“Precious” – Pretenders (1980)
The intersection of East 55th Street and Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland, appears to the daily passer-by as the average, run-of-the-mill busy city intersection. But like many things in life–there is so much more than what initially “meets the eye.”
In 1852, the The Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad line (which eventually became The Pennsylvania Railroad) was built, connecting Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The line crossed Cleveland’s grand Euclid Avenue at what was at that time the city’s eastern most “developed” area– the north/south road known as Willson Street. In 1906, when the city adopted a numerical system for north/south city streets, Willson Street would become East 55th Street.
During the building of the railroad through Cleveland, Jared V. Willson, the property owner of the land where tracks were to cross Euclid Avenue, saw the likelihood of an economic windfall, and negotiated the building of the first train station at the site.
On April 28th, only thirteen years later, a train making its way to Springfield, Illinois made a Cleveland stop and the flag draped casket of President Abraham Lincoln was solemnly unloaded at the station and placed on a horse drawn hearse. Heading west on Euclid Avenue, the procession made its way to Public Square, where the only outdoor public viewing of the dead President took place, among the stops that were made on the long journey home.
In July of 1881, The Euclid Avenue Station was once again utilized as the Cleveland train stop to unload the casket and allow for the public mourning of another President. James A. Garfield, “Cleveland’s President,” like Lincoln, made the same slow, venerable trip up Euclid Avenue from the station, to Public Square.
During the later-half of the 1800’s, as the city grew eastward toward the University Circle area, the Euclid Avenue Train Station contributed to a massive, ever increasing traffic problem at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Willson Street. The combination of horse drawn, and eventually motorized vehicles, electric street cars, and train tracks that crossed both thoroughfares at the intersection made Euclid and Willson one of most congested, and dangerous cross streets in the country. It was partially because of this situation that the tracks were reconstructed and run above street level in 1912. With this improvement, The Pennsylvania Railroad Company built a new, independent passenger station to accommodate the new alignment. Steel girder bridges and supports were used all throughout the heavy industrial areas to the North and South of Euclid Avenue along the newly raised Pennsylvania Railroad line in Cleveland.
The passenger station was closed in 1965 and it’s entrance-ways were bricked-up. Today you would never know that a heavily used, historic train station ever existed at this spot for over 100 years. But remnants of the turn-of-the-century station are still there– hidden secrets of the past, behind the brick.
The last four photos below were taken February 22, 2016 at the Cleveland Greenhouse. Exterior decor from the Euclid Avenue Train Station, preserved and on display.
Photos (unless otherwise noted) taken July 21, 2015