Old Stone Church, Interior

Old Stone Church, Interior
The interior of Old Stone Church was destroyed by fire two times since its dedication in 1855. The first fire, occurring less than two years following the church's completion, was attributed to an ill-constructed flue. The hand-cranked water pump used by firefighters was unable to combat the flames. The 228 foot wooden spire - the tallest in the city - collapsed onto Public Square. Nothing was left but a chapel in the rear of the property and the stone work of the main building. Insurance allowed the church to quickly be rebuilt by the structure's original architects, Heard and Porter. The spire would not be replaced until 1868.

The church was destroyed again in 1884 as heat from a fire in the adjoining Wick Building's Park Theater ignited the ceiling of the church and quickly spread throughout the interior. Architect Charles Schweinfurth, best known for his work on Cleveland's Millionaire's Row, was hired to restore the church and reinforce the damaged exterior walls. Schweinfurth's elaborate redesign of the church interior is essentially what can be viewed today. The spire, deemed unsafe and a threat to public safety, was removed in 1896.

Fire would strike Old Stone Church a third time in 1931. Believed to have been caused by a cigarette, flames engulfed the church's basement, recreation rooms, stairwell, and chapel. Fireproof walls installed during the previous restoration prevented the flames from reaching the church or parish house.

Photograph courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
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