Friday, December 7, 2007

The Tower at Erieview (aka Erieview Tower)

I remember in 1964, as a kid, the big deal that was made over a new skyscraper in Cleveland, called, at the time, Erieview Tower. It was supposed to be part of an urban renewal project. It was also a big deal when I was a kid that our parents would take us for a drive through downtown to see the Christmas lights on all the buildings. When I first laid eyes on Erieview Tower, I thought, “What an ugly building.”

And many years later, I still feel somewhat the same way, especially after having worked in the building for a few years.

The building reminds me of the black monolith that was in the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” - like a slab of darkness. When it was first constructed, there really wasn’t much around it so it just stood there like a shiny, gray brick. Over the years, other buildings did fill in to soften its stark look. In the mid-1980s, the Richard E. Jacobs Group turned the plaza on the East 9th street side into The Galleria, an enclosed shopping area. It was a big improvement at the time, although the Galleria now seems devoid of the retail life it had when it first opened. The restaurant “The Top of the Town” was on the 38th floor of The Tower, and at one time was THE place for a great meal and fabulous downtown view. The restaurant has been closed for many years now.

As I mentioned earlier, I worked in the building for a few years. My office had a dull view of the east, although I was able to watch the construction of the WKYC Channel 3 building, and, in a distance, the Peter B. Lewis building at Case Western Reserve. It was great watching storms roll in off the lake, and the frequent ships sailing (especially when the tall ships were in town). The sounds of the car races from Burke Lakefront Airport could sometimes be heard, as would the noise from jets, practicing for the air show. It was always interesting to see one of the fighter jets zooming right towards the building, only to pull upward at what seemed like the last minute. That excitement wore off on 9/11, where many who worked in The Tower had their eyes looking eastward, watching plane after plane coming in for a landing - we hoped at Hopkins airport, and not into the building.

One annoyance with The Tower: it sways. A lot. I always dreaded the really windy days, where you could hear the building creak and groan to the rhythm of the wind, and the water in the toilets would sometimes slosh in tandem with the building’s movement. I never thought I could get motion sickness in a building but I did at the Tower, and I worked below the 15th floor.

Still, it has a great view of the city, and hopefully the new Avenue District development that is being constructed just east of The Tower will help bring life back to The Tower and to The Galleria.

The view looking east (notice the blimp), and west (March 2000)

In the center and forefront, The Tower at Erieview, from the I-90 East Shoreway

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1 comment:

JB said...

I fondly remember having a late evening sandwich in the lounge at the Top Of The Town.I specifically chose one of those thin counter tables by the windows facing downtown. The view was magnificant to say the least. I ate as slowly as I could to savor the view.
I hope it will reopen someday!