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The Caxton Building, Cleveland, Ohio
The red and ochre tones of the Caxton Building rise richly above lower Huron Road in downtown Cleveland. Flanking the AT&T Huron Road switching center, the 8-story Caxton Building is one of Cleveland’s finest old steel-framed office structures.
Completed in 1903, the Caxton Building was designed by local architect Frank S. Barnum, who had served for much of the previous decade as the architect of Cleveland public schools. As the building was intended to house the graphic-arts trade and printing operations of the Caxton Co., it bears that company’s name. (The Caxton Company had in turn been named for William Caxton, Britain’s first printer, ca. 15th Century.)
The structure was also designed to carry very substantial loads on some of its floors — up to 300 pounds per square foot — to allow for the installation of printing presses. The building would later become home to the Commercial Bookbinding Company, which later became the World Publishing Company (producers of Webster’s New World Dictionary).
The building’s Huron Road façade bears a clear columnar expression, with an articulated retail base accented by reddish stone and an elaborate circular entrance archway of ochre terracotta in the Romanesque style. The ‘shaft’ portion of the façade consists of regularly-gridded window openings framed in ochre brick, while the building’s ‘capital’ is a series of articulated semicircular-arched windows under substantial cornice detailing.
The Caxton Building has undergone several rounds of interior renovation, and in 1976 was declared a Cleveland landmark.