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

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THEN & NOW

Lorain Avenue
West 150th and westward

(Note:  in some cases, information from early Cleveland directories may appear.)

West 150th Street to Rocky River Drive


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

1946


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 (left, shown here in December 1946).


1950 80


From 1950 to 1985, it was the office of Dr. G. A. Fallon (photo 1960).


2007


In 2007, it was 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.

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



View at 15149 Lorain Avenue
from John Marshall High School Steps


JMHS Class of 1929

Freshman Class, John Marshal High School 1929
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.


2007 view JMHS
The same view (center section of older photo), March 2007. Taken from the site of
the old John Marshall High School, at the time, the home of Ganley Dodge West indoor showroom.

Click here to see a similar view at Google Maps


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

Kemnas 1

Kemnas double
  Photos 1938
                                                                                                      
Click here to see it at Google Maps

White's Wheel Aligning on the southWhite'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.

  west 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.

1936:  15201  Gustav Klemna, filling station

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Mobilgas station
5512 Lorain Avenue (at Triskett)

Mobilgas

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



Looking East along Lorain Avenue
From about the corner of West 157th Street

Early 1900s view

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.


Oxteam on Lorain
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.
Courtesy Earle Pfingsten.  West Park Masonic Temple Corporation Collection.

Click here to see it at Google Maps
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Fire Department Engine Co. No. 39
15637 Lorain Avenue

fire house 17

The fire station, right, is still in use although the police station, left, has been replaced with an
addition to the fire station.
For more information click here.

Click here to see it at Google Maps

1936:  15637  Fire Department Engine Co. No. 39  and  Hook and Ladder Co. No. 15
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Beauty Bazaar & Trill's Meat Market
15701 & 15703 Lorain Avenue

Phillips building 
Photo c1961

2014
15701 Lorain Avenue:  Floral Images Florist
      15703 Lorain Avenue:  Classic Medical Staffing

Trill's Meat Mart
15703 Lorain Avenue
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

Click to see it at Google Maps

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

Wilkes Bakery 1961

Maier's Home Cooked Foods & Sausage and Wilkes Bakery, c1961.

sign 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 in 2004 there was still a painted "Wilkes Bakery" visible on the east side of the building.  It has since vanished. County records state the building was constructed about 1926.

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


Click here to see it at Google Maps


Color photograph by Charles C. Chaney. November 2004.

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The Dorothy Building

Krewson's Pharmacy
15808 Lorain Avenue

Cork-n-Bottle Beverages
15804 Lorain Avenue

and

Walter's Barbershop
15802 1/2 Lorain Avenue

Cork & Bottle
Constructed 1926.  Photo c1961

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!
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.

Cork & Bottle sign

 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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D. O. Summers Cleaners and Launderers
15931 Lorain Avenue

DO Summers Cleaners
Photo c1961 D.O. Summers Dry Cleaning

DO Summers 2005
Photo by C.C. Chaney. Barrett Auto Sales c2005

The building had apparently been clad with siding that covered the original finish.
This had been stripped away by 2007 when it was housing an Enterprise Rent-a-Car office.

Click here to see it at Google Maps

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

16013 Lorain 1961

Photo c1961

Photo c.1961, building constructed about 1933.
The entire building later housed the Pathway Baptist Chapel at 16015 Lorain.


1936:  16013  Saml. P. Meier, barber
                           16015  C. Eoag & Son, Inc., hardware
Click here to see it at Google Maps

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Fisher Foods Master Market
16100 Lorain Avenue

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


Fisher Foods 1961
Photo c1961


Click here to see it at Google Maps

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

Gray Drugs
Photo c194
Click here to see it at Google Maps

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THE GABLES RESTAURANT
16800 Lorain Avenue

KIlbanes 2004
2004.  Photograph by Charles C. Chaney

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.

Click here to see it at Google Maps

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

Dairy Dell
  Photo 18 June 1938

Dairy-Dell opened 1 July 1937.  Notice that it stands alone.  Later buildings were erect on each side. To the right was one that would house a Royal Castle.  Later it would be occupied by Kathleen's Kitchen followed by a hot dog shop then Big Daddy's Cheesesteaks. 

Kathleens Kitchen
Photo by Charles C. Chaney, 14 June 2006

Click here to see them at Google Maps

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F. W. Woolworth Company
17119 Loraine Avenue

17119 Loraine 2004

  Earlier a F. W. Woolworth Co., the building went through a renewal from 2004-2006-2008
Photgraph by Charles C. Chaney

Click here to see it at Google Maps

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Lorain Avenue & Rocky River Drive
Southeast corner

Kamms SE 1938
1938.  Photo provided by Dar McGeady

Click here to see it at Google Maps


Lorain Avenue & Rocky River Drive
Northeast corner

The Cleveland Trust Building

Cleve Trust Bank 1956
5 February 1956.  Photograph courtesy of Jim Jensen, West Palm Beach, Florida

Click here to see it at Google Maps


 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.



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

Kamms store 1910
c1910                 

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 occupied the venerable building followed by Panini's Gaar & Grill.  The present street address is 17209 Lorain Avenue but it had a Rocky River Drive address as well.

Click here to see it at Google Maps

Early history of Oswald Kamm

Go to Diners and Restaurants of Old West Park

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early pic Kamms
Reproduction of postcard courtesy Lina Zinn. Undated.

This early view looking east along Lorain Avenue from just west of Rocky River Drive shows Kamm's Store on the right.
To the left is the location of today's Kamm's Plaza.


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.


Millers Shoe Repair
Photo 1960.   Now demolished.

Now gone:  17230 Lorain. Miller's Shoe Repair. 17226 Lorain. People's Market.

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

World Theatre 
  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
Demolished


Kolonick home

17430 Lorain Avenue.  Built c1900, razed by 10 June 1961.  Former home of the Kolonick family.

17700 Lorain Avenue
Demolished

17700 Lorain

17700 Lorain.  Residence. Built 1885, razed 1956.



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Updated 29 June 2014