Cleveland City Hall was a crucial structure in establishing The Group Plan, a scheme put forth around 1900 by which the core civic areas and public structures of the burgeoning city were to be planned and constructed.
The building anchors the north end of East Sixth Street at Lakeside Avenue, and overlooks areas of the city’s lakefront — and its waterside attractions of Cleveland Browns Stadium, The Great Lakes Science Center and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The building is backed by the Willard Park garage, which extends westward behind the Cuyahoga County Courthouse as well. Sited at Willard Park, to City Hall’s immediate east, is the public art ‘FREE’ stamp sculpture.
As a twin in size and scale to the nearby Cuyahoga County Courthouse, and only the third structure erected within The Group Plan, City Hall set out a pattern of development for Lakeside Avenue and the nearby public malls that persists today. The four-story (plus partial fifth floor) Neoclassic structure with Beaux-Arts elements was the creation of architect J. Milton Dyer, and was completed in 1916.
Having had substantial renovations over the years, the grand structure remains today virtually as initially designed. Its two-story rotunda, clad in Botticelli marble, and capped by a vaulted and coffered skylit ceiling, resting atop ponderous Doric columns, is perhaps its most impressive interior space. Both the Mayor’s offices and the three-story City Council Chamber are clad in richly detailed woods.
City Hall shares with its County Courthouse twin similar form and architectural detailing. Both have exterior bases formed of large-scale rustic stone, exterior façades organized by two-story colonnades, roof line balustrades, and exhibit similar materials and coloration. Both also exemplify solid, staid classical order and symmetry.