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ENGINEERS BUILDING

The ENGINEERS BUILDING (formally the BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS Bldg.) was the first major office building in the U.S. to be built and owned by a labor union. It was declared a Cleveland landmark in March 1977.

After having operated from rented office space for 35 years, in 1908 the Brotherhood decided to erect a building of its own. The site chosen was the southeast corner of St. Clair Ave. and Ontario St., at that time occupied by a retail block, and earlier by the revival hall of the People's Tabernacle. Impressed with the firm's work on the ROCKEFELLER BLDG. (1905) and the Hippodrome Bldg. (1908), the Brotherhood commissioned the Cleveland partnership of Knox and Elliot to design its new headquarters. Construction began in March 1909, with the A. & S. Willson Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, as general contractor, and the building was completed by May 1910 at a cost of $1.4 million. Designed in the shape of a letter C, every office in the 14-story building boasted a window. The building fronted on St. Clair Ave., and both the frontage and the Ontario facing had a terra cotta finish. The first floor of the building housed a 1,250-seat auditorium.

The building's designation as a landmark did not save it from the wrecking ball. In 1986 its site was included in plans for the SOCIETY CENTER development. Consultants then established that the structure could not be effectively renovated into modern hotel space, and in July 1988 the Brotherhood reluctantly agreed to sell the property to the Jacobs Brothers for $15 million. A demolition permit was granted by the city, and the building began to come down in March 1989. Its site is now occupied by the Marriott Society Center Hotel.