The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.
The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.
A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.
One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.
While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.
The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.
High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.
Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.
The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.
Have you ever walked around a city and get a feeling someone was watching you. They are, and I am not referring to the thousands of security cameras – it is the faces on the sculptures and statues all over the older buildings of the city.
Our friends in the 14th Street/8th Avenue subway station in Manhattan apparently have cousins at the Cleveland Library!
The classic Post Office and Library buildings have numerous sculptures all over them.
The Society Bank Building have some of the more intense looks.
Sculptures along the Mall.
The Guardian Building lion.
Another Euclid Avenue building.
Finally this guy is watching over the Colonial Arcade.
Since we were in downtown Cleveland for the Historic Hotel tours, we took the opportunity to check out some other great old buildings.
Most of the buildings are on the National Historic Registry, but interestingly not all.
The Leader Building is a 106 year old, 15 floor structure along Superior Avenue. The name comes from it’s original owner – the Cleveland Leader newspaper. Designed in a Beaux Arts style, it is currently undergoing renovations.
The Main Library was completed in 1925, situated between Superior Avenue and the Mall. Both the Library and the Federal Building next door are on the National Historic Registry.
The Federal Building and Post Office Building was part of the 1903 Group Plan, which built the Mall and a number of the buildings surrounding it. Since it was the first building completed under the plan, it served as the model for others.
The Beaux Arts styling contrasts nicely against some of the newer buildings.
The Society for Savings Building on Public Square was completed in 1889. For 10 years it was the tallest building in Cleveland, eventually being surpassed by the Guardian Bank Building (visited during the Historic Hotel Tour).
The Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance styles give this structure a lot of character, resulting in it’s inclusion in the National Historic Registry.
The Old Stone Church was added to Public Square in 1855, the oldest significant structure in downtown Cleveland.
The 15 floor building at 75 Public Square was designed by Hubbell & Benes. In use for more than 100 years, there are plans in place to convert the building to apartments.
The Terminal Tower and the Union Station complex. When built in the late 1920s, the Terminal Tower was the tallest building outside of New York when completed. It it part of the massive complex built by the Van Sweringen brothers, who also built rapid transit lines to the suburb of Shaker Heights (which they also built).
The May Company building has been on the southeast corner of Public Square since 1915, designed by the famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. As you can see it too is undergoing restoration.
The City Club Building is located on Euclid Avenue. Completed in 1903 as the Citizens Savings and Trust Bank, it became home to the City Club of Cleveland in the 1980s.
Our next stop for lunch was at the Cleveland Trust Rotunda. A recent post featured this building, but it is worth a second look. It has been restored into a Heinen’s Grocery Store.
While it may seem strange to end up at the bus station, in Cleveland it is worth it. The Greyhound Station on Chester Avenue is an Art Deco Masterpiece.
Cleveland has notoriously been divided into two side, the East Side and West Side, separated by the Cuyahoga River. As a promotional campaign the local tourism board was sponsoring an event called ‘Tourist in Your Hometown – Crossing the River’. As part of this campaign they were offering a guided ‘hike’ around downtown checking out old buildings that have been restored and re purposed as hotels.
Our tour started out on the Mall outside of the old Cleveland Board of Education Building, now a Drury Hotel.
Designed by Cleveland architects Walker and Weeks, the building was completed in 1903 as part of the Group Plan. This plan designed a number of public buildings around green space in the middle of the city (The Mall).
The building’s exterior has a number of classic features.
The lobby features two murals by Cora Holden. Completed in 1931 the murals feature historical greats.
One of the first large scale redevelopment of a classic old building into a hotel was the venerable Arcade. In 2001 Hyatt Hotels restored the building to this fantastic state. While I have featured the Arcade in previous postings, you can never get enough of this elegant building.
A close up of the clocks and some of the railings.
Even the light poles have amazing detail.
The Guardian Bank Building was completed in 1896 as Cleveland’s tallest building – towering 221 feet above Euclid Avenue. Designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge it was remodeled by Walker & Weeks in 1939, giving that firm a hand in the first 3 buildings we toured.
Today it has been restored into a Holiday Inn Express, as well as private apartments and the office of an interactive agency called Rosetta.
As with many of the old buildings, the ceilings are amazing. The building was funded by President Garfield’s sons, Harry and James.
One interesting feature of the tours were actors portraying historic Cleveland people. For the morning portion of the tour we met Garrett Morgan.
Garrett was an amazing person, born in Kentucky in the late 1800s he came to Cleveland in his teens where he started working on sewing machines. Having learned about machines, he went on to develop the modern traffic light as well as a breathing apparatus that was successfully used by Garrett and his brother to save more than 30 miners who were trapped under Lake Erie in a fire.
Our morning tour ended at the Metropolitan at 9, a hotel that is a building that was built in the 1970s. While normally that wouldn’t qualify it as historic, they bypassed that rule since it is attached to the Cleveland Trust Rotunda building.
We visited the basement vaults that have been restored into a bar, complete with a demonstration of their signature flaming drink.
The afternoon portion of the tour started out at the Schofield Building. Now restored into a Kimpton Hotel, the building was completed in 1901.
The building was restored in 2013 with 122 hotel rooms and 52 apartments.
The lobby is simple yet elegant.
Our tour took us up to an 11th floor room with a great view down Euclid Avenue.
As well as the Cleveland Trust Rotunda across East 9th Street.
Our last stop was in the Colonial and Euclid Arcades, where a Residence Inn is now located.
The Colonial Arcade was completed in 1898, running the distance between Euclid Avenue and Prospect Avenue. While not as grand as the Arcade, it is still an impressive space.
It was here we met John D Rockefeller, who at times would’ve stayed at the Colonial Hotel, the original hotel in the Colonial Arcade. Rockefeller was the richest person of all time – in 2018 dollars he was once worth over $400 billion dollars. Today’s richest people (Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates) are worth around $100 billion.
The Historic Hotel Tours were a nice way to spend the day, they gave us some tchotchkes, some munchies and even a free drink! The guide was very knowledgeable and informative, and the entire event was free.
Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.
Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.
As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.
As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.
A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.
This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.
The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.
For some the audience made a good match for the car.
A Zombie car – because why not.
The Zombie car’s door art.
Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.
Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.
This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.
An aptly named 1957 Chevy.
A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.
While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.
There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!
As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.
Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.
There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.
I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.
Mixing classic art and hot rods.
Many had names.
Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.
Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.
Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.
All obviously have very steady hands.
The detail is amazing.
His shirt says it all.
It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.
This guy had great pedal cars.
Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.
Ready for St Patricks Day.
The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.
Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.
Cleveland has always had a large population of people from throughout eastern Europe, including Slovakia. As a result there are a number of festivals coming from those regions.
For this cold Saturday we went to check out Kurentovanje’ – which is a Slovenian festival to chase away winter. Held at the Slovenian National Home on the east side of Cleveland, the hall was full of activities.
The band was playing polkas. They were very talented, and the audience appreciated it.
Numerous ladies had recently made headdresses
The highlight of the day is the parade. I have found for the best photos it is imperative to go to the staging area as they gather.
I am not really sure about someone sitting on his ‘throne’ with a shield, skull staff and motorcycle helmet, but it was just the beginning of the strangeness (and fun).
This pleasant young lady was soon to become the devil.
There were a number of groups dressed in historic ethnic attire.
The Krampus crowd came back from Christmas.
Another band was warming up, or just trying to stay warm.
The Polish apples?
Finally the parade started…. Slovenian flags were everywhere.
The parade featured all the ethnic groups, as well as the local high school drum and dance team.
The Kurent wranglers were keeping them all in line.
The Kurentovanje Festival and Parade was yet another great celebration. Hopefully they do indeed scare winter away soon.