Police Buildings: 15th Precinct, 18415 Nottingham

In the early 1900s, Cleveland’s boundaries expanded to the east and west, as the city annexed small villages and towns on its outskirts. While some communities like Ohio City resisted annexation, others like Nottingham Village, welcomed the chance to join the bigger city.  Organized in 1873, the village of Nottingham grew up around St. Clair Avenue between modern day E. 185th and E. 200th. Up until 1909, the village officers were housed in rented spaces.

1927-1937 Map of Cuyahoga County

Although the community voted to fund the construction of a new town hall, they did so knowing that annexation was in the future.  Planners designed the new hall so that it could be quickly converted into either a fire or police station.  Construction of the town hall at 18415 Nottingham Rd was completed by 1910, just one year before Cleveland formerly annexed the village.

15th Police Precinct, 18415 Nottingham

For a number of years, the newly annexed community was policed by officers based out of the 13th Precinct at 8003 Superior Avenue, which was over seven miles away.  By 1914, Chief of Police Smith requested both more patrolmen and the establishment of a new precinct to cover the area.  The Plain Dealer explained, “The territory which would be included in the new precinct, which probably would be known as the “fifteenth,” now is patrolled from the fourteenth. Beats in this territory now are so long, due to the small number of men on duty, proper protection is impossible, officials say.” Three years later, the 15th Precinct was officially formed. And “station headquarters for the new precinct will be in the former Nottingham town hall. Possession is to be taken by the city when the present lease expires.”

Police Chief Smith invited all 1500 residents of the former Nottingham Village to the grand opening of the 15th Police Precinct, at 18415 Nottingham.  Other guests include Cleveland Mayor Harry Davis, Director of Public Safety Anton Sprotsy and other city officials, who were entertained by the newly formed police band, “blaring a snappy march tune in their first public appearance.”

September 3, 1918 Plain Dealer

Cleveland Police Band, 1919

Chief Smith noted that the patrolmen assigned to the 15th Precinct will “cover their beats entirely on bicycles until heavy winter weather sets in and then they will be furnished motorcycles. They will report to station at short intervals. There are no patrol boxes in the precinct and as telephones are not available late at night a foot patrolman would be of little use, the chief says.”

15th Police Precinct, 18415 Nottingham in 1940
15th Police Precinct, 18415 Nottingham in 1940

18415 Nottingham served as a police precinct station house until Eliot Ness’s reorganization of the police department in late 1938, when the precincts were replaced with five districts. The city used the building for a variety of purposes over the following years, including as a “suburban bicycle training center” for the Plain Dealer’s Bicycle Light Brigade and a Civilian Defense Report Center  during World War II, under the leadership of Cleveland Police Lieutenant Theodore T. Ryan.  In 1945, the former station house was a collection center for a Victory Paper Campaign, as there was a “current vital need for paper, asserting that material shipped to the Pacific war theater demanded more careful packaging than it did in the European area because of the differences in climate, humidity and distance.”

The former Nottingham town hall and 15th Police Precinct station was demolished sometime between 1951 and 1979.

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