There is a building at the southeast corner of Crawford Road and Hough Avenue. It sticks out to some in the same way that something mysterious and special catches your eye. Its architecture is unique to its surroundings. It is vacant, clearly old, but its structure looks sturdy. It is prominent, yet simplistically small in stature. Its posture begs inquiry. Many ask themselves as they pass by, “What is that building over there?”
Located in the heart of the Hough Neighborhood, it has had many names over the many years of its existence, but if you read the sign on the front door right now, it says, “Hough Federal Credit Union, ‘your community credit union.’ ”
Constructed in 1898, it is reminiscent of the Cleveland Bank and Trust Company Building. The original financial institution was known as Hough Avenue Savings and Banking Company, but in May of 1907, the bank became known as the Hough Bank and Trust Company.
The Hough Bank and Trust Co., provided loans, moderate interest rates on savings accounts, safety deposit boxes, and a vault that could hold larger valuable items. The interior of the bank glistened with fine marble, bronze, and mahogany.
As luck would have it, this landmark would become the home of the Hough Federal Credit Union. According to an August 1971 issue of the Cleveland Call & Post Black Newspaper, the “Hough Credit Union was founded by the people of Hough and is operated by them under a Federal Charter granted April 1970.” With some research, you will find that the credit union offered competitive financial products to organizations large and small and individuals alike.
The Hough Federal Credit Union was a member of The Inner City Association of Minority Credit Unions which in 1982 had over 20 different credit unions on the east side of Cleveland within the association. The Hough Federal Credit Union had tons of local support and moved around a bit, but the building at 1753 Crawford Road remains in the heart of the Hough neighborhood surrounded by other historical landmarks such as the African American History Museum with Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center and the Hough Multi-Purpose Center directly across the historied Hough Avenue.
As more and more development blossoms in the Hough neighborhood, the Hough Federal Credit Union building, once a prominent bank turned community-based financial institution, remains a sentinel waiting to be remembered, reconstructed, and repurposed to continue serving the community.
Hough is a neighborhood that has long been known for more than its tumultuous and rich history. Currently, it’s known for its beautiful homes, its leaders, and its proximity to Lake Erie, Downtown Cleveland, University Circle, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, and the Cleveland Clinic. Since 2016, several buildings that could be considered to have significant historical significance and character have been victim to the wrecking ball.
Among those structures lost, are the Alhambra Apartment Building on Wade Park Avenue, and the Luther Moses House on Lexington Avenue.
In a city like Cleveland where every piece of history paves the way for creative revitalization, what more could one of the oldest structures in the neighborhood offer back to the community? According to the Cuyahoga County Auditor, the building is currently owned by the Oak Leadership Institute.
Do you know more about the history of this building or have an idea of what its future could be? Let the Cleveland Observer know, we would love to hear from you!
There is so much more history out there. If you have a question about something in your neighborhood’s past, stop into your local Cleveland Public Library Branch to start!