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The Institutional Landmarks of University Circle

University Circle landmarks: statuary among the greenery
University Circle landmarks: statuary among the greenery
Photos by Rick Zimmerman

Wade Park, the placid heart of Cleveland’s University Circle, originated with the donation of 63 acres of gently rolling terrain to the City by Jeptha Homer Wade — industrialist, philanthropist and a founder of Western Union — in 1882. Including the lovely reflective Wade Lagoon that fronts The Cleveland Museum of Art, Wade Park also contains a multitude of winding paved walks, lush landscaping, and the Wade Park Fine Arts Garden, studded with world-class sculpture. Abutting Wade Park is the meandering Rockefeller Park, with its multi-nationality cultural gardens. Ringing Wade Park are many of Cleveland’s finest institutional landmarks.

Regally overlooking Wade Lagoon, The Cleveland Museum of Art houses a stellar collection of Asian Art, as well as paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles and artifacts in 14 other major categories. Its 43,000+ pieces have been fashioned by many of history’s greatest and best-loved artists. The Museum is now in the final stages of a major renovation and expansion, and now offers a vast and airy skylit atrium.

A short distance from The Cleveland Museum of Art is Severance Hall, home to performances of the famed Cleveland Orchestra. Donated by yet another Cleveland industrialist, John Long Severance, this grand Neoclassical concert hall occupies a prominent corner on Euclid Avenue, adjacent to the extended campus of Case Western Reserve University.

Occupying an imposing position on the eastern flank of the Case Western Reserve University campus is The University Hospitals of Cleveland (formally known as UH Case Medical Center). One of Cleveland’s great twin medical centers — the other being the nearby Cleveland Clinic — University Hospitals is a nationally ranked health care provider. Also situated on the university campus is Frank Gehry’s Peter B. Lewis Building, a froth of curving coiling metal roofs atop an inflected brick structure of the Weatherhead School of Management.

A short distance along Wade Oval from the Cleveland Museum of Art lies The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Founded in 1920, the Museum has grown to include 11 different natural science fields, a planetarium, a wide range of educational programs, and the world’s largest collection of skeletal remains of modern humans and non-human primates.

Continuing around Wade Oval brings one to The Cleveland Botanical Garden, a modern facility ringed by 10 acres of varied gardens, and housing two major biomes within its large glass conservatory.

Rounding out the cultural attractions of University Circle are educational institutions of The Cleveland Institute of Art, The Cleveland Institute of Music, and The Cleveland Music School Settlement. The local complement of museums is rounded out by The Dittrick Museum of Medical History, The Western Reserve Historical Society, The Children’s Museum, The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, and the recently completed Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) by noted architect Farshid Moussavi.

University Circle encompasses 550 acres on the eastern edge of the City of Cleveland, and includes within its boundaries various churches, temples, student housing, retail, business, offices and a stop along the City’s light rail transit system. The Circle is also served by the innovative intermodal Euclid Corridor connector to Cleveland’s downtown core.


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