Continued from: "Further delays"
In the early 1920's, the Van Sweringens tried unsuccessfully to
re-route the proposed Huron-Lorain bridge right into the Terminal
Their intention was to share the cost of the bridge with the County
-- trains could cross the valley on a lower deck, automobiles
on the upper -- thus saving the project considerable construction
costs. Furthermore they believed, correctly that Cleveland's greatest
growth of moderate-priced residential districts for the future
would be in a south-westerly direction, given adequate bridge
connections. They also made economic feasibility studies to determine
whether to extend Woodland Boulevard right downtown to Ontario
They did everything possible to increase real estate values in
the area. The railroads went along with their ideas, hoping to
share in the profits, though they disagreed about the possibility
of increased land values as a result of re-routing the Huron-Lorain
Congestion was apparently going to be a problem in front of the
new Union Station. Little parking was provided for people meeting
trains. The City had appointed a Subway Commission in 1918, and
it proposed to eliminate all surface streetcar lines in the area,
thereby opening up the streets exclusively to automobile traffic.
The plan was never adopted, but, right from the beginning, plans
for the Union Station made provision to connect the concourse
area directly to a proposed subway station which was to be located
under Public Square.
The early scheme of August, 1918 called for a double-deck station
below street level with a passenger concourse located in between.
The waiting room was to be a huge rectangular room, 100 by 275
feet, a rectangular room with a skylighted and coffered barrel
vaulted ceiling carried on gigantic Corinthian columns. 33
From the waiting room, anther ramp would lead down to the passenger
concourse level from which the visitor would walk down stairways
to the interurban tracks and upstairs to the stream tracks. This
solution left something to be desired.
The waiting room and passenger concourse could also be approached
through shop-line passageways from the corners of West 3rd and
Superior, as well as from the Square and Ontario and Prospect
Avenues. There was no direct access from the central Prospect
Avenue entrance to the passenger concourse. The railroads were
critical of this blatant attempt to increase traffic flow past
the shops, thus benefiting the supergrade (above-ground) development,
to the inconvenience of the traveling public.
The interior arrangement of the station was not reflected on the
Public Square facade. Visual emphasis was placed on the supergrade
construction, which was to consist of eleven-story buildings accented
by a central, twenty-story tower. The idea of harmonizing the
new station with the Hotel Cleveland, thereby combing the south
and west sides of the Square into large composition, and of placing
the tower above a diagonal entrance in the middle, impaired a
grandeur to the scheme that would not have been possible if the
main entrance and facade had been placed on the south side alone.
This nearly symmetrical composition with accented inner corner
was to have even more important visual consequences later on,
with the decision to build a 52-story office tower. The building
functions urbanistically because it wraps around the Square instead
of merely defining one side of it.
Continues in: "Architects and engineers refine the plans"
Table of Contents