Police Buildings: Eleventh Precinct, 1963 E. 105th Street, 1893-1961

The 11th Precinct was established in early 1889 and rooms were rented on the second floor in Ubersax’s Block, 10543 Euclid Avenue near Fairmount (now East 107th) Street.  The territory extended from Madison (now East 79th) Avenue to Wade Park and from St. Clair to Garden (now Central) Street.  The space was described by a reporter in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “to reach it you ascend a long flight of stairs, grope about a dark entry, knock your head  against a sign board on which is written in pencil ‘Police Station,’ open the wrong door and kick in the right one.  Inside is a cook stove, a desk, a telephone which will not work and three chairs.”  There was no cell for prisoners so arresting officers had to walk their prisoners to the Fourth Precinct that was located on Euclid Avenue at Wilson Street, some 50 plus blocks away.

1898 Cuyahoga County Atlas
1927-1937 Cuyahoga County plat map

In February of 1892 City Council authorized Colonel John W. Gibbons, Director of Police, to prepare plans for a new 11th Precinct Building on Doan Street (East 105th).  Architect C. Frank Cramer created a two-story brick building with a basement.  In June of 1893 contracts were approved for Francis Campbell to begin construction with Van Doren Iron Company providing the steel and iron work.  The 36′ x 36′ main building included a boiler room and “space for general purposes” in the basement. The first floor contained the lavatory, quarters for the Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captain.  On the second floor was an armory, kitchen and mess hall for the patrolmen, 23 spacious lockers, bathrooms and other conveniences.  The jail, an annex at the rear of the building, was 24′ x 36′ and had twelve cells.

Eleventh Precinct, 1898

Eleventh Precinct, 1920s
Plain Dealer, Dec 27, 1960

The building was completed in December of 1893 was described as being “modern in every detail.”  It was opened to the public on December 22, 1893.  The space soon became cramped with the addition of the East Side Traffic Unit and a horse barn constructed between the Precinct Station and Firehouse 8 that housed Patrol Station 11.  This barn later became the home of Troop B of the Police Mounted Unit.  

In 1907 the very first “auto patrol wagon” purchased by the city was installed in the barn next to the Eleventh Precinct Station.  According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “It will not be used in this precinct alone, however, but is to be in service for the entire east end section, including Collinwood after it is annexed.  Director Buckley is in favor of having the first automobile located in this section owing to the fact that the territory to be covered is much greater than in any other portion of the city.”

1938 Ford Patrol Car #534 at the 11th Precinct Barn on East 105th St.
The officers are identified, l-r, as: Patrolman James Fousek #886,
Sgt. Hugh Graham, Patrolmen John Jeric #241, and David Bollinger #981.
Eleventh Precinct, 1930s. Stables on right

Eleventh Precinct, 1940 (Troop B Stables to the right)
Shed in rear of precinct property, 1940

With the extensive reorganization of the Police Department in 1938 by Safety Director Eliot Ness the 11th Precinct building was designated as the Fifth District Headquarters.  The building remained operational until 1960 when it was replaced with a new Fifth District Headquarters located at 10700 Chester Avenue, just north east of the old Precinct Stationhouse.

The new building was dedicated on January 29, 1961 and the keys to the old Precinct were given to Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze to be preserved as souvenirs.  The Board of Control awarded a contract to Harris Wrecking Company on March 2nd, 1961 to raze the building at a cost of $1,230.  The Troop B Mounted Police Barn that was constructed next to the Precinct building was demolished in June of 1963.

Demolition, 1961