The Arcade | Accidentally Wes Anderson

The Arcade

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Cleveland, Ohio | C.1890

Photo Credit: Scott Arden

Despite its name, the Arcade Cleveland is not known for its gaming consoles or pinball machines. Instead this elegant Victorian-era structure receives its namesake from its five-story arcade – a succession of continuous arches – flanked by two nine-story towers, and gorgeous glass skylights spanning across four balconies.  Construction of this meticulous building was completed in 1890, and is known as the first indoor shopping mall in the United States.

Designed by John Eisenmann and George H. Smith, the Arcade was modeled after the Galleria Vitorrio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy’s oldest active shopping mall. A cross between a lighted court and a commercial shopping street, the Arcade is one of the last of its kind. Its skylight that connects the two nine-story towers is made of 1,800 panes of glass.

Financed by Cleveland’s business elite, including oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the Arcade was nicknamed Cleveland’s Crystal Palace and quickly became known as a destination for fine dining and retail, offering unique shops, services and restaurants beneath its glass ceiling and iron balconies.

In 1939, the Arcade underwent a restoration, including additional structural supports and enhancing its entrance at Euclid Avenue. Over the course of the 20th century, the Arcade began to deteriorate and its future was scrutinized. In 2001, the Hyatt Corporation conducted another major renovation that restored the Arcade to its former Gilded Age glory.

Today, the Arcade includes a luxury hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cleveland, as well as boutique retailers, a food court, and fine dining restaurants. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is considered one of Cleveland’s most iconic architectural structures.

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