The Return of the City Beautiful Movement: The Medical Mart

The Recreation of the Green Space

The Cleveland Convention Facilities Authority’s recreate of the City beautiful Movement of the idea of a green space and underground is the Convention Center

The Group Plan of 1903’s The Mall

Vision Created by renown architect Daniel Burnham

The original Group Plan of 1903 was exciting for the people of Cleveland and   like the Group Plan of 2010 it will be the same effect, and the return of the City Beautiful Movement.
Cleveland State University Library of  Special Collections.

The Medical Mart on the Mall off of Mall Drive and St. Clair is one of many major projects in Cleveland’s downtown district. For this reason, the City Beautiful Movement has returned. Originally, the City Beautiful Movement was in response to the Progressive Era, which was a call for reform, improving society’s poor living conditions, ending corruption in small- and large- scale governments and businesses to improve lives, especially of the lower class. The Cleveland Group Plan of 1903 was derived from the City Beautiful Movement. After World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, IL, created by leading and world-renowned architect Daniel Burnham, recreated the same effect for downtown Cleveland, focusing on its lakefront.  These buildings that grew to define the Mall were public buildings: City Hall, Public Auditorium,Public Library, the Cuyahoga County Court,  and House Board of Education building. The City Beautiful Movement disappeared in the late 1920s to be replaced by the City Practical Movement. Because of the high costs, taxpayers felt that they were financially responsible and that aesthetics were unnecessary and pushed for a more simplistic architectural style. Largely due to the onset of the Great Depression circa 1920s, the people of Cleveland like many overs during this movement felt that tax dollars needed to be spent on more important needs and aesthetic should be privatized.

Today, the City Beautiful Movement has returned to downtown Cleveland. Like the original Group Plan of 1903, the Group Plan of 2010 wants to use the public space to bring people into the city and, this time, to capitalize on Cleveland’s medical industry.

The $465 million Medical Mart’s objective is to return wealth and people to the city of Cleveland.$45.7 million of Cleveland taxes have been invested so far into the project. Like the original Group Plan, the focus will be revitalizing the lakefront. Because the Mall is preserved as a historical landmark, the new Group Plan will be adding on to the Mall. However, the project is limited to the use of space, and five buildings have been demolished, including the Cleveland Convention Center, which will be rebuilt. The project calls for all to come together for the well-being of the city; by imitating the City Beautiful Movement, it becomes an economic boom in the increase of employment and interest in Cleveland.  Essentially, the Medical Mart project is revitalizing Cleveland by bringing wealth and people back into the city after the massive migration out of the city due to suburbia and to jobs that left the city. Now, jobs are returning to the city and, like the original Group Plan, people will want to migrate to Cleveland.

Lastly, the Medical Mart project has continued to proceed in a timely fashion despite the County Corruption scandal. The Medical Mart is a continuation of the original Group Plan, and the Mall still preserves its integrity. The 2010 Group Plan is revitalizing the Mall towards modernization and following the beliefs of the City Beautiful Movement, which are to restore hope through the arts by the construction of buildings serve a sense of purpose for the people of Cleveland. Early on the Mall has always been used as a social platform.  In addition, the Fountain of Eternity was used as a political platform. In comparison to today, the Mall acts as an economic platform. The Medical Mart is restoring Cleveland to its full potential like in the early 1900s, the days of Millionaires’ Road, the downtown scene, and factories on the lakefront. The new Mall project will be used for business conferences, social gathering place for the medical community, and office space. These ideas are hopeful in rebuilding and restoring the beauty of downtown Cleveland through international and national trade and employment opportunities. Predictions are hopeful that this new plan will improve downtown Cleveland.Lastly, the Mall plan is scheduled to open in 2013.

Future of  the City Beautiful Movement

City councilmen Brian Cummins shares image of the model for the new Medical mart on the Mall which is set to open in fall 2013.

Virtual Realm of Medical Mart


Mall B comes to life by the computerized LMN architects design of the Medical Mart on St.Claire and West Mall Drive. Article by Patrick O’Donnell of  the Plain Dealer.

A Rendition of the Mall

The Medical Mart and Convention Center comes to life before it is complete to provide a clear vision of the Project.
By photographer Tracy Boulian of the Plain Dealer.

The Mall from Above

So far the taxpayers have invested $10 million into the Medical Mart and the Cleveland Convention Center since August 2011. By the Plain Dealer and photographer Scott Shaw.

The Great Lakes Exposition

1936-37 The Great Lake Exposition during the Post-Industrial era. This space for the new Mall project.
Cleveland State University Library of Special Collections. By Charles L. Bradley

Cleveland State University Library of Special Collections by Sapirstein Greeting Cards, Co.

The Mall in its Infancy

Mall postcard of 1900-1929 promotes the Progressive Movement and the City Beautiful Movement. Cleveland State University Library of Special Collections.


4 thoughts on “The Return of the City Beautiful Movement: The Medical Mart

  1. Mark Tebeau (@urbanhumanist)

    The images here need to be properly sized, captioned, and credits/permissions obtained where relevant. The narrative text needs to be written more directly. I want to learn about the Group Plan (1903) and also the current version. You need to be analytic and direct in your writing (exploring the story in greater and more critical depth.) What do proponents argue? Are there any critiques? Additionally, you use terms like “The City Practical,” which I have never heard used. Where do these come from? Sourcing matters, as we discussed in class. There is a kernel of a good idea here, but it needs to be pulled out through more careful (and specific) research and writing.

  2. Profile photo of Jameson ChapmanJameson Chapman

    The City Beautiful Movement has always intrigued me. Just the simple idea behind it, taking pride in where you live and striving to make it better, has very deep meaning to me. Your story of Cleveland’s City Beautiful Movement has quite a bit that I didn’t realize, and it’s a very good story. While I’ve followed what has happened in the past, Cleveland’s architectural inspirations and MetroParks, I was unaware of recent developments that sought to rekindle the movement. This, I feel, is what makes your story fresh and relevant. While you include stories of the past, your insight into the 2010 City Beautiful Movement gives Clevelanders hope for a future, including job creation and a more modern city. The few things that I could add that you could include would be to have more detail in some of your photos. A few of them lack much description and I wonder why they are relevant. Other than that, a very good article!

  3. Brian Cummins

    Note the significance of issues pertaining to ownership and control. In the case of the new medical mart and convention facility, the City of Cleveland sold off the malls to the County.

    In recent news, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has announced renewed plans and consideration to sell the Board of Education building which has a prominent place on the mall.

    There are serious questions in terms of private ownership for such buildings as related to the use of at a minimum, proper and specific conservation easements to ensure public access and enjoyment, in addition to proper historic rehabilitation and respect for the Group Plan’s design and intent for a grand and celebrated public space.

    Brian Cummins
    Cleveland City Council

Comments are closed.