Submitted by MillerBuster Report on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 12:59.

(note added November 24, 2011- Cassidy Laudadio has organized the Warner and Swasey Observatory Preservation Project)

This is a photo taken June 4, 2005 of the Warner Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland, Ohio.  The building was originally a gift from the Warner Swasey equipment manufacturing company (they made hydraulic Gradalls famous in the ‘50s)

This photo was taken Feb 18, 2008.


Wikipedia has a short history of the Observatory.

What the sad history of this gift and building make me aware of is the transience of  promises.  Gifts given today are abandoned later.  Art museums are moved from their gifted venue to locations where more visitor money is available. 

If you are wealthy enough to be a philanthropist, maybe you should provide an endowment along with the gift – and deeded restrictions/instructions controlling abandonment of the gift. 




It is hard to look into the future and sensibly predict the value of property for the purpose it was given, but the ignominious present condition of this once elegant building strikes me as a slap in the face to the Warners and Swaseys – and by extension, benefactors everywhere.

Warner-Swasey--dedication-O.jpg108.24 KB
Warner-Swasey-in-trees-Obse.jpg97.41 KB
Warner-Swasey-front-door-Ob.jpg142.67 KB
Warner-Swasey-street-view-O.jpg95.99 KB
warner-swasey-observatory-e.jpg121.45 KB

foreclosed gift observation

Here's where we learned that the Observatory is now abandoned like so many NEO properties:

Nayyir Al Mahdi's dream of turning observatory into home ended with indictment

and if that is not enough indignity for you, here's more:

Cleveland Clinic's request to demolish Art Deco building is tabled by review committee


While some would look at the 75-year-old Carnegie Medical Building as a deteriorating eyesore, there are those who think the eight-story structure at the corner of E. 105th and Carnegie Avenue is a true architectural treasure. Evelyn Theiss is one of those individuals.


Home to OCPM since 1976, the building and its aesthetic exterior features were recently chronicled by Theiss in Cleveland’s Plain Dealer as one of the city’s “Deco Dozen.” According to the writer’s research and observances, “Originally the Carnegie Medical Building, this building is covered in sandstone with metal trim at the windows; convex fluting is a Deco feature, as are the sun-ray motifs found on the trim and the original light fixtures.” “While Cleveland doesn’t have a building as spectacular as New York’s Chrysler Building,” Theiss, a former fashion editor-turned general assignment reporter, wrote in her article appearing in the newspaper’s Arts & Life section on July 28, “Many people know that “Deco” is exemplified in such places as the sculptural pylons on the Lorain-Carnegie (Hope Memorial) Bridge and the interior of Severance Hall.”


“But those avid about the genre also speak of Cleveland’s hidden Art Deco architectural treasures – from an old telephone exchange building on East 55th Street to a union building on Payne Avenue to a former Catholic Slovak organization headquarters near Broadway.” And, of course, the Carnegie Medical Building, designed and built in 1930 by the Austin Company, which, founded in Cleveland in 1878, has grown to become one of the leading firms in the building industry with offices in major cities throughout the United States and in London.


According to Theiss, “the style we now call Art Deco was variously referred to as Modernistic, Moderne, American Perpendicular and Skyscraper Gothic.” “Interestingly,” she wrote, “the term was not really used until the 1960s when newspapers including the Times of London described it as the style of architecture and design that came out of the 1920s, particularly the Paris Exhibition of 1925. It was the L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes that brought the new style to the world’s attention.”


In a telephone interview with Theiss conducted by Ashley Crim, contributing editor and secretary, Continuing Education & Alumni Affairs, Theiss said she has always had a keen personal interest in local history, pitched the story idea to her editor, and spent weeks researching and visiting the various sites in Cleveland along with Ted Sande, former executive director of the Western Reserve Historical Society.


Speaking specifically about the Carnegie Medical Building, Theiss said she studied the outside of the building and “found it was still true to its beginning,” meaning that its exterior had remained virtually unchanged through the years. Theiss said she was impressed by the “detail” of the building; “liked the metal work on the trim, the symbols, the recessed windows and the vertical lines.”

 Exterior “still true to its beginning.”

Here's a quote from this very interesting thread at Urban Ohio:

Wow, sweet irony: quote from Toby Cosgrove in today's PD:

"Any time you build a facility, you're saying something about who you are, and that needs to be a very thoughtful message..."  (see whole story)

I can't wait to hear that may-soon-become "old refrain" at the CPC; I think it goes like this, "In Chicago, they would never tear that down."

Does anyone still have those "Just say no to bad ideas" signs?

goodbye deco, hello highway

Yep, UCI Design Review Committee can't see the forest for the trees. They voted to let go the College of Podiatric Medicine building because the Cleveland Clinic made a lame case for said demolition.  Ah, the temporary terminus of the "disadvantaged corridor". This will be a highway interchange. Just wait for the discussion of the feeder 490 that will deliver more traffic and air pollution to University Circle.  
Zoom out on your google maps folks and see the future - 490 all the way to Bratenahl.
We will after all need another way for the massive amounts of truck traffic to get to 77 and 71 from the new 55th street container port. I don't suggest anyone invest in the East 105 corridor -- it seems that will be next.
If you live in Bratenahl, your high dollar lake view property just dropped a notch in prestige.
Cleveland Clinic and their greenwashing!
Who wants to remember history anyway? Obfuscation is so much more the Cleveland style. This is how we do it...
But it is a shame that we couldn't have had something more dramatic like the water main break at Public Square that wasted so much of the new Euclid Corridor construction.  I was thinking that we might have an earthquake like the one they predict for East Ninth that will make the buildings in the Erieview Plan collapse into the street. It is still early though, so maybe if we get major spring rains, the Heights/Hilltop Interceptor will burst and obviate the necessity of wiping out the RTA Cedar Hill Station, the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Children's Museum and those "modern buildings" that we find so distasteful at CWRU's Case Institute of Technology campus. Maybe nature will revolt and daylight the Doan Brook on its own, so we can finally get on with the business of restoration. Yeah baby, let's just pave a bit more land and then sit back and watch nature take revenge.

Here's the story: 

Cleveland Clinic wins approval to demolish Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine building

Posted by slitt [at] plaind [dot] com March 06, 2008 15:58PM

It's curtains for the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine Building in University Circle.

The Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine Building will be demolished as soon as the Cleveland Clinic gets a permit from the Cleveland Building Department.

The Cleveland Clinic, which bought the building after the college left the site, did a thorough job today explaining to the University   Circle Design Review Committee why it wants to tear down the building to make way for a parking lot.

So thorough, in fact, that members of the committee voted 5-2 with relatively little discussion to approve the demolition request.

The vote follows a decision by the City Planning Commission in February to sanction the demolition on the condition that the Clinic return to the University Circle body a second time to make its case.

The building, located at the northeast corner of East 105th Street and Carnegie Avenue, is one of the last vestiges of a once-bustling commercial and entertainment district at the western edge of University   Circle.

Brian Smith, the Clinic's director of construction management, said the 144,000-square-foot building, one of the few remaining examples of the Art Deco style in the city, couldn't be renovated easily for offices, clinical space, educational purposes or research.

Because the building has narrow column bays and low ceiling heights, it would forever be substandard in comparison with other Clinic buildings, Smith said.

If renovated, it would yield 50 percent less usable space than other Clinic buildings. And it would still feel darker, more cramped and more chopped up by columns and service cores for elevators, stairs and utilities.

"There's great wisdom in keeping employees happy," he said, calling the OCPM building "a money pit."

The building will be replaced by 2009 with a 206-space parking lot. The lot will serve a wellness center and outpatient surgical facility installed in newer buildings just to the east.

Eventually, Smith said, the site will be ripe for an expansion of the Clinic, but there are no current plans to rebuild at the location.

Committee member Martin Walters, who voted against the demolition, wasn't convinced by Smith's presentation.

After the building comes down, "it's going to be a barren space for patients to walk through," he said.

Jeffrey Strean, director of design and architecture at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the second no vote, asked whether sections of the OCPM facade could be saved. Smith said he didn't consider that practical.

After the meeting, Smith said that demolition debris would be segregated and recycled to the greatest extent possible, as part of a green initiative launched under Clinic Chief Executive Officer Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove.




Impossible - Ratner and Wolstein on Case Board

No wonder Case is failing - rather than have a board of intellectuals and innovators they are stacking the deck with real estate developers... Harvard and other great Universities find ways to offer free world class education while Case finds ways to enrich cronies... watch University Circle and Case with the expectations for further massive raping of the public trust in the coming months and years... like with the Carnegie Medical Building.... like any of this is new

Re. Bratenahl... for decades the trashy new developers from the farm belt have been destroying the cultural fabric of Cleveland... they don't give a damn about some old rich East side farts' views of the lake, when the air is so pure and clean in Westlake.

BTW - one thing I've noticed while visiting with my parents in Shaker is that most of the rich folks in the mansions are never home... they are in Florida and AZ right now... they aren't watching the balls here, even if they care (which clearly they do not).

Disrupt IT

My dad is saddened by the news... Go Ronayne!

I just told my dad they are tearing down his first office building - he was affiliated with University Hospitals his entire career, and this was the Carnegie Medical Building popular with their doctors  - to put in a parking lot for the Clinic. I asked him if this was a good building and he said it certainly was, with lots of brass in the lobby, etc.... I guess all that will be going to Cosgrove's mansion, wherever that is... or perhaps they'll just dump it all in landfill.

No battle over this one? At this point, who really cares?

Ronayne for Mayor!!!!!????

You've seen enough... Make your vote now.

The New Clinic parking lot and Opportunity Corridor are Chris' plans for NEO, so talk to him about it.... but keep in mind, a recent Cleveland Magazine puff piece on Ronayne says "he’s not the same guy now as he was back then, naïve about politics. He’s not just a dreamer. He’s a doer, he says, and the proof of that lies in projects at University Circle." Gee... Chris built Cleveland Clinic, or planned the Triangle or anything else interesting and valuable in UC?!?! Not that I know of... Was that after he invented the Internet. All I know that he has done is demolish lots of important historic buildings. Here's what Cleveland Magazine says he's done...

The transition into the Circle from downtown is improving as well. In under a year, University Circle Inc. raised $7 million in private donations for Euclid Avenue improvements between East 105th and East 120th.

This, the Bring Back Euclid Avenue Campaign, is a big piece of University Circle’s master plan. But not all the plan is going smoothly. The long-discussed “Opportunity Corridor,” a proposed road from I-490 to the Circle, has just as many roadblocks as it did when first proposed.

Ronayne also talks about moving the RTA Rapid train stop down to Mayfield Road, providing easy access to Little Italy and the Circle as if it’s a done deal, but plans are far from solid.

Other challenges, though, have arisen and been addressed.

We swing by the University Circle Police Department. Not long ago, the department was facing demise, but Ronayne made it a priority to save it. In addition to Cleveland Police, three departments patrol the area: University Circle Police, Case Western Reserve Police and Cleveland Clinic Police, making it one of the most patrolled areas in Cleveland. Ronayne saw cruisers at a church that morning, and he wanted to make sure everything was OK. (It was just a tripped alarm.)

This is the kind of checking in mayors regularly do. Unprompted, Ronayne brings it up himself. “Sometimes I feel like a mayor of a mini-city,” he says. “The Circle is a microcosm for what the rest of the city can be.”

Even people who have clashed with Ronayne preface any comments with compliments. Don’t misunderstand, they may not agree with him on everything, but they say he’s a good guy.

I personal;ly think UCI should be shut down as the biggest waste of money in NEO.

Susans and all, make this personal, too... you know exsactly who is in charge of all this and you see him all the time... you know his email... you probably see his wife at her botanical gardens...  tell Chris to open up and explain everything he has in mind for your community, now, before he starts talking about running for mayor. He may not be "naïve about politics" but he may be naïve about the people he intends to serve, and our community so many miles from his home.

My proposal for pulling all the transportation pieces together is to run a freeway from Chris Ronayne's home along I-90 to MLK and then run it south ther, where the cultural gardens are... bulldoze all that crap into Doan Brook and eliminate all the bridges so people can't get back and forth - wouldn't need to tear down a single building - then, go ahead and run the freeway through University Circle over the Carnegie Medical Building site to 490. Put another freeway down Chester from the Doan Brook Freeway to The Avenue District, and another up Cedar all the way to 271. Build prisons between the freeways to house all the people whose lives and economies are destroyed (see Women's Prison  at 77 and Broadway for example). Wait for global warming to make all the freeways obsolete, and plant surface gardens on them... plant crops around the prisons... wait for the end of human life on Earth... should take about 50 years... so much for 7 generation planning.

Disrupt IT


I believe the Warner Swasey Observatory is located on the Nela Park property proposed for the new Cleveland Metropolitan School District STEM Academy.



The little observatory property is just at the top of the hill on Taylor Road south of Euclid Blvd. in East Cleveland, Ohio.  Nela Park is about a mile to the East on Noble Road.


 I was just at the Observatory  yesterday.  It looks forlorn.

Balloon "POP"

  Every time I think that there is a little balloon of hope--it gets popped :(  Well--Let's hope that there is some synergy going on to rekindle the spirit of Warner and Swasey.  CWRU students--you need to really step up your involvement in the community.  I am not just going to lay into administrators, although they need to stop tearing down buildings. 

Students live within the radius of the real INNER CIRCLE. 

Try to really make a difference.  Speak out and revitalize our city.  Don't run away.

lament for the likes of WARNER and SWASEY - RIP

In August 1974, The Warner & Swasey Co. deposited in the Special Collections of Case Western Reserve University Libraries the papers described in the following pages.

The Warner and Swasey Collection includes correspondence of both Worcester R. Warner and Ambrose Swasey as well as early corporate and engineering records of the company they founded. The greatest part of the Collection deals with the instruments, especially telescopes and observatories, engineered and built by The Warner & Swasey Co. lt is particularly fitting that this Collection should come to Case Western Reserve University. Both Mr. Warner and Mr. Swasey were keenly interested in and supported the forerunners of the present University. Also, Mr. Swasey's personal correspondences were donated to the University Libraries by Mr. and Mrs. Warren G. Henderson and are now housed with The Warner and Swasey Collection.

The Warner & Swasey Co., in addition to transferring this Collection to the Case Western Reserve University Libraries, generously underwrote the processing and cataloging of the material. Without that support, the Collection would have remained minimally useful to future scholars. lt can now be consulted with ease by any qualified researcher. The University Libraries are grateful to Mr. C. William Bliss, Vice Chairman, Mr. Joseph T. Bailey, Chairman and President, and the Warner & Swasey Co. for their assistance and support in this important project. Steven W. Gelston ably carried out the processing of this Collection.


b. May 16, 1846, Cummington, Massachusetts

d. June 25, 1929, Eisenach, Saxe-Weimar, Germany

In school, young WARNER showed keen delight in the study of physics and mathematics. At the age of 19, he completed his schooling with a three-month term under G. Stanley Hall, who was then a student at Williams College, and later president of Clark University.

WARNER secured his first employment in the drafting room of the American Safety Steam and Engine Company, Boston, in 1865. When the company moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1866, WARNER moved with it. It was at this time that he met his future partner, AMBROSE SWASEY. In 1869, WARNER and SWASEY decided to start out together, securing positions at the Pratt and Whitney Company in Hartford, Connecticut.

Within two years both had been placed in charge of departments; WARNER was the foreman of the machine-tool-building department. In 1873, at a Boston exhibit, and in 1876, at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, WARNER was in charge of the Pratt and Whitney Company display. In 1878, WARNER made his first trip to Europe on which he first demonstrated his uncanny ability to "get into places".

In 1880, WARNER and SWASEY decided to leave Pratt and Whitney to establish a business of their own in the mid-west. Initially, they settled in Chicago but in 1881 moved to Cleveland. In 1890, WARNER married Cornelia F. Blakemore of Philadelphia. In 1911, he retired from active business, settling in Tarrytown, New York. In addition to his outstanding success as an engineer and manufacturer, WARNER in his 30 years in Cleveland, became one of the leading men in the city in civic and financial affairs. He was Director of the Guardian Trust Company, and the Society for Savings; Trustee of Western Reserve University, and Case School of Applied Science; and one of the early presidents of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. WARNER was a charter member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and its president in 1897, and a member of various astronomical and engineering societies, both in the United States and abroad. Warner contributed liberally to various universities, churches, and other institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the towns of Cummington, Massachusetts, and Tarrytown, New York.


b. December 19, 1846, Exeter, New Hampshire

d. June 15, 1937, Exeter, New Hampshire

SWASEY'S formal education was limited to that offered by the elementary school at Exeter. Leaving his father's farm at the age of 19, SWASEY became an apprentice in the Exeter Machine Works. Here, two years later, he met, worked with and for several years lived with, his future partner, WORCESTER R. WARNER. Together in 1869 the friends went, as master machinists, to work for the Pratt and Whitney Company in Hartford, Connecticut. SWASEY was soon placed in charge of the gear-cutting department. SWASEY devised improved methods of manufacturing machine gears, including the first method of generating and cutting teeth of spur gears entirely by mechanical processes. In the spring of 1880, SWASEY and WARNER went west to start a business of their own in Chicago. A year later the company of WARNER & SWASEY was relocated in Cleveland. SWASEY had an intense interest in the advancement of the engineering sciences. He was a charter member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and its president in 1904, and a member of numerous other engineering societies. Through his generous financial support, the Engineering Foundation was established.

He received many honorary degrees, numerous awards and honors including: Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (France), 1901; Officer of the Legion of Honor (France), 1921; The John Fritz Gold Medal, 1924; The City of Cleveland Medal for Public Service, 1930; Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute, 1932; Gold Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1933; and the Hoover Gold Medal, 1935.

SWASEY was a generous benefactor of several universities, including Denison, Case School of Applied Science, and Nanking University, China; as well as to various churches and other institutions. In 1871, SWASEY married Livonia D, Cummings. She died in 1912.


In 1880, WORCESTER R. WARNER and AMBROSE SWASEY, two New England machinists, decided to establish a machine business of their own in the mid-west. From boyhood days, both WARNER and SWASEY showed a consuming interest in things mechanical. WARNER early developed an interest in astronomy and built a small telescope, and SWASEY was interested in fine mechanisms, later becoming an expert on the subject of gearing. The founding of their own machine tool plant gave them an opportunity to demonstrate these interests in a very practical way. Machine tools are precision instruments.

The equipment, which made machine tools, could therefore make telescopes. Initially the partners settled in Chicago, but in 1881 they relocated the company in Cleveland. Though the company was founded in 1880, it was not incorporated until 1900 and these incorporation papers actually constitute the first written agreement between the founders.

The partnership of these two men was an unusual one in the annals of American business. Each one supplemented the other. It used to be said that WARNER could sell anything that SWASEY could make, and that SWASEY could build anything that WARNER believed he could sell. WARNER had an instinct for business development and skill in dealing with people; SWASEY had a passion for precision, skill, and accuracy. This combination built the WARNER & SWASEY COMPANY.

From the beginning, the WARNER & SWASEY COMPANY has been known in two seemingly unrelated fields, turret lathes and astronomical telescopes. Their principle work was the designing and manufacturing of machine tools of the highest quality: turret lathes, planers, grinding machines, etc., at which they achieved great success; but always they were interested, as a decidedly minor activity, in the designing and constructing the mountings of astronomical instruments. They achieved distinction for their efforts in three separate occasions of designing and building the world's largest telescope: the Lick telescope for the University of California, a 36" object-glass, in 1887; the Yerkes telescope for the University Chicago, a 40" object-glass, in 1897; and the 72" reflecting telescope for the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Vancouver, Canada, in 1916.


This is what we know about these two great men and their company.

We also know that today Cleveland sorely needs their passion and innovation.

We also know that there are a group of young men trying to save this building.

Have they given up? Go here to email them and find out.

Denison University apparently still has their Swasey Observatory, but then they may not be battling light pollution as we are...

denison swaset observatory

Swasey Observatory, 1909  Campus of Denison University

Architect/Designer: J. Milton Dyer Building

Style: Built in Vermont marble

History: The Warner and Swasey Company of which Ambrose Swasey was founder manufactured much of the original astronomical equipment within the observatory. The interior was renovated and the outer dome replaced in 1970. Its 9-inch refracting and two 8-inch reflecting telescopes are fitted for astrophotography. It also houses an astronomy library and dark rooms.

Gift of Ambrose Swasey of Cleveland, trustee, 1897-1937


Case Western Reserve University -- in the recent past sold the observatory, forgot their name, irritated their alumni, dropped their library science program, almost dropped their dance program, mowed down the neighborhood... what next? Luckily they retain some wonderful collections in the library.

Time to fucking save the W&S Observatory

Susan - thank you for being one sane voice in a sea of darkness. I toured this building (absolutely fantastic!!!!) and was working on buying it but not yet in real estate development mode - I was developing the virtual community that is realneo, back then...

I was sorry to see someone bought it for a residence as that is impossible - it is far too large and the spaces are not at all appropriate - but it has a future and the community can certainly figure that out. Let's get it back on the market ASAP - it has great value.

Who knows the current status - ? Flipline?

Disrupt IT


There is no medicine for this disease.  Doctors heal thyself.  You sickos.

Chris Ronayne

  Chris, I know you.  You know me.  Personally, I expect better from you and so should all the people, who put their faith in you.  Don't cater to mediocrity.  Please.  You still live in the city.  Show us that you really believe in US.  (And, I will get Michael to dog you, too).