The Bonfoey Gallery has been building frames since 1893, but we have only been at our current location since the 1960’s. We moved because of a fire and this space was large enough for both our framing and gallery needs.
But what about this space? 14,000 square feet is a lot of building, and this one in particular certainly has a lot of character. Although we at Bonfoey are uncertain how old this building actually is, it can be assumed to be around 100 years old. While exploring its depths, twists, and turns, some hints of past lives come to light.
Before Bonfoey, the building had been a Chinese restaurant called New China Restaurant. In the basement, there are still large coolers with heavy metal doors possibly from this time. Steep staircases lead up to small alcoves which used to be living quarters at some point, but are currently used for storage or occasional work stations. At some point, there seems that there was a radio station in the back because there are some sound tiles left on the ceiling of the garage and the back rooms get terrible reception because of added padding (to the dismay of all our phones).
The Bonfoey Gallery has made this unique space its home and as the new construction next door rattles the aged frame, we think of just how long this building has been here and how many changes to Playhouse Square it has seen. Cleveland is a beautiful city that constantly changes and we at Bonfoey are happy to be a part of its history as well as its future.