Monday May 15th

Bob Rose, President, Rose Iron Works
Martin Rose, Bob’s grandfather, founded Rose Iron Works in 1904. He was a highly skilled ornamental blacksmith from Hungary, trained in the finest shops in Budapest and Vienna. Martin Rose brought European design and craftsmanship to Cleveland, gradually building a client base comprised of Cleveland’s economic leaders of the time. Ever interested in new trends, Martin hired Paul Feher –– another Hungarian– away from the preeminent Kiss studio in Paris in 1929, to introduce Art Deco metalwork to the United States. The collaboration created the finest Art Deco metal work in America.

Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, Chicago Art Deco Society
The 1920s and 30s were a period of exceptional creativity as artists and designers explored the new, modern, decorative approach to design we now call Art Deco. Most the Art Deco designers remembered today are male, but many women, often overlooked, forgotten, or overshadowed by their better-known spouses, also adopted the Deco aesthetic.
Muralists: Hildreth Meiere, Lillian Gaertner Palmedo, and Elsa Vick Shaw (of Cleveland.)
Industrial Designers: Helen Dryden, Belle Kogan, and Helen Hughes Dulaney.
Sculptors: Gwen Lux and Louise Lentz Woodruff.
Textile and carpet designer: Marion Dorn.
Multidimensional: Ilonka Karasz.
This lecture will examine the work of these talented, albeit less recognized, women who made their mark on designs of the Art Deco era, and address the challenges they faced as women working in fields often dominated by men.

Rory Cunningham, President Emeritus, Art Deco Society of Los Angeles
This lecture will continue the story of artist and designer Paul Feher, after he left Rose Iron Works in Cleveland during The Depression. Ultimately, he had success in Southern California with his own design firm and a long list of famous clients. This talk will concentrate on his artistry in the Deco period, but will also address his incredible success in the post-World War II years with restaurant design as well as private interior design commissions.

1979 West 25th Street
Architects: Hubbell & Benes
The largest indoor/outdoor market in the US reflects Cleveland’s multi-ethnic melting pot heritage. It’s modeled after a Roman Basilica, and the 44-foot (13.4 meter) ceiling is vaulted with Guastavino tile. Some of the stands are owned by the same families since 1912. On busy days over 20 different languages are spoken here. The market is not open on Tuesday and Thursday.
Architect: Frank Walker. Engineer: Wilbur J. Watson & Associates. Sculptor: Henry Hering.

Two pairs of giant Art Deco figures serve as gateways (and guardians!) to Cleveland’s east and west sides. Each pylon has an image on each side, for a total of eight figures. Each is holding a different mode of transportation: covered wagon, automobile, several styles of trucks, etc. The 43-foot (13.1 meter) pylons are constructed of local Berea Sandstone. Bob Hope was born in England but his family moved to Cleveland when he was four years old. Bob’s father was a mason who worked on the stone Guardians. In 1983, the bridge was renamed in honor of the Hope family, but most people still call it the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Despite his international success as an entertainer, Bob Hope always considered Cleveland home.
50 Public Square
Architects: Graham, Anderson, Probst & White; Philip L. Small & Associates; Walker & Weeks.
Since its construction, the Terminal Tower has been the greatest single visual symbol of Cleveland to its residents as well as visitors. At the time of its completion in 1930, it was the second tallest building in the world–– exceeded only by New York’s Woolworth building. The Terminal Tower, at 708 feet (215.8 meters,) remained the tallest building in the world outside of Manhattan until 1964.

The Terminal Group was one of the first, and certainly the most significant, developments of the “air rights” over a rail terminal in United States. The Tower piers were the deepest in history—dug by hand–and bearing on bedrock 250 feet (76.2 meters) below street level. Because the entire terminal is underground, it was said at the time to be the “greatest excavation project in history since the Panama Canal.”

Although Rockefeller Center is usually thought of as the original “city within the city,” planning for Cleveland’s Terminal Group began almost 20 years before Rockefeller Center, and was completed six years earlier. The complex included the Cleveland Union Terminal, The Higbee Company department store, a hotel, the main post office, and three office buildings. All the structures are connected underground, so what appear as “streets” around the complex are actually bridges. At 6.5 million square feet (603,869 square meters,) the complex remains one of the largest in United States. Since John D. Rockefeller spent so much time in Cleveland, the Terminal Tower Complex clearly influenced his plans for Rockefeller Center.

The Terminal Group was planned, developed, and constructed from 1923 through 1934 by the Van Sweringen Brothers –– Oris Paxton and Mantis James. The Van Sweringens entered the real estate business as teenagers, by purchasing a large tract of land east of the city surrounding the Shaker Lakes. By the time they were ready to develop their planned garden village of Shaker Heights, the value of the property had increased 80-fold. The brothers knew that they could increase the success of their development with direct rail transportation between Downtown Cleveland and Shaker Heights. To obtain a few miles of right of way for their proposed Shaker Rail Line, the brothers purchased the entire Nickel Plate Railroad, with plans for Public Square to be the downtown terminus of the line. Within a few years negotiations began to form a combined Union Terminal to include national rail lines, including the New York Central. The brothers continued to purchase railroads, creating a nearly trans-continental, 30,000-mile (48,280 km) network. By the time the Cleveland Union Terminal opened in October 1929, the Van Sweringen real estate and railroad empire was valued at $3 billion. (If you measure the economic power of $3 billion relative to the total output of the economy–and using its share of the gross national product–$3 billion in 1929 is worth $517 billion in 2017!)

Of course, the Van Sweringen empire unraveled during The Depression. Their holdings were heavily leveraged, with most of the loans from Wall Street banks. There are reports that the collapse of the Van Sweringen Companies accelerated the momentum of the Great Depression! The brothers died in their 40s, a year apart from one another, in the mid-1930s.

The last passenger train to depart from Cleveland Union Terminal was in 1977. Today’s “Green” and “Blue” Rapid Transit lines are the former Shaker Rapid, and the original lines from the 1920s are still in use today. In the early 1990s the Cleveland Union Terminal was converted to a shopping mall (“The Avenue at Tower City Center.”) The concourses were narrowed, and an extra floor was added to increase retail space, so much of the “spaciousness” of the former terminal has been lost. But many of the historic features were retained, including the brass storefronts and lighting fixtures. The Observation Deck was renovated a few years ago, reflecting its subtle Art Deco styling.
MEDICAL ARTS, BUILDER’S EXCHANGE, & MIDLAND BUILDINGS (now Landmark Office Towers) (1928-1931)
101 West Prospect Avenue
Architects: Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
The three buildings that comprise what are now known as Landmark Office Towers are Art Deco in design, in contrast to the Neoclassical (Beaux Arts?) Terminal Tower. The conservative Van Sweringen brothers considered the Terminal Tower a “monument,” and thought monuments should be Neoclassical. But they allowed more progressive design for the office buildings, promoting the space as the most modern and state-of-the-art. In the 1980s the three separate building lobbies were combined into one.

1500 West 3rd Street
Architects: Walker & Weeks; Philip L. Small & Associates
Because the client was the United States Government, and not the Van Sweringens, this simple modernistic building with Art Deco detailing represents the most leading-edge architectural style of the Terminal Group. It was built on the air rights of the Cleveland Union Terminals Company, and by a system of chutes and conveyors the mail was efficiently loaded into the railroad cars below the building. The lobby is well preserved, with very “futuristic” writing tables, Art Deco light fixtures, and WPA murals by New York artist Jack Greitzer. In the late 1980s the Post Office moved to a new location, and the building was converted to offices.

Allen Theater (1921) 1407 Euclid Avenue. Architect: C. Howard Crane
Ohio Theater (1921) 1511 Euclid Avenue. Architect: Thomas Lamb
State Theater (1921) 1519 Euclid Avenue. Architect: Thomas Lamb
Palace Theater (1922) 1615 Euclid Avenue. Architects: Rapp & Rapp
Hanna Theater (1921) 2067 East 14th Street. Architect: Charles A. Platt
The five historic theaters of Playhouse Square represent the world’s largest theater restoration project, beginning with the 1982 re-opening of the Ohio Theater. Now with over 1000 shows per year, attracting over 1 million visitors, Playhouse Square is the second largest theater district in the US– only Lincoln Center in NYC is bigger. None of the theaters are Art Deco—think Italian Renaissance, Pompeiian, and Neoclassical instead—but there are very colorful Art Deco murals in the State Theater lobby by James Daugherty. The saving of Playhouse Square is among the top successes in modern Cleveland history. We hope delegates will have an opportunity to see a show at Playhouse Square during their visit to Cleveland.

1465 Chester Avenue
Architect: W.S. Arrasmith
Among the best examples of Streamline Moderne anywhere, Cleveland’s Greyhound Bus Terminal was a “flagship” station and the largest in the country when it opened on March 30, 1948. Now, almost 70 years later, it is still used as a bus terminal– – attesting to a good design that has stood the test of time. Much of the original interior is intact because of Greyhound’s decision to renovate the terminal in 2000, keeping it true to Arrasmith’s plan. The $5 million was the most Greyhound had ever spent on a restoration, and they acknowledged it would have been cheaper just to build a new station. The curved staircases to the balcony once led to the restrooms; now this has sleeping rooms for Greyhound drivers. But the general layout of the spacious waiting room is just as Arrasmith envisioned it. And the gold and tan terrazzo floor is original. One of the definitive books on Greyhound: “The Streamline Era Greyhound Terminals” (2007) was written by Clevelander Frank Wrenick, and he played a big role in its preservation.