The Masonry and Ironwork of Cleveland

At some point in the Cleveland’s history, it must have been home to some of the finest stonemasons and ironworkers in the world.

Now that working stonemasons and ironworkers–craftsmen–are mainly a thing of the past, their legacy endures and continues to add character, beauty and sometimes even humor to the Cleveland streetscape.

I’ve been meaning to do this blog post since I began this blog early this year but until last week I was lacking a functional camera.

I shot these photos on my ride home from work, mainly in a six-block stretch of Superior and St. Clair avenues.

Start: The Archdiocese of Cleveland, 9th and Superior

Start: The Archdiocese of Cleveland, E. 9th and Superior

Keeping watch

Keeping watch

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Next Stop: The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, E. 6th and Superior

Next Stop: The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, E. 6th and Superior

These statues used to contain machine gun torrets, as armed guard protected the safe during the turbulent years of the 1920s and '30s.

These statues once contained machine-gun turrets, as armed guards protected the safe during the turbulent years of the 1920s and '30s.

Next door: The reading garden at the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch, gaurded by children

Next door: The reading garden at the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch, guarded by children

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Weather worn, the public library: 6th and Superior

Weather worn, the public library: 6th and Superior

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Across the street: The arcade. One of America's first shopping malls.

Across the street: The arcade. One of America's first shopping malls.

Mall building has changed a lot since 1890.

Mall building has changed a lot since 1890.

A better view.

A better view.

A really a lot better view.

A really a lot better view.

The Federal Courthouse: East 3rd and Superior.

The Federal Courthouse: East 3rd and Superior.

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War Memorial Sculpture, Cleveland Mall

The Cleveland Mall was built as part of the City Beautiful movement under the guidance of famous Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. A complete history here.

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The Mall is flanked by the Board of Education building and a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

The Mall is flanked by the Board of Education building and a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument: W. 2nd and Superior, public square.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument: W. 2nd and Superior, Public Square.

The May COmpany Building, formerly home to May Department Store, Euclid and E. 2nd.

The May Company Building, formerly home to May Department Store, Euclid and E. 2nd.

Tower City, Public Square

Tower City, Public Square

Until 1964, Tower City was the tallest building in America outside of New York City. It was built as a train station and still serves as a stop on RTA’s rapid transit line as well as as a mall and movie theater.

The Cleveland Trust Company Building, precursor to National City Bank.

The Society National Bank Building, precursor to Key Bank.

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West Third Street

West Third Street

The county courthouse, Lakeside and Ontario

The county courthouse, Lakeside and Ontario

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My personal favorite, the Rockefeller Building: W. 6th and Superior. Abraham Lincoln once spent the night in this building.

My personal favorite, the Rockefeller Building: W. 6th and Superior. Abraham Lincoln once spent the night in this building.

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The Perry-Payne Building, W. 9th and Superior

U.S. District Court, Superior and Huron

U.S. District Court, Superior and Huron

Ok. That’s all for now. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. Most notably overlooked examples include the “Guardians of Traffic” on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge and, of course, the dozens and dozens of beautiful churches that pepper the city.

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-AS

12 Comments

Filed under architecture, Art, Headline

12 responses to “The Masonry and Ironwork of Cleveland

  1. So cool, I love old architecture. It is much nicer than anything new. I live in Pittsburgh and feel lucky to have a lot of these old buildings as well.

  2. Cleveland is a beautiful old hag!

  3. HHF

    I *just* discovered this one – https://rustwire.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/pa270053.jpg – just the other day. I’m pretty sure I stopped cold on the sidewalk; it was so beautiful and unexpected. I can’t believe I had never noticed it before.

  4. One minor quibble: Lincoln stayed at the Weddell House, which stood on the site of the Rockefeller Building.

  5. Special K

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos which totally made me nostalgic for the Cleve. Great work, Angie! My favorites were always the Guardians of Traffic.

  6. tonyg

    I note that Lake Erie Gray Winter Sky in many of the shots.

  7. Pingback: Rustwire: The Masonry and Ironwork of Cleveland | BLACKHEART Cleveland

  8. Shaheen

    There must still be some craftsmen left — the Carl B Stokes Federal Court House was built in 2002!

  9. Shaheen

    Wikipedia says the Cleveland Federal Courthouse “is adorned by Cleveland Venus, a 37 feet (11 m) tall, 11.5 ton[vague] bronze sculpture created by Ohio artist Jim Dine. The headless and armless statue is one of the sculptor’s variations on the Venus de Milo.”

  10. Not a stonemason. There really are very few skilled stonemasons, if any, that can do the kind of work you see throughout Cleveland anymore. We live in the age of thrift.

  11. Shane

    Alot of the stonework tended to be done in the areas in which they were mined and then shipped to the site, very little custome stone work is done on site, so it’s probable the stone work came from else where.
    Southern Indiana has quite a few stone quaries that still do custom stone work (they provided the stone for a lot of famous buildings like the Empire State building in NY and the Pentagon in DC).

  12. Beautiful.

    I live in Akron and visit Cleveland frequently. I bought a turn of the century house precisely because I love good old architectural design and execution. I think it is a tragedy that we allow places like Cleveland and its inner ring suburbs (example: East Cleveland) to go to hell. It amounts to an unconscionable and inexcuseable loss of beauty. Drive down Euclid Avenue some time from Downtown to I-90. You can see the beauty that once was. It is amazing.

    The reason this kind of work is not seen much anymore is expense. It costs more up front to build. It costs more to maintain. Older buildings generally have layout, wiring and communications issues that new construction does not (and costs money to upgrade) Insurance companies don’t want to value it and replace it in event of catastrophe, so they jack up the rates …

    I was really hoping the Federal Stimulus would actually do something to help cities revitalize some of these buildings so that new businesses would come in and use them…

    IB

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