Since opening in 1921 in Northside, the American Can Lofts
building has seen many tenants. It operated as the American Can Company until 1963, then it was the home of Cleveland Machine Company. It was largely vacant for 30 years, but a number of industrial artists had studios there in the 1990s and bands used it for practice space.
Now it’s home to loft apartments, Ruth’s Parkside Café
and a design firm, and Mary Kroner and David Tape, the owners of Ruth’s, have been plotting a way to pay homage to the building’s past
“Our customers are always interested in the building’s history,” Kroner says. “We’ve had so many people tell us about a relative who worked here or that they themselves did.”
Kroner and Tape want to hear those stories, so from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 27 they’re hosting the American Can Factory Reunion. They’ve been given photos and other mementos from people and plan to share what information they know during a short presentation.
After that, Kroner says the floor will be open to anyone who has a story to tell about the building.
“So far we’ve heard from someone from each era of the building’s life, and we’re excited to share the history with whoever wants to hear it,” she says.
Kroner has been in contact with a woman who visited American Can on a tour when she was in grade school, and she still has the bank she was given, which is in the shape of the building. She’s also spoken with a woman who is in her 90s who worked in the building making torpedo shells during WWII.
“We’ve had so many people hear about the reunion, and it’s going to be bigger than we ever thought,” Tape says.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page