Cleveland – It strikes many as decidedly ironic that the AT&T Huron Road Building, which was fully erected by 1927 is not, I repeat is not on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building was the first Art Deco edifice in Cleveland to crack the 300 foot mark. This was no small feat in a city that was growing exponentially in leaps and bounds literally by 1920. Cleveland in that year and up until the 1950’s, had nearly 1,000,000 people within its ever expanding borders.
The city of Cleveland, though it may not seem like it is only 78 square miles. It appears much bigger because of the use of massive building blocks and the fact that it is so densely packed even till the present day. Most big cities in the United States are over 100 square miles.
But let us return to the magnificent structure in question. AT&T Huron was the tallest building in Cleveland until 1930, when the 700+ foot Terminal took the title for next 61 years. Regulating the AT&T, then the Ohio Bell, to number two from 1930 until 1964 when it was again supplanted further down the Tallest in Cleveland list by the modern Tower at Erieview as it rose to its 520+ foot height mark.
Further irony can be found in the fact that, there has, in recent years, been no direct light used to illuminate the fabulous and brilliantly factured Art Deco masterpiece. This seems the final insult for a building that should be not only remembered for what it is and was, but far more important should be celebrated for its achievements.
Still, despite this fact the building seems to give off its own brilliant radiance amid a slew of post modern, Art Deco, post Art Deco, modern, and international stylized scrapers. It is a credit and constant contributor to a sometimes crowded and confusingly drawn skyline.
In recent years, some have expressed frustration that Cleveland, which was always and continues in many ways to be the quintessential CITY of Ohio, did not build more freely and more often as it definitely had the business, population, tax base, and the greenbacks in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 decades. There was for so many years an accepted fact that nothing should surpass or dare to rival the Terminal. This quite frankly kept the city in the past for nearly half a century. Only recently has this self created restrictional ease slowly but steadfastly begun to evolve and further transform the most dynamic skyline in Ohio.