Our walking tours concentrate on downtown but today I head east and explore some of the history in Midtown. Sometimes history is hiding in plain sight. Take for example the building located at 3028 Prospect Ave. Today it is the home of the Rowfant Club.
The Rowfant Club was founded in 1892. They are a bibliophilic society. Their motto is “Light Seeking Light Doth Light Of Light Beguile”. This is a quote from Shakespeare meaning that “those seeking the light of knowledge that books provide will join together in fellowship”. They moved into the building in 1895 and have been there ever since.
But we have to go back further in time to unlock the secrets of 3028 Prospect Ave. See the building was the home of George Merwin. According to Grace Goulder, in her biography on John D. Rockefeller, “John D. Rockefeller: The Cleveland Years”, it had originally been located in the Flats and served as his father’s (Noble Merwin) home and inn. The structure was going to be demolished to make way for for new construction. George salvaged the house brick by brick and rebuilt it “out in the country” (near Prospect Ave and E. 30th St).
But the journey of this structure isn’t over there. See at that time, Prospect ended at E. 30th St (then Sterling St.) and in 1858, it was decided to extend Prospect further east since the city was growing. The home sat in the path to the new road. It would be moved in its entirety to its current location and would be the first brick structure to be moved this way in Cleveland.
History in plain sight. I have driven by the building many times and thought, what a cool old building. But there is so much more. Cleveland’s history is rich and I personally am always learning something new. Fitting that I find this information on the 3028 Prospect in a book since the building is home to the Rowfant Club.
Guided Walking Tours
Tours of Cleveland, LLC offers guided walking tours of downtown Cleveland year round. Explore the history of our city with a guide. Learn more, see our current schedule and book your tour at www.toursofcleveland.com.