3469 Fairmount (1990)


The new Fairmount Gallery occupies most of an old multiple-unit commercial building that has seen a great number of small businesses come and go as the city has grown and changed over the years. The building probably dates from the early 1920s, apparently beginning its existence as two frame houses which were joined and expanded.


Over a period of only a few months in 1989, four adjacent units of the building were taken over by the gallery's owner, Marie Walsh, as the previous tenants vacated. To create her new gallery, Walsh tore out the walls separating the four units and made other extensive structural changes. She had new, matching transoms installed over the front windows, added a new central beam and replaced the beam across the front, lowered the ceilings of the original units to a uniform height, replaced the basement supports for the floors of all the units, and installed new plumbing, wiring, and heating ducts.


All the interior walls are finished with grasscloth wall covering over plywood, and all interior door and window frames are new, constructed of cedar, painted cream.


Reconstruction began as soon as Walsh moved into the first two units to become available, formerly a catering business (at the eastern end) and a dry cleaner, next to it. By the end of January, 1990, she was ready to begin redesigning the exterior front. This was completed in mid March. During all this time, says Walsh, she "never missed a beat," keeping the gallery open for business without a break.


The final stage, now under way, is the upgrading of the rear of the building by replacing the siding and putting in new, colonial-style doors, new steps, and decorative planters.


Most of the design, construction, and decorating work was done by Cleveland Heights firms.