(This piece runs a little longer, but stay with it. You’ll feel good when you finish.)
It’s noon. Or close enough. It’s warmer outside, and the sidewalks are clear. No plans for lunch.
Time to cinch on your Garmin and go for a run. Time to see what’s changing on the Cleveland cityscape. And get some much-needed exercise as the deep freeze thaws.
Starting out from Titans gym on Prospect, let’s head east.
Cut down the alley by the recently opened, now-closed Black Dog restaurant. Great idea. Cut a side entrance into the former Citizens building—now the City Club building—and retool the former Pewter Mug from an upholstered gopher hole into a sports den. Too bad it didn’t catch on.
Exit the alley and turn west on Euclid, passing in front of the 668 Euclid building, the former William Taylor & Son department store. In fact, passing by the ground floor offices of Wyse Advertising. Look for the logo in the windows.
Cross Euclid and head north on E. 6th opposite Potbelly’s on the ground floor where the Bond department store with its signature stainless steel clock used to be.
Continue north, cross Superior, pass by the unique rose-marbled façade of the Federal Reserve bank, then by the newly restored Calfee building, home of the Calfee law firm.
It’s worth pausing here, figuratively—true runners never stop until they finish—to admire the Calfee building, a 100-year-old historic landmark that was originally headquarters of the East Ohio Gas Company, then the studios of KYW, later WKYC, radio and TV.
Glance across the street to the preeminent sandstone block structure of the Cleveland Board of Education building, recently sold at auction, soon to be converted to a Drury Plaza hotel.
Continue north on E. 6th, turn right on St. Clair by the Lincoln building. The Lincoln was originally built as a parking garage, then partially enclosed to accommodate offices. Recently, plans were announced to reconvert much of that space back to parking to help satisfy the demand for Convention Center parking. The owners plan to top it off with loft apartments.
Right on St. Clair across from the former Crowne Plaza hotel, under renovation to become the new Westin hotel, another project destined to help fill the void in Cleveland hotel space.
[As of 2013, Cleveland offers a total of 3,145 hotel rooms downtown. With the addition of six new hotel properties projected to open by 2016, Cleveland’s hotel room inventory is projected to grow about 56% in the next three years. Cleveland will add 1,748 rooms over the next few years, bringing the city’s total to 4,893 rooms.]
North on East 9th, take a side trip through Willard Park behind the giant red steel Claes Oldenburg Free Stamp and back to Lakeside going west.
Pass City Hall, take another little side tour around the promenade on Mall C, note historic landmark citing Burnham Mall. You’re actually above the north section of the new Cleveland Convention Center.
It’s a beautiful open area—sidewalks with streetlamps, benches, and tables surrounding a large lawn in the center framed with hydrangeas in the spring. Great view of the lakefront. Worth the detour.
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.”
— Daniel Burnham, Architect/City Planner
Just past the Mall B Convention Center, immediately north of the newly opened Center for Health Innovation, you’ll see a fenced-in excavation. That was the site of the Cuyahoga County building recently demolished to make way for the recently unveiled 600-room, 30-story Hilton Cleveland Convention Center hotel complex, connected to both venues underground.
Continue west on Lakeside, pass by the county courthouse at Ontario, then doff your cap to the statue of Jesse Owens at Jesse Owens Park at the corner of W. 3rd. Yes, the Jesse Owens. The standout sprinter from Cleveland East Tech High School who went on to single-handedly dispel Adolf Hitler’s notion of Aryan supremacy by winning four gold medals—with Hitler watching—in the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, Germany.
Cross and head into the Warehouse District, now Cleveland’s apartment district, staying on Lakeside to avoid the lunchtime crowds along St. Clair.
After you cross at the corner of W. 9th and Lakeside, you have an option. Turn north and head down into the Flats. Or turn south on W. 9th. Today, it’s Plan B, south. Pass trendy apartments, Constantino’s gourmet market, a string of cafés, and the historic Western Reserve Building, the keystone restoration project of the Warehouse District led by Herb Strawbridge, the visionary chairman of The Higbee Company.
Take a right and head west across the 3,112-foot Superior high-level bridge, aka the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, one of two major spans linking east to west over the Cuyahoga River and the Flats. Immediately below are the tracks of the underground streetcar lines that, until the mid-1950s, carried commuters to and from the Cleveland train terminal below what is now Tower City.
It’s your first uphill stretch. But don’t sweat it, it’s only about one-third of a mile. Soon enough, it’s the same distance downhill to W. 25th Street.
At W. 25th, turn left, head south. Pass the sprawling community vegetable gardens along the western rim of the Cuyahoga Valley, supplying fresh produce to many local eateries.
The gardens stretch behind the Riverview Towers across from Lutheran Hospital. Now you’re into Ohio City’s Market District, an eclectic chic blend of shops, brewpubs, galleries, consignment shops, and gentrification. Next stop, Cleveland’s celebrated West Side Market.
At the corner by the Market, cross Lorain, cross Gehring, continue east to Columbus, take a hard left. At Freeman, turn right; the Duck Island Club is on your left, go another block, turn left on W. 19th. Pass the Gateway Animal Clinic, turn left again on Abbey back to Gehring and Lorain.
Take the crosswalk to the north side of Lorain, you’ll see why in a minute. Head east on Lorain toward the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Just after crossing the short bridge over Columbus and the Rapid tracks, you’ll notice a large, recently cleared lot on your left.
That’s the first evidence of a large-scale demolition to make way for the Brickman project, a four-acre planned development of apartments and townhouses overlooking the west bank of the Flats.
Dedicated in 1932, the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, aka the Hope Memorial, spans 5,865 feet over the Cuyahoga River, itself adding over a mile to today’s route.
The Hope is recognizable for its four 43-foot double-sided pylons, the Guardians of Transportation, heralding technological advances in road transit.
Why the Hope Memorial? One of the original stonecutters of the sandstone pylons was William Henry Hope, a 1908 English immigrant and father of one of Cleveland’s favorite sons, the entertainer Bob Hope.
Heading over the bridge, we’re protected along the 15-foot-wide pedestrian way by a staunch chest-high barrier on both sides. Constructed by ODOT, the mile-long pedestrian crosstown byway was a concession to bike groups pressing for a bike/pedestrian lane along the new Innerbelt bridge, which ODOT denied.
Glance over the bridge to the serpentine river through the sprawling Flats below. Far to the right, work continues on the new Innerbelt bridges, the most ambitious road construction project in Ohio history.
At the east end of the byway, Lorain—now Carnegie—crosses Ontario to Progressive Field. At E. 9th, turn north. Look to your right, notice the main entrance to the historic Erie Street Cemetery with its original sandstone archway, now being restored by the city.
On another day, visit the cemetery. It’s a who’s who of storied names from Cleveland’s heritage. And, yes, the gates are open; you can run through the grounds.
At the corner of 9th and Prospect, glance diagonally to your right to admire the reflective glass façade of the new Cuyahoga County headquarters building, the first phase of the Geis Brothers Ameritrust complex project. New life emerges on an abandoned block along a main downtown corridor.
Turn left on Prospect, head west back to Titans. Stop your watch. Total miles: 5.5. Total time: 50 minutes (or so).
These five miles show you a fraction of the new development on the downtown Cleveland skyline, a revitalized city rediscovering itself.
Where, we’ve never been more proud to say, Wyse has been putting major brands on a faster track since 1951.
To find out more, contact Matt Arko.
Visit MapMyRun.com to plot this course or create your own.
Links of interest:
Lincoln Building, Cleveland.com
Hilton Hotel, Cleveland.com
Brickman Project, Cleveland.com