The 200-year history of HGR’s site: From farm to wartime plant to GM plant to HGR Industrial Surplus

Nickel Plate Road

(Photo courtesy of Belt Magazine (http://beltmag.com/train-dreams/)

In anticipation of HGR’s Oct. 1 dedication of its recently purchased building as “Nickel Plate Station,” we wanted to take you on a walk down memory lane to the history of the site from the 1800s to the present day.

Logan Family Farm

  • In the 1800s, the Logan Family farmed 68 acres of land along Euclid Avenue in the Village of Euclid then sold the land to a realty company in 1912.
  • 1912-1926: The realty company and the Village fought over the land’s usage as commercial versus residential, respectively. In 1926, the Supreme Court found in favor of the Village as the landmark case that enabled fledgling zoning laws.
  • 1942-1945: In spite of the residential ruling, The Defense Plant Corporation, part of the U.S. government, built then leased a wartime plant to Cleveland Pneumatic Aerol to manufacture landing gear and rocket shells for the WWII effort.
  • 1945: The war ended, and the land became vacant.
  • 1946: The structure housed Cleveland Ordinance District offices, surplus goods and federal government offices.
  • 1947: Ferguson Tractor bought the property with the intent to create a tractor factory, but that plan never came to fruition; so, the land was sold to The Fisher Body Division of General Motors.
  • 1948: Fisher Body began manufacturing bodies for delivery trucks and Chevy and Oldsmobile station wagons then transporting them for assembly via a rail loading bay inside the building that was a stopping point for The Nickel Plate Road, a rail line that connected New York, Chicago and St. Louis since 1881.

Body Manufacture

  • 1958: 100,000 units were produced by 2,900 employees, including bodies for the El Camino.
  • 1960: Bodies for convertibles were added to the line.
  • 1965: The Euclid plant became the sole producer for two muscle cars, the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera.
  • 1970: The cost of manufacturing auto bodies and transporting them to final assembly plants became too expensive. GM stopped production and retooled the plant into a sewing center to make interior trim and upholstery.
  • 1970-1980: Labor disputes and strikes took place.
  • 1972: The plant began to make 100,000 units of GM’s first airbag system for high-end 1974-1976 cars, but stopped when only 10,000 were sold in three years.
  • 1982: GM planned to close the plant but UAW workers nationwide negotiated concessions to save the plant, where it continued to make seat covers, door panels, sun shades and other interior parts.
  • 1986: The plant received a contract to make boat seats and cushions for Sea Ray Boats.
  • 1993: GM closed the plant.
  • 1996: GM sold the property to a development company.
  • 1998: HGR Industrial Surplus moved into a portion of the building to realize the owner’s vision of an ongoing industrial garage sale.
  • 2014: HGR purchased the entire 900,000-square-foot building and property and began improvements.
  • Oct. 1, 2015: HGR officially dedicates the property and facility, including tenant space, as “Nickel Plate Station.”

HGR Entrance

 

What’s in the future for HGR, Nickel Plate Station and the City of Euclid? Stay tuned!

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