A post submitted by CGI member, Gryphon.
Verbatim Excerpt from local Media:
"The bridge’s guardians are icons for the city, imagined nearly a century ago, when Cleveland was the fifth largest city in the nation.
“They produced a structure that I think was memorable then and memorable now,” said John Grabowski, editor of the “Encyclopedia of Cleveland History” and a history professor at Case Western Reserve University.
“There were calls for a bridge going back to 1903,” Grabowski said. “In the 1920s when the city was booming, its traffic problems were exacerbated, and so there was a bond issue passed and construction of the bridge began in 1929, just before the crash.”
The bridge’s design team included civil engineer Wilbur J. Watson, architect Frank Walker and sculptor Henry Hering. Stonemasons carved eight Art Deco figures in Berea sandstone on four pylons located at the corners of the bridge. Each guardian holds a different mode of transportation in his hands.
“They are monumental structure, they are figures that rise above the actual structure. And if you look around Cleveland then and now, I mean you’re not going to find any representational art that is that large,” Grabowski said.
Stonemasons pose with one of the guardians [Cleveland Memory Project]
The bridge was completed in 1932, but by the 1970s the Guardians of Traffic were threatened with calls for demolition.
“The bridge had gotten old, they were dirty,” Grabowski said.
Ultimately, they were cleaned in the 80s, and remain highly visible today at the entrance to downtown.
While the structures are also often reffered to as Guardians of Transportation, officially they are the Guardians of Traffic, Grawbowski said.
Paul Duda in his Tremont gallery
The guardians have been frequent subject matter for another local artist, Paul Duda. When you step inside his Tremont gallery, the guardians hang prominently among beautiful landscapes of the city.
“People here feel that the area is somehow fundamentally flawed. So I wanted to help break down that internalized negativity about the area so people could feel good about their homes,” Duda said.
They also remind people of the city’s legacy.
“You want to preserve all those things we will never be able to build again,” Duda said.
Artist Jim Lanza also celebrates iconic Cleveland imagery in his work, which features photos printed on wood.
“The grain of the wood becomes part of the art, and I do things like burning it with a propane torch to give it sort of a vintage look,” he said.
Lanza said he has seen strong interest in his guardian pieces and an increase in general in the use of them as symbols for the city.
Jim Lanza works on one of his wood prints
He has even met people with ties to the bridge’s history.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet about, I think, five or six descendants from the stonecutters,” he said. “One of the people I met recently was Bob Hope’s grandnephew actually at an art show in Chardon.”
Comedian Bob Hope’s father was one of the stonemasons who worked on the bridge, and in the 1980s it was renamed Hope Memorial Bridge in his honor.
Decades later, the faces of the guardians seem to appear everywhere you look.
“They’re now on, you know, beer bottle labels to t-shirts and a lot of artwork at a lot of the fests that I do, and I think because of that people have become more aware of them,” Lanza said.
They also remain in a prominent place at the entrance to downtown.
“I think people are now paying attention a little more to what’s going on downtown, got some livelihood down here and kind of a rebirth of the city,” Sadowski said."
The rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say...
Merely idle conjecture on my part with no proof whatsoever...
The Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank was and is pure Rockefeller.
Detroit is Ford, no Reserve Bank,
Pittsburgh is Carnegie. No Reserve Bank.
Lake Erie is the primary natural boundary between New York and
Chicago. In 1851, Milan, Ohio, was the World's largest exporter of wheat. From Lake Erie to Buffalo, through the Erie Canal, to Albany, to the Hudson River, to New York. The transfer of Goods and Services always had to go through Cleveland.
Back to the Indians... First they were the Spyders.
Then the Naps, because of Napolean Lajoie, one of the best second baseman of his time, but then, when he was manager of the team that was named after him, had an awesome ballplayer who was an Indian and suddenly disappeared. And they renamed the team after this unknown ballplayer.
Most people know him as Jim Thorpe, from Carlisle, PA.,
Of course, this is merely conjecture.
They did take away his medals for playing baseball, after all.
The team named themselves the Indians in protest.
Even Duke Kahanamoku, the original surfer, and collector of 5 Olympic medals, from 1920 to 1932, said Thorpe was the greatest athlete he had ever seen.
Randomly rambling, back to the Guardians.
Symbolically, they are saying they will not interfere in commerce.
Cleveland Fed. No longer Rockefeller?
Remember, the Arena where the President was inaugurated was known, at the Time. As the Q. Quicken Loans Arena.
Also, oddly, the building at the Cleveland Clinic where the basement has one of the best MRI units in the world.
The last is a total stretch but WTH?
So, then what do the Guardians Guard?