History of the  West Park
Neighborhood
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Lorain Avenue
West 150th and westward
THEN
& NOW
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(Note:  in some cases, information from early Cleveland directories may appear.)

West 117th to 130th Streets
West 130th to West 150th Streets
Rocky River Drive and westward


West 150th Street to Rocky River Drive

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Dutcher Realty, Dr. G. A. Fallon, Carpet Center USA
15100 Lorain Avenue

 

   

This building was originally a residence further east on Lorain Avenue but was moved in 1946 to this site.  It became the office of Dutcher Realty (shown here in December 1946).  From 1950 to 1985, it was the office of Dr. G. A. Fallon (photo 1960). In 2007, it is Carpet Center USA.

Plain Storefront Hides a Secret Past
by Gary Swilik

Sometimes we discover there's more to a modest-looking building than meets the eye. Consider Carpet Center USA, located on the north side of the street at 15100 Lorain Avenue. The wood-paneled exterior presents a trim, business-like appearance but this simple structure would otherwise not seem to be particularly interesting. A little architectural sleuthing, however, has uncovered some forgotten history.

The building originally stood three-tenths of a mile to the east at 14550 Lorain Avenue (photo) on the site of the current Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership. It was built in late 1923 as an office for the West End branch of the Teachout Company, a lumberyard which occupied the site until the early 1960's. Baby boomers will recall the business under its later name, the Rock Island Lumber Company.

In 1946, Bert and Lloyd Dutcher, a father-and-son realty firm, bought the building from the Teachout Company for one-thousand dollars. On July 17, 1946, it was moved to its current location at 15100 Lorain Avenue and became the West Park office of the Dutcher Realty Company.

Local dentist Dr. Gerald A. Fallon bought the building from Dutcher Realty in June, 1950, and it became his office for the next thirty-five years. Dr. Fallon began his dental practice after serving as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. He passed away at age 71 in 1985.

Current owner Bob LaBuda, who grew up in West Park, bought the building from Dr. Fallon's widow and remodeled it as Carpet Center USA. Bob now does most of his business from a large warehouse further back on the lot and the establishment is still going strong over two decades later.

So a simple-looking building has a rather convoluted and interesting past. Check out our photographs to see the structure at different dates and stages. As this is being written, August 29, 2007, much of the wood siding has been peeled away revealing the bricks of the original building underneath.

If you know the secret or forgotten history of a local home or building, email us by clicking here.

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View at 15149 Lorain Avenue
from John Marshall High School Steps

  

Freshman Class, John Marshal High School 1929
Left photograph:
 Looking north at Lorain Avenue from the steps of old John Marshall High School at 15149 Lorain Avenue. June 1929 (freshman class). Photograph courtesy of LaVerne Landphair Buch.
Right photograph:  The same scene (center section of older photo), March 2007. Taken from the site of old John Marshall High School, now home of Ganley Dodge West indoor showroom.

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Gustav Kemna's Service Station,
Fondales Fleet Wing Service Station
Wilmerink's Dairies
15201 Lorain Avenue.

  Photo by Charles Chaney. 2004.
                                                                                                          Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.

White's Wheel Aligning on the southwest corner of West 152nd Street and Lorain Avenue was opened by George P. White in 1950. The small gas station that makes up the front part of this building was apparently built by Gustav Kemna in 1924.

 What is now the large rear section of the building was originally a separate structure. It was built as a dairy though we haven't determined the original name with certainty. We do know it was the West Park Dairy and later the Wilmerink Dairy.

 In 1937 a "lubritorium" and a dairy store were added to the building connecting the small gas station in front with the dairy building in back. These 1937 additions are shown in the photos below. (Photos taken in 1938.)

 The top (or left) photo shows the dairy store which fronts on West 152nd on the east side of the building. The bottom (or right) photo shows the "lubritorium" on the west side of the building, with the painted sign on the side reading "Home of Wilmerink Dairies." A dairy/gas station is a strange combination indeed!

 Tom White, third-generation of the family to run the business, grew up next door and tells us the garage behind the first house south of the repair shop was once the stables for the old dairy.  Tom has found milk bottle caps on the premises with name "Kemna" and "West Park Dairy" on them.   Click here to see the milk bottle caps.  Images of milk bottle caps provided by Tom White of White's Quality Brake Service at 15207 Lorain Ave.

 
Photos 1938.

1936:  15201  Gustav Klemna, filling station

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c1930:  15512  (at Triskett) Mobilgas station.  GONE:

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Looking East along Lorain Avenue

  

Left photograph:  Looking east down Lorain Avenue during the early 1900s from the present intersection at West 157th Street. The Sherman House, now the Masonic Temple is at the intersection of Lorain and Triskett (red dot is over the building). Photo courtesy of Gary Brookins and Ralph Pfingsten.
Right photograph:   The same view in March 2007.

This photograph was taken looking East along Lorain Avenue.  The Sherman House can be seen in the background.  It was about 1910 when the building was painted a light color over the bricks.  (This copy of the photo is quite poor but still holds an interest.)

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Fire Department Engine Co. No. 39
15637 Lorain Avenue
 

For more information click here.

1936:  15637  Fire Department Engine Co. No. 39  and  Hook and Ladder Co. No. 15

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Beauty Bazaar & Trill's Meat Mart
15701 & 15703 Lorain Avenue

 
                                Photo c1961.                                          Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. May 2005.

15701 Lorain Avenue:  Floral Images Florist
15703 Lorain Avenue:  Classic Medical Staffing

Trill's Meat Mart
by Gary Swilik

Paul G. Trill had developed the skills of a “master machinist” while still a young man and, but for some vision problems, may very well have spent his entire career in manufacturing. “Keep working with machinery,” he was warned, and “you just could go blind.” So the world lost a machinist and West Park became the home of Trill’s “Quality Meats” under the friendly proprietorship of Paul and his wife Julia.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1910, Paul was just a toddler when his family arrived in the United States. He grew up on West 24th Street and spent part of his youth working at a stand in the nearby West Side Market learning the meat-cutting skills that would serve him well in coming years.

In 1943 Paul left the machinist trade and opened the market with his wife Julia on the busy southwest corner of Lorain and West 157th in thriving West Park. (The store front Paul chose for his enterprise was already a well established meat market having been the home of Gohr Brothers Meats for the previous twenty years.) Paul and Julia would drive to the shop every day from their home in Parma where they lived with daughter Pauline, and son Gilbert.

Trill’s “Quality Meats” lived up to its name offering only the finest meat and poultry available. Paul would store the meat in his shop, making certain it was aged properly before sale. Always willing to suggest and prepare exactly the right cut to meet their customer's needs, Paul and Julia’s business flourished. Their clientele extended far beyond West Park because so many satisfied customers would return to his store even after moving out of the neighborhood.

As much or more business was done over the phone as in the shop, loyal patrons phoning the Trill's directly with their orders. This was no problem since they were happy to provide home delivery for all their customers, many of the deliveries being made by son Gilbert.

Gilbert, now living in Medina, recalls local firefighters and police officers frequently coming into the shop for lunch from the fire and police stations right down the street.

“Dad and Mom would never take money from them,” Gilbert recalls. As a result, “their shop was probably the best protected place in the city!”

Paul and Julia had a business philosophy you won't find in today's supermarket chains. “I was always hungry growing up,” Paul used to say, “and I never want to be hungry again!” Not only were Paul and his family never hungry, they did their best to see no one else ever went hungry either, generously providing credit or donating food to customers who were a bit strapped for cash. “No one should leave our market without food,” Paul and Julia would say, “just because of a lack of money.”

Paul also found time to be an avid home gardener, indulge his love of fishing, and be active with the Boy Scouts of America. In fact, son Gilbert was the first Eagle Scout local Troop 152 ever had.

Julia was a full partner in the business, capable of running the market alone when necessary. She was a familiar face to generations of customers and immensely popular. When Julia Trill finally passed away in 1973, her funeral procession from the Corrigan’s Home on Lorain Avenue was over one-hundred cars long!

After the death of his wife, Paul kept the market open for three more years, retiring in 1976 and bringing an end to Trill’s Quality Meats after thirty-three years of service. He had the opportunity to enjoy many years of retirement before passing away at the age of eighty-one in 1991.

Trill’s Quality Meats is missed but, happily, the Kamms area is still home to many family owned businesses in the same friendly, pride-filled tradition.

Today Paul and Julia’s old shop is home to Classical Medical Staffing, an agency that helps seniors remain independent by providing home health care aides.

1936:  15701  Fisher Bros. Co., groceries
           15703  Gohr Bros., meats

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Krewson's Pharmacy
15808 Lorain Avenue

Cork-n-Bottle Beverages
15804 Lorain Avenue

Walter's Barbershop
15802 1/2 Lorain Avenue

Constructed c1926.  Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. February 2005.
          Constructed 1926.  Photo c1961.                                 Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. February 2005.

The Dorothy Building
By Gary Swilik

The Dorothy Building, on the northeast corner of Lorain Avenue and West 159th, has been home to several businesses through the years but none so distinctive as the old Cork-n-Bottle beverage store at 15804 Lorain.  High on a pole in front of this inviting little shop stood a huge, flashing, neon sign, designed to make it appear a giant cork was repeatedly popping out of a giant bottle!

 This colorful, active display was a popular Lorain Avenue landmark and lives on in the memory of many West Park baby-boomers.  Unfortunately we don't have a good close-up of the sign.  Our front view of Cork-n-Bottle beverage shows only the narrow edge of the sign!

Click to enlarge Another view of the sign is from a block east of the store on Lorain Avenue, in broad daylight. (Arrow points to sign.)  This simply does not due the display justice, demonstrating none of the color or movement that made the sign fun and lit up the whole corner at night.

 The Dorothy Building, which in our 1961 photo also houses Krewson’s Pharmacy, was built about 1926.  During the 1930’s the Cork-n-Bottle storefront was home to the Miller Variety Store.  We’re not yet certain exactly when the beverage store took over the location but it was definitely in business by the early 1950’s.

 Cork-n-Bottle was operating as late as 1998 but, unfortunately, its dynamic sign had popped its last cork many years earlier, first losing its illusion of motion and, eventually, blinking out entirely.  Today the entire ground floor of the Dorothy Building serves as the offices of the Westway Reality Company.

1936:  15804  Milton Bader, tailor
           15808  Nydegger's Pharmacy

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Maier's Home Cooked Foods & Sausage,
Wilkes Bakery
15802 - 15798 Lorain Avenue

Maier's Home Cooked Foods & Sausage and Wilkes Bakery, c1961.  Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.
 Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. 2004.
Black & White photo:  Maier's Home Cooked Foods & Sausage and Wilkes Bakery, c1961.
Color photographs by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.

Maier’s Home Cooked Foods & Sausage, 15802 Lorain, now a pizza place.   Wilke’s Bakery (Carl F. Wilke,) 15798 Lorain, today it’s Daystar Boutique.   Note that there is still a painted "Wilkes Bakery" visible on the east side of the building.  County records state the building was constructed about 1926.

1936:  15798  Jacob J. Tregler, baker
            15802  Leslie D. VanOrman, meats

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D. O. Summers Cleaners and Launderers
15931 Lorain Avenue

  
Photo c1961 D.O. Summers Dry Cleaning        Photo by C.C. Chaney. Barrett Auto Sales c2005

Photo by C.C. Chaney.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car office. April 2007

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Samuel Meier barber shop, 16013 Lorain Ave.
John & Val’s Bar, 16015 Lorain Ave.

  Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.
                                Photo c1961.                                          Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.

Photo c.1961, building constructed about 1933.  Today the entire building houses the Pathway Baptist Chapel at 16015 Lorain.

1936:  16013  Saml. P. Meier, barber
           16015  C. Eoag & Son, Inc., hardware

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Fisher Foods Master Market
16100 Lorain Avenue.


Photo 15 May 1950
Courtesy of Jim Jensen, West Palm Beach, Florida

c1960.  The car to the left is a 1959 Chevrolet.  Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.
                                Photo c1961.                                        Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.
Fisher Foods in the early 1960's.                     Now Ganley Ford West                

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Western Auto & Gray Drugs
Lorain Avenue & West 165th Street.

 
                    Photo c1947.                                                            Photograph by Charles C. Chaney. 2004.

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THE GABLES RESTAURANT, now Si! Senor!
16800 Lorain Avenue.

   
Photographs by Charles C. Chaney.      2004.                                                            May 2010.

The "House of Seven Gables Restaurant" was located at 16800 Lorain Avenue.  Considered one of the finer restaurants in Cleveland, it catered to a distinguished clientele offering the finest food and beverages.  Valet service was available to park customers' horse and carriage or new gasoline buggy in a spacious parking lot.

The distinctive multi-gabled building later housed the Gables Grill (1930's), The Gables Restaurant (1950's), the Top Cat Lounge and Kilbane's Pub.  In 2010, it was remodeled to house a Si Señor Mexican Restaurant. 

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Dairy-Dell
16808 Lorain Avenue (now, 16806 Lorain Avenue)

 
                  Photo 18 June 1938.                                         Photo by Charles C. Chaney, 14 June 2006

Dairy-Dell opened 1 July 1937.  The building is the one with the chiropractor's office sign in the later photograph.  The green building to the right of it, at 16804 Lorain Avenue was a Royal Castle hamburger restaurant.  It later was Kathleen's Kitchen and is now occupied by a hot dog shop, Top Dog.

 

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Lorain Avenue & Rocky River Drive
Southeast corner

 
1938.  Photo provided by Dar McGeady.                                         May 2006.  Photo by Charles C. Chaney

Woolworths east of Woolworths Landphair's last surviving buildings to the east
(Move cursor over this image, when it becomes a "hand"
click to see picture of how this section of the block appears today.
There are four "hotspots.")

Some of the changes along the south side of Lorain just east of Rocky River Drive:
 
 
 Earlier a F. W. Woolworth Co., the building went through a renewal from 2004-2006-2008
Photos by Charles C. Chaney

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Lorain Avenue & Rocky River Drive
Northeast corner

The Cleveland Trust Building

 

   
 5 February 1956                                                                 Present Day
( 1956 Photograph courtesy of Jim Jensen, West Palm Beach, Florida)

 Tracking some changes on this block when the Riverside Theatre was built and the West Park Theatre was demolished.
Based on information from the appropriate city directories.

Lorain
Avenue
      1937                                       1938                                         1939                                       1940                                          1951
16895          -----       (old                           Riverside Theatre                 Riverside Theatre                Riverside Theatre                   -----
16903          -----      buildings                  vacant                                      Riverside Sweet Shop          Jeremiah Vassos (Conf.)         Riverside Theatre*
16905          -----      razed to make          Rose Marks dresses              Rose Marks dresses            Rose Marks dresses                Dister Jeweler
16907          -----      way for new)            Kral Beauty Shop                  Ava Kral Beauty Shop        Ava Kral Beauty Shop            Hegewart Beauty Shop
16997          -----                                         Julia Holmes (Conf.)              -----                                          Dister Jeweler                            ----- (razed for new
16999          West Park Theatre            West Park Theatre               West Park Theatre              (gone)                                        -----  Kroger building?)
17001          Saml. Mayiras barber           Saml. Mayiras barber             Saml. Mayiras barber           (gone)                                        Kroger Gro. & Bkg. Co.**
17005          Kral Dress Shop                   Russell Ryks elec. equip.      Russell Ryks elec. equip      Abr. Javitch Auto Acc.          Jos. Petrigan Auto Parts
17007          Schumacher Elec. Suppl.     -----                                           -----                                          Guiseppi Valente (beer)          Kamm’s Arcade Tavern
17009          King Dress Shop                  Cort Shoes                              Cort Shoes                             vacant                                        Arcade Tavern
17013          Woerne Bakery                    Woerne Bakery                      Woerne Bakery                     Woerne Bakery                         Holmok Bakery
17015          Riverside Hardware             Riverside Hardware                Riverside Hardware            
 Riverside Hardware                 Luekens Hardware
17019          Gt. A&P Tea Co.                  Nellie M. Smith Rest.             Thrift Federal S&L                Thrift Federal S&L                   vacant
17021         
-----                                         Downey & Holt elec. appl.    Downey & Holt elec. appl.  Downey & Holt elec. appl.     Martin Jewelry
17023-25     apartments                            apartments                               apartments                            apartments                                 apartments
17925          Landphair Dry Goods          Landphair Dry Goods            Landphair Dry Goods          Landphair Dry Goods              Landy’s Dept. Store
17109          Stanley Roth Shoes             Stanley Boot Shop                 Stanley Roth Shoes              Stanley Shoes                           Koenigsmark Shoes
17113          Moses Curtis meats             Ray Holzman Meats              Moses Curtis Meats             Moses Curtis Meats                Kriff Household Appl.
17119          F. W. Woolworth Co.          F. W. Woolworth Co.            F. W. Woolworth Co.            F. W. Woolworth Co.              F. W. Woolworth Co
17127          Kroger Gro. & Bkg. Co.       Kroger Gro. & Bkg. Co.         Kroger Gro. & Bkg. Co.         Kroger Gro. & Bkg. Co.           vacant
17131          Miller United Shoe Co.        Miller United Shoe Co.          Miller United Shoe Co.         Miller United Shoe Co.            vacant
17133          Marshall Drug Co.                Marshall Drug Co.                 Marshall Drug Co.                 Marshall Drug Co.                    Marshall Drug Co.
     *The street addresses for this part of the block had been changed in the 1940s.  The Riverside Theater had been at 16895 but was then 16903 Lorain Avenue.
     **Kroger's had relocated into a newly constructed building.

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Rocky River Drive and westward

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Kamm's Store
southwest corner of Lorain Avenue and Rocky River Drive


                           c1910                                                                                             2005                                 

Although the exterior of the old grocery store built by Oswald Kamm has been altered over the years, features of the old building can still be identified.  A fire gutted the building in early 1997.  The building was renovated and another restaurant, Alfonzo’s Tuscan Grill (now closed), occupied the venerable building.  The present street address is 17209 Lorain Avenue but it had a Rocky River Drive address as well.

Early history of Oswald Kamm

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KAMMS PLAZA SHOPPING CENTER

The construction of Kamms Plaza Shopping Center between 1960 and 1963 required that almost all of the entire northwest corner of Lorain Avenue and Rocky River Drive be razed.  Only a few structures right on the corner were spared at the time.  For more details click here.

17230 Lorain. Miller's Shoe Repair. 17226 Lorain. People's Market. Built 1922. Photo 1960.  Now demolished.


World Theatre West
occupied a space on the north side of the square.  17400 Lorain Avenue/3780 Rocky River Drive in Kamm's Plaza

 
  19 June 1978.           Photo by James L. Smith                June 2008.  Photo by Charles C. Chaney

This almost forgotten little movie-house closed in 1986.  It screened many foreign or "art house" films.  Today, the shopping center has been altered, making it difficult to imagine there was ever a theater there.  When it opened in 1969, there were no buildings west of the theater. What is now the right angle, where the north-south section of the shopping strip joins the east-west section of the strip, was an open space.  This space provided access to a parking lot in the back.   Sometime after the theater closed, additional stores were constructed in this opening, which closed it and completed the L-shaped shopping center.  Today, if you look closely at the painted walls of Fashion Bug, the outline of at least one display window, bricked in, is visible.  The three support beams of the original canopy seem to have remained unaltered.

The Cleveland Press, May 22, 1969, carried a brief article:
 Kamm's Plaza to Have Theater
   
 "A new movie theater will open in November at the Kamm's Plaza Shopping Center at Rocky River Dr. and Lorain Ave.
    "The 450-seat theater will be called World-West and will be operated by Isador M. Rappaport, M. Robert Rappaport and Arthur P. Korach, who also operate the Severance Theater in Cleveland Heights. They will also open the World-East Theater in Richmond Heights in July."

Note that although it was evidently called the World-West Theatre, the sign read only "WORLD Theatre."

Memories of World Theatre West
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17430 Lorain Avenue.  Built c1900, razed by 10 June 1961.  Former home of the Kolonick family: 

17700 Lorain.  Residence. Built 1885, razed 1956: 

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Updated by: Charles C. Chaney
18 July 2012