rivers

“Along the river of men…”


















“River of Men” – Tom Waits (1998)

(18 Photographs)

During the Industrial Revolution of the mid and late 1800’s, up and down Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, heavy industry flourished and was responsible for the growth of the city– from a small village to a major metropolis, by the end of the 19th century.

John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company was chief among the Cleveland based companies that utilized the river as a transportation solution, distributing across the nation, product from its Cleveland oil refineries. Resulting from the new technologies derived by the Standard Oil Company, chemical companies began populating the area in abundance.

In 1871, three enterprising men of the time– Henry A. Sherwin, Alanson T. Osborn, and Edward P. Williams formed a partnership and created Sherwin, Williams, & Company, a paint manufacturing and retail company, headquartered in a long-since-demolished building on Cleveland’s Superior Street, in an area today known as Public Square. Taking advantage of the rich, local chemical availability, the firm became one of the first in the country to concentrate on producing ready-mixed paint and lacquers for retail consumption.

In 1874, the group purchased from J. D. Rockefeller, the Standard Oil cooperage building, which produced the wooden barrels that the company used at the time to transport Standard Oil’s refined oil products that were “barreling” out of Cleveland to a nation thirsty with consumption.

Once the transaction was complete, and the necessary equipment and materials were moved in, the building (pictured above), along the Cuyahoga River, at 601 Canal Street, became the manufacturing home of the Sherwin-Williams Company, producing paste paints, oil colors, and putty.

The company greatly flourished over the years, opening plants all across the nation. Today, a national brand, with headquarters still in Cleveland, and thousands of retail stores nationwide– the old “cooperage building”– The original Sherwin-Williams paint factory, remained opened and in production until 1982.

Photos taken July 29, 2015

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“Oh the fishes will laugh as they swim out of the path, and the seagulls they’ll be smiling… The hour that the ship comes in…”











“When The Ship Comes In” – Bob Dylan (1964)
“When The Ship Comes In” – The Lumineers (2008)

(11 photos)

On a blistery cold day, in the shadows of the skyscrapers that mark downtown Cleveland, Ohio… The freighter BUFFALO, of Wilmington, Deleware, makes it’s way up the icy waters of the Cuyahoga River. The Seagulls, in mass, illuminate the sky and water as only winter invites…

Photos taken January 9, 2015


“Run softly, blue river… run cool and deep… run softly, blue river… my darlin’s asleep…”

“Run Softly, Blue River” – Johnny Cash (1958)

The Cuyahoga River at Dusk, as it makes it’s way through Cleveland’s industrial flats.

Photo taken November 10, 2014


“We’re always ready for the call… we place our trust in Thee. Through surf and storm and howling gale… high shall our purpose be…”










“Semper Paratus” – The Sun Harbor Men’s Chorus & The South Coast Trio (written, 1922)

[9 Photographs]

With some landfill, and $360,000 budgeted for the project, the design plans of local architect J. Milton Dyer, for a new, state-of-the-art Cleveland Coast Guard Station came to fruition in August of 1940. Located at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on Whiskey Island, and Cleveland’s Lake Erie shoreline, the station was designed in streamline moderne architectural style, and intended to resemble a Great Lakes vessel and replicate what it was like being aboard ship. The Station was utilized until 1974, when the Coast Guard relocated to a new station.

Although vacant since then, the architecturally historic facility is being cleaned-up, renovated, and plans are being drawn to include the site as part of the Cleveland Metroparks System. It really will be a beautiful asset in the development of the City’s lakefront once it is completed. The Cleveland Coast Guard Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is has been designated as a City of Cleveland Historic Landmark.

Photos taken July 5, 2014


“…and I feel, so much depends on the weather…”


“Plush” – Stone Temple Pilots (1993)

On a chilly day back in February– the Eagle Avenue Bridge over the Cuyahoga River, and the city’s venerable old sir, the Terminal Tower. The bridge was completed in 1928 and was Cleveland’s first “lift span bridge,” connecting to a viaduct which enabled residents and workers an artery from the low lying flats of the river valley to downtown, which is at a significantly higher elevation. By 2005, the viaduct was demolished due to deterioration and the bridge closed. It still stands today, however– one of the many beautiful bridges from yesterday that span the Cuyahoga River in the Flats.

Photo taken February 20, 2014


“And the embers never fade… in my city by the lake… the place where I was born…”



“Tonight Reprise” – The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

Two photos of The Cleveland West Pierhead Lighthouse, built in 1911. The fixture sits on the Lake Erie breakwall that protects the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and the Port of Cleveland.

Photos taken from the old Coast Guard Station Pier on Whiskey Island on July 5, 2014.


“Alright don’t worry even if things end up a bit too heavy… we’ll all float on… alright… already we’ll all float on…”

“Float On” – Modest Mouse (2004)

On the Cuyahoga River, in downtown Cleveland, where the river exits out into Lake Erie–“American Courage,” a river-class vessel heading in to it’s next destination. The American Courage was built in 1979 by the Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Bay Shipbuilding Corporation. It is powered by two 3500 Horse Power diesel engines. It also is equipped with 1,000 Horse Power “bow” and 600 Horse Power stern thrusters to negotiate tight waters in port, or on rivers such as the Cuyahoga.

Photo taken on October 4, 2013


“I dreamt we were standing… by the banks of the Thames… where the cold grey waters ripple… in the misty morning light…”

“Misty Morning, Albert Bridge” – The Pogues (1989)

“The Crooked River”– The Cuyahoga, as it flows slowly southward through the Village of Mantua, in Portage County, Ohio.

Stretching 85 miles in total length, The Cuyahoga River begins in Burton, Ohio, flowing south and west through Akron, in Summit County changing direction, where it heads north and eventually empties into Lake Erie, in downtown Cleveland.

Photo taken January 18, 2014


“…but some how the vital connection is made.”

“Connection” – Elastica (1994)

One of the many bridges that connect east with west, over the Cuyahoga River flats–the Interstate 90 Bridge looking east toward downtown Cleveland.

Photo taken December 11, 2013


“Our history runs down our rivers… down our rivers to the sea… reminds us of the things that matter… home and hearth and history…”

“Rivers” – Frank Turner (2011)

On the Chicago River… traversing the city of Chicago via the Architectural Riverboat Tour.

Photo taken July 28, 2013


“…every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray…”

“Bizarre Love Triangle” – New Order (1987)

Brandywine Creek falling over the layered sandstone and shale that formed millions of years ago, creating the spectacular 65-foot Brandywine Waterfalls– part of the Northern Ohio treasure: The Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The falls are located in Sagamore Hills Township, approximately 20 miles Southeast of downtown Cleveland.

Photo taken November 3, 2013


“There’s an oil barge winding… down the Cuyahoga River…”

“Burn On” – Randy Newman (1972)

Three photographs of the Center Street Bridge, located in the heart of the “Flats” near downtown Cleveland. The first two photographs, looking south eastward, show a freighter ship as it approaches the bridge and as the “Bob-tail Swing Bridge” moves into passing position and allows ships slowly through the narrow channel. The Center Street Swing Bridge was built in 1910 providing foot and automobile traffic to travel east and west across the river. Once the most popular form of bridge in the U.S. today it is the only one of it’s kind still in operation in the State of Ohio. Towering above the Center Street Bridge is the mighty Detroit-Superior Avenue Bridge, built later. The third photograph from street level shows the Center Street Bridge from the east bank of the Cuyahoga River spanning across the waterway.

Top photo taken September 23, 2013
Middle photo taken September 6, 2013
Bottom photo taken August 15, 2012


“This is where we walked, this is where we swam… take a picture here… take a souvenir… Cuyahoga!”


“Cuyahoga” – R E M (1987)

The Cuyahoga River looking toward the east bank of the Flats in downtown Cleveland. Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s the East and West banks of the Cuyahoga River in the Flats were booming with popular nightlife– both sides of the river were home to converted warehouses turned raucous weekend party bars. Several concert venues and high end restaurants also staked claim there. Crime and assorted other “social problems” eventually drove people to other areas of town for fun, and the flats entertainment district eventually dried up. Today, the city is trying to renew life into the area with upscale apartments and condos, new restaurants, and the New Cleveland Aquarium.

Picture taken March 28, 2013.


“Seven years went under the bridge, like time was standing still…”

“If You Leave” – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1986)

Standing atop the old Superior Avenue Viaduct, built between 1875 and 1878–looking southwest, toward the modern day, Detroit-Superior Bridge. The twisting, turning nature of the Cuyahoga River, in the Flats of Downtown Cleveland, made an abundance of bridges necessary throughout the relatively small area.

And another, more colorful perspective…

Photos taken March 14, 2013


“I hear the train a comin’… It’s rolling round the bend.. and I ain’t seen the sunshine since.. I don’t know when…”

“Folsom Prison Blues” – Johnny Cash (1959)

Cleveland, Ohio
Industrial Flats

Photo taken December 10, 2012


“I am the bread of your kindness…”

Prayer of the Woods sign at entrance to the River Rapids Trail
Hillsborough River State Park
Thonotosassa, Florida

Photo taken June 14, 2003


“You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave”

“Hotel California” – The Eagles (1976)

Photo taken October 26, 2001

On the banks of the Hillsborough River, the former Tampa Bay Hotel, has been a national gem since its opening in 1891. Built by Railroad Tycoon Henry B. Plant, the lavish structure, of Moorish architectural design, boasted 511 rooms and covered over 6 acres of land and over 150 acres of lush grounds for guests to enjoy.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the United States Military used the hotel and it’s grounds as a base of operations. Teddy Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders” prepared for battle on these grounds, and Roosevelt took comfort in a luxury suite in the hotel, while enlisted men stayed in near-by tents. Years later, Hall of Fame baseball player Babe Ruth signed his first Major League contract at the hotel, surely, with a Tampa hand rolled “Optimo” Cigar (his favorite) clamped between his teeth!

Following depression era hard times, the hotel closed in 1930. In 1933, the Tampa Bay Junior College established residence in the old hotel and the school eventually grew in size and became known as The University of Tampa. Currently, “Plant Hall” as the treasured building is named today, houses University of Tampa administrative offices and student oriented areas, as well as the Henry B. Plant Museum.


The Tampa Life cigar box featured the Tampa Bay Hotel prominently on it’s inner label artwork, to attract customers during the time that the hotel was in operation.


One of Babe Ruth’s favorite cigar brands was OPTIMO, also hand rolled in Tampa, the cigar capital of the world at the time!


“…’cause I’m a Fool for the City…”

“Fool For the City” – Foghat (1975)

Like the subway systems in other larger cities, Cleveland, Ohio has an above ground public transit system that transports passengers in all directions throughout the Greater Cleveland area. The “Rapid Transit” or “Rapid” is a fun alternative to driving, particularly if you are headed into downtown. On this trip we took my 10 year old niece for an adventure into downtown Cleveland. The train shoots along the rails directly into the Terminal Tower where visitors are within footsteps of all that this metropolitan focal point offers. In this picture, taken from the train, we are cruising beside the Cuyahoga River, over the scenic “Flats,” and moments from our destination.

Photo taken April 12, 2012.


“All along the waterfall… with you…”

“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison (1967)

Chagrin Falls
Cleveland (OH) Metroparks
South Chagrin Reservation

Photo taken September 5, 2012


“And I followed you, Big River, when you called…”

“Big River” – Johnny Cash (1958)

The Cuyahoga River
Cleveland, Ohio

Photo taken October 8, 2012


“And this town… is My town…”

“My Town” – Michael Stanley Band (1983)

A view of the industrial flats and downtown Cleveland, Ohio from the near west side Tremont neighborhood.

Photo taken April 16, 2012


“Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowin’…”

The Rocky River Reservation
Cleveland Metroparks
Brook Park, Ohio

Photo taken March 18, 2012


The Cascading Splendor of Chagrin Falls

Taken at the South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks
Photo taken September 5, 2012