Tomorrow: On to Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland as seen from the Cuyahoga River. (Yuanshuai Si/Getty)

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Cleveland. Pittsburgh rivals the Forest City in my memory as a stop on a bus trip home after, if I recall, dropping out of J-school at the University of Misery, in Columbia, Mo. But tomorrow all that will change. I will be visiting my oldest friend from D.C., Stevenson Hugh Mields, the great humorist, now a resident of Cleveland’s westerly exurbs, near Oberlin College.

Cleveland’s downtown is one of the several center cities in the United States most influenced by the City Beautiful movement. The erection of classical downtowns in the early 20th century arose from the popularity of the so-called “White City” built along the Chicago waterfront for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. I intend to sightsee that influence in Cleveland to the hilt.

One of eight Guardians of Traffic. (Wikipedia)

Soon after I arrive we will visit Progressive Field, the second retro stadium after the Orioles’ Camden Yards, in Baltimore. We will see the Indians – ahem! I mean the Guardians, named, I guess, for one of the city’s eight “Guardians of Traffic” – play the storied St. Louis Cardinals; their name may be at risk now that ornithology has been declared racist.

Steve solicited a list of things I, as a diehard classicist, might like to see. I listed the Cleveland Art Museum, the Terminal Tower, the Old Arcade, the Wade Park District, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (kidding).

I’m sure I’ve left many notable sites off of my list, and if anyone has any recommendations, please send a blog comment or an email to

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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10 Responses to Tomorrow: On to Cleveland

  1. Lucy Gibson says:

    The West Side Market and Ohio City cannot be missed!


  2. Catxman says:

    Ohio is a strange state: 12 million residents, and yet it is practically invisible on the American landscape. It’s not urban blighted like Baltimore, yet it seems to have cities like Cincinnati and Akron that exist in the same middling-blah state as Philadelphia. Perhaps when the nuclear war happens it will be the last fragments of America to survive.

    — Catxman


    • Not really quite sure what you mean here, Catxman. Rather, to be frank, I have no idea. Are you saying a city should be “urban blighted” to achieve visibility? I’m sure that modern architecture has blighted Cincinnati and Akron as much as it has Philadelphia or even Cleveland, which I inspected between Wednesday and Friday, and expect to describe in a blog post tomorrow (Monday). I agree with Prince Charles that when the Luftwaffe bombed Britain it didn’t leave anything more offensive than rubble. It was modernism, in architecture and planning, that did the real damage to British cities. (I hasten to add that the real damage was the lives lost, an obvious point one feels obliged to make these days.)


      • Arnold Berke says:

        David, Cleveland actually was not blighted by modern architecture as much as some other big cities, the main reason being that downtown never sprouted that many new buildings during the high tide of modernism. The local economy was simply not robust enough. There are a few dogs one can point to, but take a look at the Cleveland skyline and compare it other cities — you’ll find Cleveland’s much more attractive.


  3. Arnold Berke says:

    You will be amazed at Cleveland, my hometown, not only for the things you always read about these days, like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, etc., but also for the amazing bone structure and historic architecture of the city and its suburbs. One thing among many that you should experience is the rapid-transit line from Terminal Tower up to Shaker Square and then Shaker Heights, itself a masterpiece of garden-city planning. Also: the massive amount of residential use occupying historic office buildings downtown, the stunning University Circle parks and institutions (including Severance Hall), and the restored valley of the Cuyahoga River. I’ll stop here! One more thing: You recently mentioned an unused bridge in Providence that was endangered. There is a similar (though not endangered) one downtown on the Cuyahoga, which, when it was no longer going to be used, was left in its upright position, pointing to the sky.


    • Thank you, Arnold. I did get to see much of this, and it was gratifying. I did not see the bridge you refer to, but I’ll try to find it on Google. It seems the Providence version of that upstuck bridge is no longer endangered, except by what “artists” hope to do with it.


  4. Mary A Shepard says:

    Hi, Dave, You might want to check out Severance Hall, home of the famous Cleveland Orchestra, if only from the outside – and to see what sort of neighborhood it’s in – from Mary S.


  5. Stanley Weiss says:

    You left out the Cleveland symphony I hear it’s pretty good

    Sent from my iPad



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