Historic Structures

Building Description Terminal Tower Building Cleveland Union Terminal, Cleveland Ohio

The Terminal Group is arranged in a triangular shape. The apex of the triangle to the North faces Public Square. The East side of the triangle is formed by Ontario Street. The west side is formed by superior Avenue and West 6th Street. The base to the South is formed by the Parking Area on Level 50 and Huron Road at Level 100. Prospect Avenue bisects the triangle horizontally from Ontario Street to Superior Avenue. West 2nd and West 3rd Streets connect Huron Road with Prospect Avenue on either side of the Steam Concourse. The tracks ran East-West on the Track Level or Level 50 adjacent to Canal Road at Level 30. The Cleveland Union Terminal is located on Level 72.5 where it stretches from West 6th Street to the West, West 2nd Street to the East, Huron Road to the South and just North of Prospect Avenue underneath the Terminal Tower to the North. On Level 85, the Cleveland Union Terminal narrows to West 3rd Street to the West. At Street Level or Level 100, the Cleveland Union Terminal is bounded by Prospect Avenue to the North, West 2nd Street to the East, Huron Road to the South and West 3rd Street to the West. The Terminal Tower Building is located to the North between Prospect Avenue and Public Square, The main entrance at Public Square is at Level 85, and the Prospect Avenue entrance is at Level 100. From Public Square South along the main axis to the South side of Huron Road, the complex is approximately 750 feet long. From West 6th Street to Ontario Street, the complex measures approximately 1,280 feet in width. The facade of the Terminal Tower on Public Square is approximately 160 feet wide and 70 feet tall with seven three-story arches incorporated into the Ionic colonnade. One of the arches is the entrance to the West Traction Lobby, one is the entrance to the East Traction Lobby, and the five center arches are the main entrances to the Terminal Tower Building. The central tower section. of the Terminal Tower, measuring 98 feet long on each side,is the tallest portion of the building. The Terminal Tower Building is 708 feet high (52 stories). Flanking the central tower section are two wings each fifteen stories high.

The mammoth steel and concrete piers supporting the Terminal Tower Building were sunk to depths ranging from 100 feet to 210 feet below Track Level to bedrock. The Chicago or open caisson method for laying foundations was used for the first time in Cleveland. Eighty-seven foundation wells were needed for the Terminal Tower Building, each measuring from four feet in diameter to ten feet four inches in diameter. In addition, the caissons measured as much as eleven feet seven inches.

Level 50 or Track Level is the lowest level of the complex. Here trains entered the station and passengers boarded the trains. Locomotive maintenance facilities were also located on this level. Level 72.5 is the main concourse level. The Waiting Room, Ticket Lobby, and Fred Harvey Concessions operated on this level. Behind the public spaces railroad personnel transported baggage and mail, and prepared such necessities as linens, dishes, and food for loading onto the Pullmans. Level 85 was used primarily for railroad of fices such as the dispatchers office, sleeping quarters for the trainmen, and mechanical spaces. It is on this level that the many fans which provided fresh air for the station were located. Public passageways connecting the Hotel, Terminal Tower, Higbee's and Ress (Midland Bank, Medical Arts, and Transportation and Garage Building) are found on this level. The most prominent element at Level 85 is the Portico at the Public Square entrance. Level 100 is also known as Street Level because the streets which run over the station as bridges are at this level. Also at this level is the Prospect Avenue entrance leading to the Arcade.

Originally, 31 stairways, each divided in half, were located throughout the Terminal Tower Building at Level 72.5. Seventeen of them were built along the main axis of the Terminal Tower in the Central Concourse and in the Steam Concourse. The other stairways were located in the East and West Traction Concourses. Brass handrails divided the stairs for arriving and departing passengers. All of the stairways turn at a right angle at a landing halfway between two flights of stairs. The lower flights were constructed parallel to the tracks and platforms. Currently, two open stairwells lead to a parking area, formerly the track and platform area on Level 50. A half of each of these two open stairs have been reconfigured to accommodate the installation of escalators.

Cleveland's Rapid Transit Authority (RTA) combined and altered two stairwells located in the Center Concourse. The right angle turn was eliminated altogether, In addition, two landings were removed for the installation of escalators. Currently there are two stairways and two escalators serving the RTA at this location. In the East Traction Concourse the RTA uses two stairways. One is located in the middle of the concourse; the other is on the west side of the concourse to the North. In the West Traction Concourse, the RTA uses a stair located on the west side of the concourse and another located on the east side to the North. These four stairwells are in their original state.

In 1988 a private developer redeveloped the retail/commercial areas and other unused portions of the Terminal Tower Building, Cleveland Onion Station. The 50' level provided parking and a new centralized rapid transit station. The 72.5' level became the major retail level. The English Oak Room, rehabilitated, a permanent historic display, a multiplex cinema and restaurants located to the east. To the west, valet and short term parking replaced the cab stand and baggage areas. Tower Court located to the north at the base of the Terminal Tower, a four story atrium. Farther to the south, the existing Rapid Transit Authority facility expanded and the area named as Station Court. New escalators service the rapid transit station on the 50' level and the 85' level retail space. The Steam Concourse retained its name, marble columns, cornice and large open space. The skylight and exterior brick walls were replaced by a glass atrium, Utilizing the projecting beams and replacing the Trucking Passage will be the Riverside Market. This southern most area overlooks the Cuyahoga River. Located on the 85' level, the Public Square Facade, the Portico and the Inner Lobby was rehabilitated. Office and equipment rooms were converted to retail at this level. The retail on the 100' level was expanded. Renovation of Prospect Avenue, Huron Road, West 2nd, West 3rd and West 6th Streets was also completed. The renovation was vital to the remodelling effort because the streets are actually bridges which provide the roof over a large portion of the station. When completed Tower City Center had approximately 350,000 square feet of retail space. Orban Development Action Grants and Orban Mass Transit Authority funds for a total of 29.l million dollars were awarded through the City of Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the selection of Tower City Center as its location.