Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Art & Art Deco tours of Cleveland

Conference schedule for a group meeting in Cleveland. They will conduct a number of interesting tours and are willing to include others who may wish to pay the per diem rate for any of these tours:


Arrive at the host hotel, Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade.
Our host hotel was one of the first 10 buildings to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a grand Victorian Arcade, built in 1890. There is really nothing else like it in the country. Five levels of brass, marble, and ironwork are covered by a 300 foot glass roof. A few years ago it underwent a thoughtful conversion to a hotel. The upper three levels (former offices) were renovated as hotel rooms, while the lower two levels remain as shops. (

10:00--11:00am Registration.
11:00--12:30pm Buffet lunch at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland

1:00--2:30pm Private tour of Severance Hall
Home of the Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall (1931) is one of the most beautiful concert halls in the country. The Neoclassical exterior--to blend with the nearby Cleveland Museum of Art--envelopes an eclectic interior of Neoclassical, Art Deco, and Egyptian styles. Exquisite design prevails throughout, with exceptional craftsmanship in marble, brass, terrazzo, and etched glass. ( Click the link to "Severance Hall.")

3:00--3:45pm Cleveland's Greyhound Bus Station
This Streamline Moderne building was a flagship terminal for Greyhound Bus Lines--and the largest in the country--when it was constructed in 1948. It was renovated in the late 1990's and is on the National Register.
(check out: Click the link to "archives" and find the May, 2000 issue.)

4:00--4:45pm Break

5:00--8:00pm Private tour of Tower City Center
Rockefeller Center is usually credited as the country's first mixed use urban complex but planning for Cleveland's Union Terminal Group--"a city within a city" precedes Rockefeller Center by nearly 20 years. And at 6.5 million square feet, it remains one of the largest mixed use complexes in the country. It was constructed by O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen, two brothers that created a railroad and real estate empire worth 3 billion dollars! At the center is Cleveland's main rail station, Cleveland Union Terminal. Towering above the entire complex is the 708 ft Terminal Tower, which held the distinction of being the tallest building in the world outside of Manhattan from 1929 to 1964. Also included in the complex is a hotel, department store, 3 other office buildings, and the city's main post office.
In the early 1990's the former train station was renovated into a shopping mall, with many of the original architectural features preserved. It was renamed Tower City Center.

Forest City Enterprises, the owner of Tower City Center, has kindly agreed to a private tour for our group. Highlights include the Terminal Tower Observation Deck, which has been closed to the public since 9-11-2001. We'll also see some nice Art Deco details in the Higbee's Department Store (sadly now closed) and the Higbee's dining room, The Silver Grille. The Silver Grille is virtually unchanged from when it opened in 1931, including much of the original furniture. We'll see The English Oak Room, the premiere dining facility for the Union Terminal, a wonderful contrast of traditional dark oak paneled walls and a ornate, polychrome, Art Deco ceiling. The old post office (1934) has been renovated as the MK-Ferguson Building, but the original post office lobby is intact. Finally, we'll have a rare look into the Van Sweringen Brother's private apartment in the Terminal Tower, comprising 3 floors and now known as the Greenbrier Suite.
(Cleveland Union Terminal celebrated it's 75th anniversary last year: Another great web site is: Click "find images" and try: "Terminal Tower", "Higbee", and to see some exquisite Art Deco design: "Higbee elevator doors."

8:30pm Dinner


9:00--10:45am (optional "Non-Deco" walking tour: Great Bank Lobbies)
Given its industrial heritage, Cleveland has always had a strong banking industry, which continues even today. There is no city in the country with so many spectacular bank lobbies in such close proximity to each other. We'll explore 5 bank lobbies--all within a few blocks of each other. The Society for Savings Building (1889) is a Romanesque Burnham & Root gem with lovely Arts & Crafts stenciling. The National City Bank and the Union Trust Bank (completed 1922, now Huntington Bank) are Neoclassical, with soaring columns and coffered ceilings. The Union Trust Bank has the largest bank lobby in the world. The Cleveland Trust lobby (1909) has a gorgeous stained glass rotunda. Of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks, Cleveland is the most beautiful, described as "walking into a bar of gold." Its lobby features stunning marble and forged iron work.
(Check Click "find images" and search "Union Trust Bank" and "Federal Reserve Bank." For some nice pictures of the Society for Savings Building, go to and search "Society for Savings" in "Cleveland.")

11:00--12:30pm Private tour of Playhouse Square Center
The largest theater restoration project in the world, this is the second largest theater district in the country--only Lincoln Center in NYC is larger. The shows at these 5 historic theaters attract over one million visitors a year. Although none of the theaters are Art Deco in style, some of the details are, and there is a colorful Art Deco mural in the lobby of the State Theater that has been recently restored. Our private tour will likely include the Ohio, Allen, State, and Palace Theaters. There will be an (optional) opportunity to attend a live performance at Playhouse Square on Saturday night, September 16th.

1:00--2:15pm Lunch at Sokolowski's University Inn
A Cleveland classic, the Sokolowski family has been serving delicious Polish food since 1923. Not a fancy place--it's served cafeteria style--so grab a tray and enjoy!

2:30--3:00pm St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Since it is close to Sokolowski's, we'll take a detour to see St. Theodosius, the finest example of Russian Orthodox architecture in the country. Movie buffs may recall the stunning interior featured in the wedding scenes of the movie "The Deer Hunter."

3:30--5:00pm Tour of Cowan Pottery Museum
The "Cleveland School" is well represented here, a museum of American Art Pottery that was made in the Cleveland area from 1912-1931. It is located in west suburban Rocky River, housed in their public library. Viktor Schreckengost's Art Deco icon "The Jazz Bowl" was produced by Cowan Pottery. Mr. Schreckengost turned 100 years old this year, and is still living in the Cleveland area. Besides being an accomplished artist, he is also a well known industrial designer. Everyone has used or enjoyed something designed or created by Viktor Schreckengost!
( and

5:30--6:15pm Break

6:30--10:00pm (optional) Dinner and Boat Cruise along the Cuyahoga River and
Lake Erie on the Nautica Queen.


8:30--9:30am (optional "Non-Deco" walking tour: Cleveland Group Plan of 1903)
This represents the largest civic center plan outside of Washington D.C. Strongly influenced by the "City Beautiful" movement that followed Chicago's World Fair of 1893, it should come as no surprise that Daniel Burnham was involved in the planning. A Federal Courthouse, Public Library, Country Courthouse, City Hall, Public Auditorium, and School Administration building are all of uniform height and Beaux Arts style.

9:45--11:30am Lake View Cemetery
Founded in 1869, this cemetery and arboretum is modeled after the grand Victorian garden cemeteries of Europe. Lake View is the final resting place for many prominent Clevelanders, including President Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, and Elliot Ness. This may be a first among Art Deco tours: Art Deco mausoleums and monuments. We'll also save time to see the lovely Wade Chapel, with an interior designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

11:45--1:15pm Lunch

1:30--4:45pm Art Deco Fashion & The Great Lakes Exposition of 1937 at
The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS)
The costume curator at the WRHS has kindly offered a presentation on Art Deco Fashion. The Halle Costume Collection at the WRHS is among the finest (the Halle family owned a very prestigious Cleveland department store for many years.) We'll also have a presentation on Cleveland's Great Lakes Exposition of 1937, a regional fair that featured modern, streamlined design. There will also be some free time to explore other areas of the museum, including its excellent vintage car collection.

5:00--6:00pm Break

6:30--8:30pm Dinner

8:30--10:00pm (optional) Jazz Club outing


9:30--10:30am Downtown Art Deco Walking Tour
We'll see the Art Deco War Memorial Fountain and Cleveland's tallest Art Deco building, the Ohio Bell Huron Building (1927.) It was the inspiration for the "Daily Planet" building by the creators of the Superman comic, Clevelanders Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster.
(See: Search "Ohio Bell Huron" and "Cleveland.")

10:45--11:15am "Guardians Of Transportation" pylons on the Lorain-Carnegie
Bridge (now Hope Memorial Bridge.)
The most impressive Art Deco sculptures in Cleveland are the 43 foot "Guardians of Transportation" pylons that flank either end of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge (1932.) (These were the inspiration of the "Art & Art Deco Cleveland 2006" tour logo.) There is a pair of pylons on each end of the bridge, with a "Guardian" on each side of the pylon for a total of eight figures. Each is holding a different mode of transportation: stagecoach, passenger car, truck, etc. The sculptor was Henry Hering.
(Some of the "Guardians" are featured on our web site: Some excellent images are at: Click "search" and type in "Lorain Carnegie" in the Google search box.)

11:30--12:45pm The West Side Market
Visitors to Cleveland usually list The West Side Market as their favorite spot. This landmark building is on the National Register and the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country. Cleveland's strong ethnic heritage is reflected in the 100 indoor and 85 outdoor food stalls, many still operated by the same families as when the market opened in 1912. On a busy day over 20 different languages are spoken here! While you probably can't take raw meat or homemade sausage back to your hotel room, you can enjoy lunch here among the many prepared foods, baked goods, and produce.

1:00--7:00pm Sparx in the City Gallery Hop
Ohio's largest art gallery walk takes place today and tomorrow in several Cleveland neighborhoods. For the price of a trolley ticket, participants can "hop on" and "hop off" the trolley anywhere along the route to see about 100 different studios and galleries that will be open this weekend.

5:00--6:30pm (optional) Dinner at a fancy restaurant
If you would like to end your Gallery Hop early and join us for dinner, you are welcome to do so. Or, you could enjoy dinner on your own in the neighborhood you're exploring.

7:00--10:00pm (optional) Theater outing at Playhouse Square Center: "A Funny
Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
It's opening night for this classic production, presented by the Great Lakes Theater Festival (GLTF.) GLTF, originally known as the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, has been delighting audiences since 1962.


9:30--10:15am (optional "Non-Deco" walking tour: The Warehouse District)
An excellent collection of Victorian commercial buildings are just north and west of the Terminal Tower. This was the original center of downtown Cleveland. Adaptive reuse abounds here--many buildings have been converted to loft style apartments, condos, and offices.

10:30--12:30pm Brunch
We'll also have a Cleveland trivia contest featuring fabulous prizes! This will conclude the Art & Art Deco Cleveland 2006 program.

1:00--5:00pm Sparx in the City Galley Hop continues....


Post a Comment

<< Home