The CITY BEAUTIFUL MOVEMENT was a reform philosophy of North American architecture and urban planning that occurred during the 1890s and 1900s with the intent of introducing beautification and monumental grandeur in cities. American architects of the time such as Richard Morris Hunt, George Post, and Daniel Burnham brought ideas of wide scale planning to America after seeing how successful these plans were in Europe, specifically Paris.
Burnham was considered the leader of the City Beautiful movement, which he hoped would bring American cities to a cultural parity with Europe’s great urban centers. Burnham and his colleagues saw the United States as the rightful heir to the traditions of Western culture that first began in Europe. They believed in celebrating and using those traditions themselves.
The success of the 1893 Columbian Exposition threw Burnham to national prominence, which helped him to publicize the advantages of the City Beautiful Movement. The first city to follow through with the movement was Washington D.C, through the McMillan plan. The McMillan plan was considered a success, which prompted other cities throughout the country to implement similar City Beautiful plans. Cleveland was one of the cities that wished to implement a city beautiful plan, as business and community leaders recognized a need for a new city hall, post office, court house, convention hall, and library.