The W. BINGHAM CO., one of the Midwest's largest hardware concerns,
was founded by WILLIAM BINGHAM and
HENRY C. BLOSSOM when they purchased the hardware stock of
Clark & Murfey on 1 Apr. 1841 and opened their own store. Located at
Superior and Water (W. 9th) streets, the firm expanded its business by erecting
a new building near its original location in 1855 and incorporated as the W.
Bingham Co. in 1888. In 1915, Bingham discontinued its retail operations and
built a new wholesale warehouse at 1278 W. 9th St. Although Bingham expanded its
line of goods, its major business always remained hardware supplies, and by the
1940s the firm's trade extended over 12 states. On 15 June 1961, Bingham closed
its warehouse, citing the rise of discount stores and trading-stamp premiums as
reasons for the firm's low net profits. The closure idled 300 employees in
Cleveland and 100 in other cities. Before its closing, however, a group of
Bingham officers, headed by Victor E. Peters, acquired the company's industrial
division and continued to operate it as a new firm, Bingham, Inc. These changes
effectively ended the company's manufacture of tools under the W. Bingham Co.
brand, but the new firm operated solely for the distribution of tools and
operating supplies for industrial plants, railroads, and mines. Despite these
changes, Bingham continued to operate one of the largest distributors of tools
and other industrial supplies in the Midwest. In 1970, Bingham was purchased by
a group of investors based in New York. In 1973 the company was purchased by
Cleveland-based Formweld Products Co. Bingham remained at W. 9th St.
until 1980, when it moved to 1068 E. 134th St. In 1994, Bingham moved to 30925
Aurora Rd. in SOLON where it employed 24 Clevelanders and distributed tools
to area manufacturers.
In 2001, efforts commenced to redevelop the Bingham Building at 1278 W. 9th
St. in Cleveland's WAREHOUSE DISTRICT for a
mixed-use development of apartments, parking, and retail space. This adaptive
reuse project would preserve the 680,000 sq. ft. historic structure at a cost of
approximately $70 million. The building was designed by Cleveland's master
architects WALKER AND WEEKS and is a
premier example of Cleveland's industrial architecture. The conversion was paid
for by a combination of public and private funds, including $41.8 million for
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time, this was the
largest project financed by the department in the Ohio, and was scheduled for
completion in 2004.