The Tower Press building is located at 1900 Superior Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. It was built in 1907 and was designed for the H. Black and Company, a noted clothing manufacturer. The building occupies the entire block on the south side of Superior between East 19th and East 21st in Downtown Cleveland.
The Tower Press building boasted extraordinary design during the Industrial Revolution. Robert D. Kohn, the architect, supplied a superior example of Spanish Colonial Revival style illustrating the Progressive era. Kohn and Black worked together to create a factory that provided attractive and healthful surrounding for the workers.
A two story central wing connects to two three-story wings making a “U.” Facade articulated by brick piers with wide segmental arches. Two windows are contained in each bay on the second and third story. Attached in the rear is a tower that is square at the base and rises to become octagonal at the upper stage. The building style was outstanding for the times and therefore has been designated as a Cleveland Landmark.
Other noted features include: the similarity of the wall treatments on all sides of the building and the decorative tile and stucco panels. Above both Superior Avenue doorways “The H. Black Co.” appears in tile. The building is made up of skeleton reinforced concrete construction with brick exterior walls and Sawtooth Skylights light the big workrooms from above.
Architectural writers have stated that the factory was built with the declared intention of creating pleasant surroundings for workers, providing not only proper ventilation and lighting, but a new artistic treatment. Instead of the usual fancy brick on the façade and common brick in the back, common brick was used throughout, laid carefully with rake dark purple joints and the unusual water tower was made decorative with stucco panels.
When the building was constructed in 1907, the immediate neighborhood primarily consisted of frame houses. The lots along Superior were, for the most part, unbuilt, except for St. Peter’s Catholic Church at East 17th Street.
By the late 1930’s commercial buildings lined Superior in this neighborhood, which was becoming the city’s new garment district. The side streets contained homes and apartment buildings. In this same block were the Cuyahoga County Criminal Courts Building and the Police Department Headquarters/ Central Police Station.
The H. Black Building was renamed the Evangelical Building in 1928 and housed ” the publication interests of one of Americas widespread religious denominations.” The churches general offices were located in this building until 1940 making Cleveland “the most significant center in the life of the Evangelical Church,” for 75 years.
From the 1940’s to the 1970’s the building had multiple tenants and various companies occupied the building. However, by 1987 the building had become vacant and remained empty for 15 years.
David Perkowski is proud to bring this structure back to life, providing unique live/ work loft spaces in the spirit the building was originally designed.