In Cleveland, on the tip of the peninsula known as Whiskey Island, lies a lakefront landmark, and the abandoned Ohio Coast Guard Station #219. The Station, which sits on the mouth of the Cuyahoga River opened for business in 1940. It was an outpost for typical search-and-rescue and law-enforcement activities. The building casts the traditional components of a lighthouse-the tower, the boat facilities, all in a art-deco mold. The station went vacant in 1972, when Coast Guard operations moved to the East 9th street pier. According to Coast Guard officials, they moved operations for three reasons: poor access to the island, no connection to municipal sewage treatment facilities, and the fact that water lines ran through exposed pipes along the side of the pier. If they turned the water off in the winter, the pipes would freeze.
Twelve years later, in 1984, the empty building went up for auction. The winning bid was for 400,000 by a real estate re-development company, Jacobs Investments. Jacobs initially re-tooled and renovated the station as a restaurant and nightclub. Since the station sits at the end of a federally owned pier and on the tip of privately owned land, customers arrived at the club by water taxi. The remoteness was part of its charm, but also its downfall. It was removed from the foot traffic and excitement of the other clubs, and not enough people were willing to take the ferry trip. The water and sewer issues also remained unsolved. The Island, as the club was called, close after just one season. Since then the place has taken a turn for the worst. The buildings roof has caved in, windows are broken out, swallows fly through and so does snow, rain, and everything else that the Cleveland lakeshore has to offer. There are talks of making the station into a park-related facility, but as of right now it still just sits there, beautifully decayed.
In August of 2003 we made the trip to Whiskey Island, after a few wrong turns (Whiskey Island can be confusing) we were able to spot the abandoned station from afar. We had to park our car by a public area and find a path that would lead us there. It was quite simple, there was a path that went right next to the river and it took us straight to the chained fence guarding the entrance to the station. The chain was not on the fence very tight, and we were able to push the gate open a little and squeeze through the opening. The station was completely visible from the gate and after a short walk on the pier we were right where we wanted to be. The building was in great despair. It was very dangerous to even consider going to the second floor. There were many caved in rooms, junk and debris scattered everywhere, bird droppings, bugs, everything you can imagine being inside a building right on a river left to rot. We walked around casually for about 40 minutes taking photographs. On the walk back, after we had squeezed through fence again, a steady stream of boaters started coming down the river. One boat that came along was a police boat and they didn't even seem to notice us or maybe they just didn't care. On another note, the station has a wonderful view of downtown Cleveland, probably one of the best.