In the early years of the Cleveland Police Department, the Third Precinct station house was located on Forest Street (present day East 37th) between Woodland and Orange Streets. According to the Cleveland Daily Herald, the police took possession of the new Third Precinct Station on January 20th, 1869. Sergeant Samuel J. Jones was In Charge and he was to be assigned a “…requisite number of men under his control to run it properly.”
According to the Annual Report of the Acting Police Commissioners on May 5th, 1869 there was one Sergeant and eleven Patrolmen stationed at the Third Precinct as well as talk of building a new, larger station house that would include “one window placed in each of the cells.” But it wasn’t until late 1871 that plans and specifications were drawn up and another year before the new Third Precinct station house was completed and occupied.
In January 1873, the Cleveland Daily Herald reported that the boundaries for the Third Precinct ran “from Erie street, along Euclid avenue to Willson avenue; along Willson avenue to the south line of the Sixth Ward; along the south line of the Sixth Ward to the south line of the Fourth Ward; along the south line of the Fourth Ward to cross street; along Cross to Erie; along Erie to Euclid avenue. The station house, located on Forest Street, between Woodland Avenue and Croton Street, is in dimensions and construction precisely similar to the Second Precinct Station – both buildings having been erected during the last year, and contain all the modern improvements – which experience and careful study of prison constructions could suggest. The land and building are valued at $15,000.”
The Third and Sixth precincts bordered each other, with both having station houses along Woodland Avenue. In 1878, between the two precincts there were “eight hundred arrests, two hundred and fifty-three saloons, eleven houses of ill fame with thirty inmates, ten private bawds, six assignation houses, six receivers of stolen property, thirty suspicious persons. Valuation of property reported stolen, $3890.81; recovered, $12.43.”
Over the following years, improvements to the station continued, including the addition of a street lamp and allowing the patrolmen to eat their lunch in the station house (instead of “various engine houses”). In 1893, the old stone cells were replaced with new iron and steel cells.
In 1926 plans were made to build a new Precinct Station House. The police moved into the new, red brick, one story building on April 21st, 1929. It was located on East 35th Street and ran between Longwood Court and Moses Court. The eight jail cells had been moved there from the old building and were repainted with grey enamel. In the rear of the building was a garage and the locker room. Inspector James W. Hughes was in charge of the Precinct.
In 1940, Safety Director Eliot Ness converted the vacant station house into the department’s sign shop. Ness’s traffic safety initiative’s led to “an emergency demand for room to produce 6,000 stop signs obtained through a WPA commitment made the paint shop necessary, Safety Director Eliot Ness said.” “The WPA project is part of the city’s program to replace the 30,000 obsolete, defaced metal signs with national standards signs bearing reflector button warnings.”