blight

“…everything zen… I don’t think so.”












I would drive by this old terrace apartment complex all the time… “The Emrose” definitely had seen better days.  In a troubled area on Cedar Avenue, in Cleveland’s east side Fairfax neighborhood, the Emrose is just one of too many structures that has fallen into disrepair and left for dead over the years. And for safety reasons, the buildings in this condition all eventually meet the same fate. After photographing the premises the first time, I happened back a few weeks later, and by chance caught the process of demolition.  The Emrose was built in 1907.










A green field now, like so many green plots of land throughout the city, where structures from yesterday once stood.

The Emrose Terrace Apartments complex was designed by Architect Edward E. Smith.

Smith was born in Cleveland in 1869 and attended Central High School. After high school he learned the craft of design working as a draftsman under Architect Fenimore C. Bate until 1889. Like Mr. Bate, Edward E. Smith began designing apartment and terraces throughout the City of Cleveland.

Most of the over 50 buildings and homes that were designed by Smith have been demolished over the years. But a few still do exist.

(above) The “Lucretia” Terrace Apartments built in 1905 at 4301 Woodbine, in Cleveland’s Ohio City Neighborhood.

(above) A private residence at 10324 Lake Avenue, on the city’s northwest side designed by Smith and built in 1925.

(above) At the intersection of Central Avenue and East 73rd Street, an Edward E. Smith designed Terrace building built in 1904.

(above) A Smith designed apartment building built in 1908, at 11201 Hessler Road, near the campus of Case-Western Reserve University.

(above) Just one block north of where The Emrose once stood, the beautiful Monticello apartment building sits at 7102 Carnegie Avenue, built in 1899, and designed by Edward E. Smith.


Etched into the foundation stone of the Monticello: the building’s architect, Edward E. Smith.

“Everything Zen” – BUSH (1995)

Photo of Edward E. Smith from the March 1905 edition of “The Ohio Architect and Builder”

Other Photos taken:
August 5,6, 2015
September 28, 2015
September 30, 2015
October 2, 2015
February 2, 2016
August 2, 2016
September 15, 2016

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“I’ve been aware of the time going by… they say in the end it’s the wink of an eye…”

 

Hanging-on by a thread on Cleveland’s Lexington Avenue– an old farmhouse built and lived-in in the mid to late 1850’s by accomplished shipbuilder, and land owner, Luther Moses. Moses was born in West Farmington, Ohio in 1811, moving with his 6 brothers and sisters to Cleveland when he was five years old.

The old house originally faced west toward then Willson Street (East 55th Street) but sometime after Luther Moses died in 1895, the house was converted to a Lexington Avenue address with adjustments made to the original right side of the house, rendering it the “new” front, facing south.

Moses owned significant land in the general vacinity, which was on the “outskirts” of Cleveland at the time the house was built. Eventually the land was parceled off with additional streets created. New houses were built– today one of these houses still sits on the lot to the left of the old Moses House, on what was once the front yard of the farmhouse facing Willson Street.

According to local historians, the Luther Moses House is estimated to have been built in 1854, shortly after Mr. Moses retired as a wealthy ship manufacturer.  Cleveland librarian and historian, Christopher Busta-Peck, believes the house “… is of a finish quality unmatched in pre-Civil War construction in the city of Cleveland, east of the Cuyahoga River...”

The building is in rough shape today. In an inner city neighborhood that struggles against poverty, crime, and urban decay, the antebellum home seems bunkered down, patiently in waiting for a rebirth.











The interior of the structure has been stripped of almost everything that once made it a home. What does remain is much of the original woodwork, door and window framing, and two first floor fireplaces. There is evidence, as well, of redesign– both from when the “front” of the house changed from Willson Avenue/East 55th Street to it’s current Lexington Avenue front facing, as well as when, some time along the way, the structure was converted to a multi-unit dwelling. It was fascinating, if not a bit unsettling, to explore the cellar that Luther Moses must have utilized toward the end of his life. So many raw nooks and crannies that still exist in amongst the original disheveled stone foundation.













 

Almost unseen from today’s busy East 55th Street, the old Luther Moses farm house is another surviving urban historic relic, and official Cleveland Landmark that needs to be saved. From historical accounts, Luther Moses was a generous man with a big heart. He gave his wealth away during his lifetime, to those in need. I really do hope that his generosity can somehow be “paid forward” decades later, and the house at 5611 Lexington Avenue will be restored and preserved, for future generations.

The Pretender – Jackson Browne (1976)

Photos taken on May 12, August 27, and September 17, 2015.


“…East 55th and Euclid Avenue was real… precious…”


 
“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.

From the same vantage point as the picture above, a photograph taken in the early 1900’s showing the Pennsylvania Railroad Euclid Avenue Station at East 55th Street. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery Collection.

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.
 












A photo taken in 1939 of westbound Euclid Avenue traffic under the Pennsylvania Railroad overpass at East 55th Street. Photo courtesy the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery Collection.

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


“…Come share this golden age with me…”

 










“Glory Days” – PULP (1998)

(10 photos)

At 7630 Broadway Avenue, in a once prosperous neighborhood on Cleveland’s southeast side, the building pictured above was built in the late 1800’s with the promise of a new century before it. With commanding doric columns, and beautiful exterior complements, it was a notable piece to Cleveland’s South Broadway community.

The last photo in this set was taken in 1939 of the same building and vantage point, and is borrowed courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery. The Amster-Kirtz Cigar Company, which was headquarterd here eventually relocated and today still exists in Ohio under the name The Amster-Kirtz Company and are regional wholesale distributors of candy, tobacco and groceries. The Erie Savings and Loan, which was incorporated at this location in 1923, and the Cleveland Liberty Bank, also former tenants (whose name plates still exist on the building today) are gone as well. Today the facilities are home to a second-hand furniture and appliance shop.

Top 9 photos taken June 22, 2015


“She thinks she missed the train to Mars… she’s out back counting stars….”























“Stars” – HUM (1995)

(22 Photos)

Hiding in amongst the trees at the top of the Taylor Road hill in East Cleveland– The abandoned Warner and Swasey Observatory, just four miles southeast of its original parent home, the then, Case School of Applied Science (Case-Western Reserve University.)

The Observatory was designed in 1918 by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks and The Warner & Swasey Company  completed construction of the building in 1920.   On October 12th of that year, world renowned astronomer Dr. W. W. Campbell, the Director of the University of California Lick Observatory, gave the key note address at the observatory’s dedication.

The building included a small library, a darkroom, a transit room, an office and one bedroom. The observatory also housed two Riefler astronomical regulator clocks, two four-inch transits, and an extremely sensitive zenith 9.5-inch refractor telescope, built by the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland. The entire Observatory, including all equipment, as well as the cost of construction of the physical structure, was donated to the Case Institute of Technology by Trustees Worcester R. Warner and Ambrose Swasey, of the Warner and Swasey Company.

As the need for expansion of facilities and new equipment became evident, additions to the Observatory were graciously provided by Warner and Swasey. In 1940, the building of en entire new wing to the Observatory was completed. Included in this expansion was a new library, a teaching lecture hall, and a new Warner & Swasey Company-manufactured 24-inch Burrell Schmidt telescope, housed in a new dome (pictured below.)

By the 1950’s, city-light evening sky “noise” made it necessary for Case to develop a new facility and relocate the housed telescopes and other equipment, in order for the school to maintain the highest levels of scientific integrity.  The new facility– the Nassau Astronomical Station, was built in 1957 on 281 acres of land in Montville Township in Geauga County, thirty miles to the east of the Warner and Swasey Observatory. The Burrell Schmidt telescope was transferred to this site, and was replaced with a 36-inch telescope that was used primarily for viewing by the public. In 1980, The Warner and Swasey Observatory was closed permanently, and the original zenith telescope was transferred to the Euclid Avenue main campus of Case-Western Reserve University, where today it is housed and in-use in the University’s Albert W. Smith Building.

The old observatory was sold and has changed ownership hands a few different times since Case managed the facility, and although every attempt has been made to board-up entrance points inside… graffiti artists, area gangs, historians, photographers and urban explorers have all found their way to the interior of the building. Picture number 20, from the top, of the photos I have taken and posted here– the empty window frame– was my magic doorway into the fascinating storied past of the Warner and Swasey Observatory that still stands at the top of a hill in East Cleveland.

Above photos taken July 3, 2015

The 24-inch Burrell Schmidt telescope manufactured by the Warner & Swasey Company, pictured here at the Warner and Swasey Observatory. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project and the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University.


“…where no one asks any questions… or looks too long in your face…”

“Darkness at the Edge of Town” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (1978)

On the west bank of the Cuyahoga River– A building on Scranton Road in the industrial Flats of Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo taken May 21, 2015


“…As we journey here below… on a pilgrimage of woe…”












































“Pleyel’s Hymn” – Master Mason Degree Dirge, Masonic Hymn, recorded 1909

-48 photos-

In 1916, architect William J. Carter was awarded the bid to design and build The Newburgh Masonic Temple, at 8910 Miles Park Avenue, in Cleveland’s south east Union-Miles neighborhood. The project was completed in one year, and the first meeting of the Freemasons took place in the new 3-story building on May 31, 1917.

Due to increasing maintenance and repair costs, The Newburgh Masonic Temple was put up for sale in 1969 and eventually merged with a neighboring Order in Brecksville, Ohio.

The visit to capture these images, inside this dilapidated grand structure was emotional– seeing the once elegant, giant ballrooms and ritual rooms reduced to broken pieces of rubble– natural erosion and vandalism… Much of the interior areas were pitch black in darkness. Spine tingling. The secret rituals from centuries before, practiced through the generations within these walls… Freemason symbols, the secret passage-ways, the tucked-away rooms. THIS building.. its structural integrity– its history… seems to warrant more than it has been left for, almost 100 years later.

Photos taken June 22, 2015


“It was the heat of the moment…”


















“Heat of the Moment” – ASIA (1982)

(19 Photos)
In an area on Cleveland’s east side that was once filled with heavy industry and commerce, today only hints of that glorious history still exist in the shadows. At the corner of Central Avenue and East 67th street one such structure-as evidence, holds on by a string.

The Cleveland Co-Operative Stove Company was established at this site in the late 1800’s and eventually expanded it’s operations to several other manufacturing locations nationally. The company produced an extensive line of large, highly ornate, coal-burning cook stoves, ranges and heaters. In 1909, as technology provided, a full line of gas ranges was introduced by the company.

From the top: Photos 1, 10, 15 and 18 taken April 27, 2015. Photos 2 – 9, 11 – 14, 16, and 17 taken May 1, 2015

The above advertisement appeared in the July 1895 issue of “Stoves and Hardware Reporter”


“I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm… I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb…”










“Search and Destroy” – Iggy Pop and the Stooges (1973)

[10 photos]
Hidden in a heavily overgrown urban meadow on Cleveland’s West 53rd street, just south of Interstate 90– another abandoned factory of yesterday. Built in 1920, the brick structure was part of the Joseph & Feiss Company, a clothing manufacturer famous for it’s Clothcraft brand high quality $15 blue serge suits.

Today, lost in an undeveloped former industrial area, secluded along the railroad tracks, the long-closed facility has become a stopping point for an “underground culture” of urban graffiti artists, gangs, and the homeless seeking shelter. Although attempts have been made to board-up the entrances and smashed out windows, I did discover a passageway inside. But not on this trip– I wasn’t dressed for the “dirty work” it would take to get in… and what/who would I find once I got inside? Maybe another time!

Photos taken September 20, 2014


“You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie… You’re in the arms of an angel… may you find some comfort here.”


“Angel” – Sarah McLachlan (1998)

The above Photo taken November 10, 2014

One of the many historic homes that have been saved from demolition by the Cleveland Restoration Society and local community involvement. The organization took over the dilapidated, condemned property from the City in 1996 to ensure that the Cleveland Landmark would not be destroyed. In 1998, Cleveland residents James Graham and David Dusek purchased the home and embarked upon a visionary, expansive restoration project that has resulted in the wonderful rebirth of this beautiful century home.

The house adorns the corner of South Boulevard and East 98th Street, at the western edges of Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, near East Avenue and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Built in 1903 as a “summer home” for wealthy Cleveland businessman, Edwin Potter, it was one of many grand houses built in that area by architect George Kauffman and The Kauffman Architectural Company.

“The Potter Home” is a modern day success story in amongst too many sad cases of beautiful, historic old structures dying into “forgotten-ness.” The Cleveland Restoration Society and other agencies and private citizens like Mr. Graham and Mr. Dusek, truly are the “arms of an angel” to Cleveland history, architecture, and culture and to the many structures that they have saved from the wrecking ball.

An excellent interview with James Graham and David Dusek, inside this house, and a bit more about it and the neighborhood can be found in this video:


“Two heads together… are better than one in rainy or sunny weather…”

“Two Hearts Are Better Than One” – Frank Sinatra (1946)

The outer wall of an abandoned building where E. 120th Street dead-ends at Coltman Street, in the far eastern recesses of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. I have no idea the “who” or the “why” of the two faces that have been painted onto this building… but they caught my eye. Urban street art… there doesn’t have to be a rhyme or reason!

Photo taken September 9, 2014


“When this grey world crumbles like a cake…”


“It’s Not My Birthday” – They Might Be Giants (1989)

When I was a kid, there was nothing better than waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and finding a white box printed with the famous powder blue Hough Bakery insignia, waiting for us on the kitchen table! Pretty much a luxurious staple for any family in Northeastern Ohio– Hough Bakeries pastries pies and cakes were to die for!

Established in a small bakery on Hough Avenue on Cleveland’s east side in 1903, the family owned and operated business grew to become one of the ten largest multiple-unit bakeries in the United States. In 1941, the Pile family purchased the old Star Bakery building, pictured above, and expanded Hough Bakeries operations.

The company thrived throughout the years, but competition and a lack of modernized equipment and facilities proved to be too much for Hough Bakeries survival. In 1992, the old family owned bakery closed the facility, located on Lakeview Avenue and it’s 32 retail shops located throughout Northeastern Ohio, and filed for Chapter Seven bankruptcy.

Photo taken September 9, 2014


“…and the walls kept tumbling down in the city that we love…”





















“Pompeii” – Bastille (2013)
[21 photographs]

Left for dead. That’s what it seemed like– this old industrial plant, built in 1922. I ventured in one afternoon not knowing what I would find beyond the sight-lines that the broken out windows at street level afforded me on a previous visit, a few weeks earlier. One of my many lunch time adventures, clad in dress pants, shirt and tie… polished dress shoes… exploring a long since abandoned factory in a desolate part of town that people tell me I shouldn’t venture into. But I really do live for these places. My camera and I (eye.)

Located on Ashland Road, somewhere between Cedar and Central Avenues, on Cleveland’s east side, the six-story structure was built by Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, as an additional piece to their, then, existing complex of factory buildings lining Ashland Road. Numerous subsidiaries of Westinghouse as well as other separately owned corporations utilized this brick and mortar facility over the years. During World War II activity soared to peak production at the site when the Thompson Aircraft Products Company (Tapco) called the facility home and military aircraft parts were produced to sustain America’s air superiority against the Axis Powers. A series of other manufacturing tenants followed after the war. It is unclear as to the exact date, but some time at the end of the 1970’s the premises were vacated for the last time and the building was foreclosed.

Over the years following it’s closing, like so many others of it’s kind– the Westinghouse factory building was torn and frayed by vandals and vagrants and “urban artists.” As pictured above, a total ruination of a once proud building— stripped of everything that could be taken and used as an illegal dumping ground. It looks as if some formal wrecking has taken place as well. But in spite of all the crumbling and blight that has taken place– My imagination, as I investigated the wreckage that has evolved, was not hindered. A rigorous past… men and women who earned their days wages… churning machinery. Turn of the century electrical innovations… American war planes flying over Nazi Germany, housed with Cleveland made high-altitude fuel systems. All of this and more hidden within the fractured remnants of this place on Ashland Road on Cleveland’s east side.

Photos taken July 3 and August 8, 2014


“You’ll wind up in some factory that’s full-time filth and nowhere left to go…”














“Don’t Go Back to Rockville” – REM (1984)

A collection of 17 photos I took of the historic Warner & Swasey Company factory building located at 5701 Carnegie Avenue near E. 55th Street, on Cleveland’s east side. I snuck into the old building on my lunch hour one day and climbed to the top in amazement.

The factory was built in 1881 and was the fruition of owners Worcester P. Warner and Ambrose Swasey. The factory produced turret lathes, but was more famous for it’s precision astronomical telescopes and other optical instruments.

In 1886, the largest telescope in the world, at that time, was created at this site for the Lick Observatory in California. Other Warney and Swasey telescopes were produced for the United States Naval Observatory, the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, in Canada, and the Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, to name just a few.

Because the turret lathes were far more profitable to make, this is what the company concentrated on in the 20th Century. By World War II, employing over 7,000 people, over half of all such lathes produced in the United States were manufactured in Cleveland by Warner and Swasey.

The beautiful structure has been ransacked over the years following it’s closure in 1983. The walk through to the top was fascinating, knowing the work that had been done there, and the age of the structure. The city is going through a 3 Million Dollar remediation project funded by the Federal Government to clean up and restore the old Warner & Swasey factory, but these days, from the evidence that I saw, not much has been done (or even started.) Eventually it is hoped that the facility can be refurbished into new offices, labs, and warehouse space and play a vital role in the continual development of Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor.

Interior photographs taken May 13, 2014
Exterior facade photographs taken May 21, 2014


“…them smokestacks reachin’ like the arms of God… into a beautiful sky…”

“Youngstown” – Bruce Springsteen (1995)

Old factories and warehouses can be some of the most interesting landscapes to capture on camera. Towering smokestacks jetting into the sky add to the whole mystique of these buildings. Across the city of Cleveland are dozens of these relics. These are a few of my favorites.

Top photo: The abandoned Joseph and Feiss Company Warehouse, built in 1921. Photo taken November 4, 2013.

Middle photo: Abandoned warehouse at East 49th Street and Lakeside Avenue. Photo taken October 28, 2013.

Bottom Photo: Built in 1892 – The Power House, created to provide electricity for the streetcars run by the Woodland & West Side Street Railway Company. Located on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River, in the flats. Today the building is home to the Cleveland Aquarium. Photo taken March 28, 2013


“…the pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace… you can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace… hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace…”

“Eve of Destruction” – Barry McGuire (1965, live)

The Sidaway Avenue Footbridge on the near-south side of Cleveland as it is today… Designed by Wilbur J. Watson and Associates and completed in 1931, the 680 foot long pedestrian footbridge spanned the Kingsbury Run gully, and connected a largely Polish Slavic Village neighborhood, on the south side with Garden Valley, a predominantly Black neighborhood, to the north. It is the only suspension bridge in existence in the city. The bridge provided access to schools and hard to find jobs in the connecting areas during the Great Depression. In July of 1966, racial tensions that were prevalent across the country spilled over among groups from the two Cleveland neighborhoods and someone destroyed the bridge by torching the wooden deck planks. The bridge was closed and never opened again. Today the bridge is vastly overgrown with vegetation and there has been talk of relocating the steel structure to one of the Metroparks in the surrounding area. But today it still remains as a sad reminder of troubled times from the past.

Top three photos taken from the North landing on April 23, 2014

Fourth photo taken from the South landing on April 18, 2014


“I’ll get down in any neighborhood I swear that my friends will take me…”

“Funky But Chic” – David Johansen (1978)

On Cleveland’s near-east side, at the southeast corner of E. 36th Street and Euclid Avenue, near the central downtown area… Hatton’s, in existence since the 1920’s, was the first deli establishment to make the claim, “Best Corned Beef in Town” when Duane Hatton affixed the neon sign to the building in 1965.

Photo taken December 13, 2013


“…down in the part of town where when you hit a red light you don’t stop…”

“Johnny 99” – Bruce Springsteen (1982)

Three lone photographs. There were hundreds, if not thousands of subject matter examples. Blight. The once proud city of Detroit, Michigan in decay and destruction. I was strongly warned not to get off of I-75 in Detroit, as I passed through heading back to Cleveland. The admonition was warranted, based on what I saw– but it was a challenge that I could not shy away from… and I found myself exiting off of the interstate, into the neighborhoods that make up the downtown area and it’s surroundings. Worse than what I could have ever imagined… Like a bombed-out, war-torn battlefield. The disturbing result of rampant crime, poverty, joblessness… a city governance that has not tended to it’s flock, and now, can not afford to…

But the motor city is not without it’s heartbeat. Grand theaters, and stunning architectural reclamation, sparsely spots the urban landscape. A Major League Baseball Park to rival in grandeur and personality, any I have seen, any where.

I did not see the whole city. It was only an hour spent– witnessing what I had only read about and seen on the television.

May God have Mercy on the people of Detroit.

Photos taken November 17, 2013