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Cleveland: Historic Photos

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musky, your first picture is the wrong staircase. Here is a pic showing the same view from the postcard:

arcade1204.jpg

 

StrapHanger, you're not the first person to say that the Arcade looked "sterile" after the renovation but consider this:

 

1. By the 1990s, the owner had resorted to using roofing tar to patch holes and cracks in the skylight. Cleaning the skylight's exterior was cost-prohibitive and thus it was so obscured it was only letting in about 60% of the light available. For the renovation, every single piece of glass was replaced.

 

2. In addition to the glass, the wood and metal trim had never been thoroughly cleaned like they were in the renovation. In fact, most of the expense of the renovation was for labor/cleaning.

 

3. Some of the high-traffic vendors who moved out before the renovation didn't return, thus you have noticeably less foot traffic. That's not so much the case today.

 

4. The Arcade lacked adequate climate control for a facility of its size, and thus it was often unbearably humid in the summer and cold in the winter. The renovation also plugged the holes that allowed birds to take up residence - I can appreciate a well-worn patina while I'm eating lunch, birdsh!t on the other hand...

 

What I'm getting is that while I understand that the before and after are quite a contrast, the after was a desperately needed improvement over years of undermaintenance.

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oh yea, thats whats different, the bird chirping is gone.  when i was kid going there during the holidays i always regarded it as a semi-outdoor place since it was cold in there and therefore once you got into one of the stores you were actually inside.

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Is this the same Kent State professor you've mentioned before? They sound like they need a tour.

 

Yes. When we were doing our walking tours of downtown, I was usually behind him doing my best Cliff (Cheers) impersonation: "Actually, that's the .... building. The .... building was burnt down in a fire," or something to that effect.

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What I'm getting is that while I understand that the before and after are quite a contrast, the after was a desperately needed improvement over years of undermaintenance.

 

I hear ya MayDay, I too am grateful for the corporate $ that funded the much needed renovation.  I'm actually happy to see that the green leafy plants are back, even if they are lame corporaty palm things instead of the old ferns.

 

But my gratitude to Big Hotel, Inc. is not going to stop me from reminiscing or daydreaming how cool it could have been...

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Back when I was a kid, every now and then I would get a good non bull's eye, focused shot. :oops: This is NOT one of them, but here you go none the less. Lots of foot traffic even as late as the early 1980's.

 

I perfer the old black panes of the atrium but even today the structure looks great.

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rob_1412: When was your photo taken?

 

My before scanned original photo is a little sharper than the above and it looks like it may have been taken around the same time. The dinning tables appear to be the same all though there are people occupying them, so it is hard to tell.

 

There are lights on the arches of the atrium. Everything else looks pretty much status quo with the exception of my adolescent skills and the placement of the banners and the American flag.

 

I believe my yellowed old photo was taken between 1982 and 1984?

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rob_1412: When was your photo taken?

 

My before scanned original photo is a little sharper than the above and it looks like it may have been taken around the same time. The dinning tables appear to be the same all though there are people occupying them, so it is hard to tell.

 

There are lights on the arches of the atrium. Everything else looks pretty much status quo with the exception of my adolescent skills and the placement of the banners and the American flag.

 

I believe my yellowed old photo was taken between 1982 and 1984?

 

Mine was taken in late 1978 or early 1979, probably on a Saturday, so there weren't many people in the place. There were a lot of shops open at that time, though, and during the week it was quite busy.

 

I have several photos from that era on my web site; if you haven't seen them, check them out here.

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Thanks Rob. My guess is your photo is a Saturday or late summer evening shot being the US flag is rolled up for the day. I would guess mine was taken a couple of years later, all though I can't remember.

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That aerial photo dates from between 1949 and 1955. Why those dates? The 17-story Central National Bank on Euclid Avenue was demolished in 1949 for Woolthworth's. In your photo, the bank is already gone.

 

And all of the facilities and overhead catenaries are in place for the electrically powered trains coming in and out of Cleveland Union Terminal -- those were deactivated in 1953 and most electric support facilities were removed a year or two thereafter. In your photo, all of the electric facilities are all still in place.

 

Another cue, when looking for information in one of my books, I found an aerial photo of downtown from 1956. You wouldn't believe how many surface parking lots had already popped up along West 3rd in the Warehouse District by 1956 -- possibly in anticipation of the opening of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.'s new office tower. Construction for the tower began in 1956 (I can see the hole in the ground for the tower in the picture I have but not in the picture you posted -- the site is cleared in your picture but there's no hole yet). The CEI tower opened in 1958.

 

TMI, I know. But there it is.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I still say, failure to build the subway loop in the 50s to complete the hot new Red Line Rapid really killed downtown over time, esp Playhouse Sq.  I kind of think that even the Warehouse District, though not in the planned footprint of the subway (at least in terms of a station-stop any closer than Terminal Tower, which is pretty darn close) would have, likewise, reaped the benefit of the subway.

 

As for the electric trains at Union Station: I never quite understood why the Vans didn't expand this into the rapid commuter rail they proposed rather than building the totally separate rapid system (with separate power) and electric engines that merely hauled trains from the eastern and western edges of the city merely to keep TT clean... Seems a huge waste and lack of foresight to me which was borne out by the fact this expensive system only lasted about 20 years.  Contrast Philly's huge electrified suburban commuter rail network that's still serving 100K riders per day!.  The Vans could have built that here...

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I still say, failure to build the subway loop in the 50s to complete the hot new Red Line Rapid really killed downtown over time, esp Playhouse Sq.  ...........

 

Clvlndr....let it go....let it go man!  LOL

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Ahhh…it's so sad to look at old aerials.

 

It seems that aerials show the historic city best while skyline shots leave a better impression of today.

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I still say, failure to build the subway loop in the 50s to complete the hot new Red Line Rapid really killed downtown over time, esp Playhouse Sq.  ...........

Clvlndr....let it go....let it go man!  LOL

 

Yeah, MTS, I know... glad you're back... sorry for your loss.

 

 

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I didn't realize there was another diagonal split in the roads around E. 12th & Superior back then.  Who can tell me about that?

 

The lack of surface parking in that photo is glorious... [sigh]

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That aerial photo dates from between 1949 and 1955. Why those dates? The 17-story Central National Bank on Euclid Avenue was demolished in 1949 for Woolthworth's. In your photo, the bank is already gone.

 

And all of the facilities and overhead catenaries are in place for the electrically powered trains coming in and out of Cleveland Union Terminal -- those were deactivated in 1953 and most electric support facilities were removed a year or two thereafter. In your photo, all of the electric facilities are all still in place.

 

Another cue, when looking for information in one of my books, I found an aerial photo of downtown from 1956. You wouldn't believe how many surface parking lots had already popped up along West 3rd in the Warehouse District by 1956 -- possibly in anticipation of the opening of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.'s new office tower. Construction for the tower began in 1956 (I can see the hole in the ground for the tower in the picture I have but not in the picture you posted -- the site is cleared in your picture but there's no hole yet). The CEI tower opened in 1958.

 

TMI, I know. But there it is.

 

"TMI, I know" - not in the least...that's exactly the kind of thing that so rocks about this forum - folks who can knock stuff like dating old aerial photos out of the park!

 

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"Why those dates? The 17-story Central National Bank on Euclid Avenue was demolished in 1949 for Woolthworth's. In your photo, the bank is already gone."

 

KJP, I'm not sure Central National Bank has been tor down yet in the photo.  Check out the building directly to the right of the first setback on the Terminal Tower, looks like CNB with it's huge signage on top no?

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KJP, I'm not sure Central National Bank has been tor down yet in the photo. Check out the building directly to the right of the first setback on the Terminal Tower, looks like CNB with it's huge signage on top no?

 

You're right! I was mistakenly looking on Prospect. So the aerial photo precedes 1949.

 

CNB was on Euclid until it absorbed the Midland Bank and relocated to the Midland Bank Building, one of the interlocked Terminal Group buildings on Prospect. CNB was demolished in 1949 and replaced with the Woolworth's, today's House of Blues.

 

I recall seeing CNB's sign atop the Public Square buildings (Dick Jacobs' parking lot today) in the 1980s. So I don't know if they moved from the Midland in later years or what.

 

BTW, in case you're wondering what happened to this large Cleveland banking institution, Society for Savings Bank absorbed it in 1986 (KeyBank merged with Society in 1994).


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Anybody know what the building in front of the Hanna Annex is in the original photo?  I've seen other photos of it on Cleveland Memory Project but it had no information on what it was.  Looks like it was around 10 stories.  It's the site of the current surface parking lot across from the old Bottoms Up.

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Well, despite the many building losses, we did gain the Key Tower, a magnificent skyscraper in any city's skyline.

 

I like Key Tower fine but I'd happily trade it for all the lost stuff :(

 

That old Central National Bank building looked pretty cool- super skinny.  Would have made an awesome residential conversion...

 

 

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I think Straphanger meant he/she would trade Key Tower and a taller skyline for a dense, bustling urban center.  I agree.

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