Restore the Gatehouse
After the collapse of part of the west wall in March of 2010 it seemed like the only alternative was to demolish the building and call it a day. It took a great deal of advocacy both inside City Hall and other venues from those of us who love Ohio City’s largest green space but our voices were heard.
Mayor Frank Jackson, Councilman Joe Cimperman, Commissioner Richard Silva, Director Michael Cox and so many others have made a dream come true. The city has stepped up to the plate and has committed to restoration not only at Monroe but also at Erie Street Cemetery, Highland Park Cemetery, Woodland Cemetery and other city-owned cemeteries. After many years of deferred maintenance we are now seeing replacement of deteriorated fencing, removal of dead/dying trees, planting of new trees, installation of rubbish cans and section markers, erection of a permanent map of each cemetery near the main entrance as well as restoration of structures rather than removal.
Work on the Monroe Street Gatehouse began in August 2013. The basic idea as developed by Osborn Engineering Company is to deconstruct and then rebuild. In other words take it all down and then put it all back. To that end the building is now gone however all of the stone veneer has been carefully removed and stored on the cemetery property.
The restoration contractor, Envirocom, Inc., a Cleveland area based firm, has carefully removed each piece and inscribed on each piece a code for where that particular piece of stone goes when reconstruction begins. Concrete block walls will be erected against which the stone pieces will be put back. Once rebuilt the building will not be a useful structure since there will be no heat, lights or plumbing, though provisions are being made for future installation on certain utilities.
Details of the building such as windows, doors, decorative metal bands, etc., are supposed to be replicated. The new roof structure is supposed to be finished with real slate roofing. The bell tower that has been missing for so many decades is going to once again lift its spire to the sky.