Historic Landmarks in Cleveland

On July 22nd, 1796 the city of Cleveland was officially laid out as the Connecticut Land Company divided up townships and established it capital. Cleveland was initially spelled Cleaveland as it was named after the leader of the Connecticut Land Company, General Moses Cleaveland. Interestingly, Cleaveland stayed to oversee the plan for the future city and then leave, never again to return to his namesake city. Spelling of the city changed in 1831 to Cleveland so it could fit on a newspaper’s masthead.

Visiting Cleveland will leave you simply exhausted as there are so many things to see and do in this incredible capitol city. If you’re interested in checking out the historical sites of Cleveland the following list of historical landmarks is a great way to get started and plan your trip to a city that was once dubbed the “best location in the nation”.

Cleveland Gray’s Armory

Known locally as the castle, the Cleveland Gray’s Armory is one of the oldest remaining structures in downtown Cleveland, predating the Civil War the building was built by local militia in 1937. The style of the building is Richardsonian Romanesque Revival in its architectural style which is quite unique but it’s the five story tower which is probably the most noted element of the architecture. The great presence of this building is probably part of the reason that it went from strictly serving as a weapons arsenal and drill hall into an important part of the community and is noted for housing the city’s premiere social gatherings. The Cleveland Gray’s Armory is a unique mix of ancient military history and modern frivolity and frolic.

West Side Market

Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland is the West Side Market, due to some incredible foresight when Josiah Barber and Richard Lord gave the land to the city in 1840 they stipulated that it always serve the city as a public market site. In 1868 a wooden structure was erected but the city eventually outgrew the building and in 1902 the market was expanded and a large brick building was built to hold more vendors. The significance of this building was noted in 1973 as it became a national historic landmark and groups and government have worked to try and keep it safe and functional without losing its charm. Today it’s not only a popular marketplace but draws political hopefuls from all over as they hit the campaign trail.

Severance Hall

Home to the Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall is noted as one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls and its recent $36 million restoration has made it only more impressive. Opening in 1931, at the time it was considered one of the most modern facilities of its kind. Originally John Long Severance and Elisabeth Severance pledged $1 million for construction of a permanent home for the Orchestra but after Elisabeth’s sudden death John became distraught and wanted the building to serve as a memorial to his departed wife. He almost tripled his investment and the eventual cost was nearly $7 million. The architecture and interior styles are well noted and recognized by both the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and the National Register of Historic Places.

Cleveland Museum of Art

Not only is the Cleveland Museum of Art packed with incredible works of art, more than 42,000 in all, that are considered one of the best collections in the world, but the building itself is noted historic landmark. With about 500,000 visitors coming through the doors each year the building is showing its age and the more than 50 years worth of additions the original structure has lost some of its appear. The Cleveland Museum of Art has taken it upon itself to began a major renovation and expansion, at this time more than $200 million has been raised for this undertaking and the final project will be completed in 2012.

Holy Rosary Church

Holy Rosary Church drew catholic immigrants together in the center of the Cleveland neighborhood referred to as Little Italy. Since 1892 the church has served as a cultural and moral center for thousands of parishioners in Cleveland. It has always been the policy of the church to welcome everyone into their house, so feel free to worship with the congregation during your vacation and enjoy the historical beauty of this Cleveland landmark.

Lake View Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery is a beautiful treasure that invites guests to fondly recall the past in a variety of ways. The Garfield Monument was built in memory of President James Garfield and guests are welcome to participate in a guided tour. President Garfield lays in state with his wife in a private crypt directly below Memorial Hall. Wade Chapel also features a guide and features incredible interior design by noted artisan Louis Comfort Tiffany, his most noted piece of artwork is an inspiring leaded-glass window known as “The Flight of Souls”. The Rockefeller Monument was built to honor one of the richest American citizens ever and a noted Cleveland resident. Similarly, the Eliot Ness Monument is designed to honor another famed past resident of Cleveland. A must see at the cemetery is the Lake View Cemetery Dam, once noted as the largest concrete filled dam east of the Rocky Mountains, it is 500 feet across, 60 feet above grade, and 30 feet below grade.

Rock hall of fameCreative Commons License photo credit: jonms83

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

No list of Cleveland’s landmarks is complete without mentioning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Although the Hall may not be an official historic landmark, it’s bound to become one in the future. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983 but it didn’t have a home until Cleveland won the bid to house the noted group. Architect I.M. Pei was commissioned to create the initial designs and the ground breaking ceremony occurred on June 7, 1993. The museum is currently home to some of the greatest memorabilia in the brief history of rock and roll but its magnificent collection and iconic structure are sure to make it another of Cleveland’s historic landmark in the future.
Creative Commons License photo credit: St. Simon