Strongsville’s 185-year-old Strong House at risk of being torn down

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio-- One of the oldest buildings in Strongsville is at risk of being demolished.

The Strong House sits on the corner of Pearl Road and Westwood Drive, and has been there since 1833.

“Our founder John Stoughton Strong all the way back in the early 1800s settled here, and that was their first home that they built and that’s been the same place for all these years,” said Scott Maloney, a Board Member of the Strongsville Historical Society.

The 185-year-old building remains largely unchanged on the outside since it was first built, but the area around it is completely transformed.

“The owner of the property around there has done a real, real nice job of redeveloping our downtown and that needs to be said. Without his help and without his assistance, that entire area there would not have been redeveloped,” said Strongsville Mayor Tom Perciak.

That same developer, Mike Catan, of craft store Pat Catan’s, recently purchased the Strong House. He filed a permit application to demolish the existing structure and potentially build a new parking lot.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Catan told FOX 8 it is not viable to renovate the building and lease it.

“I was very disappointed I practiced in the building for 26 years,” said Robert DeSheilds who rented space in the building for this orthodontics office.

The sign for his business still hangs from the building.

“It got to be home for me in many respects, it’s in good shape,” DeSheilds said.

The city planning commission will decide on the demo application at its next meeting on June 28. Perciak sits on the commission and will be one of the people voting.

“Really just have to analyze the application, and as to what the applicant has asked us to do and why and how,” Perciak said.

Meanwhile, the Strongsville Historical Society said it would like to move the building around the block to its historic village.

“We sprang into motion to figure out, OK, is there something we can do to prevent that from happening? And since we have the room could we move it over to the historical village grounds?" Maloney said.

Maloney leads the historical society preservation efforts and has moved a historical building before. He said it involves digging down under the foundation, then carefully lifting the building onto trucks and slowly driving it to the new location.

Maloney said they are still talking to contractors, but believe the cost of moving the building could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. He is also confident that the community will come together to help them pay for it.

“Strongsville has had a great history of that in the past. We have different causes that come up and all the volunteer groups find ways to raise whatever funds are needed to take on worthy causes,” Maloney said.

Maloney said anyone who is interested in helping with the cause of the Strong House can get in touch with the Strongsville Historical Society through its website.