Bay's first medical building gets new life as pizza shop

First medical building in Bay Village.

Soon Bay Village will benefit from a new Pizza Hut carry out and delivery service located behind Burns Auto at 380 Dover Center Road. The new facility will be housed in a one story colonial brick building trimmed in white wood. You have probably driven by the building traveling down Dover Center Road zillions of times in the last 62 years. Did you ever wonder where that little building came from, or who built it?

Earl Ross grew up on the west side of Cleveland and graduated from old Lincoln High. He attended Western Reserve Medical School and was president of his class. While attending medical school, Earl worked at the Brookside Zoo. He loved all animals and always had them around him. He married his high school sweetheart, Louise, in a ceremony officiated by John Eaton’s father, the Justice of the Peace.

Earl liked Bay Village and chose to make it his home. In 1917, he and Louise purchased an empty lot at 554 Upland Road and had a one room pre-fab house moved to it. Here he started his family of Donal, Polly, Helen and Sandra. The house grew, acquired a fireplace and a basement. Soon Earl was known as Dr. Ross, the village doctor, while he maintained a practice in the Lorain Street Bank Building in Cleveland. Polly Ross Ebert remembers living at the Upland address until she was 5 years old. She says another house was built next door for her grandparents. The family kept animals, even a pony, in the back yard.

The growing family built a new house and moved to 28925 Wayside Lane in 1936. Dr. Ross had a doctor’s office built in the basement of the new house, off the driveway. All around were the animals he loved. To walk to the office door, one needed to shoo aside a goat, lamb, rabbit, raccoon and dog. They also kept tropical fish, a parrot and a lovebird. The pony was kept in a barn next door.

Dr. Ross made house calls. He could bark like a dog, and when he came into the house on a house call, he would bark. The kids called him the "barking doctor." Office hours were in the afternoons and evenings and on Saturdays. Thursday was his day off. No appointments were necessary. You came in, sat down and waited your turn. Office visits were $2 in the 1930s and $3 in the '40s. House calls were $3 in the '30s and $5 in the '40s. Everyone paid in cash and Louise sent out bills once a year. Medicines were given in the doctor’s office at the time of the visit.

Participation in community activities was very important to Dr. Ross. He was a member of the Ohio National Guard, Bay Village American Legion, and Bay Players. He became the Bay High School team doctor for football and basketball. He possessed his own pilot’s license but didn't own his own plane. He flew as an observer for the Air National Guard. During his rides, he took many pictures of Bay Village from the air, and the Bay Historical Society attributes our many aerial photographs to him. During Memorial Day parades, he flew over the ceremony at Lakeside Cemetery and dropped rose petals.

In the early 1940s, a dentist, Dr. Edward Knoll, purchased the Lou Scholl farmland located at the corner of Dover Center and Wolf Road. (The Bott family had already purchased the corner lot from the Scholls and built a successful gas station.) Dr. Knoll built a new one-story brick building containing two offices in the middle of his property facing Wolf Road. His intention was to open his dental practice on one side and rent the other side.

Ed had been a neighbor of the Rosses on Upland Road and Dr. Ross, renting above the Blaha grocery store at the time, approached Ed about renting the other side. Dr. Knoll was on the left side of the front door and Dr. Ross on the right. Bay Village now had a medical building on Wolf Road. They were successful and stayed at this location until 1950 when Dr. Knoll decided to develop the rest of the farmland and build a strip shopping center on the east and south sides of the property. The medical office sat in the middle of the land where the parking lot was to be, therefore the building was moved around the corner on a piece of the property facing Dover Center Road behind the gas station.

About 1951, Dr. Earl Ross, village doctor, retired and his son, Donal, just back from WWII and out of medical school, moved into the right side of the building with Dr. Paul Sadler, DDS, on the left. Over the years the colonial brick building’s renters have worn many hats but the building remained the same. Now with Pizza Hut coming in, the front of the building will be remodeled and take on a decidedly different look. The building will begin a new life.

kay laughlin

I am a historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.

Read More on Local History
Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 10:35 AM, 03.19.2013