The Cleveland Union Terminal Collection
The Cleveland Union Terminal Collection is the archives of the company that built the Terminal Tower, the union passenger station, the complex of office buildings, post office, department store and the infrastructure of tracks, bridges, signals, electrical catenary structures and yard facility buildings necessary to switch passenger coaches over from steam to electric and bring them in to the downtown area. This was a massive urban redevelopment project that foreshadowed the Rockefeller Center, in New York; gave Cleveland the third-tallest building in the world in 1930; and forever changed the face of Public Square and wide swaths of adjoining neighborhoods.
The physical collection is comprised of 300 linear feet of files, 500 archival drawings, 800 photographs dealing with all aspects of the conception and building of the Cleveland Union Terminal complex. Located in Special Collections at the Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University, it contains early records, office records, blueprints, drawings and plans, bids, specifications and legal documents.
The Cleveland Union Terminal Image & Media Collections on Cleveland Memory
Essential Reading from Cleveland Historical
- Terminal Tower: Cleveland's Signature Skyscraper by Katherine Gerchak & J. Mark Souther
- The Van Sweringen Brothers: Cleveland's Visionary Developers by Cleveland Historical
- Hotel Cleveland by Lisa Alleman & F.X. O'Grady
- The Van Sweringen Railroad Empire by Richard Raponi
Each of these engaging and meticulously researched articles explores facets of Cleveland History, supplementing their stories with newspaper clippings, maps, oral histories, photos from Cleveland Memory and elsewhere, and citations for related reading. This sampling of stories is drawn from diverse subjects including Architecture, Transportation, Entrepreneurs, and Urban Planning & Design, reflecting the impact the CUT has had on our city over the years.
Related Reading & Video from Cleveland Memory & Elsewhere:
- The Memories and the Dream - A video history of Cleveland Union Terminal and Tower City Center. First aired on PBS's WVIZ Cleveland June 26, 1990.
About the Donors
The Cleveland Union Terminal Collection was the gift of Mr. Gerald Adams, a life-long local railroad history enthusiast and collector who acquired the material in the early 1970s and through the efforts of Dr. Walter Leedy, donated it to Cleveland State University years later. Mr. Adams passed away in 2001, after several more substantial donations and many years of friendship.
In 1998, Mr. Robert Linsey very generously donated some 8,000 photographic images of the C.U.T. construction. The material had once been part of the C.U.T. archive before Mr. Adams purchased his portion.
These two gifts have reunited the major pieces of the historic Cleveland Union Terminal archives.