Last Saturday was one of those blustery bald headed days in November, before the first snowflakes fell days. Not the most comfortable to visit the Midwest Railway Preservation Society’s Roundhouse. It’s on W. 3 in the flats about a 1000 feet south of where the road goes under the 490 bridge. My wife persuaded one of the members to give us a tour even though their quarterly open house was still a week away. Out in front of the Roundhouse is a renovated B & O caboose. Guests will be allowed inside it during Saturday’s open house.
The MRPS bought the Roundhouse way back in 1955. Their goal was/is to restore the roundhouse and its turntable someday. Right now one third of it is in stable condition, one third needs major repairs while the remaining third is gone. The turntable which is in need of a motor is also not working. The turntable and the most dilapidated portion of the Roundhouse viewed from the south. In the background is Mittal Steel.
It’s obvious when walking around that there’s a lot of work and money needed for them to reach their goals. Having said that there’s still a lot to see and if you are into machines you’ll be in heaven. Just dress warm, wear solid shoes and bring a $5 donation, Unlike the Caboose parked at the gate this one is in need of some elbow grease. Some of the workers after they had just used a crane to move the iron white walled wheels behind the man in the foreground to a track in the roundhouse. Behind that is a Grand Trunk Western Mikado steam engine that they someday hope to get working again. Standing in front of the Grand Trunk Western Mikado #4070 steam locomotive. A fascinating view of the inside of the boiler. Something I’ve never seen before. Looking inside the the Peanut Special. It was an Amtrak charter train that carried supporters of president-elect Jimmy Carter from Plains, Ga. to Washington, D.C. for his 1977 inauguration. The Cleveland Roundhouse has at least two of the cars from that train.
There’s about 10 to 15 other pieces of rolling stock on the premises in various stages of repair. From diesel engines to 1920’s era dining cars.
A roof vent that was used to vent the exhaust of the steam locomotives.
It’s great that they’ve been at this for so long. I wish them well in in their pursuance of funding. Additionally I hope some day deep pocketed individuals will take the time to rehab the 2 dismantled Hulett ore unloaders on Whiskey Island. Industry is Cleveland’s heritage, why not use it as a tourist attraction?
Of all the things that are different between these two photos, I want to focus on the sandstone building at the end of the street that’s in the first picture. 26 years later you can see that it has been replaced by a three story townhouse.
I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1984 but I don’t know precisely when the old building was torn down. Back in 1987 that was a rough part of the neighborhood that I avoided. Now it’s just the opposite. No longer a forgotten and abandoned part of Cleveland. the area is filled with new townhouses and revitalized storefronts, most notably Lucky’s Cafe which was pimped on the Food network.
I wonder what the old building was used for? My best guess is that it was a store. Religious stuff perhaps?
Presently I only have access to a 1994 aerial photo of this area in Google Earth. The sandstone building is not in that photo. Instead there’s an empty lot. So between sometime after March of 1987 and about 2010 there was an empty lot in front of the famous St. Theodosius church. Incidentally the building is visible in a 1951 aerial photograph available on the Cleveland Public Library site.
More interesting is that you can see the building in the frame grab below. The frame grab is from the 1961 Incident on a Bridge episode of the TV Show Route 66. The segment that this frame was taken was shot roughly in the same spot and facing in the same direction as in the photos above.