Colonial & Euclid Arcades

Description

Most people know about "The Arcade" in Cleveland. Some might be surprised, however, to find out that Downtown actually has at least two more of these incredible structures. Lying parallel to each other, The Colonial (1898) and Euclid (1911) arcades run between Euclid and Prospect Avenues, with the Euclid arcade located about 100 feet west of the Colonial. Since 2000, they have been connected at their mid-point by a food court. The Colonial Marketplace project also led to other renovations in and around the arcades, including the opening of a Marriott in the former Colonial Hotel on Prospect Avenue.

While Cleveland's two "other" arcades may lack the five-story grandeur of the original Arcade (which opened in 1890), they are still unique and impressive spaces. The sheer brightness of the Euclid arcade, with its white marble floors, white terra cotta walls, and sky-lit white barrel-vaulted ceiling is truly something to behold. The Colonial arcade offers a different flavor, sporting an iron and glass ceiling reminiscent of the original Arcade, as well as exquisite detailing on its balcony-level walls and fixtures.

It is difficult to imagine today just how busy these arcades were in the decades after they first opened. This was an era when people came to downtown Cleveland to shop and the arcades were made to accommodate the customers. Both the Colonial and Euclid arcades had space for about 40 stores, including retail establishments, restaurants, places for amusement such as bowling alleys and billiard halls, and professional offices. As interior spaces located away from the street, the arcades provided an escape both from the weather and the hustle and bustle of the big city. Women in particular were said to "naturally seek them out" and spent "many a comfortable day flitting from store to store." It was remarked that in the arcades "there is no noise, except the steady hum of conversation and the swish of shoes on the pavement" and "all is clean and bright."

Today, the shopping in the Euclid and Colonial arcades may not be what it once was. Even so, the arcades still maintain their beauty and charm, providing a great respite from Cleveland weather and crowded big city streets.

Photos Show

Colonial Hotel, Circa 1900

The Colonial Hotel opened on Prospect Avenue in 1898 in conjunction with the opening of the Colonial Arcade which connected to the hotel's main lobby. The entrance to the Colonial Arcade is located at the right (or east) end of the building. The Euclid Arcade, which opened in the following decade, was accessed through what at the time of this photograph was the entrance to the Hoyt, Kent, and Sefton Company dry goods store.

One of the finest hotels in Cleveland at the time of its opening, by the 1970s the Colonial Hotel had become a rundown boarding house. In 2000, however, the hotel reopened as a Marriott Residence Inn as part of the multi-million dollar Colonial Marketplace project. This project also included the renovation and connection of the Colonial and Euclid Arcades.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Colonial Arcade, 1908

Shoppers fill a sun-lit Colonial Arcade in 1908 as a boy looks on from the second floor balcony.

Notice how formally the men and women are dressed as they go about their shopping. What might this tell us about how people treated visits to Downtown at this time,

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Euclid Arcade, 1961

An automobile exhibition is held inside the Euclid Arcade in 1961.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Euclid Avenue, 1934

A crowd gathers in front of the entrance to the Colonial Arcade on Euclid Avenue in 1934.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Euclid Arcade, Circa 1915

This postcard captures a busy scene in the Euclid Arcade. The arcade opened in 1911 and extended one block between Euclid and Prospect avenues. The impossible juxtaposition of different sizes of patrons suggests that the creator superimposed the people into an empty space in the original photograph. This particular postcard company opted to include considerable detail in the card rather than blotting out signage. Here we see the Likly & Rockett Trunk Co., and Billiards, Bowling, Cigars, indicating a mix of retail and entertainment.

Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection

Colonial Arcade, Circa 1913

In this postcard view of the Colonial Arcade, circa 1913, no store or office names are visible. The removal of details was a common practice among postcard printers as they tried to create what historian Alison Isenberg has called a "unified streetscape." Clearly the unified streetscape ideal extended to interior spaces such as arcades.

Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection

Cite this Page

Michael Rotman, “Colonial & Euclid Arcades,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 30, 2014, http:/​/​clevelandhistorical.​org/​items/​show/​236.​
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