The NORTHERN OHIO FOOD TERMINAL houses a large segment of northern Ohio's wholesale food industry, covering an area of 34 acres from E. 37th to E. 40th streets between Woodland and Orange avenues. Prior to its opening, Cleveland's wholesale food trade occupied scattered quarters along Broadway, Woodland, and Central avenues from E. 6th to E. 9th streets. In 1926 the Northern Ohio Food Terminal Inc. was organized to build a central market supplying locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables, wholesale meats, poultry, and dairy products to the grocery, hotel, and restaurant trade. The Northern Ohio Food Terminal, which modernized Cleveland's handling of perishable foods, opened on 3 June 1929 under the direction of President Charles F. Haas and General Manager Russel Swiler.
The new food terminal consisted of 4 reinforced-concrete buildings, an auction building, and a Growers' Market, opened in 1930, with covered sheds spread over 4 1/ 2 acres. The Nickel Plate Railroad (see NICKEL PLATE ROAD) retained ownership and operation of the terminal's 16-track delivery yard, which handled 18,000 cars annually. In 1954 the terminal was handling 40,000 carloads of food annually valued at $140 million, with more than 100 food merchants employing about 1,500 people. The greatest change in the terminal's operation during its first 25 years was the growth of trucking. In addition to a constant flow of rail cars, more than 20,000 carloads were arriving by truck each year.