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.
“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
“Radio Ga Ga” – Queen (1984)
At the corner of Cedar Ave. and Ashland Avenue, on Cleveland’s east side, sits a relic– today in defiance to the demolition wrecking ball — a remnant of Cleveland’s booming industrial past.
Created to power the electric rail streetcars of the day, the Cedar Avenue powerhouse of the Cleveland Electric Railway Company was opened on December 18, 1888, as perhaps the most modern, state of the art facilities of it’s kind.
Long since closed, gutted and used as a make-shift storage area, after being sold, traded, handed down, through the years–and finally abandoned, like so many old buildings… The building seems structurally sound–it’s interiors, a labyrinth of passageways and tunnels– and left behind pieces of history. Detailed information and photos of the massive interiors showing the generators and other equipment as it looked in it’s hey-day were recorded in an article in the April 1, 1902 edition of The Engineer, entitled “The Evolution of Electric Railway Power Plant Apparatus, as Illustrated by the Cedar Avenue Station of the Cleveland Electric Railway Co.” (link to article).
Photos taken June 29, August 5, and October 27, 2015
“Stars” – HUM (1995)
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
“Pleyel’s Hymn” – Master Mason Degree Dirge, Masonic Hymn, recorded 1909
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
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The Palace Theatre lobby at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.
Photo taken December 18, 2014
“Pompeii” – Bastille (2013)
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
“Begin the Beguine” – (Cole Porter) recorded by Frank Sinatra (1944)
From inside the Alcazar Hotel, at the corner of Surrey and Derbyshire Road, in Cleveland Heights–19 photos in black and white capturing some of the elaborate detail to this one time posh home to Cleveland’s upper crust and destination for visiting stars on tour. Cole Porter and George Gershwin– to name a couple. Built during the roaring 20’s, today the rooms and suites have mostly been converted into apartment and office dwellings, but the Alcazar still operates as a hotel. A place that you don’t have to try too hard to imagine the socialite parties that must have taken place here during the Hotel’s hey day during the 1920’s and 30’s.
Another photo of the exterior and more information about the building can be found in an entry I posted here early last year entitled, “Get Out of Town”, (without apology–another Cole Porter song!)
Photos taken August 15, 2014
“Muse Blues” – Loudon Wainwright III (1972)
A set of 16 photographs I took of the interiors of the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch on Superior Avenue in downtown. Another extraordinary building designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks. The five story building was completed in 1925.
Photos taken August 9, 2014
“4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (1973)
Eight photos capturing the essence of the Caxton Building, built in 1903.
Located at 812 Huron Road in downtown Cleveland, the 8-story structure was built specifically to house several Cleveland-based commercial printing and graphic-arts businesses. Several of the floors were designed to bear 300 pounds per sq. ft to accommodate the heavy printing machinery used by these tenants.
The beauty of the Romanesque architecture style terra cotta archway framing the main entrance really is striking. Designed by local architect, Frank Seymour Barnum, (who is noted for his work as architect and Superintendent of Buildings for the Cleveland Public Schools,) the Caxton Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated as a Cleveland landmark in 1976.
Photos taken July 17, 2014
“Paper Planes” – M.I.A. (2007)
Two photos of the laminated floor at Blue Arrow Records on Waterloo Drive in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
Photos taken June 23, 2014
“Mr. Brightside” – The Killers (2004)
From inside the Galleria at Erieview shopping mall, looking east toward the Erieview Tower.
Located at the corner of East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland, The Galleria was built in 1987 and was the vision of Erieview Tower (and then Cleveland Indians Major League baseball team owner), Richard Jacobs.
Photo taken June 27, 2014
“Let the stories be told… let them say what they want… let the photos be old… let them show what they want…”
“Let the Good Times Roll” – The Cars (1978)
On October 21, 1911, ground was broken at the corner of East 6th Street and Superior Avenue for what was later hailed as “the finest Newspaper plant and Office Building in the world”– home to two local newspapers, The Cleveland News, and The Cleveland Leader.
Designed by architect Charles Adams Platt, the Fifteen-floor building rises above a beautifully detailed lobby complete with Famousa marble flooring, imported from Germany, and elegant Bronze grill work, throughout.
The fate of the two newspapers was eventually taken over by current daily Cleveland Newspaper, The Plain Dealer, after a series of mergers and acquisitions.
Today the building provides office space for Cleveland’s bustling downtown business district.
Photos taken June 9, 2014
“What Is and What Should Never Be” – Led Zeppelin (1969)
At 10660 Carnegie Avenue, in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood, the Tudor Arms Hotel building marks the sky with castle-like elegance, and has served the community in vastly different ways over the years of it’s existence.
The building opened it’s doors originally in 1933, as The Cleveland Club, an exclusive, members-only, place where Cleveland’s upper-crust met for lavish parties and other extracurricular activities.
The 12-story, Tudor Revival-style building was designed by American Civil War veteran, and MIT graduate, residential architect Frank B. Meade. Included amenities that attracted Cleveland area socialites to the Cleveland Club– a bowling alley, two swimming pools, a squash court, and two majestically detailed ballrooms.
A victim of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the club eventually closed and The Tudor Arms Hotel took over the beautiful confines in 1939. During the 1940’s, the Tudor Arms Hotel became known for it’s dinner and jazz shows that filled it’s main ballroom– The Empress Room, on a nightly basis. The hotel offered 157 leaded-glass window, elegantly detailed suites. The hotel corridors lavished beautifully molded plaster and carved stone decor to the visiting guest’s experience.
Case Western Reserve University, eventually took over management of the Hotel as hotel business declined, and the building was slowly converted to a graduate student residence hall in the late 1950’s. By 1963, a total conversion had taken place. In later years, the building was leased to the federally funded Cleveland Job Corps.
Today, the building is home to DoubleTree by Hilton – The Tudor Arms Hotel, as well as two fine restaurants, and offers an exquisite over-night option for visitors to the nearby main campuses of the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and other institutions in walking distance around the University Circle area.
First 10 photos taken May 16, 2014
Bottom photo taken April 19, 2014
“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
“Fortress Around Your Heart” – STING (1985)
Two 9-story city buildings fused together in 1890… The Cleveland Arcade, built of grand Romanesque style architecture by the Detroit Bridge Company, is one of the few remaining arcades of its kind in the United States. The two buildings are joined together by a five-story arcade with a 300-foot glass skylight. With ornate entrances at both ends, the structure nestles between Euclid and Superior Avenues, in Downtown Cleveland. The elaborate project was financed by John D. Rockefeller, and several other wealthy Clevelanders. Today, the Victorian Age structure remains a vibrant reminder of Cleveland’s booming past–home to shops, restaurants, and a beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Photo taken November 5, 2013.
“And you read your Emily Dickinson… and I my Robert Frost… and we note our place with bookmarkers… that measure what we’ve lost…”
“Dangling Conversation” – Simon and Garfunkle (1966)
Pictured: The ceiling inside the Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, located at 325 Superior Avenue in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Designed by the local Architectural Firm of Walker & Weeks, in Classical Renaissance style, the library was completed in 1925.
Photo taken October 4, 2013
“Diane Young” – Vampire Weekend (2013)
Decor inside P J McIntyre’s Irish Pub
Kamm’s Corner Entertainment District
17119 Lorain Avenue (& Rocky River Drive)
Photo taken May 4, 2013
“Castle of Glass” – Linkin Park (2013)
Parallel to Euclid and Superior Avenues in downtown Cleveland, on Public Square, the BP America Building is currently the Cleveland Headquarters of Huntington Bancshares. This photo was taken in the atrium looking up through the glass enclosure at the 45 story post-modern tower… a staple in the downtown Cleveland skyline. In 1998 British Petroleum (BP) sold the building to a private holding group and in 2011, Huntington Bank placed their name at the top of the tower and moved their headquarters to the building. The structure is the third tallest building in Cleveland behind the Terminal Tower and Key Tower, which is the tallest building between Chicago and New York City.
Photo taken June 14, 2013
“So if you’re ever feeling down, grab you’re purse and take a taxi to the darker side of town… that’s where we’ll be…”
“Let’s Dance to Joy Division” – The Wombats (2007)
Inside the original location of Emos on 6th Street, in downtown Austin, Texas.. a punk bar where many fantastic shows were put on… Johnny Cash even played there during the South by Southwest Music Festival! Austin, Texas definitely– “The Live Music Capital” of the world, with much credit given to places like Emos for this distinction!
Photo taken May 27, 2001
“Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons (2012)
One of the concierge areas in the Miller Pavilion
The Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
9500 Euclid Avenue
Photo taken May 10, 2013
“All You Need is Love” – The Beatles (1967)
The entrance and box office area to the Mirage Hotel theater in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Cirque du Soleil show “LOVE”–the homage to the Beatles. My first time experiencing a Cirque show… it really was magic! And the remastered, reworked Beatles music was a phenomenal complement to the stunning acrobatics and pageantry of the stage performance.
Photo taken August 14, 2006
“…if your baby leaves you and you got a tale to tell… just take a walk down lonely street to heartbreak hotel…”
“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley (1956)
The grand staircase of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel in the Terminal Tower complex on Public Square. The 1,000-room “Hotel Cleveland” opened in 1918. Today, after a few owner and name changes along the way, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel has successfully retained it’s old elegance and charm, and offers 491 guest rooms and suites to Cleveland visitors. Another photo I took of the hotel can be found Here.
Photo taken April 12, 2012
The Telling Mansion
Current Home to the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
of the Cuyahoga County Public Library
4645 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, Ohio
Photos taken February 10, 2013
“Volcano” by Presidents of the United States of America (POTUSA) (1996)
1307 Auburn Ave.
Tremont neighborhood – near west side
Photos taken June 27, 2003
Front table lighting at
19337 Detroit Road
Rocky River, OH 44116
Photo taken January 19, 2012
A downtown Cleveland view from the Renaissance Hotel on Public Square. Key Tower stands prominently as the focal point through the window.
Photo taken April 12, 2012