Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Some of you out there are familiar with the Ohio City Home Tour events that went on yearly for many years in Ohio City.  These events were most likely the largest source of historic mis-information regarding Ohio City that ever existed.  There is hence going to be an entire "series" of posts here whose intent will be (of course!) to expose the "folly" of  these many wild -- and sometimes absurd -- falsehoods regarding some of Ohio City's historic structures.  They will appear here in no particular "order".

The 1999 Tour included the house at 4721 Franklin.  When a tour-goer got to that house, you were handed a separate sheet with additional information.  Within this were a few comments about the apartment building immediately to the west.  Included was a statement that the apartment building was constructed for Henry Brooks, who had been the owner and occupant of 4721 Franklin.  It further stated that the apartment building had been constructed in 1915.  Neither of these statements are factual.  It had been constructed in 1906 for a man named James Aitchison, who lived in a house directly behind it on West 48th.  In fact, it had been originally known as the Aitchison Apartments.  Henry Brooks had nothing whatsoever to do with the construction of this building.  The building appears on 1911 and 1912 Sanborn fire insurance maps and on the 1912 Plat Book for that part of the city, all of which can be viewed at Cleveland Public Library and elsewhere. Claiming this building wasn't constructed until 1915 only demonstrates how no attempts were made to look at historic maps like these which showed the buildings.  Claiming that the building was constructed for Henry Brooks only demonstrates how no attempts were made to look at historic property records, available at the County Archives (located only a handful of blocks from here).

Additionally, ads appeared in the local newspapers as soon as these apartments were ready for occupancy.  Many showed an illustration of the building, but at least one used an actual photograph.
Note the crenelation at the top of the bay at the corner of the two streets.  This has since been removed.  Also note the house directly behind the Aitchison -- the residence of its owner, James Aitchison -- removed to create parking for the apartment residents (!).

-- C. B.

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