House of Wills

Abandoned Funeral Home (The House of Wills)

(well almost)

I’ll explain. 

The structure was built in 1900 as Cleveland Gesangverein Hall. It was designed by Frederick W. Striebinger, architect, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. THE HOUSE OF WILLS, a funeral home established in 1904 as Gee & Wills, was in 1995, one of the oldest and most successful black businesses in Cleveland. Eventually it closed and was abandoned for many years as scrappers and vandals wrecked a large portion of the once beautiful structure. In 2010 it was purchased by Erich Freeman with the intention of restoring it. It is a slow, expensive and difficult venture for one man but Erich seems determined to continue his efforts. I had the privilege of photographing model Daisy Von there recently and her are some of my images.

Below before / after images is the beautiful work Mr. Freeman did to restore the lower level ornate ceilings and walls.  

Johnny Joo image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a reasonable fee Erich will allow me to record your photographs in this very unique historical building.