The CLEVELAND TRINIDAD PAVING CO., one of the leading asphaltic paving firms, was founded in 1890 by MATTHEW FREDERICK BRAMLEY (1868-1941). Originally natural asphalt was used, a material originating on the island of Trinidad—thus the company's name. Soon afterwards, most asphalt was a petroleum byproduct, and thus Cleveland Trinidad established a plant on Trumbull Ave. (vicinity Broadway and E. 37th), near Standard Oil's works. The company continued to maintain a plant at this location in 1993.
Cleveland Trinidad laid the first asphalt street in Cleveland in the mid-1890s, a stretch of West 78th between Franklin and Detroit avenues. The firm was incorporated in 1898. Matthew Bramley, entrepreneur, Republican leader, and world traveler, remained company president until his death. His son, J. Harold Bramley, served as president until his death in 1957.
By the 1920s, the firm had branches in New York City, Syracuse, NY, Columbus, OH, and Detroit, MI. By the 1960s the company had done numerous large projects in Cleveland, including mall parking lots and the Burke airport runway, in addition to street paving. The company had a brand name of paving, "Trinidex." Since the 1960s, the company had taken some innovative pollution control measures.
Marvin Helf, long established in the real estate business, acquired controlling interest in the firm in 1957 and then served as president. His son, Gary Helf, was president of this privately owned firm in 1993, which then had 150 employees.