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Alexander Hamilton Statue, Cleveland, Ohio

Updated on February 9, 2011
Alexander Hamilton Statue, Cleveland, Ohio
Alexander Hamilton Statue, Cleveland, Ohio

This statue is one of twin sculptures flanking the entrance to the Cuyahoga County Courthouse on Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Created by sculptor Karl Bitter, the piece depicts a seated Alexander Hamilton, holding his hat and cane in his right hand, with some papers in his left.

Karl Theodor Francis Bitter (1867 – 1915) was an Austrian-born émigré to the United States. Trained in his native land at both the imperial school for applied arts and an academy of fine arts, he began his sculpting career as the great Ringstrasse was being built around the old central section of Vienna. As that encircling beltway was conceived as a grand boulevard populated by opulent civic structures, institutional buildings, private mansions and commercial structures, the young architectural sculptor saw great demand for his work.

Departing Austria for the United States in 1889, Bitter became a naturalized citizen and quickly came under the eye of famed New York architect-to-the-affluent Richard Morris Hunt. Sculptural commissions soon followed. Bitter went on to sculpt for not only Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, but also the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, and the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915.

Bitter’s range also began to include Cleveland, where he created architectural sculpture and statuary for both George Post’s Cleveland Trust Company bank building, still standing at East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue, and the First National Bank, designed by architect Milton J. Dyer.

Concurrent with Bitter’s other Cleveland work, the current Cuyahoga County Courthouse building was under construction. Designed by the architectural practice of Lehman & Schmitt, this sizable Beaux-Arts edifice was to be one of the first key structures of the 1903 Group Plan that arranged Cleveland’s core of civic buildings and public plazas. The structure’s grand and elaborate 4-story pedimented entrance bay aligned with Ontario Boulevard became the prime point of punctuation for Bitter’s paired statues.

‘Alexander Hamilton 1757-1804’ is a slightly larger-than-life cast bronze statue of one of America’s Founding Fathers. A graduate of King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York, Hamilton went on to become an economist, political theorist, Constitutional lawyer, artillery captain, aide to George Washington, member of the Continental Congress, author of the Federalist Papers, and the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.    

Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street, Cleveland, Ohio:
Lakeside Ave E & Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA

get directions

Travel north on Ontario Avenue and the Courthouse will be framed directly ahead.


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