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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ROCKEFELLER BUILDING

ROCKEFELLER BUILDING

The ROCKEFELLER BUILDING is a 17-story office building erected by JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER in 1903-05. The historic WEDDELL HOUSE hotel (1847) previously stood on the site, the corner of Superior and W. 6th St. The Rockefeller Bldg. housed offices of iron, coal, and lake-shipping concerns. The original structure consisted of 7 bays along Superior Ave. at the W. 6th St. corner, and in 1910 an additional 4 bays in the same design were added to the west. In 1920 JOSIAH KIRBY acquired the building and the name was changed to the Kirby Bldg. Rockefeller was angered by the change and bought the building back, restoring the name in 1923. Designed by KNOX & ELLIOT, the Rockefeller Bldg. is the best example in Cleveland of the "Sullivanesque" style, its resemblance to Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Bldg. in Buffalo (1885) having often been remarked. The characteristics of the style are the emphasis on the vertical columns to express the steel frame underneath, and the interlacing organic-geometric cast-iron ornament on the lower stories, the latter being an especially fine feature of the Rockefeller Bldg. The building is listed in the Natl. Register of Historic Places and was included in the Historic American Bldgs. Survey published in The Architecture of Cleveland: Twelve Buildings, 1836-1912.