Downtown, Part Two, Cleveland

Moving along through downtown Cleveland, we reach the “Beaux-Arts” or “City Beautiful” portion of the city, which every metropolitan area seemed to have dabbled with in the early Twentieth Century to better or adverse effect. Below is the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, completed in 1913.

Moving along, we spot the 1922 Public Auditorium, which sits along northeastern edge of the Mall, planned in 1903 by none other than the great Daniel Burnham.

Mercifully, and unlike in St. Louis, the Mall is not overly large in size, and does not overly disrupt the rhythm of the downtown with huge swaths of dead space. In fact, apparently the convention center is hidden underneath. What a great idea!

Below is the former Board of Education building, built in 1930 and now converted into a hotel, which is a common outcome for many former public buildings throughout the country, except in St. Louis, of course.

The sculpture is part of a war memorial from 1964.

Below is the Cleveland Public Library from 1925.

Finally, the U.S. Federal Courthouse rounds out the southern end of the Mall.

Looking from Superior Avenue to the north, it looks like the earth just disappears off in the distance we gaze between the library and U.S. courthouse.

There was supposed to be a monumental train station to complete that view, but that just never happened, like so many best laid plans.

Above is the Superior Avenue side of the library, and below is a detail of the federal courthouse. It is an interesting pairing of pendent buildings!

Below is the Key Tower, designed by César Pelli and opened in 1988, which you can sort of tell by looking at it. It’s the tallest building in Ohio, unseating the Terminal Tower’s long reign and that’s about all there is to say about it. It is big. It is tall. It is shiny.

We now arrive at Public Square, which is very much of an early Nineteenth Century public space, such as we saw earlier this year in Springfield, Missouri.

This hulking Romanesque Revival building, with just the hint of pointed, Gothic Revival arches, caught my attention. It is a beauty; note they never got around to sculpting the capitals on the first floor arcade.

The Old Stone Church survives after much has been demolished.

Interestingly, Cleveland has recently filled in much of the square, removing streets and returning public space to pedestrians, and installing monuments such as this one to Tom L. Johnson, whoever that is.

I love this historic photograph, because it represents a very important moment in time. Look at the left side of Public Square; it was about to be completely transformed.

Detroit Publishing Co., Publisher. Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio. United States Ohio Cleveland, None. [Between 1900 and 1910] Photograph.

The soaring Terminal Tower, part of the Tower City development, which probably is only surpassed in size by Rockefeller Center, would rise on that side of the square. We’ll look at it tomorrow.

Let’s continue down Superior Avenue for the time being.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Everett Engbers says:

    I was thinking that you might have visited the Playhouse Sq. area of downtown Cleveland. It contains some of the best preserved and repurposed movie palaces outside of Los Angeles. Some of the theaters have tours so you can view the interior lobbies and auditoriums. They did an excellent job renovating these beautiful movie palaces for theatrical use and it one of the first developments that helped to revive the downtown area of the city. Maybe next time.

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