Built in 1892, at 7128 Euclid Avenue, the Hall-Sullivan House became home to Cleveland banker Corliss E. Sullivan, the youngest of three children of Jeremiah J. and Selina Sullivan. The younger Sullivan went on to become chairman of the board of the Central National Bank, the bank founded by his father.
The advent of property tax, the pollution of the steel mills in Cleveland’s industrial flats and, the rising cost to heat and to maintain the mansions that lined Millionaire’s Row resulted in many of their owners moving further east into smaller homes on smaller pieces of land. Corliss and Selina Sullivan moved to Hunting Valley. In 1935, an addition was made to the rear of the mansion, including an auditorium to seat 200, and was dedicated as the Sons of Italy Lodge. For many years the property served as Coliseum Entertainment Center. The property is for sale, and I recently had the opportunity to photograph the interior.
The Leisy Brewing Company was established by Iowa brewer Isaac Leisy and his brothers August and Henry, when they purchased Cleveland’s Frederick Haltnorth Brewery. Isaac had come to Cleveland in June of 1873 to attend the Brewers Congress, and purchased the brewery the following month. Located at 3400 Vega Avenue on Cleveland’s near west side, Leisy Brewing Company earned a reputation for high quality. It became Cleveland’s largest independent brewery, and was the city’s oldest brewer, and one of the longest surviving family-owned breweries in the nation when it closed in 1959.
Isaac Leisey’s mansion, built in 1892, located just east of the brewery was demolished in 1974. The 1882 building, now home to a paper recycling plant, is largely demolished. The 1917 building at 3506 Vega, the home of Downing Exhibits, from 1972 to 2000, is currently under renovation as the future home of Gypsy Brewing.
The Joseph and Feiss Company was founded in 1841 as Koch and Loeb, a general store in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The company moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1845, opening a store on Superior Avenue, just off Public Square, where they sold a general line of men’s and boys clothing, and piece goods which they sold to tailors. Other partners joined the company, including Jacob Goldsmith and Julius Feiss in 1865 and Moritz Joseph in 1873.
In 1897, Goldsmith, Joseph, Feiss & Company opened a factory to produce ready-made men’s clothing under the Clothcraft label. The company changed its name to the Joseph and Feiss Company in 1907, and was incorporated in 1920 when it moved into its new factory on W. 53rd Street in Cleveland. Joseph & Feiss merged with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. in 1966, and was acquired by Hugo Boss AG, a West German clothier in 1989. Once employing more than 1,800 workers, the company closed its factory on West 53rd Street in 1997, relocating its 450 employees to a modern building in near-by Brooklyn, Ohio. After staving-off closing in 2010, the plant employing 170 workers again faced closure in April, 2015, but the plant was sold to New York-based W Diamond Group.
After many years of abandon, and plans to repurpose the warehouse building as apartments, the former Joseph & Feiss facility off of West 53rd Street, south of I-90, has been purchased by the Menlo Park Academy. Menlo Park Academy, a partner in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District/Charter School collaborative, will repurpose the former warehouse building and relocate its charter school for gifted students in time for the opening of the 2016-17 school year.
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Compact Discs have put a huge dent in the vinyl record industry, but vinyl records are still being made. Gotta Groove Records, located in Tyler Village, in Cleveland, produces high quality vinyl records on this press, originally built in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Raw vinyl is extruded, bringing its temperature to approximately 300 degrees, and formed into a hockey puck-like biscuit of hot vinyl. Labels are applied to either side of the biscuit, which is pressed between two plates, or “pressers.” The pressed record is then cooled, and trimmed. In seconds raw vinyl is transformed to a high quality record.
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The Cleveland Railway Co. was Cleveland’s privately owned public transit franchisee from 1910 to 1942. The City of Cleveland awarded franchises to private companies to operate horse-drawn car, and later, electric streetcar lines. The increased cost of electric streetcar lines caused consolidation of the industry in the late 1880s. In 1903, the two remaining companies merged to form the Cleveland Electric Railway Co.
Mayor Tom L. Johnson, who had been involved in the electric railway business before moving to Cleveland in 1883, was an advocate of municipal ownership of public transit. The Municipal Traction Co. was incorporated in 1906, and in 1908, the company leased the operations of the Cleveland Electric Railway Co. In 1910, the Municipal Traction Co. and Cleveland Electric Railway Co. filed for bankruptcy protection, and a new franchise agreement was created between the city and the former Cleveland Electric Railway Co., renamed Cleveland Railway Co.
Many of the cars owned and operated by the Cleveland Railway Co., including Car 1218 were manufactured by the G.C. Kuhlman Car Co. of Cleveland. Car 1218 was built in 1914, and improved in 1920 and leased to the Cleveland Interurban Railroad, owned by the Van Sweringen brothers, to provide transportation between Shaker Heights and Terminal Tower. The brothers purchased the Cleveland Railway Co. in 1930. Car 1218 was retired in 1960.
1218 was a center-entry car, meaning that there was only one door, located in the middle of the car. Once the passenger entered the car, and placed his or her fare into the collection box, there were two more steps up to the seat level. Many of the fare boxes were manufactured by the Johnson Fare Box Company, founded by Tom L. Johnson.
The Cleveland Transit System (CTS) was established after the City of Cleveland purchased the Cleveland Railway Company, in April, 1942. By 1954 the conversion to rubber tires vehicles was completed, and rail transit was limited to the Windermere line, which was extended to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 1958. In 1974, CTS was reorganized as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) which absorbed the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit the following year.
An agreement was reached between RTA and University Circle Incorporated, by which Car 1218, having been retired to Trolleyville in 1966, was to be restored and placed on display in the vicinity of the Children’s Museum in University Circle (so named because it was once the circle where street cars turned around to return to downtown Cleveland). Lacking funding, the project was never completed, and Car 1218 has been sold.
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Scottish immigrant, Alexander Winton, came to Cleveland in 1884. In 1891, he established the Winton Bicycle Co., and in 1896, after two years of experimentation in the basement of his home, developed his own hydrocarbon engine, and completed his first motor carriage. Two years later, in space rented in the Brush Arc Lamp factory, Alexander Winton sold America’s first production automobile. Prior to that time, manufacturers of horseless carriages built automobiles to meet the specifications of the customer. Winton’s first production run consisted of twenty-two automobiles.
The first automobile of the original production run was purchased for $1,000 by Robert Allison, a mining engineer from Port Carbon, Pennsylvania. Today, that historic automobile is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The twelfth car in that 1898 production run was purchased by James W. Packard of Warren, Ohio
100 cars were built in 1899, and sold for $2,000 each. The Pheaton (above), in the collection of the Frederick C. Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society is one of them.
The company soon out-grew its rented space, and built a factory at Berea Road and Madison Avenue. The factory was surrounded by a test track. History was made in 1903 when Dr. H. Nelson Jackson and his chauffeur, Sewell K. Crocker completed the first transcontinental crossing, from San Francisco to New York, with a stop at the Cleveland factory along the Way. That historic 1903 Winton is also in the collection of the Smithsonian.
It is ironic that the Winton Motor Car Co. (so named after the company was reorganized in 1915), having pioneered the production manufacture of automobiles in the United States, found itself unable to compete with the mass-production of Henry Ford, and the company closed in 1924. By that time, Alexander Winton had become involved new directions. In 1912, Winton formed the Winton Gas Engine & Mfg. Co., to produce marine engines, and the following year, produced America’s first diesel engine. Alexander Winton sold the engine business to General Motors in 1930, and it was renamed the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors Corp. in 1938.
The Agora, at 5000 Euclid Avenue since 1986, consists of an 1800 seat theater and a ballroom with a capacity of 500. The entrance to the theater is seen on the right, at the far end of the bar, opposite the entrance to the Ballroom. Built as the Metropolitan Theater, an opera house, in 1913, and used as a vaudeville and burlesque theater beginning in 1932, the complex housed radio stations WHK and WMMS from 1951 until 1978. Several other entertainment venues were housed in the complex until Hank LoConti purchased the property to house the Agora Ballroom that had been destroyed by fire two years earlier. The Agora originally opened in Little Italy, early in 1966, and relocated to East 24th Street, to be near Cleveland State University, the following year, where it remained until the fire in 1984.
The building at 5000 Euclid Avenue housed not only the Agora Theater and Ballroom, but the offices of the LoConti entertainment business, and rooms for visiting entertainers. Rental office space was also available. A Cleveland Trust branch occupied the west end of first floor.
In December, 2011, the LoConti family donated the Agora to MidTown Cleveland, a non-profit community development organization. The space formerly occupied by the bank was renovated by the Geis Companies for MidTown Cleveland’s offices. Geis renovated the rest of the building, with the exception of the theater and ballroom.
Additional space throughout the building has been renovated to meet the needs of tenants.
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The main entrance to the vaults beneath the banking floor of the former Cleveland Trust Rotunda, located at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. Construction was completed in 1908. Ahead is one of four vaults on this level. The carpeting was removed from the vault area, revealing once-beautiful marble floors. Likewise, the main vault was found to have marble walls on the sides and rear, as you will see when you scroll down through the photographs.
This is one post in a series entitled Renaissance on East 9th Street, documenting the renovation, restoration and transformation of the historic Cleveland Trust complex. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to enter your email address in the space provided in the upper right corner of this page, to receive notification of future Blog posts.
Built in 1892, the Hall-Sullivan House was home to Cleveland banker Corliss E. Sullivan, the youngest of three children of Jeremiah J. and Selina Sullivan. The younger Sullivan went on to become chairman of the board of the Central National Bank, the bank founded by his father.
The advent of property tax, the pollution of the steel mills in Cleveland’s industrial flats and, the rising cost to heat and to maintain the mansions that lined Millionaire’s Row resulted in their owners moving further east into smaller homes on smaller pieces of land. Corliss and Selina Sullivan moved to Hunting Valley. In 1935, the mansion was dedicated as the Sons of Italy Lodge, and for many years it served as the Coliseum Entertainment Center. The structure in the rear includes an auditorium to seat 200.
The following poems were inspired by the photograph, and are included in Shattered Dreams Revisited, the story of the Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City, published by Artography Press.
Mansion Big and quiet,
Vacant and alone,
Many others like it,
Wooden structures dry as a bone.
They’re all the same,
To most they are lame,
Yet, to a few they plea,
Come inside and see!
Joe McGlenn Montessori High School 9th Grade (in 2012)
Left Behind Once the spawn
Of a golden age
Of the past
What once was
Gradually fading away
Of what was achievable
The paint may peel
But it reveals
A new era
The next chapter
Sturdy and strong
Through a well fought battle
Hope goes on
Seeping through the cracks
Into the soil
Into the air
Into the people
So that someday
We shall overcome
Gabby Valdivieso Ruffing Montessori School 7th Grade (in 2012)
More than 110 years after the cornerstone was set in place, the copper box containing artifacts of the day was removed and opened.
Just like the birth of a baby, the first task was to weigh and measure the box.
The copper box was securely soldered closed, protecting the contents from deterioration.
Among the items in the box were two Bibles (one with the inscription shown above); a pocket hymnal; several Sunday Orders of Service, including the one from Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902; a copy of the 1902 Journal of Convention of the Dioceses of Ohio; a newsletter, “Church Life”; and lists of those who donated to the building of the new Church; and copies of the September 3, 1903 editions of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Leader (perhaps the date that the cornerstone was laid). The contents of the time capsule will now be catalogued and conserved by Archaeologist Mallory Haas.