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Issue Date: June 2011


Erick Trickey

Public Square, at 92 years old, was evolving from a New England-style village commons to the centerpiece of a bustling city of almost 260,000 people. That year, an alligator lurking in a pool became the square’s star attraction. (He moved to Wade Park Zoo the next year.) The Early Settlers Association erected a monument that stands today: the bronze statue of town founder Moses Cleaveland — best known today for its cameo in the YouTube-viral “Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video.”

Our gentleman Clevelander, enjoying a moment of repose in the square’s northwest quadrant, sports the top hat and handlebar mustache common to men of distinction 123 years ago. Perhaps that’s his son facing northwest in the derby hat, walking around the Lily Fountain and running his hand along the metal fence.

The Old Stone Church lies just outside the camera’s frame, to the right. The
chimney-abundant building on the left, the five-story former county courthouse and the open-windowed Wick Block have been replaced by a parking lot, two office buildings and John Q’s Steakhouse. Today the boy would be looking straight at the seated statue of Tom L. Johnson, who was still a railway mogul then, not yet Cleveland’s reformist mayor.

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