Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
|Renaissance Cleveland Hotel|
Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, with Terminal Tower in the rear and windowless 1958 wing to the right
|Address||24 Public Square|
|Opening||December 16, 1918|
|Number of rooms||441|
|Number of suites||50|
A place of lodging has occupied the site since 1815, when Phinney Mowrey opened Mowrey's Tavern. Donald MacIntosh purchased the tavern in 1820 and operated it as the Cleveland House and later the City Hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1845. In 1848, it was rebuilt as the Dunham House, which was enlarged in 1852 and renamed the Forest City House. That structure was demolished in 1916 to make way for the current hotel.
The 1000-room Hotel Cleveland was built at a cost of $4.5 million and opened on December 16, 1918. Charles Lindbergh spoke in a ballroom at the hotel in 1927, three months after completing his solo Trans-Atlantic flight. The Van Sweringen brothers purchased the hotel in the 1920s and built the Cleveland Union Terminal complex, completed in 1930, around it.
Eliot Ness and his wife Evaline frequently danced in the hotel's famous Bronze Room during his time in Cleveland. Ness also questioned Francis Sweeney, a suspect in the Torso murders, in one of the hotel's rooms for over a week in 1938. The following year, in 1939, he held a meeting of local factory owners in the hotel's Empire Room, attempting to start a network of informants among their employees, to catch potential saboteurs. The local CIO head feared it was a union-busting ploy and asked J. Edgar Hoover to intervene. Hoover sided with the CIO and remained at odds with Ness through the remainder of his career. President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt were both guests at the hotel in the 1940s.
Sheraton Hotels acquired the Hotel Cleveland in 1958 and rechristened it the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel. Sheraton spent $5.2 million renovating the hotel and adding an enormous adjacent structure containing a multi-level garage, topped by a modern ballroom. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a series of speeches at the Sheraton on November 4, 1960, before giving a major speech in the adjacent Public Square. In 1961, Sheraton converted the Bronze Room to the Kon Tiki Restaurant. The restaurant has since been closed and the space has been converted to offices. An historic meeting between leaders of Cleveland's white and black communities occurred at the Sheraton on April 19, 1964, following the death of Civil Rights protestor Rev. Bruce W. Klunder twelve days earlier.
The Beatles stayed at the Sheraton on September 14, 1964, before performing at the Public Auditorium the next day. Police established a cordon around the Sheraton to protect the group from mobs of fans, who surrounded the hotel. On March 23, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. attended a Nobel Peace Prize dinner in his honor at the Sheraton, briefly leaving the Selma to Montgomery marches to be at the event. The Beatles returned in 1966, when they performed at Cleveland Stadium on August 14 and gave a press conference in the Sheraton's Empire Room that day. Duke Ellington gave a concert in the Sheraton Ballroom of the hotel on September 28, 1972. The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 as part of the Terminal complex. President Gerald Ford visited the hotel on June 6, 1976 and gave a series of speeches and attended multiple receptions.
Restoration and today
In 1977, Sheraton sold the hotel, which now had only 800 rooms, to Save-the-Square, Inc. for $18 million. The group of investors, headed by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell and also including Cleveland Indians owner Steve O'Neill, rescued the hotel from receivership and paid its debts. The group hired Biltmore Construction to fully renovate the aging hotel, enclosing the rear courtyard as a glass-roofed atrium, with a pool that had to be lowered into place by a huge crane. It reopened in 1978, managed by Stouffer Hotels, as Stouffer's Inn on the Square. Ronald Reagan visited the hotel October 29, 1980, prior to participating in a presidential debate against Jimmy Carter at the Public Auditorium. Boxer Larry Holmes fought a series of exhibition bouts in the hotel's Grand Ballroom on April 9, 1982. Cast and crew of the classic 1983 film A Christmas Story stayed at the hotel while filming in the adjacent Higbee's department store.
In 1985, Stouffer began a $37 million, five-year renovation, throughout which the hotel remained open. The renovation reduced the number of rooms to 500 and modernized the fire safety systems with sprinklers, smoke detectors and alarms. In December 1986, the hotel was renamed Stouffer Tower City Plaza to match the renovated train station and its shopping mall. Renaissance Hotels purchased Stouffer Hotels in 1993, and the hotel became the Stouffer Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Finally, in 1996, it gained its current name, Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
- "U.S. Tourism: Hotel Cleveland". souther319.clevelandhistory.org. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Renaissance Cleveland Hotel". Emporis. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "What is interesting about this Cleveland location?". ClevelandSeniors.com. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- Alleman, Lisa; O'Grady, F.X. "Hotel Cleveland". clevelandhistorical.org. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- Trickey, Erick (December 2011). "Renaissance Cleveland Hotel /1918/". Cleveland Magazine. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "EISENHOWER, DWIGHT D.: Papers as President SPEECH SERIES" (PDF). Eisenhower Presidential Center. p. 38. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Kon Tiki Restaurant (Sheraton Hotel), Cleveland, OH (restaurant)". Tiki Central. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Indispensable Civic Roles-Convener: Establishing a Groundbreaking Interracial Forum". The Cleveland Foundation. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "15 September 1964: Live: Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio". The Beatles Bible. Archived from the original on 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Martin Luther King, Jr., Visits To Cleveland". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "14th August 1966". fincharie.com. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- Mosbrook, Joe (10 March 2014). "Jazzed in Cleveland - Part 29". cleveland.oh.us. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "President's Daily Diary - June 6, 1976" (PDF). Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Stouffer Tower City Plaza Hotel Commemorates 75th Anniversary with Celebration of Local History, New Global Presence" (Press release). thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Steve O'Neill". The Baseball Page.com. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Renaissance Cleveland Hotel". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Portfolio: Historical Restorations". Biltmore Construction.net. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Hotels With History". Ohio Magazine. ohiomagazine.com. March 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Video Vault: Presidential debate brings back memories of 1980 debate in Cleveland". KGTV News. San Diego. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Holmes Fights 2 Exhibitions". The Miami News. Associated Press. 30 March 1982. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Ho-Ho-Ho! House from "A Christmas Story" Opens in Cleveland" (Press release). A Christmas Story House. 30 October 2006. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- "Stouffer completes 6-year renovation". business.highbeam.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Greenberg, Peter S. (29 April 1990). "Hotel Disasters Have Put Key Issue Under Fire". Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. Retrieved 2014-08-29.