Preservation Merit Award to Emeritus House / Phillis Wheatley Association,
Famicos Foundation, Marous Brothers Construction, and Robert P. Madison International,
Incorporated for the rehabilitation of the 1929 Phillis Wheatley Association Building at
4450 Cedar Ave.in Cleveland.
Founded in 1911 to provide a wholesome atmosphere for single working women, the Phillis Wheatley
Association was the principal African American social agency in Cleveland for many years, and in
1972 became a home for the elderly. The nine-story building, designed by Hubbell and
Benes—architects of the Cleveland Museum of Art, West Side Market, and other landmarks–was built
in the 1920s, funded in part by a gift from John D. Rockefeller. For many years, Emeritus House
and the Phillis Wheatley Association have teamed up to provide affordable housing, counseling, and
social services to the community. Recently, these two not-for-profits formed a partnership with
the Famicos Foundation, one of Cleveland’s most successful Community Development Corporations, to
update the building by replacing efficiency units with 56 more spacious one-bedroom apartments.
The financing combined affordable housing tax credits, historic preservation tax credits, and other
tools. Marous Brothers Construction provided preservation consulting and general contracting
services. The project team obtained a copy of the original Hubbell and Benes drawings and
specifications, which proved invaluable in restoring the building’s original character. The project included restoring the lobby by installing
new lighting similar to the original fixtures; repairing a stained glass window; refinishing
marble and terrazzo floors, brass handrails, and wooden built-ins; rebuilding the registration
desk; preserving a mural in the cafeteria; and converting vintage phone booths into an emergency
command center for the fire department.
to return to the list of 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.
for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.