Sunday, April 23, 2006

Art and Justice: Cuyahoga County Court House

I needed to kill some time before the Cavaliers-Wizards playoff opener so instead of helping Mary paint bedrooms it was a perfect day to go downtown Cleveland and search for symbolic icons to photograph. Let's start with the Cuyahoga County Court House. It has many statues on its facades, both north and south. In fact, it has more exterior statues than any of the public buildings. Enjoy!

Pediment on the Cuyahoga County Court House. It contains six statues of famous judges or legal giants. There are also several on the rear of the building, including Moses and other religious figures. I couldn't get their pictures because the sun was directly behind them at the time I was there.

Thomas Jefferson seated in front of the Cuyahoga County Court House. Third President of the United States.

Alexander Hamilton seated in front of the Cuyahoga County Court House. First Secretary of the Treasury.

First figurine (left to right) above the Cuyahoga County Court House. Stephen Langton (1150-1265) was the Archbishop of Canterbury under King John.

Second figurine (left to right) above the Cuyahoga County Court House. Simon de Montfort (1200-1265) helped establish the house of commons; he, like the other figures on the courthouse, is represented for his contribution to the development of English law.

Third figurine (left to right) above the Cuyahoga County Court House. Edward I was chosen for his role in judicial reform in England.

Fourth figurine (left to right) above the Cuyahoga County Court House. John Hampden, one of the most distinguished patriots of England.

Fifth figurine above the Cuyahoga County Court House. Lord John Sommers, lord keeper of the great seal of england and one of his majesty’s most honourable privy-council.

Sixth figurine (left to right) above the Cuyahoga County Court House. William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield was a British judge and politician who reached high office in the House of Lords.

Justice John Marshall at the rear of the Cuyahoga County Court House. First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Rufus P. Ranney seated at the rear of the Cuyahoga County Court House. An Ohio Supreme Court Justice in the 1850's.

They just don't make doors like this anymore. Native American face on Cuyahoga County Court House door. Anyone know anything about this? Who was he and what does he represent?

Side view of Native American face on Cuyahoga County Court House door.

Full frame of door with Native American face on Cuyahoga County Court House door.

Copyright 2006 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved

Art and Banking: Cleveland Federal Reserve

Powerful images and figures greet you at the door of Federal Reserve Building in downtown Cleveland. I know the interior is spectacular but I was setup today to do outdoor facades.

Statute to the left of the entrance to the Cleveland Federal Reserve Building is called "Integrity". According to the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory (OOSI), she is "a female figures in classical robes, crowned with olive, proper left hand holds a staff topped with a hand, proper right hand holds scrolls."

Statue to the right of the entrance to the Cleveland Federal Reserve Building is called "Security" OOSI says "she is a female figure in classical robes and an armored vest, crowned with oak leaves, proper left hand holds a strong box, proper right hand holds a sword for protection."

Federal Reserve Bank Entablature. According to OOSI "it is a broken segmental pediment frieze decorated with acanthus leaves, triglyphs and metopes decorated with replicas of ancient coins."

Center figurine at the entrance to the Cleveland Federal Reserve Building.

An eagle and a star on the side of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Building.

Statue at the Cleveland Federal Reserve Building called "Energy in Repose" by artist Henry Hering. OOSI says "it is an heroic sized male figure wearing a tunic is seated on a rock; proper left hand holds a sledge hammer. " And from Wikipedia, it is "four times life size, this enormous figure symbolizes the physical and intellectual energy characteristic of economic and commercial activities."

Copyright 2006 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Public Art on High or High Up

So much of of our public art sits high above. I'll try to bring some of these back down to earth.

This eagle sits on column in front of the Third District Police Station

Eagle and a Star on the side of the Federal Reserve Building.

City of Cleveland Emblem on the Third District Police Station.

Stone work on the side of the Trainmen's building.

Head with Sphinx on top is found at the front of Cleveland City Hall.

Figurehead along the side of the Cleveland Fedral Court House.

The face peers out from the front of the Federal Reserve. I cannot find any info of who she is or represents.

The new extension to the Cleveland Public Libary is getting into this eagle thing.

Stone head along the Federal Court House.

Another eagle on the side of St. John's church.

Copyright 2006 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved

Some outdoor art around downtown Cleveland

There are many wonderful sculptures downtown. Here's a few of them.

The Free stamp. "Sculpture is in form of a rubber office stamp, lying in a horizontal position. The word "FREE" is carved in relief on the rubber face." (OOSI)

"Portrait of Jesse Owens depicted in action at he crossed the finish line of the 400 meter relay in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In his proper right hand Owens holds the baton. His proper right foot is in the air behind him, while his proper left foot balances on a pyramid shaped base." (OOSI)

Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry. "Stepped base surmounted by standing figure of Oliver Hazard Perry. Proper left hand clutches a sword; his leg is supported by a draped mooring device; proper left arm rests on chest as upper body turns. Two midshipmen stand at the lower level on the base." (OOSI)

Cleveland War Memorial built in 1962 by Marshall Fredericks. OOSI says, "Four granite sculptures surround the fountain circular pool, each representing different geographical civilizations. In the center of the pool is a bronze sphere covered with signs of the zodiac out of the top of which rises a male figure with flames covering his legs and hips. His arms are stretched skyward."

I swear she is holding a submarine. "Commerce" is in front of the Federal Courthouse, Cleveland. According to OOSI, Three figures: seated woman holding a globe; kneeling woman to her right; crouching male figure to the left."

Copyright 2006 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Forest Hills Park, East Cleveland, OH Circa 2006

This post is a continuation of a previous post from last year. Please read that post and the comments so that you understand the background behind it.

I have not stepped foot in Forest Hills Park since 1970 so my first return was with a bit of trepidation. One of the last times I was here I was attacked by a gang and pretty badly beaten. I told no one. My parents asked about my condition but I said I took a hard slide/collision in a baseball game. That covered for the bloody nose, black eye and bruised ribs.

In the mid-60's children could go to the park by themselves or with friends and spend the entire day there without parent supervision. We never saw parents around. And the park was just about the safest place in the world. You could go anywhere and do anything.

But it changed. It changed quickly and in ways we didn't understand. For example, in the middle of a Little League game, a young man walked right through the diamond and threw firecrackers at us. Jim Libertore was the coach and he couldn't believe it. We were all too stunned to do anything but we just hoped that he'd leave.

Or the time the park planted a row of new trees. The next day someone took a hatchet to all of them and cut them in two. Why? What kind of anger was motivating these actions?

And that's where the innocence began to leave us. And we left. We had to leave. It's not about "the mean people came and ruined our little town." It had everything to do with social forces that were colliding with great intensity.

East Cleveland became the battlefield between the poverty and despair of the underclass versus the comfort of the middle class. But it also had to do with banks cooperating with block-busting realtors who drove home prices down. It had to do with welfare that made it easy for the man to leave home and not be welcomed back. It had to do with politicians and self-seeking leaders flaming the fires of anger until it nearly engulfed us all in 1968 (though watching the National Guard patrol Euclid Avenue was pretty cool site for a ten-year old).

Did it have to go down this way? Couldn't East Cleveland have been integrated like Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights? And what has driving people out done for East Cleveland? After thirty-six years the city is in deplorable condition. Such are the fruits of anger.

East Cleveland was once a great city. Someday it will wake up and remember it. Until then here's a look at East Cleveland today. Enjoy!

Let's start with a tour of Forest Hills Park (you may click on any picture to enlarge).

Here is the spot where we played baseball every summer. Right in front was home plate. If you hit it into the woods it was an automatic home run. The players were David and Jimmy Fielding, Steven Boyer Wild, Stanley Lee Anthory, Mark Drefs, David Chamberlin and myself. With only six players it was a perfect, little field but it sure looked big to me.

This is a view of our baseball diamond looking westward toward the park entrance. The park ranger's house is in the background.

This is one of the baseball fields at Forest Hills Park (and where the firecracker punk walked through). We played Little League here as well as at the field next to Shaw Pool. I played for Rendlesham Insurance though I had no idea who they were. One year I won best pitcher and best hitter for the league. I loved baseball.

This is the pavilion at the lake in Forest Hills Park.

Today was a perfect spring day. The trees were just starting to bloom. After 30 years it's still beautiful and much better kept than the 70's when it deteriorated. I must admit it was somewhat emotional seeing this. We spent nearly every day in this park when we're kids in the 60's.

A tall view of the trees. They looked great

I walked around the lake. You can see the island in the middle which of course wasn't there in the 60's.

Here's a view of the pavilion from across the pond.

Another view of the pavilion from one of the many stone bridges. They look the same as ever.

Another beauty shot of the trees. So many memories come out standing in the park again like ice skating on the pond, playing in the ravine, riding bikes, hiking, playing army-man and, of course, lots of baseball.

Not much has changed at the pavilion. The steps haven't been touched.

Remember the fireplace when ice skating at Forest Hills Park? You'd freeze your butt for an hour on the ice and then warm up inside.

Here's a view from the pavilion to the pond.

More tree blossoms.

This view is from the front of the pavilion across the pond.

One of the many beautiful stone bridges in Forest Hills Park, East Cleveland, Ohio.

O.K. I like the tree blossoms but this shot is the only one that looks toward the east and Lee Road.

Forest Hills Park main baseball diamond is used for the Cleveland State Vikings team. It's in good shape with a home run fence and scoreboard.

I can't say the same for the tennis courts. They still look a little beat-up.

I'm sure everyone recognizes this wonderful bridge that spans Forest Hills Blvd. and connects to the Cleveland Heights side of the park. It now has a fence across it to prevent rocks being dropped on cars and the consequences of drug deals gone bad.

Copyright 2006 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved

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