Historic features of building to be saved before demolition

EAST LIVERPOOL – The final go-ahead was given Thursday for the demolition of the former Sherwin-Williams commercial building at 130 E. Fifth St., but first parts of the historical hidden house inside will be saved.

The city’s Design Review Board voted unanimously in favor of a certificate of appropriateness application filed by Court Partners Inc., requesting approval to demolish the building, which has been vacant for several years.

“They need to get the building down so they can do repairs to their building,” planning Director Bill Cowan advised other members of the board.

Formerly owned by Dale E. Wynn, the building was recently transferred from city ownership to the Community Improvement Corp., then transferred to Court Partners Inc.

It had deteriorated under Wynn’s ownership to the point it caused rain to flow into the Aronson, Fineman & Davis law firm next door, damaging their building.

It needs to be demolished to allow the legal firm to install drains, repair and waterproof its building.

What the empty lot will be used for has not yet been determined, although Mayor Jim Swoger, a member of the DR board, said discussion has centered on possible green space or a parking lot.

Before it is torn down, however, members of the East Liverpool Historical Society will be allowed to go inside and remove whatever it wants of what was once the home of a Dr. Metz, who turned the ground floor of the home into a commercial building sometime between 1902 and 1912, according to information from the East Liverpool Historical Society’s website.

The second floor of the home was kept as it was and served as the residence for the doctor and his sister until their deaths in the mid-1950s.

“It was, in essence, imprisoned within the commercial building,” the website says of the historic home. More information on the hidden house is available at www.eastliverpoolhistoricalsociety.org.

Although demolition was expected to begin Monday on the rear portion of the building, Cowan said Thursday that has been stayed until Feb. 18 to allow the Historical Society to remove whatever it wants from inside the house.

He said society President Timothy Brookes has said the Thompson House museum is in need of windows and possibly other architectural details that are contained in the former Metz house, with both homes from the same era.

City officials had earlier announced that portion of Fifth Street would be closed on Monday and Tuesday to allow for the demolition.