The Cleveland Restoration Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

We are so grateful for all our members, supporters and partners along the way who have made these past 50 years possible!

Help us celebrate Cleveland Restoration Society’s 50th anniversary.

1. Donate to our Annual Fund in honor of our 50th anniversary

2. Share your favorite historic building or memory, or send us your happy anniversary wishes!

3. Invite a friend to become a Cleveland Restoration Society member

Years of Cleveland Restoration Society History
1972Maxine Levin, Olive Deany Tabor, and Dr. Thomas Campbell met for lunch to discuss the imminent demolition of the Mechanics Block, and fate of other historic buildings in downtown Cleveland. The Downtown Restoration Society was formed in November of 1972. There were thirty-four charter members, and Maxine Levin was elected as the organization’s president.
1975The name of the organization was officially changed to the Cleveland Restoration Society, Inc.
1976The first Facade newsletter was published
1986The organization began to promote the preservation of the Society for Savings bank on Public Square, designed by Burnham & Root and threatened with demolition. The end result was a signed Memorandum of Agreement (1988) that detailed how the historic properties were to be handled.
1987A three-year grant from the George Gund Foundation allowed Cleveland Restoration Society to hire Kathleen Crowther as Executive Director.
1987The Allen Theatre Redevelopment Coalition is formed, to encourage the preservation and continued reuse of the theatre, and a public forum held in December to discuss the fate of the building, sponsored by Cleveland Restoration Society. In 1993, the Allen Theatre is officially considered to be saved, when Playhouse Square Foundation and the Bulkley Building Partnership have a lease for the space.
1989Cleveland Restoration Society sponsored a conference on the maintenance and restoration of historic religious properties. This event started the Sacred Landmarks Program.
1992Cleveland Restoration Society’s first neighborhood revitalization program, called the Neighborhood Historic Preservation Program (now known as the Heritage Home Program), was launched in two areas of Cleveland: Ohio City and East Boulevard Historic Districts, after the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded $122,725 to Cleveland Restoration Society for the initiative.
1996Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in Tremont became the first religious property to be illuminated through Cleveland Restoration Society’s Steeple Lighting Program.  The program is funded through the Reinhold W. Erickson Fund of The Cleveland Foundation.  Cleveland Restoration Society has illuminated a total of twenty steeples, towers, and domes of Cleveland sacred landmarks since it began.
1996-1998Dr. Maxine Goodman Levin announced plans to donate the Sarah Benedict House on Prospect Avenue, along with $350,000 for its restoration, to Cleveland Restoration Society, provided the organization can raise an equal amount for the same purpose within twelve months. Two years later, staff moved into the Sarah Benedict House.
2000-2003After negotiating an exchange for land to the west of the Sarah Benedict House, Cleveland Restoration Society began the process of creating and implementing a grand public garden. In 2003, the Sarah Benedict House Volunteers’ Garden was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
2007Working in partnership with Restore Cleveland Hope and University Circle Inc., Cleveland Restoration Society saved the Cozad-Bates house from demolition.
2012Cleveland Restoration Society’s 40th Anniversary project “Know Our Heritage: The African American Experience in Cleveland” is launched. This initiative became the foundation for the organization’s African American cultural heritage work.
2015Cleveland Restoration Society receives a Revolving Fund grant from the 1772 Foundation. This grant helps to form the Historic Properties Program that has since tackled projects like the Colston House, Scofield Mansion, Winslow Road house, and the Dall-Mays Houses.
2019Cleveland Restoration Society publishes its first-ever book, The Making of Cleveland’s Black Suburb in the City: Lee-Seville & Lee-Harvard. This book is the culmination of years of work in the neighborhood including historic designations, oral histories and community programs.
2021Cleveland Restoration Society receives a $500,000 grant from the National Parks Service for exterior masonry and terra cotta restoration at Cory United Methodist Church, and unveils an Ohio Historic Marker at the church. This is the first marker along Cleveland’s Civil Rights Trail, the only such trail of its kind in the north.