Saturday, March 2, 2013

Where Joe Shuster walked (and slept, and drew)

After a talk I gave in Washington DC in November 2011, a woman named Janice Newman came up to me to say that her father had a dental office in the Cleveland building where, in the 1940s, Joe Shuster had his art studio.

I already had a few photos of that building. Naturally I asked if she had more. But who has photos of where his/her dad worked, especially if we’re talking decades ago?

Well, Janice didn’t, but her mom, Renee Siegel (no relation to Jerry) did. Only one (taken in 1984 because the building was going to be razed), and a rather limited view, but still…that could have been the entrance Joe used.

Also, my friend Brad Ricca (author of the upcoming Siegel and Shuster bio Super Boys) dug up another pic of Joe’s apartment building. It made the front page of the newspaper in 1955, and for a reason most unlikely (not to mention tragic).

Who knows how many more photos of these buildings are out there, waiting to be revealed?

In 2009, the city and the fans commemorated the former site of Joe
’s apartment building (demolished in 1975) with a fence displaying a blown-up version of the first Superman story.


Though I was not directly involved, I did encourage the decision-makers to incorporate at least one of the two known existing photos of Joe’s apartment building into the memorial. I like what was done, but I must admit (and told them) that I was disappointed they did not take that suggestion. When I make mecca to such a site, I’d prefer to see something rare—something that immerses you in the past—rather than something I can see online. My disappointment lingers but ultimately, I’m thrilled that Joe’s place gets the super treatment. 

Jerry’s does, too:

Caped Wonder

7/4/13 addendum: I was glad to receive the following correction from a gentleman named Eric Bravo, who gave me permission to post it:

My late grandfather, Sam Berkowitz, was also born in 1914 and attended Alexander Hamilton Jr. High with Joe. Im writing to point out a small mistake when listing the location of the art studio and office Jerry and Joe used on Euclid Avenue. While the location is always described as on Euclid between E. 101st and E. 105th Street, this is wrong. Brad Riccas book Super Boys notes the studios address to be 10609 Euclid, meaning that as addresses on Euclid increase go east, the studio was east of E. 105th Street, between E. 105th and E. 107th Streets. This is supported by the fact that the pictures noting the studios building, or a portion of it, all show a Euclid address at the bottom beginning with 105 or 106, followed by two digits. Finally, some of the pictures show a tall building at the extreme right, and this building, which still stands, is at the corner of Euclid and E. 107th. The mistake is common, and even appears at the map you show, created by others, which has the dot for the studio on Euclid to the left of E. 105th, when it should be just to the right of it.

1 comment:

Brad Ricca said...

Great photo of the office building. So cool that people just come out of the blue with these photos and facts. I've linked to it at my site, along with an ad. Thanks for the mention.