Thursday, February 25, 2010

100 most important Cleveland Landmarks

The Terminal Tower

Cleveland State University Special Collections Librarian Bill Barrow made an important point recently - we need to identify our most important buildings before they are threatened with destruction - otherwise, we are constantly playing catch-up. To that end, I'm working on a list of the 100 most significant landmarks in the city of Cleveland. Mr. Barrow suggested the Terminal Tower and the Detroit-Superior Bridge, so I'll start from there. The following are some of my ideas as to what properties might fit on such a list.

What do you think? What would you add (or remove from) this list? What would you miss most if it was gone?

Please post your suggestions and I'll update the list as I get them.

  1. Arcade - probably the best interior space in the city
  2. Baldwin Reservoir
  3. Brookside Stadium
  4. Brown-Hoist building
  5. Anthony Carlin house
  6. Center Street Swing Bridge
  7. Cleveland City Hall
  8. Cleveland Clinic - original building
  9. Cleveland Museum of Art - both the original building and Marcel Breuer wing
  10. Cleveland Play House
  11. Cleveland Public Library - Carnegie West branch
  12. Cleveland Public Library - Main Library
  13. Cleveland Trust Building
  14. Coast Guard Station
  15. Colonial Arcade
  16. Cozad-Bates House
  17. Detroit-Superior Bridge
  18. Detroit-Superior Viaduct
  19. Dunham Tavern
  20. Rudolphus Edwards house - probably oldest house on the east side
  21. Erie Street Cemetery
  22. Fenn Tower
  23. Franklin Castle
  24. Garfield Memorial
  25. Jeremiah Gates house - oldest house in the city
  26. Gray's Armory
  27. Greyhound Station
  28. Guardian Bank Building
  29. John Heisman birthplace
  30. Hulett Ore Unloaders
  31. Huntington Bank Building
  32. Italianate house on Superior
  33. League Park
  34. Lorain-Carnegie Bridge
  35. William G. Mather steamship
  36. Luther Moses house
  37. Ohio Bell building
  38. Old Stone Church
  39. Jesse Owens house
  40. Robert Rhodes house
  41. Rockefeller Park Bridges
  42. Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
  43. Rose Building
  44. St. Colman's Church
  45. Nelson Sanford house
  46. Schellentrager House
  47. Schweinfurth House
  48. Severance Hall
  49. Shaker Square
  50. Society National Bank building
  51. Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
  52. Terminal Tower
  53. Wade Chapel
  54. West Side Market


  1. St. Ignatius church on West Blvd would be severely missed. Definitely a landmark that would be missed for miles around.

  2. Need some context. How will the CAH “100 most important Cleveland Landmarks” list compare with the Cleveland Landmarks Commission list of Cleveland Landmarks? Is CLC not doing something or not doing it right? In other words, what will the CAH list do that the CLC doesn't?
    Roy Larick

  3. Roy, the Landmarks Commission is doing everything right, within their power to do so. The main problem is that the owner of a property has to consent in order for a property to be made a City Landmark. This is due to how the Landmarks Ordinance was written. There are many reasons a person might not want to have their property made into a landmark - perceptions about what they could do with the property and its resale value chief among them.

    Further, many of the properties on the list were added as a reaction to specific threats against them. While these properties are significant, they are not the only ones that deserve protection - we need to identify the significant properties before they are threatened.

    Finally, I see this list as a way to stimulate discussion about the places that we care about.

  4. Thanks for the extra information Christopher since I am a novice on landmarks ordinances as well! Will try to think of some other gems to be considered over the weekend!

  5. Thanks for the clarifications. This is a large project with many variables. The list needs to consider all historical aspects of Cleveland identity. It should be more than a popularity contest.

    My interest begins at the bottom; with the substrate and how we live on it over the long run. Each technological cycle builds a landscape on the underlying geological substrate. The early hand-powered building technologies worked directly with local landforms and materials. Later cycles lost the closeness. Now we have the chance to review all the cycles and rethink how we use the natural world.

    Nineteenth-century cemeteries are thus very significant landmarks. Early cemetery societies were able to choose significant local geography and build internal infrastructure with local stone. Erie Street is listed but not Lake View, Riverside, and other tremendous landmarks.

    Building with local stone made for structures unique to our area, even when their architecture kept to national style templates. Nineteenth and early twentieth-century churches often drew on local stone. Cleveland has many such landmarks. Need to consult with CSU Sacred Landmarks program and local geologists. Here I’ll cite Pilgrim Congregational (Tremont) as one well-known example.

    Local landforms also can be landmarks, and they aren’t as stable as one might think. Mill Creek Falls (a Euclid bluestone landmark and the highest waterfall in Cuyahoga County), for example, was moved a couple hundred yards in the late nineteenth century to accommodate railroad building. We must recognize and preserve such basic environmental features.

    In about a week, there will be another forum for discussing Cleveland area heritage: Bluestone Heights/Bluestone Brooks ( The website and blog (not yet online) look to enhance three conversations:
    1) Identifying significant local natural areas and the heritage standing upon them;
    2) Exploring local historical cycles using Google Earth as an interactive mapping portal;
    3) Restoring Cleveland communities with regard to natural and early historical foundations.

  6. The Hulett Iron Ore Unloaders are not gone yet. Although they no longer are "in situ," they have potential to be re-erected and re-celebrated as THE icon of Cleveland's industrial history.

  7. Euclid beach an the Jerome Siegel and Joseph
    Shuster's houses-Superman creators

  8. Public square, hope memorial bridge

  9. The former Notre Dame Academy Tudor bldg on E.93rd/Superior that looms above MLK subsidized Sr. Apts.

  10. Any of the remaining mansions on Euclid Avue should be protected and listed. SOme years ago the Cleveland Restoration SOciety scoffed at the idea of fighting for the remaining houses - there are more left than one would think. Among them are:

    The Mather Mansion on Euclid Ave - I didn't see it on the list.

    The White mansion on Euclid Avenue (next to Cleveland Heath Space.

    The Sterling Beckwith mansion on Euclid Avenue as well

    The original Devereaux mansion on Euclid is still in place on the south side of the street, though a commercial front was built onto it in the 1930s.

    Sadly the Lyman Treadway Mansion was torn down by Cleveland Healthspace when they built that white elephant in 2000.

    I also think that the home of Ned Jordan - builder of the Jordan Playboy - the car that started the modern advertising movement - is still standing in East Cleveland near Forest Hills.

  11. Temple Tifereth Israel on E105

    I heard from an old friend of Ed Hauser's who has spent his career dismantling, moving and reassembling huge factories (like steel plants) worldwide, that the Huletts are now beyond resurrection. It is sad. As I recall, the Army Corps has pending litigation in that case which will arise on the advent of their next dredge permit. Ed has died. Will anyone remember this pending suit?

    I also note that while you say save Breuer's CMA wing, you do not include his only high rise attached to the George B. Post 1905 Cleveland Trust Building. I would include the Tower.

    Also Broadway Mills Building has some significant history though we will see it fall with the new bridge. I suggest you take a look at those 43 buildings that are targeted in that Section 106 review to add to this list. The Fire Museum will be saved, but not the cool triangular gas station there, nor the Central Bridge abutment. The concern now for the Fire Museum is access.

    I didn't see Public Auditorium and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse on the list either. Maybe I missed them. Metzenbaum Courthouse?

    Stables of the Severance Estate in Cleveland Heights?

  12. What about the Cleveland Museum of Art, the original building, or all of the Cleveland Museums for that matter? I think Severance Hall,and Playhouse Square should also be included.

  13. Walker and Weeks designed Warner and Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland:

  14. The Cadillac Building at E. 30th and Chester, anything ever designed by Walker & Weeks, especially some of the lesser known/rotting structures they did, the one industrial factory/warehouse on Hamilton near E. 45th. It's a very unique structure imo; True Holiness Temple (E. 79th and Euclid), Walker & Weeks Headquarters.

  15. How about that cool building at W 117th & Lake, which I found out is called the Fifth Church of Christ Science? (I think it's vacant)

  16. What about the old Miles Park Library which at one time served as Old newburgh town hall???