Monday, May 24, 2010

The City in 1833

The Cleveland Main Public Library on Superior at 3rd Street opened in 1925. The great first floor reading room, Brett Hall, is named for William Brett, librarian for the CPL from 1884 until 1918. It is a grand room, a real old-school research hall with desk lamps, long wooden tables and stylish, curved chairs.

In 1934 the Public Works of Art project (WPA) unveiled a mural over the North Door by the sixty-six year-old William, Sommer, The City in 1933, depicting the Public Square of 100 years earlier. Of the buildings presented (The Court House, the Hotel) the one that remains today is the Old Stone Church. The lake is visible in the background, and indications of Cleveland as a (former) agrarian society, and (at that time) an industrial one.

Other murals were due to join it presently, but no new works were successfully commissioned until the 1970s.

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