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.
The demolition of the Church of the Transfiguration (Formerly known as Emmanuel Episcopal Church) is nearly complete. Before the demolition crew could complete their task, the crew from WR Restoration, responsible for the deconstruction of the Narthex needed to remove the cornerstone. It was believed that the cornerstone concealed a time capsule, set in place in 1902.
Experience gained in the deconstruction of the Narthex suggested that the Cornerstone might be six to eight inches thick, with the time capsule set behind it, but as work progressed, it became apparent that this was a massive stone.
Finally, the stone was free and rigged for removal from the wall.
Once the stone was removed from the wall, inspection of the stone’s bottom revealed the location of the time capsule.
Even the frigid wind could not temper the excitement of the crew that had labored for three hours to in single digit temperatures to preserve this piece of history.
The time capsule will be opened, and its contents catalogued in the coming days.
Following a brief ceremony honoring the life of the Church, demolition of what remained of the deconstructed Narthex was begun.
With a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, the demolition of the church offices and Religions Education wing were accomplished with the same care and respect as had been shown during the deconstruction of the Narthex and the removal of the Church’s artifacts.
Deconstruction of the 33 foot wide Narthex by WR Restoration has begun. When the project is complete, every piece will have been painstakingly removed, numbered, and put into storage until an appropriate new location can be identified. Then each piece will be put into place once again.
The first step was the removal of the “King’s Crowns.” Remarkably, despite 100 years of rain and snow, sun and pollution, the intricately carved detail remains in good shape, and did not suffer during removal.
With the “King’s Crowns” removed, the next step was the cap stones.
Every project has its surprises, and once the cap stones were removed it became evident that the stonework was a veneer – not solid stone as originally thought.
Documentation will continue as the deconstruction progresses. Check back for updates, or register your email address to receive email notification of new posts.
Historical information is limited, but what we do know comes from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. EMMANUEL CHURCH (EPISCOPAL) dates from 1871, when ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH at Euclid and Case (E. 40th) St. opened Emmanuel Chapel at Prospect and Hayward (E. 36th) streets. Still under the supervision of St. Paul’s, a new Emmanuel Chapel was built in 1874 on EUCLID AVE.. east of Glen Park Place (E. 86th St.); in 1876 it was admitted to the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio as Emmanuel Church. In 1880 the frame Gothic building was moved slightly west and enlarged. In 1889 conflict resulted in the rector and a large number of parishioners leaving the Episcopal church altogether. They formed the Church of the Epiphany, Reformed Episcopal, and built a church on the other side of Euclid Ave. A period of growth for Emmanuel followed: a Sunday school was started in 1890 and a chapel in 1892, which later became St. Alban’s Parish.
In 1900 the firm of Cram, Goodhue, & Ferguson designed a new building for the Euclid Ave. site (8604 Euclid). A late Gothic Revival structure of stone, it was built as funds became available. The first section, 6 bays of the nave and a temporary chancel, was built in 1902. The remaining 2 bays and the interior were completed in 1904. A new brick and stone parish house replaced the older wooden one in 1924, but the tower of the original plan remained uncompleted. With the sale of adjoining property, the building debt was liquidated and the church consecrated in 1926.
In Oct. of 1991, Emmanuel Church merged with Incarnation Church, an Episcopal congregation originally established in 1891 at E. 105th and St. Clair, which later moved to a building at Ramona Blvd. The combined congregation remained in Emmanuel’s Euclid Ave. building, which was renamed the Church of the Transfiguration. Incarnation’s building was sold to Damascus Baptist Church after the merger.
The Cleveland Landmarks Commission listing shows the Church to have been constructed in 1901-02. Whether it was 1901-02, or 1902-04, it is clear that the Church was built near the end of the hey-days of Millionaire’s Row, and as horse and buggy were beginning to give way to the automobile. What is not yet clear to me is the circumstances that left the Church abandoned, as if the congregation simply walked away after the final Sunday service.
The parish was in the center of great social and economic change in the neighborhood during the 1950s-1970s. To remain viable, a variety of programs were started, including tutoring, legal aid, and a hunger center serving as many as 1,900 families per month.
Deconstruction of the Narthex has begun in preparation for the demolition of the Nave and the Chancel. Photographic documentation of the deconstruction is under-way and will be posted soon. Please return to see the tedious work being undertaken to preserve the 33-foot wide Narthex for future reconstruction. If you missed Part 1, click here.
The latest historic structure to make way for growth on the Cleveland Clinic campus, this late Gothic Revival stone structure was built between 1902 and 1904, as Emmanuel Church (Episcopal). It was renamed Church of the Transfiguration after the congregation merged with that of Incarnation Church in 1991.
Emmanuel Church (established in 1876) was one of a number of congregations started from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (established in 1846 and now located in Cleveland Heights). The once robust congregation had dwindled to as few as 40 members before the Church was closed.