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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUILDING

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUILDING

The CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUILDING stood opposite the northeast corner of Public Square from 1898-1955. The president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1897 was Worcester B. Warner, and the building committee consisted of representative Cleveland businessmen. Anticipating the design and erection of several new public buildings in the area that would become the Mall, the committee intended that the Chamber of Commerce Bldg. would stand as "an object lesson" in their design. The building was designed by competition, and the committee consulted Wm. R. Ware of New York, founder of the first American architectural school at MIT, for recommendations. The unanimous choice was Peabody & Stearns of Boston. Later the chamber was forced to defend itself against criticism for not selecting a Cleveland architect. The building was an excellent example of the Beaux-Arts Renaissance style current at the end of the century. Its arcaded facade contained 8 sculptured caryatids, and 4 monumental granite eagles stood on pedestals at the entrance. Aesthetically, the building provided a link between the Society for Savings Bldg. and the new Federal Bldg. on the east side of the square. In 1939 Cleveland College of Western Reserve Univ. purchased the building and occupied it until 1953. When the building was demolished in 1955, the sculptured eagles were salvaged, and 2 of them stand at the entrance to a farm in Bainbridge Twp., Geauga County.