“…you’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness… you’re beauty and elegance…”


“You’re In My Heart” – Rod Stewart (1977)

The Cleveland Carnegie West Library is one of the over 2,500 public libraries that were built around the world with grant funds from industrial giant and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It is among 104 Carnegie built public libraries in Ohio, and one of 14 in Cleveland. The very first Carnegie Library was opened in 1883 in the city of Dunfermline, Scotland, where Andrew Carnegie was born.

The Carnegie West Library was built at 1900 Fulton Road in Cleveland’s near-westside neighborhood of Ohio City in 1910. It was designed in a Modified Renaissance architectural style with elements of Classical style. Chosen to design the building was Edward Lippincott Tilton, a New York Architect, who designed over 100 libraries in the United States and Canada over the span of his career. The outer construction materials consist of brick, limestone and terra cotta.

Today, the Official Designated Cleveland Landmark– Carnegie West Library, at 25,000 square feet in size, is the largest branch in the Cleveland Public Library system. In 1979 the Library was completely renovated and restored after many years of deterioration. The terra cotta columns and ornate trim were restored utilizing a special epoxy injection and coating technique which saved the, in some cases, cracked and crumbling exterior to it’s beautiful original condition. The American Institute of Architects recognized the restoration project with their prestigious Preservation and Design Award.

Monochrome photos taken April 8, 2016
Color photos taken May 10, 2016


“She thinks she missed the train to Mars… she’s out back counting stars….”

“Stars” – HUM (1995)

(22 Photos)

Hiding in amongst the trees at the top of the Taylor Road hill in East Cleveland– The abandoned Warner and Swasey Observatory, just four miles southeast of its original parent home, the then, Case School of Applied Science (Case-Western Reserve University.)

The Observatory was designed in 1918 by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks and The Warner & Swasey Company  completed construction of the building in 1920.   On October 12th of that year, world renowned astronomer Dr. W. W. Campbell, the Director of the University of California Lick Observatory, gave the key note address at the observatory’s dedication.

The building included a small library, a darkroom, a transit room, an office and one bedroom. The observatory also housed two Riefler astronomical regulator clocks, two four-inch transits, and an extremely sensitive zenith 9.5-inch refractor telescope, built by the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland. The entire Observatory, including all equipment, as well as the cost of construction of the physical structure, was donated to the Case Institute of Technology by Trustees Worcester R. Warner and Ambrose Swasey, of the Warner and Swasey Company.

As the need for expansion of facilities and new equipment became evident, additions to the Observatory were graciously provided by Warner and Swasey. In 1940, the building of en entire new wing to the Observatory was completed. Included in this expansion was a new library, a teaching lecture hall, and a new Warner & Swasey Company-manufactured 24-inch Burrell Schmidt telescope, housed in a new dome (pictured below.)

By the 1950’s, city-light evening sky “noise” made it necessary for Case to develop a new facility and relocate the housed telescopes and other equipment, in order for the school to maintain the highest levels of scientific integrity.  The new facility– the Nassau Astronomical Station, was built in 1957 on 281 acres of land in Montville Township in Geauga County, thirty miles to the east of the Warner and Swasey Observatory. The Burrell Schmidt telescope was transferred to this site, and was replaced with a 36-inch telescope that was used primarily for viewing by the public. In 1980, The Warner and Swasey Observatory was closed permanently, and the original zenith telescope was transferred to the Euclid Avenue main campus of Case-Western Reserve University, where today it is housed and in-use in the University’s Albert W. Smith Building.

The old observatory was sold and has changed ownership hands a few different times since Case managed the facility, and although every attempt has been made to board-up entrance points inside… graffiti artists, area gangs, historians, photographers and urban explorers have all found their way to the interior of the building. Picture number 20, from the top, of the photos I have taken and posted here– the empty window frame– was my magic doorway into the fascinating storied past of the Warner and Swasey Observatory that still stands at the top of a hill in East Cleveland.

Above photos taken July 3, 2015

The 24-inch Burrell Schmidt telescope manufactured by the Warner & Swasey Company, pictured here at the Warner and Swasey Observatory. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project and the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University.

“We’re playing those mind games together… pushing the barriers… planting seeds…”

“Mind Games” – John Lennon (1973)

(Seven photos)

James A. Rhodes Tower, built in 1971.
Fenn Tower, built in 1929.

Two buildings that have defined the landscape and skyline between East 13th and East 24th Streets and Euclid Avenue, in downtown Cleveland– the real estate known as Cleveland State University.

The older of the two buildings, Fenn Tower, was originally built as the National Town and Country Club, but the private membership businessman’s club was ravaged by the Depression and the 22-story skyscraper ultimately was sold to Fenn College in 1937. In 1964, Fenn College, an engineering school, became Cleveland State University.

James A. Rhodes Tower, with the CSU moniker broadly displayed on each of it’s four sides, rises 373-feet into the sky and is the second tallest educational building in the United States. Named for the State of Ohio’s 61st and 63rd Governor of Ohio, Rhodes Tower is the home to Cleveland State University’s library and Administrative offices.

Top photo taken September 4, 2014
Photo (2) taken February 5, 2015
Photo (3) taken September 19, 2014
Photo (4) taken February 3, 2015
Photo (5) taken December 6, 2013
Photo (6) taken May 13, 2014
Bottom photo taken February 3, 2015

“…oh, there’s more to life than books, you know… but not much more.. not much more…”

“Handsome Devil” – THE SMITHS (1983)

For over 100 years, this Italianate Style antebellum home has been more than just a “page” in Cleveland’s written history. The ornately detailed house was built in 1838 for early Cleveland settler George Merwin. After changing owners a few different times after Mr. Merwin’s death, the house became the headquarters and library for a very exclusive private gentleman’s club in 1892. This organization, The Rowfant Club, is still in existence today at this location on Prospect Avenue near East 30th Street.

Dedicated to “primarily the critical study of books in their various capacities to please the mind of man…”, the “by-invitation-only” bibliophile aficionado membership of the Rowfant Club has convened at the Merwin House over the decades for meetings, ceremonies, lectures, or just to simply relax with one of the books from the club’s extensive in-house private library collection. Members of note have included James Ford Rhodes, Charles F. Schweinfurth, and William G. Mather.

Top 3 photos taken November 25, 2014
Bottom 2 photos taken June 16, 2014

“…I went down to the library… you know the big one way downtown…”

“Muse Blues” – Loudon Wainwright III (1972)

A set of 16 photographs I took of the interiors of the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch on Superior Avenue in downtown. Another extraordinary building designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks. The five story building was completed in 1925.

Photos taken August 9, 2014

“I’m worth a million in prizes… Yeah, I’m through with sleeping on the sidewalk…”

“Lust For Life” – Iggy Pop (1977)

In 1937, a small, undeveloped public park area between the two main Cleveland Public Library buildings in downtown Cleveland was granted to the library and dedicated as the Eastman Park. Named after Linda Eastman, the Director of the Cleveland Public Library system between 1918 and 1938, the area served as an outdoor reading area to patrons of the library. In 1960, the park was renamed The Eastman Reading Garden. Through the years the Eastman Reading Garden was developed with beautiful green landscaping, new seating areas and the addition of well placed public sculpture and other art.

Pictured is one of the many cartoon-like bronze sculptures in the Garden, created by artist Tom Otterness. Another example that I photographed at the library and showcased in a previous post can be found HERE. Otterness Bronze Sculptures are featured all around the United States and across the globe.

Photo taken September 27, 2013

“And you read your Emily Dickinson… and I my Robert Frost… and we note our place with bookmarkers… that measure what we’ve lost…”

“Dangling Conversation” – Simon and Garfunkle (1966)

Pictured: The ceiling inside the Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, located at 325 Superior Avenue in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Designed by the local Architectural Firm of Walker & Weeks, in Classical Renaissance style, the library was completed in 1925.

Photo taken October 4, 2013

“Broken hearts are hard to mend…”

“RUSH” – Big Audio Dynamite 2 (1991)

In front of the main branch of the Cleveland Public Library at 325 Superior Avenue, in downtown Cleveland. The flower was resting there when we came upon it… apropos.

Photo taken July 2, 2012

Telling it like it is…

The Telling Mansion
Current Home to the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch
of the Cuyahoga County Public Library
4645 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, Ohio

Photos taken February 10, 2013