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A Photographic Retrospective of a Historic Cleveland Crossroads

At The Corner of

Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street Cleveland, Ohio • December 2004 • Cleveland Trust Rotunda

If a city can be likened to a person, with all its complex parts working together to create a distinctive whole, Cleveland is a vibrant and growing individual whose bright future is best witnessed through the events that shaped its past. From the thriving retail and theater districts to the ports and steel mills that make up the city’s commercial persona, the heart of Cleveland lies at the crossroads that literally lead to everywhere – the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Many significant events took place in or near this area, and the changes seen in its architecture, transportation system, fashion trends and population are a microcosm of the evolution of the city, and the country as well. We invite you to explore our city’s unique heritage, and help celebrate the great expectations and challenges of the next hundred years.

A Photographic Retrospective of a Historic Cleveland Crossroads

From Wilderness to Metropolis


ith a proud history more than 200 years in the making, Cleveland’s beginning started modestly, with the arrival of General Moses Cleaveland and his Connecticut Land Company survey party in July of 1796. By 1810, seven years after Ohio was admitted to the union, there were 57 inhabitants, and by 1820, 606 people called Cleveland home. The 1830s saw the population jump to over a thousand, and the Cleveland Advertiser effectively changed the spelling of the community’s name by omitting the “a” from Cleaveland so that it would better fit on the paper’s masthead. By 1840 Cleveland grew to become the 45th largest city in the nation, with churches and banks, theaters and hotels springing up almost overnight in the now thriving community. By 1860, when the Perry Monument on Public Square was dedicated, and horsecar service was the latest way to get around, more than 40,000 people lived and worked in the area. Newly inaugurated president Abraham Lincoln paid a visit to Cleveland in February of 1861 and his body would return in 1865 after his assassination to lie in state on Public Square. In 1870, Cleveland was the 15th largest city in the nation, with Standard Oil and Sherwin-Williams making the city their home. Ten years later, the Cleveland Telephone Company began service, and electric streetcars were the new way to travel within the city. By 1890 there were 261,353 people living and working in Cleveland. The Arcade opened that year and National League Park the following year. Cleveland was a leading producer of both ships and automobiles. When the city celebrated its centennial in 1896, the corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue was a quiet tree-lined neighborhood of fashionable homes. But only a few short years later, this same area was transformed into Cleveland’s bustling center of civic, retail and economic culture.


Main & Main

Cleveland Trust Opens its Doors

Right: 1895 Front entrance to the rented office space in the Garfield Building.

Above: 1895 Inside the rented office space of the Cleveland Trust Company in the Garfield Building at East 6th and Euclid Avenue.

Above and Below: 1895 Inside the rented office space of the Cleveland Trust Company.


bout the time the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated on Public Square, a new bank opened in rented offices in the Garfield Building at East 6th Street and Euclid Avenue. With $500,000 in capital and John G.W. Cowles as its first president, Cleveland Trust Company was born. It grew so quickly that in 1903 it merged with Western Reserve Trust Co., keeping its offices open as “branch” locations, a concept Cleveland Trust pioneered in American banking. During the bank’s first decade in business Cleveland grew to become the seventh largest city in the nation. Residents witnessed the opening of Euclid Beach Park, the city’s centennial celebration, and the arrival of Major League Baseball when the Cleveland Blues – predecessor to the Cleveland Indians – joined the newly formed American League.


Main & Main

The Architect

Above: View of the highly detailed columns inside the rotunda of the Cleveland Trust Company Building.

Left: Looking up from the ground floor in the center of the rotunda to the third floor balcony and the murals depicting the development of civilization in the Midwest by Francis David Millet.

Above: A door detail on the outside of the rotunda. Left: The brass seal of the Cleveland Trust Company is in the center of the rotunda, directly under the center of the dome. Above: A view from the third floor balcony inside the rotunda of the Cleveland Trust Building.

George B. Post (1837-1913) The architect for the Cleveland Trust Company Building, George B. Post, is best known for his innovative engineering skills, which allowed him to create large, open, interior spaces, as well as his pioneering work in the construction of skyscrapers. Acknowledged in his lifetime as the ‘father of the tall building in New York,’ Post was one of the nation’s most prominent and talented architects of his time creating ever-taller buildings and large interior spaces for public use. In 1906, the year construction of the Cleveland Trust Building began, Post was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design. In 1907 he was appointed an honorary corresponding member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Post was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and president of the American Institute of Architects. Post also designed the Cleveland Statler Arms Hotel and Judson Manor while his sons were responsible for the design of Fenn Tower. Throughout his prolific career Post created pioneering work that includes the 8-story Equitable Life Assurance Society building (the first office building to use elevators) and the 20-story World Building that had the distinction of being the tallest buildings in New York at the time of its construction. The New York Stock Exchange, with its 72-foot high ceilings, observation galleries and one of the earliest large mechanical air-cooled systems, survives as another example of Post’s creation of uncluttered interior spaces through inventive use of steel supports. His last major building, the monumental BeauxArts-styled Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, is the only granite dome in the United States and the largest dome by volume.


Main & Main

Above: A close view of the sculpted details above the arched windows on the outside of the rotunda.

To War and Prosperity

Above: c1900-1929 Ladies meet and greet one another on the street where everyone who is anyone lives, Euclid Avenue.

Above: c1915 Looking east along Euclid Avenue toward East 9th Street into Cleveland’s bustling business district.

Right: c1910 The unprecedented growth of the city just after the turn of the century can be seen in this view of busy Euclid Avenue.

Above: c1910 Looking west along Euclid Avenue toward East 9th Street, the center of the city’s business district.


hen the world went to war in 1914 Cleveland was the sixth largest U.S. city, with a population of over half a million. Clevelanders joined the war effort, carrying the first American flag to fly in Europe. A notable citizen of the time, Garrett Morgan, invented the gas mask, which protected both military personnel during the war and civilian firefighters afterward.

Left: c1910 Postcard of the north side of Euclid Avenue looking west from East 13th Street, in the country’s sixth largest city.

Right: 1918 Looking north from Euclid Avenue, a friendly police officer helps two ladies find their way to their destination.

Left: c1910 This float was the Best in Parade winner of the city’s 4th of July celebration.

Left: c1912 East 9th Street looking north from Euclid Avenue on December 12th.


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The 20s Roar In 1923, Cleveland inventor Garrett Morgan took a look at the increasingly busy intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street and set to work on a better way to control the flow of traffic. The electric automated traffic light was the result, and it was installed in the traffic tower at the bustling intersection in 1930.

Above: 1924 Facing East 6th Street. In the 20s, many noteworthy events took place in Cleveland, including the city’s hosting of the 1924 Republican Party’s national convention. That same year, women enjoyed their newly gained right to vote.

Above: c1900-1929 Between the heavy foot traffic and the automobiles that traveled through this busy corner, this Cleveland police officer had his hands full.

Top: c1900-1929 The wonderful old postcard shows off the Cleveland Trust Building at its finest. Bottom: c1900-1929 Looking east along Euclid Avenue from Public Square at some of the city’s many stores and shops.

Right: c1925 The traffic tower at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street was manned by Cleveland’s finest prior to the installation of street lights.

Right: c1926 Bright lights in the big city illuminate the nightlife along Euclid Avenue.

Left: c1900-1929 This panoramic view of Public Square shows many of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Williamson Building and the courthouses.

Left: c1900-1929 Euclid Avenue, east of Public Square. The city ranked fourth in the nation in percentage of homes owned during this time.

Above: c1900-1929 Euclid Avenue looking west toward the Hickox building (with the clock tower) and East 9th Street.


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The Best Location in the Nation Left: 1940 July. On the day of the Knights Templer’s parade, looking east from East 6th Street.

Above: 1942 Flags being flown in front of the Hotel Statler in support of the war effort. The city’s factories also supported the war effort by producing artillery, small arms, binoculars and other war essentials.

Above: 1939 These delegates from Wisconsin are dressed as milking maids, carrying pails, in the 37th International C.E. Convention parade. The charming hood ornaments on the automobile were definitely not standard equipment in 1939.


leveland’s wartime reputation as a leader in aircraft and automotive parts remained strong, as the post-war boom took hold. The Cleveland Browns began to play in the new All-American Football Conference (AAFC) and won four championship titles between 1946 and 1949. In ’48 the Indians won their second World Series. And in 1949, Cleveland was named an All-American City for the first time.

Left: 1940 The line formed early in downtown Cleveland as men aged 21 to 35 were called to register for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. These men were waiting to register at a booth at 645 Euclid Avenue.

Left: c1940 Street scene of a typical downtown work day, about a year before the U.S. entered the second world war.

Right: c1940 A group of fashionably dressed ladies head out for some holiday shopping in the retail district. A proper outfit was never complete without a hat and gloves.


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Cleveland Trust Tower Left: 1971 Renowned architect Marcel Breuer stands in front of the nearly completed Cleveland Trust Tower, one of his last great designs. The bank later changed its name to Ameritrust.

Above: 1970 July 31, 1970. Work progresses on the Breuer-designed complex.

Right: 2004 The rotunda and tower as they stand completed.

Above: Drawing of Breuer’s plan for two towers flanking the rotunda of the Cleveland Trust Building.

Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith In the late 1960s, when the Cleveland Trust Company wanted to expand its facilities and consolidate its office space, Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith were enlisted to design the new headquarters. Hungarian-born Breuer, known for world-famous buildings such as the Whitney Museum, designed two 29-story, 383-foot-high towers, flanking the Renaissance Revival bank on the south and east. Construction on the first tower was completed in 1971, along East 9th Street south of the bank. Unfortunately, as the Midwest’s “rust-belt” economy began a period of decline, the planned “twin” tower was never built.

Right: 1968 December 30, 1968. Ground is broken for the new Cleveland Trust Tower along East 9th Street.


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he Main & Main retrospective exhibit was made possible through the cooperation and assistance of many contributors and institutions. We gratefully acknowledge the very supportive assistance and well researched images provided by the Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection; The Cleveland State University Library’s Special Collections Department, Digital Processing Unit, and Systems Division; and the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Special thanks also go to private citizens who contributed materials from their collections. Creation of The Main & Main Exhibit was made entirely possible through funding by The Richard E. Jacobs Group, Inc., the owner of the former Cleveland Trust and Ameritrust Bank headquarters buildings.

The Richard E. Jacobs Group, Inc.


Main & Main

Main & Main Exhibit Handout  

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