Monday, November 26, 2007

Favorite Places: The Arcade

Image from WikiCommons, a public domain photo (2006)

Pronunciation: \är-ˈkād\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Italian arcata, from arco arch, from Latin arcus
Date: 1725
1 : a long arched building or gallery
2 : an arched covered passageway or avenue (as between shops)
3 : a series of arches with their columns or piers

Dictionaries can provide a definition of an arcade, but one really understands the concept upon seeing downtown Cleveland’s Arcade. The Arcade is a favorite place for many Cleveland area residents and visitors.

A brief history

The Arcade opened in May, 1890. Construction costs were reported at $867,000, a small fortune in the day. Some references list John Eisenmann as sole designer and architect, although the on-line “Encyclopedia of Cleveland History” also lists George Smith as co-architect. Financing came from several wealthy Clevelanders; including well known names John D. Rockefeller, Marcus Hanna, and Charles Brush.

The Arcade runs between Euclid Avenue and Superior. As the two streets are not at even levels (there is a 12 foot difference), it can be a little disorienting when you come in one street and leave on the other.

In 1975, the Arcade was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first Cleveland building to receive that honor. After going through the 1980s as a place to shop and eat, it was later renovated and redeveloped by the Hyatt Corporation. The Arcade now serves as a key part of Cleveland’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, which re-opened it in 2001.

There is much more history behind this building, but I’m really interested in just sharing some pictures so others who haven’t seen it can take a peek at a true architectural beauty. As a bonus, I’ve also included an old shot of the smaller close neighbor, the Colonial Arcade.

Photographed in 1986

Christmas, 1981

Colonial Arcade, 1986

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