Old Main Post Office, Cleveland, Ohio

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The massive stone block of a building, containing 476,000 square feet of floor area, was originally designed by a team of the locally renowned firm of Walker & Weeks, Philip L. Small & Associates, and then Architectural Supervisor of the U.S. Treasury, James A. Wetmore. It was completed as the last of the primary structures of the Terminal Tower complex, and hovers above the multiple levels of rail terminal, rail lines and parking of the Terminal complex spread out beneath. (Huron Road, which flanks the building’s southwesterly face, is actually a flying bridge multiple blocks long, overlooking the Cuyahoga River valley beneath.)

As was fairly typical of its day, the structure was designed with Art Deco flourishes upon a very simple and modern cubic stone volume. Ribbons of repetitive vertical fluted piers separate the striated window bays. The public heart of the Post Office was its 228-foot long main lobby, decorated with historic medallions and lined with multiple postal windows (situated above chutes that deposited mail to the rail lines of the Terminal below).

By the 1980s, Cleveland’s postal hub had outgrown its quarters in the building, and a new central Post Office facility was erected elsewhere within the downtown core. The Old Main Post Office was then converted to office use as the M.K. Ferguson Plaza. The preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of the structure fell to the local architectural practice of Westlake Reed Leskosky, which won numerous awards for the project. The building still serves as a substantial office component of Tower City Center, owned and managed by locally-headquartered Forest City Enterprises (FCE).


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