Iconic Architecture

Tour curated by: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Cleveland offers a stunning array of architectural gems by renowned architects. From 1930 until 1967, the Terminal Tower was the tallest skyscraper in the world outside New York City. It also connected via rapid transit to Shaker Heights, an internationally recognized garden city that still evokes the opulence of the Roaring Twenties. In Downtown you’ll discover three European-style shopping arcades, an Art Deco bridge featuring four iconic “Guardians of Transportation,” and one of the nation’s most complete expressions of the classically inspired “City Beautiful” movement. From a monument to a fallen U.S. President to a reputedly haunted “castle,” Cleveland is steeped in architectural history.

Locations for Tour

Formally dedicated in 1930 following over four years of extensive demolition, excavation, and construction, the Cleveland Union Terminal centralized the city's passenger rail service and gave Cleveland a signature landmark, the 52-story,…

Downtown Cleveland at the turn of the twentieth century was a crowded and noisy place. Specialized, multi-level passageways lined with shops - known as arcades - were built in order for people to escape the clamor of the streets, as well as the often…

When the city approved the Group Plan of 1903, it was believed that the Mall would become the city’s functional and symbolic center. The long stretch of land northeast of Public Square would turn a former slum into a parklike space, and a…

The architecture and public art of the Cleveland Library offers visitors to the building a glimpse into the past of both the historic institution and the City of Cleveland. The murals, sculptures, and architecture not only reflect the interests and…

Trinity Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, was designed by "Millionaire's Row" architect Charles F. Schweinfurth and built in 1901-07 of Indiana limestone in the Gothic style. It is connected to an older parish…

In the days of horse-drawn carriages and booming industry, one street in Cleveland showcased the elite among the city's citizens. Millionaire's Row, a length of Euclid Avenue, was where prominent figures such as John D. Rockefeller, Marcus…

On May 30, 1893, patriotic melodies of the Grand Army Band of Canton could be heard coming from the corner of Bolivar Street and Prospect Avenue as an exciting celebration was taking place - the laying of the new Grays Armory cornerstone. Grays…

On February 15, 1861, the streets surrounding the Weddell House, as well as the windows, porches and even rooftops that looked upon the hotel, were dense with faces eager to see the newly elected president, Abraham Lincoln. Once inside his overnight…

Clevelanders met the opening of the Superior Viaduct in December 1878 with great fanfare, celebrating the city's first high-level bridge. The bridge in many ways symbolized Cleveland's continuing economic growth and development into a…

The High Victorian Eclectic style stone house located on the north side of Franklin Boulevard across from West 44th Street is still known to many Clevelanders as "Franklin Castle." The home has been a witness to much of the history of…

The Shrine of Saint Stanislaus is dedicated to St. Stanislaus, the bishop, martyr, and patron of Poland. It represents the history of the Polish community in Cleveland, Ohio since the mid 1800s. Cleveland's Bishop asked the Pastor of St.…

St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral opened in 1913 and cost approximately $70,000 to construct. Most of the land-acquisition and building funds came from parishioners. However, it is believed that Russia's Czar Nicholas II–the one whose…

James A. Garfield was born on November 19, 1831, in a log cabin in Orange Township. His father passed away when he was only 18 months old, leaving his mother to fend for herself and her family. Garfield started working at an early age to try to keep…

In 1917, Anshe Emeth—an Orthodox congregation founded by Polish Jews near Woodland and Broadway Avenues (and later located on East 37th Street)—merged with congregation Beth Tefilo and bought land on East 105th Street in Glenville. Spearheaded by…

Oris and Mantis Van Sweringen, the brothers responsible for the construction of both the Union Terminal Complex and the Village of Shaker Heights, are two of the least remembered contributors to the development of Cleveland and its suburbs. The shy,…
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