Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cuyahoga County Courthouse in Downtown Cleveland

Last summer I made a trip to the Cuyahoga County (Probate) Courthouse on Lakeside Avenue for a family member to get a copy of a marriage certificate. Since I had never been in the building – at least that I can recall – I decided to take the camera and snap a few pictures.
Central Court Entry

The Courthouse was completed in 1906. The web site contained some interesting information about the planning for the Courthouse and surrounding area:

“The Group Plan of 1903 was designed by Daniel H. Burnham, John M. Carrère, and Arnold R. Brunner, all nationally known architects. Theirs was an early example of urban planning and harmonious architecture; they envisioned buildings designed to form a coordinated group with similar design features, classical architectural motifs, even uniform heights--all arranged with tree-lined avenues and controlled vistas. As part of the City Beautiful movement, this plan intended to eliminate messy, unplanned industrial growth. This plan called specifically for public buildings of a similar scale, identical masonry, and similar cornice height--all monumental, designed in a classical style. The group plan also included a wide Mall. Many of the impressive buildings in downtown Cleveland today resulted from this City Beautiful plan including the Federal Reserve Bank, the Cleveland City Hall (1916), the Cleveland Public Library (1925) and this Courthouse, the first building designed according to the plan, though the second completed.”

The architects of the Courthouse building itself were Lehman and Schmitt, with Charles Morris, chief designer. The interior decorative scheme was under the direction of Charles Schweinfurth. The Courthouse’s Beaux-Arts architectural style is evident in the large columns and decorative sculptures. The lobby is a 3-story central area with vaulted ceilings and marble columns. Off to the side of this central lobby is a staircase leading to a large stained glass window depicting “Law and Justice.” The marble staircase then curves away both to the right and left to the upper floor. This staircase seems somewhat dark, but that only emphasizes the beauty and color of the stained glass window.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Columns Near Rear Entrance

Hallway off Central Court Entry
Marble Staircase with Stained Glass Window
Close Up of Stained Glass Window "Law & Justice"
Marble Stairs

View of the Courthouse from the North Side

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