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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Public Square, Cleveland: 1907

Public Square, Cleveland: 1907

Cleveland, Ohio, circa 1907. "Cuyahoga County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Public Square." This Civil War monument was dedicated July 4, 1894. Panorama made from two 8x10 glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

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Thank you very much for sharing this photo. I have a collection of 4 photos from about the same time (very low quality), that were passed down through ancestors and I was having trouble identifying. Then I came across your photo that has the same Stein Cafe and King Harness signs. This helped me identify the angle and roughly date my photographs. I am enclosing a scaled down version here. Thanks again for sharing.

Statue of "Liberty"

When I was a boy, an older friend of our family gave me a tour of this monument and told me that the statue on top was "Liberty" and was deliberately placed facing north with sword unsheathed because, in the years after the Civil War, there was some ill-will with Canada and even some fear that Canada would consider "invading" America and the Cleveland citizens put her up as a warning. Never sure if that was a true story (and have never been able to find a historical reference to it) but that's how I heard it more than 50 years ago.

You'll shoot your eye out!

Ah yes, The Higbee Company (left) forerunner of the iconic Higbee's department store (in nearby Terminal Tower), perhaps best known for its appearance in Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" (1983), where young Ralphie drools over a Red Ryder carbine-action Range Model (etc., etc.) BB gun in the window.


I waited for the Number 20 bus daily 1972 through 1976 while a schoolboy across the street from this fine monument. The local men who served in the Civil War have their names displayed on the walls on the inside.

[One commenter speculated that the monument housed public toilets. - Dave]

Re: Floral Emblems

If you look closely, the same emblems are carved in the upper portion of the base of the monument. These are the symbols of the different elements of the Union Army 1861-1865.

[You can see a close-up here. - Dave]

A great tribute to Ohio's Civil War Vets

That is an amazing monument! When you compare the white objects (dresses/lamp globes) to the white stripes in the American Flag, the air pollution of the day is evident. Old Glory even looks weighted down.

Fortunately, it still remains a great monument. I want to go see it.

It has its own website:


The monument houses a small museum. The photos were taken from the southeast. The Terminal Tower is to the southwest.

Signs of the times

The old street scenes have several things in common. Signs for painless dentistry, cigars and cut rate drugs.

Remembering going to the dentist starting about 1950 I have to question the painless statement.


The camera is on the southeast corner of Public Square. You can see the edge of the old May Co. building on the left edge of the picture. The location of the Terminal Tower complex would be where the Stein Cafe is in the photo.

Floral emblems

I assume the artwork carved into the vegetation around the monument are some type of unit insignias? I notice one for the Corps of Engineers and another for the Signal Corps.

Same scene 50 years on

Here's an interesting view my father took of the same area in the late 1950s.


Presumably, one pops upstairs for some of Marshall's cut rate drugs after one has been to the "painless" dentistry below? And after that, off to the church across the road to pray for the pain to go away.

Fascinating picture.

Do you know if it was shot from one camera at different times or two cameras simultaneously?

If it was a single camera I'm curious if some of the people, and particularly some of the trolleys and carriages appear in both photos?

[The exposures were not made simultaneously. Below, the individual plates and their Photoshop marriage. Note the visitor at the base of the monument, present only in the lefthand image, and the difference in the height of the shadows on the wall. - Dave]

Below, an initial and not very satisfactory attempt.

Public vs. individual

Always amazing, how much public transport one can see in these old photos, and how little private transport (shank's mare excluded). Obesity was not much of a problem then and even portly people got up and down stairs well, I suppose.

Things to come

Note the harness company sign in the upper left, and, in the streets below, a few examples of the machines that would be the death of that industry.


That is an impressive piece of work. Anyone know what was housed in the base of the monument? And, yes, that bicycle looks really lonely just standing there.

Details, details.

Love the sprinklers, and am curious who would leave a brand new bike just sitting there unlocked.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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