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The Renovation Continues!

On April 11, Joan and I visited the Cozad-Bates house to see how the renovations were going. What an amazing sight! We could hardly recognize the house! Dan Krueger, the project manager for Krueger, Grealis and Associates, the firm that is renovating the house, showed us around. His enthusiasm for the project was very apparent. He proudly showed us what his crew had done so far.

In the basement, new steel beams have been placed and camouflaged with boards that were previously removed so that the house retains its rustic feel. All the brick walls in the basement have been repointed. Where there had been damaged or missing bricks, these were randomly replaced with either new ones or bricks that had been lying around in the basement. It was hard to tell where the brick had been repaired! Dan told us that the archaeologists had found pieces of china, an old suitcase and other items as they excavated the foundation to allow for a drainage system. The floor has been lowered and gravel added so that there is room to pour cement and so that taller people can still walk comfortably in the basement. The scope of the changes that have been made was amazing. And this was just the basement!

On the first floor, the lovely eight or nine foot tall arched doors that adorn the newer, front part of the house were refinished and installed in some doorways. The old, cracked plaster or drywall that had been installed over the years had been removed. The house had been turned into an apartment building of sorts in the mid-1900s, and Dan showed us where walls had been taken down because they had no structural purpose. This opens up the rooms to their original size.

The next time you drive past the Cozad-Bates house, check out the work they’ve been doing on the porch. If you have a few extra minutes, get out of your car and look closer. The porch floor has been replaced and set on a firm foundation of newly poured cement, then topped off with cinder blocks which carry the weight of the whole porch. You are unable to actually see the cinder blocks, because they are hidden by the stone fascia taken from the original foundation. This prevents the old stone from being damaged by the weight of the porch. The posts that hold up the porch roof are new, but sport the original medallions (round decorative pieces) that were removed before demolition and then cleaned up. Rich W., a Master Carpenter on the crew who rebuilt the posts had to recreate some of the medallions because the originals were beyond repair. All the weightbearing boards under the porch roof also have been replaced, but the decorative pieces that originally hung down from that beam were painstakingly removed by Rich W., repaired, refinished and are now being reattached. New spindles for the railing had to be special-ordered because the original ones were too damaged. The stone foundation surrounding the outside of the house has also been repointed.

by Mollie Postonik, Executive Assistant

Cozad-Bates House Roof Completed

Cozad-Bates house with new roof

Cozad-Bates House

Set back on a deep front lawn, the Cozad-Bates House, built in 1853, is one of the finest examples of Italianate architecture and the only pre-Civil War structure still standing in the University Circle area. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, it stands empty, abandoned, neglected for the last 15-20 years.

The Cozad and Ford families owned much of the land that is now known as University Circle. These families were prominent members in the anti-slavery effort when Cleveland was an active station on the Underground Railroad.

The City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission documented that the University Circle area was a major center of Abolitionist and Underground Railroad activity during the three decades preceding the Civil War.

The Cleveland Restoration Society and the City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission have been working to preserve the Cozad-Bates House for years. Restore Cleveland Hope's mission is to preserve and transform Cozad-Bates from a house to a teaching center celebrating Cleveland's Underground Railroad history.

The initial phase of the Cozad-Bates House' multi-phased rehabilitation has been completed. The first step to rehabilitate the home included a critical replacement of its slate roof, guttering systems and construction repairs to the belvedere and chimneys. This four-month long, $200,000 project was completed in August 2010. Funding for this project was made possible by a state capital appropriation of $100,000 and donations by private donors. This project was necessary to stabilize and protect this historic home as we continue to raise funds for its complete rehabilitation.

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