The major building of the so-called New Center at East 9th, Prospect and Huron was the Rose Building, known as Rose’s Folly when it was built because it was believed that it was way too far out of the Business Headquarters of Downtown and too far from Public Square. At that time, at the beginning of the 20th century, there were only four automobiles in Cleveland. Five years later there were hundreds, and they multiplied into the thousands. From the perspective of the street car and the horse, however, this location was seen as far away, and that’s why the building was known as Rose’s Folly.
A very ornate building, it was one of the early tax credit projects done in Cleveland, but the rules weren’t that refined. So, unfortunately, the original storefront bulk headings were lost. Any composite stone material that is there today probably would never get approved by today’s standards, but it does have all the original storefronts intact and not covered over like they were at one time.
Along the Prospect side of the building, Medical Mutual, the current tenant, has opened a cafeteria to reopen the storefronts and visibility to the street. In its heyday, the building’s most famous tenant was the Forum Cafeteria along East 9th Street, which was a grand, two-story cafeteria.
The Osborn Building is located at 1020 Huron Road. Built in 1895 for medical offices to support the then nearby Huron Road hospital, it was led by a partnership including Frank Butts, one of the founders of the Cleveland Clinic. A very ornate building with aluminum panels and bay windows, it was covered over in the 1950s with aluminum siding in the style and fad of the day. In 1958, it actually won an award for the Best Renovation in Downtown Cleveland.
Obviously, styles have changed, and the building was restored and converted in 2001 into 54 loft apartments. The Huron Square Building across the street also offers downtown living options. Huron Square was built in 1923 and housed physician and dental offices.
The Medical Mutual Plaza at the corner of Huron and East 9th celebrates that whole era of Cleveland. Benches in the green space show old postcards depicting the Osborne Building and a very ornate building across the street at 9th and Prospect on the current site of the Ameritrust Garage which was the Downtown YMCA. The YMCA had moved from East 4th Street to this location prior to its move in the 1920s to East 22nd and Prospect. Prospect Avenue at the beginning of the 20th century was emerging from being a high-end residential neighborhood to a new mixed-use business district.
On Prospect Avenue, heading east, you will find Winton Manor, which was built as the luxurious Hotel Winton in 1916. The hotel was renamed the Carter Hotel in 1931. It was closed in the 1960s after a bad fire, was renamed the Carter Manor, experienced a few quiet years and was recently renovated. Today, it is known as Winton Manor and offers apartments for the elderly.
Originally, 1104 Prospect was primarily a printers’ building with some light manufacturing and warehousing. In the early 1900s, cast concrete and bar construction were relatively new construction methods, and because the engineering required to test strengths and load bearings had not been developed, structures, such as the Prospect Building, were all overbuilt.
The prior owner tried for many years to demolish this building for a parking lot. The only thing that saved it was the City of Cleveland and Historic Gateway Neighborhood’s dogged determination that eventually it would be rehabilitated. The building was eventually renovated into 25 apartments known as Prospect Place Apartments.
The Ohio Desk Building was built in 1917 by Knox & Elliot and has been occupied by Ohio Desk since 1918. Ohio Desk celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.
Joshua E. Hall , once home to Sandglow Glass and Mirror, was built in 1889 by Blackburn and Daniels and is now occupied by the offices of Greater Cleveland Construction (formerly Korfant & Mazzone) and the condominiums of Joshua E. Hall.
Heading west on Huron Road across East 9th Street, the German American Bank building, now the site of Huron Point Tavern, was built c 1895. It was renamed the American Savings Bank during World War I.
The Caxton Building, built in 1903, was one of the first buildings to be landmarked in the City of Cleveland. It was named after William Caxton, the great British printer, because it was home to many printing industries on the back part of the building. The more ornate offices on the front part overlooked Huron Road. In the building’s renovation in the 1990s, the printing press years of its hardwood floors reversed that trend, and some of the finest offices were recreated on the south side of the building overlooking Jacobs Field, now called Progressive Field. The Caxton Building had some extremely fine neighbors in the Huron Road Hospital, and also one of the most ornate theatres of the early 20th Century, the Empire Theatre.
The Ohio Bell Building, now AT&T, was originally the site of the Empire Theatre and the Huron Road Hospital. Both were eliminated and knocked down in the early 1920s to build what was then Cleveland’s tallest building, the Ohio Bell Building, which was the prototype building for Siegel and Shuster’s Superman. It was the skyscraper that they leaped in a single bound in the cartoon strip that first appeared in the Glenville High School newspaper which was known as The Daily Planet.
The Ohio Bell Building predated the Terminal Tower as the tallest building in Cleveland. In the early 1920s, Time Magazine actually moved its headquarters to this part of Downtown Cleveland from New York believing that the future was to move a little more West. Cleveland was the third largest metro area in the United States at that time. Although the building today has very few people in it, at one time it housed an enormous amount of switching equipment. All the operators switching for the phone system in Cleveland came out of this building, and the office headquarters were on the other side at 700 Prospect, the so-called Electric Building.
Taken together, the Rose Building, Caxton Building, Electric Building, and, then later on in the 1920s, the Ohio Bell Building, made this area a significant office center, secondary to Public Square in downtown Cleveland.
The Flat Iron Building was built in 1897 by F.C. Bate. In 1998, the building was renovated as part of a five-building complex, including the Belmont Building (1914), to contain 42 residential units known as the Pointe at Gateway, office and restaurant spaces, including the present-day Winking Lizard and City Tap. Many historic touches still remain in the residential building, including the high lobby ceilings, a marble staircase, and the frosted glass hallway partitions on certain floors.
The Electric Building, or the 700 Prospect Building, became important in the late 1980s, early 1990s, when the United Church of Christ was looking for a new world headquarters and moved to Cleveland from New York. The Church purchased the property, renovated it and had an addition built onto the back side along Huron Road, where the parking lot was. The addition became the Radisson Hotel.
If you take Prospect Avenue toward Ontario Street, you will pass 300 Prospect Avenue on your left. This was once the home of the famous Record Rendezvous, which was Leo Mintz’s record store. Today the building is home to Family Sportswear.
2115 Ontario Street was the site of the Stanley Block, which was the oldest structure in the district. Constructed in 1874, this building was once the site of Richman Brothers Outlet Store. The top floor of the building was an elegant ballroom in years past.