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ARK

The ARK was an informal gathering place for the early Cleveland intelligentsia which led to the establishment of many of the city's cultural institutions, especially the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. It was a one-story wooden building originally erected on the northeast corner of PUBLIC SQUARE ca. 1830 by LEONARD CASE, SR., to serve as an office adjacent to the family homestead. After the elder Case turned his business interests over to his sons, WILLIAM and LEONARD CASE, JR., the building became a popular resort for the brothers' friends, especially those who shared their interest in natural history and other studies. It acquired its name of the "Ark" from the collection of stuffed birds and animal specimens which lined the walls of its 2 rooms. The back room was largely devoted to taxidermy, while the main room served as a general-purpose clubroom for games and discussions. Besides the Case brothers, some of the early "Arkites" included Henry G. Abbey, Col. STOUGHTON BLISS, Dr. Alleyn Maynard, Edward A. Scovill, and Bushnell White. They were instrumental in the formation in 1845 of the CLEVELAND ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES, which ultimately evolved into the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Their interests also led eventually to the formation of the CLEVELAND LIBRARY ASSN., the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, and the Case School of Applied Sciences (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIV.). The original clubhouse was twice moved eastward on Superior Ave. by the Case brothers to make room for the Federal Bldg. and CASE HALL. It was finally demolished in 1875 in favor of the Case Block, with provision being made for quarters in Case Hall for the remaining Arkites.


Henderson, Walter B. The Arkites, and Other Pioneer Natural History Organizations of Cleveland (1962).

Witchey, Holly Rarick. Fine Arts in Cleveland: An Illustrated History (1994).