The Lee-Scottsdale Building

The Lee-Scottsdale Building at 3756 Lee Road is one of the oldest buildings in the Lee Road commercial district of Shaker Heights. Over the years, visitors to this four-story Romanesque and Renaissance motiffed building located near Shaker Heights' southern boundary line with Cleveland may have noticed and wondered about the meaning of the non-English words that are prominently carved into the stone entrance way to the building: "Uradoven Prvej Katolickej Slovenskej Zenskej Jednoty." The words, written in the Slovak language, translate in English to "Office of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association," and they identify the organization which erected the building in 1930.

The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association (FCSLA) is one of the oldest still existent ethnic fraternal benefit societies in the United States. It was founded in 1892 by Anna Hurban at St. Ladislas Church, a Slovak Catholic Church located on Holton Avenue in the Buckeye Road neighborhood of Cleveland. Hurban was a Slovak immigrant who had settled in the Slovak ethnic enclave of this southeast side Cleveland neighborhood in the late nineteenth century. The FCSLA was organized to provide insurance benefits to Slovak women who sought financial security from the many environmental risks that faced Slovak immigrants working in and living near the industrial factories that at this time dotted the landscape in Cleveland's Lower Buckeye Road area.

The FCSLA for several decades conducted its business out of the homes of the women who served in the organization's various executive positions. However, in the 1920s, the organization's leadership decided that it was important to the organization's efficiency to establish a central office. In 1929, land was purchased on the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Lee Roads and the architectural firm of Fox, Duthie and Foose was hired to design a headquarters building for the FSCLA. Construction of the building began in 1929 and was completed in 1930.

The building, which included first floor retail shops, an auditorium, and residential units on the upper floors, served as the headquarters of the FCSLA from 1930 until 1968. In that latter year, the organization moved into its new headquarters on Chagrin Boulevard. Since the late1960s, the Lee-Scottsdale building has served a variety of other retail, office and residential uses in Shaker Heights. Interestingly, in the 1970s, the Cleveland Modern Dance Association (now DANCECleveland), which is another long-standing organization managed by and devoted primarily to serving the interests of Cleveland area women, operated its dance studio out of this building at 3756 Lee Road.

The Lee-Scottsdale Building was designated an historic landmark by the Shaker Heights Landmark Commission in 1988.

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