Cleveland's Public Square
What began as pasturage for early settlers’ livestock has evolved into the City of Cleveland’s relaxing public ‘front lawn’.
Cleveland’s Public Square consists of four city blocks cross-haired by Ontario Street and Superior Avenue, situated less than a mile from the bank of the Cuyahoga River where city founder Moses Cleaveland and his surveying party alit in the summer of 1796. The area gridded out by that party was modeled on the typical town square of a contemporary New England town, for the surrounding region was all part of the former colony of Connecticut’s congressionally-mandated ‘Western Reserve’.
But the growing city quickly enclosed Public Square, and most of its significant buildings were arrayed about the quadrangle. The congregation of the historic Old Stone Church began as religious classes held in a log-cabin city hall that flanked the Square. The Church’s classic edifice (rebuilt several times over nearly 200 years) still towers over the greensward containing the statue of the city’s founder. By 1879, the teeming traffic about the Square demanded the world’s first electric streetlight, featuring arc lamps designed by native Clevelander Charles F. Brush.
Today Public Square is ringed by three of the city’s tallest buildings. Occupying a unique angled alignment at the Square’s southwest corner is The Terminal Tower, completed as the world’s second-tallest building in 1930, and now part of the massive mixed-use Tower City Center. The complex contains a light-rail hub, two hotels, several sizable office towers, substantial retail space with a grand concourse, parking, theaters, food court, amphitheater and multiple restaurants.
Towering above the northern face of Public Square is Key Tower, part of Key Center and home of Key Bank. The 57-story Tower, designed by Cesar Pelli and completed in 1991, is the city’s tallest structure. Restored at the time of its construction was the historic Society for Savings Bank, a Richardsonian red stone fortress designed by Burnham & Root and completed in 1890.
Gazing out upon the eastern flank of Public Square, and upon the Soldiers and Sailors Monument of 1894 situated in the Square, stands the former BP America headquarters building (now simply 200 Public Square). Designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (now HOK), this 45-story stone and glass slab embodies an unusual flare-winged and stair-stepped geometry as it straddles from Superior to Euclid Avenues. Its 8-story atrium provides a grand interior landscape with pools, reflecting the landscaped Square outside.
Currently the city is considering a variety of fairly significant redesigns of Public Square, preserving it as a citizen’s front lawn, while investigating ways in which it can remain the central engine and focus of downtown development and city life.
- The Terminal Tower: A Cleveland Landmark
To most Cleveland residents, this structure towering over Public Square is the most recognized icon of the City.
- Cleveland's Tower City Center
Enjoy the grandeur of one of Cleveland's most enthralling interior spaces, the skylit atrium court of the Shops at Tower City Center.
- Cleveland's Key Tower
Key Tower, Cleveland, Ohio When this office tower was completed in 1991, it became the nationâs tallest structure between New York and Chicago. Even today, after recent building booms in Hong Kong, China, Dubai and elsewhere, Key Tower remains...
- See Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino
Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino, in the shadow of the Terminal Tower If you are one of the fortunate ones who have acquired an entry ticket or wristband for the Grand Opening of Clevelandâs Horseshoe Casino this coming Monday evening, May 14th, at...
- Cleveland's Old Stone Church
Old Stone Church A dark and commanding presence on Cleveland’s Public Square since the early 1800s, Old Stone Church now stands among its much larger and younger neighbors: the Terminal Tower, Key Center and the former BP Headquarters (now 200...
- The Carl B. Stokes Federal Court House Biuilding
The Carl B. Stokes Federal Court House Building Completed in 2002, this 24-story tower is one of four distinctively-capped high-rise structures defining the core skyline of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It joins The Terminal Tower (1930), the former BP..
- Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, Ohio
Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, Ohio Developed as part of Forest City Enterprise’s massive renovation and expansion of the base of the Terminal Tower and its adjoining structures in the late 1980s, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel flanks the retail Avenue at Tower...
- 55 Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio
55 Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio From the completion of The Terminal Tower in 1930 through nearly the next 30 years, downtown Cleveland suffered a severe drought of construction of significant structures. That drought finally ended in 1958 with the.
- Old Cleveland Skyline Quiz
Old Aerial View of Cleveland Sure, the City of Cleveland, Ohio may be easy to identify by the prominence of the Terminal Tower near the center of this dated aerial image, or by the view of the Lake Erie breakwater in the distance. Perhaps you once...
- Marcel Breuer's Ameritrust Tower, Cleveland, Ohio
Ameritrust Tower, Cleveland, Ohio The city of Cleveland will likely lose the former Ameritrust bank headquarters tower designed in the Brutalist style by renowned architect Marcel Breuer. The 29-story shaft of black granite, with its distinctive...