Public Auditorium

Cleveland, Ohio | C.1922

Photo Credit: Joseph “JK” Kalinowski

The Public Auditorium (also known as Public Hall) is a multi-purpose performing arts, entertainment, and expo facility located in the civic center district of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The 10,000-capacity main auditorium shares its stage with a second venue housed at the facility: the 3,000-capacity Music Hall.

Although it was planned and funded prior to World War I, construction did not begin until 1920, and the building did not open until 1922. Designed by city architect J. Harold McDowell and Frank Walker in a neoclassical style matching the other Group Plan buildings, it was the largest of its kind when opened, seating up to 11,500.

The Auditorium was considered so advanced from an architecture perspective, it became the model for similar public auditoriums in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Public Auditorium has hosted many notable events, including the 1924 and 1936 Republican National Conventions, General Eisenhower’s address on September 23, 1952 to 15,000 supporters immediately after Richard Nixon’s successful Fund Speech, and the 1993 Cleveland Orchestra’s 75th anniversary concert.

Both Music Hall and Public Hall have served as venues for many concerts, including such legendary performances by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Supremes, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and The Rolling Stones. The annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies have also been held at this venue. The Public Auditorium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 10, 1937, and was designated as a Cleveland Landmark on Oct. 16, 1937.

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