Police Buildings: Fourth Precinct, 1888 E. 55th, ca. 1896

In January of 1883 the Cleveland Police Department went through a major reorganization, surpassed only by the enactment of the Metropolitan Police Act in 1866.  Precinct boundaries and the numbering system were revised and there was a wholesale re-distribution of police officers.

The new Fourth Precinct evolved from the old Seventh Precinct with the officers housed in rented office space in Hovey’s Block at 1926 Euclid Avenue.  In 1877 these facilities were described as the “East End Police Dungeon” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The article went on to describe the space as unsuitable and inconvenient for the proper transaction of police business.  The building was deemed as unsafe and entirely inadequate for the uses of the department.

Finally, in 1896 a lot was purchased at the corner of Wilson and Perkins Streets.  A rendering was published in the Plain Dealer and the proposed building was described as being of the Norman style architecture and constructed of Berea stone with entrances on Wilson and Perkins.

December 4, 1877 Plain Dealer
April 26, 1896 Plain Dealer

Fourth Precinct, Summer of 1920

Fourth Precinct Station at Willson and Perkins

On December 23, 1896, the police celebrated the opening of a new station house “on the northwest corner of Willson and Perkins avenue. The building is of the Norman style of architecture and will be of Berea stone. The interior arranges will be practically the same as the new stations in the firth and twelfth precincts. The illustration shows by the Willson and the Perkins avenue fronts, but the main front will be on Willson. The lot has been purchased and the building will be speedily completed. When completed it will cost $10,000.” The large crowd at the dedication ceremony toured through the offices, drill rooms and jail cells while enjoying a musical program. 

This building served as the Fourth Precinct for many years before it was one of six vacant precinct stations converted into a Boys Town Recreation center by Safety Director Eliot Ness.  Organized in 1939 to combat juvenile delinquency, Boys Towns provided a variety of services and support centered on crime prevention to boys aged 8-18.  The police still used the original garage space to house Mobile Patrol 592, a “paddy wagon” at least through the early 1980s.

Fourth Precinct, 1940

Fourth Precinct garage, 1940