by Amanda Duncan
(Plain Press, June 2011) Many a pedestrian walking along Lorain Avenue at W. 32nd Street has wondered what the story was behind the thin modern structure linking two buildings, one labeled Moriah. Clearly it’s not wide enough to occupy, making it the grounded version of a skyway.
The two buildings on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland’s historic district are owned by the West Side Catholic Center, which also owns the building across W. 32nd street that houses the drop center where people can donate items.
The two buildings weren’t connected until 2009, when the landmarks commission came up with the novel connection to make the space a better fit for the West Side Catholic Center’s programs.
The building that is called Moriah was a two-story wooden structure built in 1912 by architect George H. Steffens. It is known historically as the Miller Block. The 1930’s saw the building used for apartments along with a business known as Associated Charities. In 1940 a man named Joshua P. Conway moved in and lived there until 1971. The building has also been a warehouse.
The building, next to Moriah, has many other occupants as well. The Landmarks Commission website shows that there used to be two different auto shops there, Duke Motor Sales in the 1930s and Triple B Chevrolet Service in the 1940s. Berger Distributing Company was there in the 1950s.
The West Side Catholic Center, made up of several area churches, was established in 1977 to help men, women and children in Cuyahoga County affected by poverty. The center has various annual fundraisers and the help of more than 500 volunteers and 4.400 donors.
The center offers various services, such as hot meals, clothing and household goods, hospitality, emergency services, advocacy, a shelter for women and children, and a housing solutions program. The programs are free to those in need, regardless of their religious affiliation.
The Center is also supported by other emergency services organizations. The West Side Catholic Center offers the connection that people need to get back in the world.
Donations are welcome and can come in various forms from money to food, clothing, household items, even becoming a volunteer.