Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leavitt Road Mystery Building

Building formerly at intersection of Leavitt Road (in foreground) and Grace Street

Sometimes it's fun just to poke around in the Black River Historical Society's photo files. You never know what you'll find. In this case, I found just what this blog doesn't need: another mystery.
It was in the BRHS files that I found a small packet of photos labeled 'old motel being torn down' and recognized the building immediately. It used to be on the southwest corner of Leavitt Road and Grace Street, a few blocks south of West Erie Avenue.

I passed this building hundreds of times over the years, wondering what its story was. I always thought it was kinda cool in a retro way.

Here's a view of the rear of the building. Whoever used to live there was all set for winter, judging by that firewood stash.

And here's a view of the front left of the building (below). The brick building at the far right of the photo was the home of Bob's Firearms for many years.

It's a strange little building, with the separate, private entrances and mailboxes. It looks like a motel. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any concrete evidence in the city directories that it ever was one – or an apartment house either.

What's really strange is that the building seemed to be both an apartment house and a commercial strip unless I am misreading the city directories. In addition to average people living there, through the years there were various businesses apparently located in the building, including a donut shop (Bob's Sweet Cream Do-Nut Shop), a jewelry store (Heald Jewelers), a launderette (Nite & Day) and a barber shop. Maybe they were located in another building on the property. Does anyone remember?

It also looks like the barber who had a shop on the property lived in a house immediately south of the building at 1446 Leavitt Road. Here's that house, and a glimpse of the mystery building (with a dumpster behind it) just before demolition in this shot from the Lorain County Auditor's website.  

Throughout the 1960's and 1970's the mystery building was usually half-empty.

By the 1980's, the tenants consisted of a few retirees. And by the early 2000's, the building was gone. Today, only the original house at 1446 Leavitt remains on the property, having been expanded and renovated so much that it is virtually unrecognizable.

Here is the 'now' shot of the property today (compare it with the photo at the top), showing the renovated house and the site of the demolished building. Only its driveway remains to indicate that something was ever there.

If anyone remembers anything about the demolished building, please leave a comment! I'd love to know if the low, one story building was originally a motel that was later converted to apartments – and if there was another commercial building in the back.


Anonymous said...

During the mid-80's, it was an apartment building; a friend of a friend lived there.

Builders Chelsea said...

The scenery in the pics is alluring...