Van Roy Building
2900 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Built in 1895, classic example of a Romanesque Revival industrial structure using post and beam construction. Complete window restoration for historic structure.
On the northern edge of Cleveland’s Ohio City. Adjacent to the Federal Knitting Mills Building.
For the past 108 years, the Van Rooy Coffee building has had a continuous industrial use that reflects Cleveland’s diverse industrial base. From 1895 to 1926 it housed the Cleveland Steel Range Company later known as Imperial Steel Range (manufacturer of steel ranges), from 1929 to 1935 Thompson Products later known as TRW (manufacturer of pistons for automobiles and airplane engine valves), and from 1935 until March 2003, the Van Rooy Coffee Company (coffee and spice processors). The building is a significant example of a Romanesque style industrial building.
In 1895 the Cleveland Steel Range Company moved to this newly completed factory building on the northwest corner of Detroit and State (now West 29th Street). This part of Detroit Avenue had been lined with single-family residences located near the Irish immigrant neighborhood known as the Angle. The commercial and industrial development occurred here without a direct link to the railroad. This is a significant indication of the rapid expansion of the City during this period. After the opening of the Superior Viaduct in 1876 and the trolley line along the street, it became increasingly commercial. Industrial and retail businesses replaced housing throughout this area with the rapid expansion of Cleveland’s industrial base.
From 1929 to 1935, the building was occupied by Thompson Products (now TRW, Inc), which manufactured automotive pistons and airplane engine valves. Cleveland was the nation’s second largest automotive manufacturing city prior to the Depression. The city was also a major supplier of automotive parts and supplier of parts for the aerospace industry. Thompson Products had been founded in 1901 as Cleveland Cap Screw, manufacturer of cap screws, on Clarkwood Street on the east side of Cleveland. Cleveland Cap Screw was purchased by Alexander Winton, automobile manufacturer, in 1905 and converted to manufacturing automotive valve stems. In 1908 the company became the Electric Welding Company and grew with the developing automobile industry. The company became Thompson Products in 1915 with 600 employees and was the nation’s leading maker of valves. During World War I, the company began to manufacture airplane engine valves and pistons. Company sales climbed from $6.7 million in 1919 to $23.1 million in 1929.
Thompson Products contributed to expanding Cleveland’s role in the aircraft industry. The Company’s manufacturing facility at 2900 Detroit Avenue was the only location that manufactured the pistons for the Ford Motor Company’s Tri-Motor Airplane.
The Van Rooy Coffee Company
Thompson Products Company sold the building to The Van Rooy Coffee Company in 1935. The Van Rooy Coffee Company remained at this location until March 2003, when it relocated to a single story industrial building outside of Cleveland. Van Rooy Coffee was founded in 1930 by salesmen Anthony Van Rooy, Walter Kreinheder, Bret Pine, Owen Kelley, Sr., Jake Rose, and John Schanz from the Widler Company (wholesale grocers) on Bolivar Road. In the 1940’s the Van Rooy Coffee Company decided to use Van Roy as a product name and slowly phased out the double O from their product lines. The official company name has remained The Van Rooy Coffee Company. They believed that their name recognition would be better with the single O. This also allowed for more room for graphics, which made the product more visible.
The Van Rooy Coffee Company has provided coffee, teas and spices without interruption to the Cleveland area since its inception in 1930. They are a wholesale producer, retail distributor and coffee service company. Van Rooy Coffee sold their products to the Pittsburgh Steamship Lines (with over 100 ships on the Great Lakes), The May Company, and the Standard Drug Store chain. Further, Van Rooy distributed coffee, teas and spices to local grocery stores. They continue to provide coffee services to area restaurants and hotels with specialty blends such as the hotel blend and mocha java blends.
In 2003 The Chesler Group, Inc (TCG) purchased the building to convert into commercial office space.
Sold in 2015.
In Your Space – Mental-health agency revives old Van Roy Coffee building
– The Plain Dealer
Changes Brewing for Van Roy Building
– Crains Cleveland Business