THE CLEVELAND TRUST BUILDING at E. 9th and Euclid was built from 1907 to 1908 by GEORGE B. POST AND SONS. THE CLEVELAND TRUST is an example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture, introduced to the United States by architects such as Richard M. Hunt, George B. Post’s mentor. The Beaux Arts style incorporates classical Greek and Roman columns, pediments, and elaborate ornamentation. The building was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1973.

Other notable works by Post include the New York Stock Exchange (1901~1904), the campus of City College of New York (1897~1907), and the mansions of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Collis P. Huntington. However, only a few of his 400 designs exist today, due to the urban rebuilding of the latter half of the twentieth century. The Cleveland Trust Building is a shining example of his work that survives today.

The stained glass ceiling of the building’s rotunda was created by D’Ascenzo Studios, founded in 1905 by Nicola D'Ascenzo in Philadelphia, PA. Born in Italy, D’Ascenzo came to the United States when he was 11 years old in 1882. While working as a stone cutting and woodworking apprentice, he acquired formal painting training from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now part of Philadelphia's University of the Arts) and the New York School of Design.

The studio, active from 1905 to 1954, specialized in stained glass design, which D’Ascenzo is often credited with drafting. Two additional artists, Edwin J. Sharkey and David Bramnick were also responsible for the studio’s work. Stained glass windows formulated by the D’Ascenzo Studios can be found in the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, the Princeton University Chapel, and the Washington National Cathedral. 

In 2016, Karl Brunjes – a heritage conservationist from Cleveland Heights – discovered the designer of the Cleveland Trust Building’s glass dome: D’Ascenzo Studios. Previously believed to be the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Brunjes discovered that Tiffany’s attribution had never been confirmed. 

Margaret Yuna Kim

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