11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Hulett Ore Unloaders

Year Listed: 1999
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect

Significance

Looming above the docks like 96-foot-tall steel grasshoppers, the Hulett Ore Unloaders have been landmarks on the Lake Erie shoreline since the turn of the century. Constructed by inventor George H. Hulett and considered an engineering wonder in their day, the giant hydraulic machines gained fame as the largest and most technologically advanced means of unloading ore from massive ships docked at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. For more than 90 years they loaded and unloaded hundreds of ships, helping to make Cleveland one of the nation's busiest ports--but then new technologies made them obsolete. Now these symbols of the area's rich industrial and shipping heritage stand quiet, idle and deteriorating. The Cleveland Cuyahoga Port Authority, which owns the ore unloaders, is planning to tear them down to reuse the site for expanded port activities. If action isn't taken soon to save these industrial marvels, an important chapter of Cleveland's history will be reduced to scrap metal.