300 Central Viaduct - help write the ultimate Cleveland story

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 03/19/2006 - 03:41.


There is no doubt the 300 Central Viaduct building is a historic landmark, in an historically significant setting, all of which must be preserved and developed for the enjoyment of future generations. That ODOT proposes to obliterate all this and ruin everything in the environs is absurd. Local politicians, business leaders, planners, architects, historians, and intellectuals and enlightened people and the PD editors must rethink this unforgivable mistake.


The Central Viaduct is a legendary spot, where sprawling Cleveland first reached out to the southwest, in the 1880s. From here, there was a once a steel and stone span to a place in space 100' above the Cuyahoga where the bridge was out, and a street car plunged down, killing 17, on the night of 16 Nov. 1895. Even the short-sighted urban-butchers who planned the current I-90 span over the Cuyahoga River had the sense to avoid the sacred space of this tragedy, and the ramparts of Cleveland's second viaduct.

Perched at the remaining foundations of this historic site, the main feature is a very American, very prosperous-turn-of-the-century-Cleveland, very is a handsome and massive 1884 brick and stone warehouse that is positioned next to the foundations of the second viaduct built in Cleveland, the Central Viaduct, giving the warehouse access from the Viaduct at an upper level in the front, and at ground level in the back and side below - the total hight is 5-6 floors and area probably exceeds 100,000 square feet.


The bulding appears historically intact, save for minor modernization. The building has probably been in constant hard use since the day it was completed - since as long as anyone in Cleveland remembers, this has been the Gillota Inc. Building, used for an oil refining and distribution business. The Gillota's are well respected in the region and their industry. Their properties seem well kept, and include extensive land in addition to the historic landmark building.

In fact, their land on the historic Central Viaduct features a second historic landmark next to 300 Central Viaduct - a vintage gas station of unique character, especially in the context of location and the importance of refining to the prosperity of the immediate region. It is important this building be preserved as well.

It is fortunate that across from the Gillota property is an historic fire station that is being restored into the Western Reserve Historical Society Fire Museum - this facility is spectacular and the plans for the museum offer great value to the site... the historic Central Viaduct. 

 Community activism and social consciousness are starting to make a mark in NEO. Ed Hauser saved Whiskey Island, and community activism is engaged in determining the destiny of the historic Coast Guard Station, so long neglected by private owners and the City of Cleveland. The next place for activism and good urban planning to meet is on the Central Viaduct. Developments will post here.

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