The CHAMBER OF COMMERCE-CITY PLAN COMMITTEE of Cleveland was an influential body, assuming "quasi-public commission" status. In 1899 this special committee began to investigate harmonizing the architectural styles of several proposed public buildings to be located in downtown Cleveland. Within 4 years it spearheaded legislation for and implementation of the Group Plan (see the MALL). When Mayor HERMAN BAEHR authorized its review of public improvements, the committee critiqued bath house and hospital designs, and also promoted the establishment of planning commissions, the acceptance of land-use
zoning, and the adoption of a uniform platting ordinance in Cuyahoga County's communities. With many of its programs implemented by 1938, the City Plan Committee's importance waned as its supporters retired and the chamber changed leadership. The committee had 6 chairmen over 39 years: WILLIAM G. MATHER (1899-1911); William H. Hunt (1911-15); MORRIS A. BLACK (1915-25); NEWTON D. BAKER (1925-27); William C. Boyle (1927-32); and ABRAM GARFIELD (1932-38); and three titles: Grouping Public Buildings (1899-1908); Municipal Art & Architecture (1908-17); and City Plan (1917-38). Its prestige touched local, state, and national levels.
The committee enjoyed a cooperative association with the separate City Plan Commission established by Mayor Newton D. Baker in 1915, and in 1916 the committee sponsored the 8th National Conference on City Planning, held at the Chamber of Commerce. Over the years its subcommittees juried annual awards for apartment, commercial, and business buildings, and area developments were promoted through subcommittees that eventually became separate corporations, e.g., the Univ. Improvement Co. and Euclid Ave. Assn.
Greater Cleveland Growth Assn. Records, WRHS.