gradual migration to the suburbs, the neighborhood fell into a severe decline in later decades. The Trenkamp house had been used for many years, in recent memory, as a treatment center for persons with drug addictions, known as Orca House.

The house had been subjected to very few, mostly insignificant, exterior alterations, except when in 1999, Orca House chose to replace the entire front porch (very loosely mimicking the original). Unfortunately, when the organization fell on hard times recently, it sold its property at this location to the one and only truly aggressive buyer of properties in this area, the Cleveland Clinic.  This organization, originally locating in this area during its initial years of decline, has been engaged in an expansion strategy of colossal proportions during the past few decades.  Literally hundreds of historic buildings have been acquired by the Clinic and demolished to make way for that expansion.  Among these were the original buildings of the Hathaway Brown and Laurel private schools for girls, and two prominent church buildings that had been constructed for the wealthy Euclid Avenue families formerly of that section. The Trenkamp house was viewed by the Clinic as 'just another old, useless building' [not a quote].  And, it must be stated, the Trenkamp house was one of three structures, all adjacent and all part of the Orca House operation, demolished.  A moderately contemporary structure had been built behind the house, to serve as further residential quarters. The third structure, behind the one just mentioned, was another house, facing an adjacent street. Of a relatively conservative and subdued design, it had been built in 1906 for Charles E. Squires, the President of a "steam specialties" company named after him.

Apparently, the Clinic believed that there was some 'implied threat' from such old (but thoroughly benign) structures being located so close to their towering, ultra-modern buildings.  In other words, there was no actual urgency related to these demolitions.  A Clinic spokesperson stated that no plans had yet been made for what the cleared site would be used.  Yet another truly sickening display of insensitivity to history, which will ultimately be remembered as one the worst.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Wrecker's Ball Bowling

We always prefer to make posts BEFORE something gets demolished.  In this case, everything happened very quickly, and a much smaller number of persons, this time around, would have felt strongly enough to support the preservation option.

The building in question is seen below.  It was built, except for the rearmost part, in 1892 on the northeast corner of West 25th/Pearl and Selzer for a person named Adam Beckley.  This would place it in what is today the Brooklyn Centre Historic District [National Register].  That construction date indicates that it was built while this neighborhood was still Brooklyn Village. [The brick storefront was a later alteration.]
December 2018
The construction time of the rearmost part was reportedly 1911.  For many persons, this nondescript addition was the most significant part of the structure. This addition's purpose was to hold six bowling lanes inside of it, which were in use as such for several decades.  A good number of years ago, the American Bowling Congress certified them to be the oldest active bowling lanes in Ohio and the third oldest active bowling lanes in the entire country.  For many years they were known as Brown's Lanes.

The Brooklyn Centre neighborhood has been experiencing decline in recent years and, consequently, this building became fully unoccupied.

The southeast corner of this intersection is undergoing significant redevelopment.  Apparently, that made the corner with the Beckley/Brown Building appealing for its own re-development.  This, of course, unfortunately, as is usually the case, meant that the corner was appealing -- not the building.
The building was demolished in December of 2019.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 - a "banner" year for the "Demolish Cleveland History Project"

This post is going to reference multiple events.

Most of you local to Cleveland, Ohio, are aware of the recent (October 2018) demolition of the large, rambling house that no one ever failed to notice that was on Warren Road, on Cleveland's far west side.  Its demise was covered by the local daily newspaper.
Marquard Mansion - several years ago - photo by C. B.
Marquard Mansion - several years ago - photo by C. B.

Known by historians as the Marquard Mansion, it had been constructed in stages, over several decades starting over a century ago, by one of the Cleveland-area's most well-known, admired, and prolific contractors, Paul Marquard.  It had been constantly expanded so as to house various branches of his extended family.  The structure was purchased around ten years ago by the neighboring St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church, who announced even then their intention to demolish it, rather than renovate it and find a new use for it.  Marquard family descendents offered to purchase it from them, at prices much higher than the congregation paid for it.  The congregation now claims that they never received a "formal" offer.  Most people consider this to be a weak excuse, not based in any reality, that they are using to try to defend the senseless demolition, which has shocked and outraged the many west siders who greatly admired the structure.

Back in August, a structure that very few have noticed, was also demolished.  Originally built in 1882 for Jeremiah Vanstan, it underwent an impressive storefront renovation with the cooperation of the City Of Cleveland Storefront Renovation Program not more than ten years ago.
Vanstan Building - 2013 photo by C. B.

Bewilderingly, the owner at that time abandoned the structure not long afterward.  Located in Cleveland, Ohio, on Broadway Avenue, in the southeast side neighborhood once known as Slavic Village but in recent years one of the most rapidly declining sections of the city, no merchants or organizations had a desire to occupy the structure.  Earlier this year, complaints were made to the City Of Cleveland's Building Department regarding the structural condition of non-storefront parts of the building.  The building was officially condemned and the City Of Cleveland had it demolished.  This had been one of only a constantly dwindling amount of commercial buildings remaining in this area that had the potential to perhaps start a modest revival of commercial investment in the former Slavic Village area.  The demolition of this significant structure represents what has become the full scale abandonment of this entire Cleveland neighborhood.

A house that was once part of a circa-1910 exclusive residential section of Cleveland is soon going to be demolished, perhaps before year's-end.  Located adjacent to what is now Case Western Reserve University, many of the neighborhood's residences were demolished decades ago for university expansion and for institutions that were choosing to locate near the university.  A good percentage had survived and, despite the predominant institutional ownership and use, the City Of Cleveland designated the neighborhood to be the Wade Park Historic District.  Built in 1909 for Clucas W. Collister from designs supplied by Cleveland architect Harlen Shimmin, the house has been owned by the Cleveland Institute Of Music for many years and actually used by them as the CIM Annex.
Collister House/CIM Annex - built 1909 - 2018 photo by C. B.

Recently, though CIM recognized a need for more instructional, rehearsal, and residential space.  No less than six plans were formulated to build a new structure without demolishing the Annex, all of them on display on the Cleveland Landmarks Commission's Agenda section (September 27, 2018 Agenda) of the Planning Department's website [].  But, despite the feasibility of these six options, the option that has been chosen is a seventh option which does not include the historic house.  As has become the standard operating procedure as of late, the Cleveland De-landmarking Commission has wholeheartedly approved this option, once again sending out the message to the city at large that historic buildings are no longer welcome in today's Cleveland.

Note:  Most likely for "token" purposes, in hope of fooling especially naive members of the general public, an item pertaining to the feasibility of MOVING the house was also included in the fore-mentioned Agenda.  It concludes that moving it will be infeasible, due to the narrowness of the street the house faces versus the shortest dimension of the house, and other related problems.  Another bolstering claim is that there is no place to move it (they certainly never even looked for one). This is utterly absurd.  There is an area only yards away, on the same CIM property, that is only grass and is much larger than the house, and to which there are absolutely no physical obstacles.  This new location would be ideal.  It would put it much closer to the main building -- so close that a short connecting wing could be constructed so that outdoor travel would no longer be necessary between the two structures.

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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.