Northern Ohio Blanket Mill

A blanket made by the Ohio Blanket Mills in a plaid pattern with plaid end bars

p4A ItemID D9937466
A wool blanket by the Northern Ohio Blanket Mills woven in a barred design in red, green and black

p4A ItemID D9704680
A brown plaid blanket from the Northern Ohio Blanket Mills, with solid end borders

p4A ItemID D9682391

Northern Ohio Blanket Mill

From the West Side (Cleveland) Sun:
Northern Ohio Blanket Mill eyed for redevelopment
By Roger A. Vozar
July 03, 2009, 7:23AM

This building, which originally housed the Northern Ohio Blanket Mill, could get new life as a combination of apartments and offices.A factory that was the nation’s largest maker of wool horse blankets and carriage robes could soon be redeveloped into apartments and offices.

The Northern Ohio Blanket Mill, much of which was built in 1889, is located at 3160 W. 33rd St. The city’s Landmarks Commission recently voted to give the site historic landmark status.

That’s a big step toward making the site eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as well as for state historic tax credits. The credits would be sold to help finance renovation of the buildings and grounds, which were purchased in 2008 by Green Apple Limited Liability Corp. for $300,000, according to property records from the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s office.

The owner of Green Apple is Derek Ng. In 2008 he also bought the adjacent Lin Omni Center, 3167 Fulton Road. In 1912, the Lin Omni was the last building built as part of the Northern Ohio Blanket Mill, said preservation consultant Steven McQuillin.

He is part of a redevelopment team managed by Ng which includes developer James Sosan and architect Doug Wahl. Sosan’s projects include the Metro Lofts, 3307 Scranton Road, Detroit Avenue Lofts, 2800 Detroit Ave., and the Franklin Lofts in Ohio City’s former YMCA, 3200 Franklin Blvd.

“It’s a passion of mine,” Sosan said, looking ahead to renovating the Northern Ohio Blanket Mills. “I think it will be a nice project.”

The brick structures, the oldest of which date to 1889, have heavy timber framing. McQuillin said those structures also have some unusual wood truss roofs. The property is zoned for semi-industrial use. The 2020 Citywide Plan proposes the site for mixed-use/live-work units, according to city documents.

Considering the project is still in its early stages, Sosan said he doesn’t know when renovations work may start or what the total project cost would be. However, Ng has started moving tenants out of the three connected buildings totaling 125,000 square feet on the 2-acre site in anticipation of the renovations.

One tenant, Custom Metal Fabricators Inc., has been there since the 1980s. The smallest building on the site could be demolished. It was home to a piano restoration business many years ago but the vacant building may be too deteriorated to save, McQuillin said.

The Northern Ohio Blanket Mill was founded by Herman Beckman Sr. in 1880 on West 33rd, then-called Pleasant Street. However the original structure was destroyed by a fire in February 1888. Four years after the factory was rebuilt, the plant shut down in the nationwide financial Panic of 1893. The New York Times reported on Dec. 15, 1893 that the Northern Ohio Blanket Mill “will resume operations on Jan. 2, 1894 in all its departments, giving employment to 250 men.”

After the start of the 20th century and despite the increasing number of horseless carriages motoring along the nation’s streets, the horse blanket-maker expanded in 1912 toward Fulton by constructing the mills’ largest building. The blanket mills went out of business in 1928, McQuillin said.

The site was used by an industrial laundry company in the 1930s, stayed vacant in the 1940s, was home to a furniture maker in the 1950s, served as an American Greetings Co. warehouse in the 1960s and was the site of a plumbing supply company in the 1970s, he added. May 2010.

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