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Portion of Athens Avenue to Become ‘Templar Motor Way’ … Sort Of

Lakewood City Council’s public works committee decides to give the 750-foot stretch of the street an honorary title instead of an official name change.

The plan to change the name of a portion of Athens Avenue to Templar Motor Way didn’t really stall out. 

It just took a detour.

Lakewood City Council had considered renaming a 750-foot stretch from Clarence to Halstead avenues, near the Lake Erie Screw Building — the former home of the Templar Motors company.

(Actually, Templar Avenue was the original name of what is now Athens Avenue)

But members of council’s public works committee decided that it could be a hassle go through with an official name change. Post office issues and search engine flaws were among the concerns for those who would need to change their address. 

Council instead opted for an honorary name change — not unlike Tony DiBiasio Square along the north entrance to Lakewood High School on Franklin Boulevard.

Mary Louise Madigan, the Ward 4 councilwoman, first introduced the measure to council that in an effort to honor the Templar Motors company as it approaches its 100-year anniversary.

She said that council would now likely prepare a resolution to make the designation official.

“This is largely to draw attention to that area,” said Ward 4 councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan, who proposed the measure, “not only the building, but the entire neighborhood, and the amazing industry that was there.” 

She said the honorary name change would still be effective in sharing the Templar Motor Company’s story.

“That it way it won’t screw up anyone’s address, we don’t want to tangle with the post office.”

David Buehler, who owns the final set of Templar cars and keeps them on the top floor of the building, has conducted lots of research related to the company, which he’s shared with council.

“This is one of the most historic – and oldest — buildings in Lakewood,” he said recently. “It’s a historic asset and I am trying to share it with the community.”

In its heyday, the company employed 900 workers; had sales centers in 32 states and 15 foreign countries. The company even attracted famous racecar driver Cannonball Baker

World War I limited production at the plant, as the building was used for manufacturing munitions.

The Great Depression signaled the end of the high-end automobile company.

Ward 2 councilman Shawn Juris, the chairman of the public works committee,  brought up a few concerns Monday, including some from business owners who worry that changing their address could reset search engine results, effectively “pushing them to the bottom of the results.”

“I agree with the idea of highlighting the energy and the history,” he added.

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