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Issue Date: December 2013

Landmark Love

A new book pays tribute to downtown's iconic Higbee Building.
Ryllie Danylko

Though racks of clothes have been replaced by rows of slot machines, the Higbee Building has been a symbol of prosperity in downtown Cleveland since its opening in 1931. A Higbee History: From Designer Labels to Casino Tables (Cleveland Landmarks Press, $24.95) gives readers a look at the historic landmark's past as a thriving center for commerce and how it is shaping downtown's renaissance today as the home of Horseshoe Cleveland. "That whole stretch [of the city] is now buzzing again with life," says James Toman, co-author and co-founder of Cleveland Landmarks Press. Here are three of our favorite snippets from the book.

[ On prime real estate ]
"The Higbee Co. touted its location as a definite asset, a feature that was printed on its cash register receipts. Its location made the store easily accessible to people from the region, but it also had the advantage of being in the perfect spot for out-of-towners awaiting their next intercity train and who had some time to spare."
[ On taking a gamble ]
"On the evening of May 14, 2012, 2,000 VIP guests got the first chance to roll the dice and take their chances at the grand opening of the Horseshoe Cleveland, while 5,000 people lined up outside. ... The crowd entered the casino, eager to take in the transformation of the former department store space and to test their luck on the 2,100 slot machines, 63 table games and 30 tables of poker."
[ On our city's future ]
"Just a few years ago, the venerable building seemed as if it would go the way of so many Cleveland landmarks. Yet now, once again, the Higbee Building pulses with life, and its
future looks secure. At the same time, downtown Cleveland was busy reinventing itself. The Higbee Building's rebirth mirrors the reawakening of life in the city center."

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