Cleveland September 10, 2017
19 Staggering Photos Of An Abandoned Warehouse Hiding In Cleveland
In cities like Cleveland, the landscape has changed dramatically over the years. A single building may operate as a dozen different businesses over the course of a century while its neighbor falls deeper into disrepair, eventually being razed to make room for a new addition to the Cleveland skyline. It is not uncommon in big cities for edifices to fall out of use, grow dilapidated, and create a whole new environment within the city limits. This is the story of this one building with a rich local history, and these photos will place you in the crumbling heart of it all.
Welcome to the Joseph and Feiss Clothcraft Shops complex, located at 2149 West 53rd Street.
Once upon a time, immigrants and second generation Americans flocked to this factory for employment opportunities. The company, which was founded in 1841 and eventually began operating under the name of Joseph & Feiss Co. in 1907, moved into the building in 1920.
By 1930, Joseph & Feiss was the oldest garment manufacturer in the nation.
Here, workers produced commodities like the $15 blue serge suit, the "Model T" of the clothing industry.
The site ceased operation in 1998, and it had become a mere shadow of its former self.
Joseph & Feiss was acquired by Hugo Boss AG in 1989, and the new ownership began transferring workers to a Brooklyn plant. After the West 53rd Street plant closed, graffiti began to cling to the brick skeleton like vines, and greenery slowly began to reclaim the land.
The complex entered such a state of disrepair that it became difficult to imagine the groundbreaking era of employee relations that it helped usher in.
In 1909, Richard Feiss became the factory's new manager. He had formerly studied under Frederick Taylor, so he brought with him plans to create a humane work environment and maximize productivity. Not only was the factory filled with comfortable seats and well-lit with ventilated areas, but employee dances, picnics, medical care, and, eventually, five-day work weeks were born out of Richard Feiss' ideas. Many considered the company to be the most progressive in America.
The company was once one of Cleveland's largest employers, yet the complex seemed largely forgotten.
In 2004, the majority of the factory complex was razed. Today, only the office building and warehouse remain.
Nature began to reclaim the complex, shrouding it in a blanket of green.
Different developers have proposed redoing the building for residential purposes, but plans for renovation had fallen through... until 2015, that is.
In 2015, the decrepit edifices and the surrounding acreage were purchased by Menlo Park Academy.
The owners hoped to turn the complex into a charter school for gifted children. In 2016, the state awarded funding to go toward the buildings' renovation. Inspired by a goal of providing an environment that caters to gifted children in low-income communities, volunteers cleaned the grounds and breathed new life into the remaining spaces.
The site will begin its life as a school this year, leaving years of dilapidation and neglect in the past.
Now clean, colorful, and inviting, one would not even imagine that the complex had once been in such a state of neglect.
Fortunately, the history of the complex has remained well-documented... even during its period of decay.
The future of this formerly abandoned complex looks bright.
When a historic building falls into disrepair, it is always a particularly sad moment; however, the legacy of this groundbreaking company is being preserved as a new generation dreams of Cleveland’s future within its walls.
For more abandoned Cleveland, take a look at this eerie