Tuesday, May 16th

Robin Grow, President, Art Deco & Modernism Society of Australia, Inc.
The Great Lakes Exposition of 1936–1937 was a great success for Cleveland, and an exciting event in the years of The Depression. Sponsored by local business people, it highlighted American businesses such as Westinghouse, General Electric, and Standard Oil. In an area that produced an enormous percentage of the USA’s industrial output, a major exhibit was one celebrating “the Romance of Iron and Steel,” with displays of smelting and machinery used for steel production, and a full-sized replica of a blast furnace. Mr. Grow will also cover the role of local artisans and artists in design of posters and exhibits, color schemes, and the Art Deco style of the exhibits.

Frederique Macarez, Mayor of Saint-Quentin, France
The city of Saint-Quentin suffered considerable damage during World War I, and so much of the reconstruction was in the Art Deco style. Mayor Macarez will present highlights of the city’s carefully preserved Art Deco treasures. Joining her at the World Congress are Bernard Delaire, the city counselor in charge of Historical and Cultural Heritage, and Victorien Georges, Chief Heritage Manager of Saint-Quentin. Please stop by their table during the Congress to see the gorgeous brochures and promotional materials regarding this beautiful Art Deco destination.

Dr. Robert E. Jenner, Art Deco Society of Washington DC
Irving Berlin was the most famous composer of the Art Deco era, and led a very interesting life. But he was also an astute observer and commented on the impact automobiles, radio, and swing music had on society and his profession. His music reflected his life and times. He did in fact “Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” stayed up all night writing music and often gambled for high-stakes. His ode to the flapper era, “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” captured the feel of the Roaring 20s, and during The Depression his “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee” conveyed the reality, limitations, and hope of the early New Deal period. As Art Deco artists were extending the limits of their art forms, so was Berlin. His music was written in a minor key, and he was more innovative than “Blue Skies” might lead one to believe. He utilized syncopated rhythms and in 1937 his lyrics “There may be troubles ahead…” (from “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”) were eerily prophetic. In Hollywood he helped launch the careers of Deco icons Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in their first starring film “Top Hat.” Dr. Jenner’s lecture will utilize short excerpts from about 12 songs, and he will distribute lyrics to the audience and lead them in song!

100 Public Square
Architects: Graham, Anderson, Probst, & White. Silver Grille architect: Philip L. Small & Associates.
When the Higbee Company opened its new store in 1931, the nearly one million square foot (92903 square meters) department store was the largest constructed in the US since 1911. The interior the store was Art Deco in styling, intended to provide the atmosphere of a private club, or a luxury steamship. And the crown jewel was the dining room on the 10th floor, The Silver Grille. Philip L. Small was a favorite of the Van Sweringens, and along with Charles Rowley, designed one of the Van Sweringen homes, Shaker Square, and many homes in Shaker Heights. Most of the furniture in The Silver Grille is original–including about 300 chairs–and was designed by the prominent Cleveland interior design firm Rorimer-Brooks. The food was of a high standard—everything was made from scratch, including the breads and rolls. (Higbee’s was famous for their “sticky buns.”) On busy days over 1000 people dined at The Silver Grille.

The Van Sweringen brothers wanted Chicago’s Marshall Field & Company to occupy their department store space in the Terminal Group. But Marshall Field turned them down, so the brothers acquired The Higbee Company in 1929, and moved it to Public Square from its (much smaller) building across from (rival) Halle Brothers Company, near East 12th Street and Euclid Avenue. The Higbee Company was Cleveland’s oldest department store, founded in 1860. The store went bankrupt in 1935 as the Van Sweringen empire collapsed during the Great Depression, but in short time was reorganized by former store executives and flourished, in part due to convenient transportation via the Shaker Rapid Transit. The store was extensively remodeled in 1956 and 1965 by Raymond Loewy & Associates. In the 1960s and 1970s Higbee’s expanded into the suburbs with multiple branch stores, and the department store chain was profitable until the late 1980s. The Silver Grille closed in late 1989. Higbee’s was ultimately acquired by Dillard Department Stores in 1992, and the Public Square store closed in 2002. Dillard’s still operates stores in the Cleveland suburbs. Today, the lower 3 floors of the Higbee Building are part of Jack Casino, and the upper floors are offices.

The Silver Grille underwent an award-winning restoration in 2002. Since the archival photographs were all black and white, the architect relied on former waitresses to help determine the original color scheme!

1536 East 43rd Street
Delegates will have an opportunity to see the office, studio, and forge of Rose Iron Works, at this location for over 100 years. Magnificent Art Deco works are showcased around the studio, as well as an outstanding collection of antique and medieval artifacts. Be sure to see the History of Metalworking Frieze, which adorns the beams supporting the forge shop roof. Instead of laying off highly skilled craftsmen during The Great Depression, Martin Rose created his own “WPA” projects. One of these involved tasking Paul Feher with designing the History of Metalworking, an 80-foot (24.4 meter) repousse frieze which begins with primitive cave men, and ends with workmen using 1920s era oxygen-acetylene torches.

OHIO BELL BUILDING (now AT&T Huron Road Building) (1927)
750 Huron Road East
Architect: Hubbell & Benes
One of the few Cleveland structures to mirror the classic Art Deco “setback” tower, this 24-story building rises in several tiered masses, without ornament. Vertical emphasis is maintained by thin exterior wall piers framing ribbons of windows and recessed spandrels. Based on a concrete pad, one of the most massive continuous pours of its day, the building originally housed offices, switchboards, equipment, service and employee areas. Today the building mostly houses equipment, as the offices have been moved to a newer building.

401 Euclid Avenue
Architect: George H. Smith. Engineer: John Eisenmann.
This grand Victorian confection consists of two 9-story office buildings linked by a 5-story arcade of iron and glass. The largest of its kind in the US, it was among the first ten sites to be listed on the National Register. It’s 100 feet (30.5 meters) from the floor to the glass roof. In the 1930s the Euclid Avenue façade was remodeled in an Art Deco mode, and an Art Deco circular stairway was added near the Superior Avenue entrance.

Cleveland has more intact street arcades than any other city in the US—a total of three. On our tour, we’ll also see the Colonial Arcade (1898) and Euclid Arcade (1911,) now combined and known as the “Fifth Street Arcades”—that span between Prospect and Euclid Avenues.

THE MALL (1903)
Rockwell Avenue to Lakeside Avenue, centered on East 3rd Street
Group Plan Commission of 1903: Daniel H. Burnham, chairman; Arnold W. Brunner, and John M. Carrere.
Inspired by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Cleveland Group Plan was the embodiment of the City Beautiful movement. The plan called for Beaux-Arts style buildings to be arranged around a central mall. This represents the largest planned civic center in the US outside of Washington, DC. Six buildings of complementary scale and design were constructed between 1910 in 1931: Federal Building, Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland City Hall, Public Auditorium, Board of Education, Cleveland Public Library. The Depression prevented structures on the west side of the mall to be completed–modern buildings now fill those spaces. The Cleveland Union Terminal was planned to be at the northern border of The Mall, but the Van Sweringen bothers derailed that plan when they proposed their Union Terminal on Public Square.

These Beaux-Arts buildings represent the finest architectural design of the Gilded Age. Just tell the guards you’re visiting from out of town, and you heard that the following are worth exploring during your free time:

Howard M. Metzenbaum Courthouse (1910) 201 Superior Avenue NE. Architect: Arnold W. Brunner.

Beautiful marble hallways on the first floor; ask to see the spectacular ceremonial courtrooms on the third floor.

Cleveland Public Library (1925) 325 Superior Avenue. Architect: Walker & Weeks.
Louis Stokes Wing (1997)
525 Superior Avenue. Architect: Malcolm Holzman.
One of the city’s finest architectural and cultural gems has many beautiful murals and special exhibits—check out the Special Collections Department.

Eastman Reading Garden (1937, remodeled 1998) 325 Superior Avenue. Design: Maya Lin. Sculptures: Tom Otterness.
Dedicated to Linda Eastman, Director of the Cleveland Public Library from 1918-1938, and the first woman in the country to head a major public library. The garden is a peaceful urban oasis between the two library buildings. Lin’s work features a gently flowing pool of water surrounded by granite blocks carved with an abstract poem. Some of the words are backwards, so you must read them in the water’s reflection. The amusing figures by Otterness populate the garden, gates, and window ledges.

Cuyahoga County Courthouse (1912) 1 Lakeside Avenue. Architects: Lehman & Schmitt; Charles F. Schweinfurth.
The central marble staircase attracts architects from around the world for its gently curving elegance. At the top of the stair is a large Tiffany stained-glass window: “Justice.” Courtrooms are done in English Oak, chestnut, and other fine woods—the Probate Court is especially ornate.

FOUNTAIN OF ETERNAL LIFE (or War Memorial Fountain) (1964)
The Mall between Rockwell and St Clair Avenues
Sculptor: Marshall Fredericks
Also known as “Peace Arising from the Flames of War.” A bronze figure reaches skyward for peace, the sphere represents Earth. The four granite carvings, placed around the sphere, embody different geographical civilizations of the world. Fredericks was born in Illinois but his family settled in Cleveland. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, although he is best known for his work in the Detroit area, after he joined the staff of Cranbook in 1932.

At the intersection of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street.
This Square was laid out as part of the town plan of Cleveland in 1796, the year Moses Cleaveland landed at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, the leader of the survey party of the Connecticut Land Company. Public Square was extensively redesigned in 2016 by James Corner Field Operations, co-designer of the celebrated High-Line Park in NYC.

In 1879, Public Square was the first place in the world to be illuminated by artificial lighting—Arc Lamps invented by Clevelander Charles Brush.

127 Public Square
Architects: Burnham & Root
Inside this Romanesque building is a spectacular marble banking hall, with a stained-glass skylight, and an overlay of decorative arts reflecting late Victorian ideals. The original murals are by Walter Crane, an English painter and illustrator. As an associate of William Morris, he was a founding member of the Arts & Crafts movement.

OLD STONE CHURCH (First Presbyterian Church) (1855-1884)
Public Square at Ontario Street
Architects: Charles Heard and Simeon Porter. Renovation: Charles F. and Julius Schweinfurth.
This is the second church to occupy this site. The original first Presbyterian church was built 1831-1833 and was demolished for the construction of the existing edifice. In both 1857 and 1884, the church was completely gutted by fire, although the exterior walls remained intact. The current interior was rebuilt by Charles Schweinfurth, and the painted walls were designed by his brother Julius Schweinfurth. All the stained-glass windows are either by Louis Comfort Tiffany or John LaFarge.

3 Public Square
Architect: Levi T. Scofield
This monument was built to honor the 10,000 Cuyahoga County residents who fought in the Civil War. Quite progressive for the time is the inclusion of women and African-Americans in the sculptures. Inside, you’ll see bronze relief statues of President Lincoln emancipating a slave, and what is the President giving him? The monument was extensively restored between 2008-2010. There is usually a volunteer veteran on site to answer questions.