Ever Wonder How This Landmark Building Started Out In Life?
The roots of the Don’s Lighthouse building date back to 1911 – when German immigrant Otto Poschke founded “Poschke’s Barbeque” and Edgewater Park was all the rage.
In the early 1900’s Otto was a beloved streetcar conductor on the old St. Clair Avenue run. Then in 1911 he married Elma and the two of them opened a 10’x10’ “barbeque shack” on the north area of Lake Avenue and Detroit Avenue at West 57th street.
It just so happened that the Edgewater Beach Bathhouse was built in 1911. It attracted throngs of people. In those days, the lake level was much higher and the water came up to the bathhouse. Otto and Elma’s “barbeque shack” served those people who frequented the Edgewater Park area.
The refreshments included Coca-Cola, peanuts, popcorn, taffy, hot dogs and hamburgers along with a variety of barbequed meats. Success made it possible for Poschke to grow into multiple locations. By the middle 1920’s the Poschkes became so successful that they were ready to expand once more – this time consolidating all of their “barbeque shacks” into one “Palace.” Otto had grown tired of people saying, “Oh, you’re the owner of that little hot dog stand.” So, Otto hired revered Cleveland architect Henry Hradilek and charged him with creating a new building that would stand as a landmark and resemble either an elegant library or an art museum. (Or more importantly…. the future Don’s Lighthouse Grille).