Coast Guard Station - disrespected by Cleveland

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 22:44.
Coast Guard Station - disrespected by Cleveland

This is the best building in North East Ohio.  

But not one government official gives a damn about it - because no developer can figure out how to make any money off of it - Jacobs tried but left the joint to the city with a million in tax arrears - so it just sits with its roof off (yeah, what happened to that $500,000 contract last spring?).

Ed Hauser took me through it.  

Ed gave a damn. 


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77% can't be wrong

Four more years

Disrupt IT

The loss of Ed Hauser

 While we all lost the good fighter when he died, Jeff, Susan, Norm and others also lost someone that they had worked with when Ed Hauser died. They lost a friend, someone that they got to know, obviously loved, and appreciated. Please accept condolences at the one year mark of that loss. An illegal bottle carted discretely into the lakefront by a few of you, to share and toast Ed at various spots may be in order.


An extrordinary site

Jeff, great photo.  Truly, this is an extraordinary building.  How old is it?  Any additional historical information?


J. Milton Dyer

This building is one of Cleveland's gems, now riddled by neglect. Its architect, J. Milton Dyer designed many notable buildings in Ohio. Searh Milton Dyer here at realneo and then search coast guard station here to be filled in on the boondoggle that this building has faced and faces.

I copied this document into a spreadsheet and began address look ups, but I have to get outdoors now. I'll post it in the future when I have more time.


I wish they let me go out

I wish they let me go out there and live.

Milton Dyer now being restored - fitting tribute Ed Hauser

More than 10 years ago, REALNEO's Ed Hauser pleaded with City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County for preservation of Whiskey Island and the Coast Guard station. Today, I raised a glass in Ed's memory.  Thankful that Dan Moore at the Cleveland Metroparks drove this project and thanks to the other board members - Debbie Berry and Bruce Ricker- and Metroparks Director Brian Zimmerman  This is a legacy project.

Wow, wow and wow!

Thanks Susan!  And though this is little consolation, at least it's good to know that there are those in NEO who fully understand and appreciate the levity of this historic site. 

And wow, wow, wow!  How incredible is this building.  with it's largest portside wing echoing the wings of a rayfish or catamaran.

Are you aware as to whether or not The National Trust or DOCOMOMO has written about this?  And I wonder how the US military feel about the place?

I followed the links your provided and it seems that the architect, Dyer, is/was to Cleveland what John Portman is to Atlanta.  Portland and Dyers works are not at all to be compared, as they have a very different eye for design.  But what is to be observed with Dyer and Portman is that each architect had a love for his respective city--defining much of its core streetscape aesthetic.

Many may not be familir with Portman, as until now I had not heard of J. Milton Dyer.  Yet Portman's work is known worldwide as he is the one who really perfected the International Style, glass and steel, cylindrical superstructure--mostly hotels.  The most notable of these being the Westing Peachtree Plaza here in Atlanta, one of the tallest hotels in the world.  The building is extraordinary--I've visited many times--having a top floor which rotates mechanically, 360 degrees.  Portman also created Atlanta's SunTrust Plaza, which seems to parallel some of Phillip Johnson's work.  and Portman created another iconic structure, Los Angeles' Westin Benaventure.  Although it must be noted that Karl Schwanzer had already built the morphic, cylindrical, quad-plex, BMW (German) highrise headquarters a few years prior.

So what's the story on Dyer in Cleveland?  In other words, how do local scholars feel about him?  Are any of his building beloved and well cared for?  Is he consider an Elder?

Has Sally Levine or other notable architects commented (anywhere) in relation to Cleveland's Coast Guard Station?

Oh yea, and in other preservationist news, a college student here in Atlanta has created a Facebook group for our Breuer building.


Coast Guard Station - proposals

In 2006, a local firm worked with Cleveland City Planning to develop three schemes. Proposed plans for Dyer Coast Guard Station.

Last I heard from the city planner, the city had the money, but no end user - no partner to live there. The city is not prepared to staff and program the space. Someone has opened the gate - the one - Ohio Trespassers had to squeeze through when they wrote this entry. Great old postcards on this site.

Then we heard that the USCGC Apalachee was going to live there and that they were going to restore the station as a maritime museum. Nothing had been done when I visited in July. Apparently the Apalachee is at the port's dock 28 getting rehabbed.

From Cuyahoga County Planning weblog:

The City of Cleveland quietly initiated repairs of the historic Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island. Workers have begun replacing its deteriorated roof. At the same time, a group of Coast Guard veterans is bringing a retired Coast Guard cutter to Cleveland. They hope to restore it as a maritime museum at the station. Update: the Apalachee arrived in Cleveland on Sunday.


DOCOMOMO does not exist in this region, so there has been no writing from them about this. Nor has there been any notice taken by the National Trust.

Looking west one has a view of Whiskey Island and Cleveland's ore docks.

On the east side is a great view of downtown replete with the piles of gravel at the Port of Cleveland.

With the strain on finances at the city and potential nonprofit partners short on cash, I suspect it will be many more years before anything happens to the Coast Guard Station. What a shame.

The city's own blighted blemish - right at the intersection of the river and the lake - the intersection that defined industry here and was one of the busiest places in America's industrial revolution.

Hey, at least the Cuyahoga is not just a sewage ditch ready to burst into flame at any moment now.

Susan, thanks for your Coast Guard Station research


You provided everything I wanted to know about the Coast Guard Station #219.  So thanks for that.  The place is a gem in every sense of the word and clearly there are some well-placed, higher-ups who get the significance of this site--its central role in the history of Cleveland.  Now that the Apalachee has arrived and now that political forces are quietly doing some renovations (why that's a secret, I'll never know) I think it's fair to say that this project is on the right track to being reintegrated within the next phase of Cleveland's rebirth. 

Cleveland has such an abundance of architectural history, it's almost unbelieveable.  I'm mean good architecture, seemingly on every block, so it's just a matter of allowing people to remember their own greatness and civic pride, letting go of the internalized shell-shock of the Bush era.  Cleveland may have lost its mojo for now, but I have every confidence that it will come back.

How can I say this with confidence?  Because my home town Atlanta has the mythic Phoenix, rising from the ashes, as its (unofficial) city symbol.

30 years ago, Atlanta was much in the same place as Cleveland is today.  For as a result of the aggressive Federal Interstate [highway] System, many cities were severed in two by massive concrete roads and bridges that paid no consideration to the existing landscapes--neighborhoods.  America definitely needed a highway system, that's for sure, but bulldozing countless vibrant communitiess to accomplish this feat was counter-productive, bring the premature death to many an urban landscape.

People took their feet off the street and hopped into cars--thus the birth of so called "white flight." 

Under President Truman, and all subsequent presidents til Carter, there was an unwillingness to connect the dots between inner-city decay, the rise of the ex-urbs and a highway system run amok.  And yet it's abundantly apparent today as it was then, that balance and an understand of shared civic need must be observed if a city is to survive long-term.

People talk plenty of shit about the failure of the Carter Presidency, but it was Jimmy Carter who holds the distinction of the very few presidents who absolutely refused to engage in war, but also being the first president to make energy efficiency and environmental sustainability central theme in his cabinent.

People keep cities alive, not cars and highways.  We need these things, but they are not our lifeblood.

That said, Cleveland has everything it needs.  But my sense is that there is a huge [low] moral issue there.  Yet like Atlanta, which took its neglect and blight and transformed it into one of the most culturally-hip, LEED, street-scapes in the South--the Nation--Cleveland and other challenged places can do the same.  Just look at what Boston's "Big Dig" did to remedy it's highway severed, blighted downtown--burying highways underground--turning a former concrete jungle into a series of open air parks and pedestrian venues.

The possibilities are only limited by one's own imagination and a willingness to get the job done.


Dyer designed Cleveland City Hall

I wonder who besides architects know that. As Ellison says, City Hall is not one of his best works. Perhaps this is part of the problem since arhctects have to visit the building for design review by the planning commission - toothless when it comes to projects whose proposals are politically greased, but picky, picky, picky on just about everything else. Still the Council Chamber is gorgeous and features a wonderful WPA era mural. Jeff Buster has photos of it somewhere.

From D. H. Ellison's The Group Plan: 

The Cleveland City Hall was challenged to balance the County Courthouse in scale and budget. The result is a rather grim fortress. None of its exterior sculptural decoration has been accomplished, and the interior decoration has remained relatively plain and austere. The two ground floor spaces to either side of the central hall have had their skylights blacked-out and depression-era murals cover the massive lunettes below the central vault. The use of the fluted Doric order in this mis-named, "Rotunda", is static and acoustically painful though academically sufficient. The Council Chamber and Mayors office are welcome exceptions to the otherwise frugal spaces within the building and contain beautifully carved wood paneling and a monumentally scaled mural depicting the wealth of Cleveland. This building is not Milton Dyer's best work. His habit of drinking, womanizing and disappearing for months at a time led the members of his firm to leave and form the firm of Walker and Weeks during the construction of this building.

"The City Hall, Cleveland, Ohio" by J. Milton Dyer, American Architect, July 1917

Download the PDF of The City Hall, Cleveland, Ohio (2.5mb)

Now Medical Mart Properties wants to throw up (excuse the pun) something next door to it on the Mall designed by Daniel Burnham.

"The Mall is a significant part of the Group Plan.  Originally patterned on the "White City" of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, it is conceived of as a "court of honor" and is integral to the realization of the Group Plan."

Including Cleveland City Hall and with a garrisonlike modernist Cuyahoga County Administration Building, is the Mall still a court of honor? Add a flea market of prosthetics and hospital beds? Why not? How about a strip club?

This is one of my favourite places

I love the coastguard station. If I had the money I would turn it into an arts space and live in it. I believe one of the reasons it was abandoned was the lack of utility infrastructure, due to its remoteness...... 

FOr now, since I am broke, I will just satisfy myself with photographing it.



BS Northcoast discussion at Civic Commons

I joined Civic Commons, and knew it was a waste of time...mouthpiece for the puppets in this town. 

What a waste...