Greenbaum Building Demolished

The Greenbaum Building in Waverly, Ohio is no more.

The Greenbaum Building in Waverly, Ohio is no more.

Constructed circa 1878, the three-story Italianate-style commercial building originally housed James Emmitt’s Jas Emmitt Dry Goods store. It later became Hoffman’s and then Charles Lewis Greenbaum’s department store, which proclaimed that it was “The Store With The Goods.” After Greenbaum’s closed in 1947, the building was leased to a plumbing outfit that used it as a display room, followed by Waverly Drugs in 1954 and the Bee Hive Tavern from the mid-1970s until around 1992.

Originally, the top floor of the Greenbaum Building hosted Waverly Aerie No. 2227 Fraternal Order of Eagles. After it moved out, the vast empty space was reused as a dancing venue and bowling alley.


I often passed by the Greenbaum Building while traveling US Route 23 through Waverly in the 1990s and 2000s, and it was heartbreaking to see the once-stately structure deteriorate with each passing year. Although the first floor had been cosmetically modified over the decades, the ornate cast-iron elements on the upper floor piers, window hoods, and cornice were all left unmodified.

But a failing roof system allowed for water intrusion. Over time, the timber joists and girders rotted to the point that the roof and floors collapsed, and the now exposed to the elements, the load-bearing brick walls degraded with each freeze-and-thaw cycle. By July 2018, a structural collapse allowed for a sizable hole to appear on the east side of the building leading to the condemnation of the Greenbaum Building.

Proposals to save the building over the years led to dead-ends because of a property owner who failed to secure the building from the elements, an adjoining property owner that halted attempts at structural stabilization, high construction costs, and a lack of long-term tenants that would sign onto the project.

After load-bearing walls began to bow out, an emergency demolition of the structure was sought. Funding was secured from a variety of sources and the Greenbaum Building was torn down on December 4.

1 Comment

  1. I was driving my grandparents into Waverly back in the 1990s & grandpa told me Greenbaum’s is where he got his 1st pair of long pants. He said Mr. Greenbaum told his mom that he was old enough to wear long pants. His mom agreed and at age 5, my grandpa got his 1st long pants there. I was never in the building, but I always smiled & thought of my grandpa when I passed it.

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