CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CITY BLUE PRINTING CO.

CITY BLUE PRINTING CO.

 

The CITY BLUE PRINTING CO., a total reproduction printing firm, was founded in 1895 by John G. Sharp and John F. Schwanfelder and ownership continued to remain in the Sharp family through the 1990s. The company began when John F. Schwanfelder (1851-1913) and two employees set up shop as a manufacturer and importer of blueprint papers at 451 Pearl Rd. By 1902 the business moved to the Williamson Bldg. on Euclid Ave. at Public Square and the following year it was incorporated as the City Blue Printing Co. The business expanded to the Swetland Bldg. at 1010 Euclid in 1919. By 1909 John G. Sharp had become manager of the company and was succeeded by his son Trevelyan (1893?-1965) in 1920. By 1922, the firm offered commercial blueprinting, photographic reproductions, duplicate tracings, drawing materials, and a messenger service from its locations at 1900 and 4300 Euclid Ave, as well as, from its plant at the Swetland Building. By 1930, the firm added a 4th branch in the Terminal Tower and by 1947 employed 180 people. In 1968, City Blue consolidated its operations by moving its main plant to 1937 Prospect Ave. and closing its branch at 4300 Euclid Ave. Although the company continued to update its equipment, by 1980 it claimed to be one of the few firms in the U.S. that continued to make "the original blue prints."

J. Gordon Sharp (1925-1996), who had lost his arm in a car accident in 1950, took over the operation from his father in 1965 and established a policy that encouraged hiring disabled workers. In 1975, the City Blue Printing Co. received national recognition from the Presidential Committee on Employment of the Handicapped for these efforts by winning an Employer of the Year Award. In 1991, J. Gordon Sharp went into semi-retirement and was replaced by his daughter Bonnie Bonfoey Sharp. By 1995, the company employed a total of 60 workers at its main plant on Prospect Ave. and its secondary one at 23322 Mercantile Rd.