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Architecture, Ohio City

Former home of RAM Electronics to get a facelift

by John Kinsley

(Plain Press, May 2017)       One of the “thinnest” buildings on West 25th Street, home most recently to RAM, is about to get a face lift.

The three-story building at 1898 W. 25th St. was designed in 1892 by architect Bernard Van Develde, who had designed other buildings in the last part of the 19th century for the Roman Catholic diocese in Cleveland.

Doug Perkowski, the owner of West 25 Street Lofts, purchased the building Nov. 15th from Joseph Danon.  Perkowski owns several other buildings on West 25th, including the Merrell Building, the Metzner Building, and the Soho Building.

For a long time, Perkowski said, he wanted to buy the building which housed RAM Electronics, and once the company exited the area, he was-able-to do so, officially purchasing the rights to the building in November. The project is not complete quite yet, Perkowski said, but it is in the beginning stages.

“We’ve already made a drawing for the design on the front of the building, which will be renovated,” Perkowski said.

Indeed, tentative plans call for the first floor to include a new aluminum storefront, restoration of existing leaded glass windows, and a new prefinished aluminum knee-wall, although a second option would use painted wood knee-wall– otherwise known as a small wall used to support the rafters in construction.

The second floor will keep the existing windows and trim and include a new projecting bay window and a new recessed painted wood trim.

Perkowski said that tenants in the building would likely be retail or dining.

“Ohio City is very popular, and this location will make an ideal retail or dining spot in the area,” Perkowski said. “I am looking forward to when the day of construction comes on this site.”

In 1881, the parcel was part of the Lord and Barber development on the West Side of Cleveland, and it was named after Richard Lord, the founder of Ohio City, and Josiah Barber, the first mayor of Ohio City.

The history of the building is fascinating; Originally, the commercial building was owned by John Goetz. Goetz himself was a milliner or hat merchant, according to architectural historian Craig Bobby.

Two 1914 ads in the Plain Dealer for Summer Millinery and Spring Millinery advertise the hats John Goetz had for sale, says Bobby. His business was store for women to buy hats, including trimmed or untrimmed hats and what the store referred to as “the latest novelties” of the time.

Around 1920, the place was located next to a dime store called S.S. Kresge, a dime store that evolved into K-Mart. Just a short distance south, another dime store, Woolworth’s, was open in the late 1970s.

Around 1942 during World War II, it became a clothing store known as Neuman Sanford A. Dresses, but around 1951, the structure became vacant. This continued well into the 1960s’.

Around 1978, the area became D & K Stores. This store was a part of the ceramic industry, making material out of clay such as pottery, furnaces, and porcelains. However, around 1997 the space became vacant once again.

Later, RAM Electronics World, owned by Rick Neiditz, moved into the building. The store sold used electronic products such as TVs, Stereos, VCRs, camcorders. It also sold parts, supplies and accessories and made repairs as well. Neiditz, who also owned an east side electronics business, moved the remaining inventory to that location prior to closing the W. 25th Street store last year.

The building was previously owned and managed by Alan M. Krause as early as August 2nd, 1963. Krause himself transferred the building to a different owner, Ronald J. Roth, on October 8th before reclaiming the property on January 29th, 1968. On May 27th, 1988, Krause transferred the property once again, this time to Joseph Danon, the last owner until Perkowski purchased the building.

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