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Cleveland City Hall
Cleveland City Hall was a crucial structure in establishing The Group Plan, a scheme put forth around 1900 by which the core civic areas and public structures of the burgeoning city were to be planned and constructed.
The building anchors the north end of East Sixth Street at Lakeside Avenue, and overlooks areas of the city’s lakefront — and its waterside attractions of Cleveland Browns Stadium, The Great Lakes Science Center and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The building is backed by the Willard Park garage, which extends westward behind the Cuyahoga County Courthouse as well. Sited at Willard Park, to City Hall’s immediate east, is the public art ‘FREE’ stamp sculpture.
As a twin in size and scale to the nearby Cuyahoga County Courthouse, and only the third structure erected within The Group Plan, City Hall set out a pattern of development for Lakeside Avenue and the nearby public malls that persists today. The four-story (plus partial fifth floor) Neoclassic structure with Beaux-Arts elements was the creation of architect J. Milton Dyer, and was completed in 1916.
The structure has had substantial renovations over the years, including the addition of a substantial parking garage (which jointly serves the Cuyahoga County Courthouse) along the lakeside façade, and selective energy and fixture upgrades. Overall, the grand structure remains today virtually as initially designed. Its two-story rotunda, clad in Botticelli marble, and capped by a vaulted and coffered skylit ceiling, resting atop ponderous Doric columns, is perhaps its most impressive interior space. Both the Mayor’s offices and the three-story City Council Chamber are clad in richly detailed woods.
City Hall shares with its County Courthouse twin similar form and architectural detailing. Both have exterior bases formed of large-scale rustic stone, exterior façades organized by two-story colonnades, roof line balustrades, and exhibit similar materials and coloration. Both also exemplify solid, staid classical order and symmetry. The twinned structures are separate by a formal park/garden, which allows for views of the Lake Erie shore from Lakeside Avenue.
Cleveland City Hall has housed all of the City of Cleveland's administrative functions for nearly a full 100 years, and there are no plans for any future changes. The pending completion of the new Cleveland Convention Center — with its dramatic sloped park of a roof — and the related Medical Mart promise to bring far more traffic and attention to this portion of downtown Cleveland.
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