W. BINGHAM CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The W. BINGHAM CO., one of the Midwest's largest hardware concerns, was founded by WILLIAM BINGHAM and HENRY C. BLOSSOM when they purchased the hardware stock of Clark & Murfey on 1 Apr. 1841 and opened their own store. Located at Superior and Water (W. 9th) streets, the firm expanded its business by erecting a new building near its original location in 1855 and incorporated as the W. Bingham Co. in 1888. In 1915, Bingham discontinued its retail operations and built a new wholesale warehouse at 1278 W. 9th St. Although Bingham expanded its line of goods, its major business always remained hardware supplies, and by the 1940s the firm's trade extended over 12 states. On 15 June 1961, Bingham closed its warehouse, citing the rise of discount stores and trading-stamp premiums as reasons for the firm's low net profits. The closure idled 300 employees in Cleveland and 100 in other cities. Before its closing, however, a group of Bingham officers, headed by Victor E. Peters, acquired the company's industrial division and continued to operate it as a new firm, Bingham, Inc. These changes effectively ended the company's manufacture of tools under the W. Bingham Co. brand, but the new firm operated solely for the distribution of tools and operating supplies for industrial plants, railroads, and mines. Despite these changes, Bingham continued to operate one of the largest distributors of tools and other industrial supplies in the Midwest. In 1970, Bingham was purchased by a group of investors based in New York. In 1973 the company was purchased by Cleveland-based Formweld Products Co. Bingham remained at W. 9th St. until 1980, when it moved to 1068 E. 134th St. In 1994, Bingham moved to 30925 Aurora Rd. in SOLON where it employed 24 Clevelanders and distributed tools to area manufacturers.
In 2001, efforts commenced to redevelop the Bingham Building at 1278 W. 9th St. in Cleveland's WAREHOUSE DISTRICT for a mixed-use development of apartments, parking, and retail space. This adaptive reuse project would preserve the 680,000 sq. ft. historic structure at a cost of approximately $70 million. The building was designed by Cleveland's master architects WALKER AND WEEKS and is a premier example of Cleveland's industrial architecture. The conversion was paid for by a combination of public and private funds, including $41.8 million for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time, this was the largest project financed by the department in the Ohio, and was scheduled for completion in 2004.