Cleveland’s downtown skyline influenced Superman, but not in the way most Clevelanders think. A local legend claims the AT&T Building on Huron Road, formerly the Ohio Bell Building, was Joe Shuster’s model for The Daily Planet, the newspaper building where Clark Kent and Lois Lane worked.
Actually, the Planet and the architecture of Metropolis were based on Shuster’s childhood memories of the skyline of Toronto, where his family lived until 1924, when he was 10.
“Cleveland was not nearly as metropolitan as Toronto was, and it was not as big or as beautiful,” Shuster told The Toronto Star in 1992. “Whatever buildings
I saw in Toronto remained in my mind and came out in the form of Metropolis.”
The Cleveland skyscraper that really inspired Siegel and Shuster was the Terminal Tower, 708 feet tall and brand-new in the early 1930s.
“We would walk all the way downtown because we could not afford street-car fares,” Siegel recalled in a 1988 letter to Mayor George Voinovich. “We looked up at Cleveland’s Terminal Tower and visualized a costumed figure (who had not yet seen print) whizzing through the sky around it and then alighting atop it. On a secret, tremendously important mission, no doubt.”