Category: U.S. Midwest


Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery

Euclid Avenue gate, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Euclid Avenue gate, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

If Cleveland’s architecture provides insight into its history, its magnificent Lakeview Cemetery yields insights into the dreams, accomplishments, and tragedies of its people.

Modeled after the great garden cemeteries of Victorian era England and France and opened in 1869, it is the  permanent resting place of more than 100,000 Clevelanders.

Cleveland skyline from heights above Lakeview Cemetery

Cleveland skyline from heights above Lakeview Cemetery

 

Nearly 1,000 permanent residents are added  each year and a quarter of the 285 acres are yet undeveloped.

Many of the immigrant stonemasons who landscaped the cemetery and carved its monuments lived in adjacent Little Italy.

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

One of the more poignant memorials is to the nearly two hundred children killed in the Collinwood school fire of 1908.

The cemetery is the final resting place of twentieth century notables, as well as of some of historical footnote interest.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the U.S., is the most well-known of the statesmen buried here, which also include U.S. Senator and Republican Party kingmaker Mark Hanna, U. S. Secretary of State John Hay, and Newton D. Baker, World War I Secretary of War.

Oil baron John D. Rockefeller is also buried here.

Garfield, a former Civil War general, college president, and Congressman, became the Republicans’ dark horse nominee on the 36th ballot and won the election by only 10,000 votes.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Only four months after his inauguration in 1881, he was shot by a disappointed officer seeker in Washington’s railroad station and lingered for two months before he died.

His monument is an imposing sandstone structure that combines Romanesque, Gothic and Byzantine styles of architecture, and stands 180 feet tall.

On a clear day, visitors can see up to forty miles of Lake Erie shore from its balcony.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

Garfield’s life and death are depicted in five terra cotta panels, and more than 100 life size statues.  The Memorial Hall is done in gold mosaics, colored marble, stained glass windows and red granite columns.

Cleveland Indians short stop Ray Chapman, killed when struck in the head by a pitch in 1920, is buried here.  He is one of only two MLB players to die of a head injury sustained on the playing field during a game.

Lakeview is also the burial site of pioneer rock ‘n’ roll DJ Alan “Moondog” Freed.

 

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Some of those buried here are not themselves well-known, but have made widely-known contributions from the profound to the lighthearted.  Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask and the three-colored traffic light .  James Salisbury invented… the Salisbury steak.

The ashes of Untouchables detective Eliot Ness, Cleveland’s Director of Public Safety from 1935-42, are scattered here.  So are the ashes of comic book writer Harvey Pekar, known for his groundbreaking series American Splendor.

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

The cemetery’s Wade Chapel is a must-see.  Built in memory of Western Union founder Jeptha Wade, it contains one of the few surviving interiors totally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Massive bronze doors set into the Neo-Classical style exterior open on a chapel dominated by Tiffany’s stunning stained glass window.

Its brilliant colors are at once opalescent, iridescent, and translucent.

 

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

A mosaic on the Chapel’s west wall symbolizes prophecy and the law of the Old Testament.

 

The mosaic on the east wall symbolizes the fulfillment of the Prophets’ laws by Christianity.

 

Both were constructed in the Tiffany Studios in New York and re-assembled on site.

Gravesite statue "Angel of Death Victorious" by sculptor Herman Matzen.

Gravesite statue “Angel of Death Victorious” by sculptor Herman Matzen.

Also check out the smaller but well known memorial, “Angel of Death Victorious”  at the gravesite of the Haserot family, created by sculptor Herman Matzen.

 

See my related post on La Recoleta (one of National Geographic Top 10 cemeteries) in my post Links to a Buenos Aires past.  

See also my related Cleveland posts:

Both Cleveland and its Public Square, along with Cleveland’s Little Italy, figure prominently in my recently published novel Lifelines: An American Dream, available on Amazon.

Cleveland’s river roots

View of "The Flats" from the Terminal Tower.

View of “The Flats” from the Terminal Tower.

The magnificent buildings of Cleveland’s historic downtown reflect commercial activity that was once a feature of its riverfront.

 

For nearly a century, Cleveland’s location on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River made it one of the nation’s premier commercial hubs.

 

 

The Warehouse District sits on the East Bank bluffs above the river.

The historic Warehouse District sits on the East Bank bluffs above the river.

 

The river has carved its bed through the bluffs on which the city is perched.

 

The low-lying area along its banks has long been known as “The Flats”.

 

In the 1820’s, Cleveland was first connected to the Ohio River by a canal which was the region’s primary commercial traffic route until railroads replaced it in the 1860’s.

 

 

In the years following, Cleveland grew into a major rail hub.  The New York Central, Erie, and Nickel Plate railroads all connected here.

View of Downtown Cleveland from the West Bank of the Cuyahoga River.

View of Downtown Cleveland from the West Bank of the Cuyahoga River.

 

Today, parts of the canal are preserved under park service stewardship, and a restoration of its towpath has created jogging and bike trails.

 

The river’s water quality and fish populations have improved every year since 1970.

 

Lake freighters carrying Mesabi Range iron ore south and railroads carrying West Virginia coal north converged in Cleveland to fuel one of the nation’s largest steel-making centers.

Refineries and steel mills have been replaced by cultural and entertainment venues.

Refineries and steel mills have been replaced by cultural and entertainment venues.

 

In The Flats, the smelters and rolling mills of U.S. Steel, Republic. Bethlehem and Jones & Laughlin along both sides of the river became the pillar of the city’s economy, as well as a major source of river pollution.

 

On the East Bank, the refineries of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company leaked oil into the river for decades.

 

 

The Cuyahoga River has caught fire more than a dozen times since 1840.  The last fire  was in 1969, and the story which appeared in TIME magazine was a wake-up call both for Cleveland and the nation.

West Side public market and clocktower.

West Side public market and clocktower.

 

Beginning in the late 1960’s, the migration of steel-making to China and Europe triggered massive layoffs and plant closings, leaving The Flats populated by decaying buildings and the river plagued by persistent pollution.

West Side Market clocktower

West Side Market clocktower

In the mid-1980s, the Flats saw a resurgence as warehouses and other historic buildings were converted into nightlife destinations.

 

Cleveland's West Side Market

Cleveland’s West Side Market

 

The Flats became an entertainment mecca for the region

By the early 1990s, The Flats had the highest concentration of bars in the Midwest, but its heyday was short-lived.

Current plans call for a new mixed-use development on the East Bank that aims to create a new downtown riverfront neighborhood.

Rivergate Park, a public park devoted to rowing, canoeing, kayaking and dragon-boating, officially opened May 2011.

The West Bank has fared better.  Many older establishments still remain open, and new housing and retail venues like the Steelyard Commons have breathed fresh life into this neighborhood

The Powerhouse, which once generated power for the city’s streetcars, has been renovated to include multiple bars, restaurants, and an outdoor music venue.  A National Historic Landmark, it is also home to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

Cleveland's West Side Market

Cleveland’s West Side Market

The story of Cleveland is the story of immigrants.

 

In the 1820’s, the West Bank was home to the heavily Irish immigrant workforce that built the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1820’s.

 

In the twentieth century, the neighborhood was a center for the city’s Eastern European immigrants.

 

(The West Side’s St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral was the location of the wedding scene in the movie The Deerhunter.)

Cleveland's West Side Market

Cleveland’s West Side Market

 

The West Side Market has been there through it all.

 

Opened in 1840 at the corner of West 25th and Lorain, it is Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market.

 

It was first operated as an open air market, and the current structure dates from 1912.

 

Today it is home to more than one hundred vendors selling fine meats and produce, fresh seafood, baked goods, dairy and cheese products, and even fresh flowers.

Cleveland's West Side Market Cafe

Cleveland’s West Side Market Cafe

Many booths also sell ready-to-eat foods, and products often reflect Cleveland’s melting pot history.  More than a million people visit the market annually.

The next post wraps up my visit to Cleveland with a walk through the city’s historic and scenic Lakeview Cemetery.

 

Many of the places picture in these posts figure prominently in my recently published novel Lifelines: An American Dream, available on Amazon.

See my related posts on Cleveland:

See also more public markets in my related posts:

Cleveland’s historic architecture

The Arcade, Cleveland

The Arcade, Cleveland

A city’s architecture is like tree rings that tell its life story.    Cleveland’s industrial decline in the last part of the twentieth century left much of the city’s architectural legacy intact, and its buildings now stand as a living timeline.

The Arcade, Cleveland

The Arcade, Cleveland

One of the most notable examples is Cleveland’s Arcade, which opened its doors in 1890 to become one of the nation’s first indoor shopping centers.

Modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milano, Italy, the exterior is done in the Romanesque Revival style, and the interior in the Victorian style.

The Arcade, Cleveland

The Arcade, Cleveland

 

Once known as Cleveland’s Crystal Palace, The Arcade connects five stories of galleries to two ten story towers.

Along its indoor balconies were boutique shops and restaurants.  It was, in 1973, among the first buildings to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A partnership with Hyatt Hotels rescued the Arcade from the wrecking ball with a restoration completed in 2001, and today Cleveland’s Hyatt Regency occupies the twin towers and top three levels of the atrium.

The Arcade’s two entrances connect Euclid and Superior Avenues at 14th Street.   The lower two levels remain open to the public.

Cleveland Trust Building

Cleveland Trust Building

 

 

By 1924, the Cleveland Trust Company, was the nation’s sixth largest bank.

 

Like many Cleveland buildings constructed early in the century, its home office reflects the neo-classical influence of Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition…. the “White City.”

Cleveland Trust Building facade detail

Cleveland Trust Building facade detail

 

 

 

It’s not surprising that the muralist who did much of the work on the Columbian Exposition was chosen to paint its interior murals.  The building was completed in 1908.

Rockefeller Building, Cleveland

Rockefeller Building, Cleveland

John D. Rockefeller lived in Cleveland for thirty-five years, and founded his Standard Oil Company there.  His seventeen-story Rockefeller Building, completed in 1905, was designed in Chicago’s “Sullivanesque” style.

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Cleveland’s zenith as an industrial powerhouse in the years between the World Wars fueled a building boom which defined a clear break from the city’s past and made Deco a major architectural feature of its central business district.

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Art Deco architecture first appeared in France after World War I and became internationally popular from the 1920s until shortly after World War II.

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

It’s a style that  integrates craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials, employing rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation.

Art Deco was a reflection of luxury and glamour, and the nation’s exuberance and faith in social and technological progress.

 

Playhouse Square, Cleveland

Playhouse Square, Cleveland

Playhouse Square is a row of five Euclid Avenue theaters built in the early 1920s.

These temples to the golden age of Hollywood are done in decorative themes that would do any Las Vegas casino proud.  Playhouse Square was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The Ohio and State Theaters – both in the Italianate style – the Allen with its Pompeiian motif Allen, the Classical Hanna, and the French Renaissance Palace theaters have a combined total of over 10,000 seats,  making Playhouse Square the largest performing arts center in the U.S. outside of New York City.

 

Playhouse Square, Cleveland

Playhouse Square, Cleveland

These theaters presented serious theater, vaudeville shows, and movies for nearly half a century,.

The growth of the suburbs and the rise of TV led to their decline in the years after World War II, and by July 1969, all but one of the theaters had closed.

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Art Deco facade, Cleveland

Plans to raze the vacant theaters in the ’70’s caused a public outcry, and public-private partnerships raised $40 million for the Square’s renovation.

Most of the work was completed between 1979-1988.

In 1978, Playhouse Square became one of nearly 400 Cleveland area sites named to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, which connects Public Square to the Cleveland Clinic, opened its Playhouse Square station in 2008.

So far I’ve not ventured more than ten blocks from Cleveland’s Public Square, so there’s still plenty more to see here.

Still to come: An exploration of  Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River roots and the stunning monuments of its Lakeview Cemetery.

See my related Cleveland posts:

Cleveland’s Public Square

Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio is the home of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the AFC’s Cleveland Browns.

It was also, in the ’70’s and 80’s, arguably the Rust Belt’s poster child.

A century ago, though, this home of the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District was the nation’s fifth largest city,  and for nearly half a century one of its industrial and political powerhouses.

Terminal Tower & Old Stone Church, Public Square, Cleveland

Terminal Tower & Old Stone Church, Public Square, Cleveland

It was here that John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, and both he and U.S. President James Garfield, assassinated in 1881, are buried in its Lakeview Cemetery.

Cleveland’s Mark Hanna played Presidential kingmaker before the turn of 20th century, and Democratic Party national  conventions were held here in 1924 and 1936.

Cleveland’s  rich legacy is still very palpable in its historic architecture and the relics of its twentieth century melting pot neighborhoods.

 

Those who wonder why Cleveland is home to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame may not know that the very first rock ‘n’ roll concert was held in the Cleveland Arena in 1952, promoted by radio disc jockey Alan “Moondog” Freed.

The fire department closed the concert down when attendance far exceeded the Arena’s 20,000-seat capacity.

In the late 1960’s, Cleveland radio station WMMS-FM was a pioneer broadcaster of the ‘progressive rock’ radio format.

 

 

The current Cleveland Browns stadium was built in 1996 on the site of an earlier stadium dedicated in 1931, and where the first event held was the Schmeling-Stribling world heavyweight title fight.

Browns Stadium, Cleveland

Browns Stadium, Cleveland

The original structure was one of the first multi-purpose stadiums in the country, and until 1994 also the home field of the Cleveland Indians, who played games from their pennant-winning 1920 and 1948 World Series there.

Terminal Tower, Public Square, Cleveland

Terminal Tower, Public Square, Cleveland

The Browns began play in 1946, the year after the Cleveland Rams won the NFL title and moved to Los Angeles.

The new team won its first NFL championship in 1949, and would win it three more times within the next 15 years.

Cleveland has the distinction of being the only city to retain the name and archives of an NFL franchise when its team moved to Baltimore in 1996.

A revived Cleveland Browns franchise resumed play three years later.

 

Cleveland was first settled just before the turn of the nineteenth century by families arrived from New England, who brought with them the idea of a  ‘town commons’ and accordingly laid their city out around a Public Square.

 

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

In 1930,  a new rail terminal was constructed on its southwest corner, topped by a fifty-two story structure that came to be known as the Terminal Tower.  It was, at the time, the tallest building west of the Hudson River and the biggest dig since construction of the Panama Canal.

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

 

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

While rail traffic has significantly diminished in the eighty years since its construction, the Tower lives on as the hub of the city’s light rail system, and as a vibrant retail and entertainment venue.  Much of the original architecture has been lovingly restored and maintained.

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Old Stone Church, Public Square, Cleveland

Old Stone Church, Public Square, Cleveland

 

The Old Stone Church, a longtime downtown Cleveland landmark, sits opposite the Tower on Public Square.

Its congregation dates back to 1820, and the current structure, dedicated in 1858, is the third church on the site.

Historical marker, Public Square, Cleveland

Historical marker, Public Square, Cleveland

Built in the Victorian Romanesque style, its interior is notable for its wood paneling, ornate carvings, stained glass, and a barrel-vaulted ceiling of trussed wood.  The church is the oldest surviving building on the Square.

Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, Public Square, Cleveland, OH

Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument, Public Square, Cleveland, OH

 

Just across the Square, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, located within the Square commemorates the Civil War.

 

Along the monument’s esplanade, bronze groupings depict battle scenes for the  Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry.  The thirty actions in which soldiers from Cuyahoga County fought are listed on bronze bands.  Perched atop its 125-foot stone is the statue ‘Goddess of Freedom’.

 

Bronze relief sculptures here are among the first to honor the war role of women nurses, and to show a free black man in a combat role.  Before the Emancipation, Cleveland was a center for Abolitionists and served as fugitive slaves’ last stop on the ‘underground railway’ before Canada.

 

My walk on this morning has covered only a few blocks of Cleveland’s vintage downtown, but more architectural treats lie just beyond the Square.  Come along when I next post!

 

Author’s notes:

  • Both Cleveland and its Public Square, along with Cleveland’s Little Italy, figure prominently in my recently published novel Lifelines: An American Dream, available on Amazon.

Big-spirited Little Italy

The Little Italy neighborhoods in Manhattan, The Bronx, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco may be better known, but few offer a more intimate experience than the one on Cleveland’s Murray Hill.

Wall mural, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Wall mural, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Street scene, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Cleveland’s Little Italy was largely insulated from Rust Belt urban blight by its unique location.

Tucked between the University Hospitals complex, the sprawling Lakeview Cemetery, and the hill which crests above it, it’s a virtual urban island.

Holy Rosary Church, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

It’s not surprising that many of the monuments in the adjacent cemetery were fashioned by Italian stonecutters over a century ago.

Mayfield Road, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

This is a truly organic neighborhood built on a pedestrian scale.

In its heyday early in the last century it boasted a parish church, school, shops and restaurants all within blocks of each other and many of which still operate today.  Even the bocce ball court is still in use.

Many restaurants are located around the intersection of Mayfield Road and Murray Hill, but plenty are scattered among the residences to create the feel of a truly organic neighborhood.  Today it makes for a picturesque walkabout..

Nido Italia restaurant, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Many restaurants are located around the intersection of Mayfield Road and Murray Hill, but plenty are scattered among the residences to create the feel of a truly organic neighborhood. Today it makes for a picturesque walkabout.

Italia Apartments, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Anthony’s Restaurant, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Street scene, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

 

Beginning in May and continuing through September nearly every restaurant features sidewalk dining, with the added bonus of a people-watching spectacle.

Local residents, visitors in from the suburbs, and a growing influx of professionals from the nearby hospitals all walking the sidewalks make for an entertaining meal.

 

 

 

La Dolce Vita Restaurant, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

At La Dolce Vita, a personal favorite, Fellini’s movie of the same name seems to run perpetually, projected high on a dining room wall. On weekends, the crowd often spills out onto the patio in back.

Behind La Dolce Vita Restaurant, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Vintage home, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Murray Hill attracts visitors from all over the city, and with Cleveland’s other Italian immigrant neighborhoods now long gone has become a cultural touchstone for local Italian-Americans now five and six generations removed from the old country.

Il Bacio Restaurant, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

It’s hard to eat a meal here that doesn’t have the flavor of authentic recipes handed down from generation to generation.

Fiori Gallery, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Walk off a hearty meal at least far enough down the block to have a gelato dessert or grab an evening smoke at the cigar shop.

Apartments, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

Apartments, Murray Hill, Little Italy, Cleveland

This entire experience goes on steroids every August at the Feast of the Assumption, a Mardi-Gras style celebration of music, food, and culture. At other times of year there’s opera in the Italian Cultural Garden, and Italian film festival, and the obligatory Columbus Day parade.

In the evening the lighted restaurants, streetlamps, and strolling visitors give the place the feel of an Italian piazza on a Saturday night.

Street parking on weekends and during big events can be a challenge here, but a turn off Euclid onto Mayfield goes right past a large parking lot on the left by the railroad bridge.

More here on Cleveland’s Little Italy

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