Filed Under Architecture

Tudor Arms Hotel

At the corner of Carnegie Avenue and Stokes Boulevard stands a baronial fortress of a building that looks as though it would be perfectly at home on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Completed in 1933, the Gothic Revival building opened as the swanky, exclusive Cleveland Club. The enormous structure, designed by Frank Meade (who also designed countless extravagant homes in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights), was the tallest and grandest in the University Circle area. The twelve-story building boasted ballrooms, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, tall ceilings, huge leaded windows, intricate and expensive detailing (including gargoyles and even a statue of Moses Cleaveland), and beautiful views of downtown Cleveland. Over the years, the club rented out its ballrooms and also hosted lavish parties and events. But the Cleveland Club could not sustain the building for very long. After weathering the depths of the Great Depression, the rough economy finally forced the Cleveland Club to end its lease on the building in 1939.

Nearing the end of the Depression the building evolved into a hotel known as the Tudor Arms and soon became a noted entertainment venue. Jazz musicians kept its grand ballroom, the Empress Room, swinging well into the night. The ballroom functioned as a supper club and offered dinner along with the entertainment, which included jazz as well as many types of performances, from the conservative Lawrence Welk to the flamboyant Patrice Wymore. The Plain Dealer described one of Wymore's performances at the Tudor Arms in the following way: "Patrice Wymore, the singer and dancer [who] beats up no small storm of entertainment performed in the Empress Room. Her rhinestone studded hosiery, by the way, retails at $75 a pair, and on her they're worth it!" At the time, many frowned upon Wymore's provocative performance believed such acts at the hotel tarnished the neighborhood's respectability.

In 1960, as racial tensions began to sweep the city's east side, University Circle institutions regarded the flashy hotel nightclub as an undesirable tenant in the neighborhood. Accordingly, Western Reserve University and the Case Institute of Technology took over the property for use as a graduate student dormitory. They started the process by slowly changing some of the rooms into dormitories, while others continued to be rented nightly. The process was successful, and by 1963 the building had been fully converted for student use. During the conversion, the Tudor Arms got a $500,000 facelift, but it was not an extensive remodel. Eventually, the newly federated Case Western Reserve University leased the building to Cleveland Job Corps, which occupied the Tudor Arms until the building was sold in 2007.

After years of neglect, the Tudor Arms Hotel needed restoration. Minimal updates over the years had kept the building running, but it was a far cry from the glory days of the 1930s. In 2011, four years after Cleveland developers MRN Ltd purchased the property and undertook a $22 million restoration plan, the Tudor Arms reopened as a Doubletree hotel.

Audio

Duke Ellington George Havens recalls attending jazz legend Duke Ellington’s concert at the Tudor Arms Hotel. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection Creator: George Havens

Images

The Tudor Arms Hotel During the late 1950s, the building was used as the Tudor Arms Hotel with retail spaces on the first floor. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Tudor Arms Under Construction in Distance This photo of two women at the stop landing at Cedar and Ambleside shows the steel skeleton of the Tudor Arms Hotel under construction in the distance to the west. Source: Cleveland Parks Department Photograph Albums, Volume 3, Cleveland Public Library Date: November 22, 1927
Moses Cleaveland in Gothic Relief The building's exterior is as exquisite as its interior. This image shows the figure of Moses Cleaveland carved into a corner near the top of the building. Source: Cleveland Memory Creator: Frank Aleksandrowicz Date: May 9, 1966
Hotel of Many Lives The building, which stands on 10660 Carnegie Avenue, has had many lives. It began as an exclusive men's athletic club, became a large hotel, a graduate dormitory for WRU, housed the Job Corps, and then became a hotel again. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
The Tudor Arms Nightclub For twenty years the hotel hosted various entertainers and musical performers. This all ended once the nightclub was shut down. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Indoor Swimming Pool The Cleveland Club built the Tudor Arms in 1933. As a private, exclusive athletic club it had sporting facilities on its first few floors, including an indoor swimming pool. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
The Best Cleveland Venue Guests of the Tudor Arms hotel dress for a formal event in the 1950s. The hotel was known for its grand events and swanky concerts. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
From Ballroom to Kitchen Once one of the glamorous ballrooms, this room was re-purposed into a dining hall for the graduate school students residing in the Tudor Arms. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
From Hotel to Dorm Western Reserve University acquired the property in 1960. Already set up as a hotel, the University used the building as a graduate dormitory. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Students at the Tudor Arms Graduate students of all ages were welcome to live in the facility so long as they were not married. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Neglect to Restoration After years of wear and tear, like this small fire in the 1960s, the building was in dismal shape at the time of its 2007 sale to MRN LTD Development Company. Following a twenty-two million dollar renovation, the building reopened in 2011 as a luxury hotel. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.

Location

10660 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106

Metadata

Eleanor Kaiser, “Tudor Arms Hotel,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 28, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/466.