The Cleveland Play House, on Euclid at East 85th Street, is the only building in Cleveland area designed Philip Johnson (1906-2005). A native of Cleveland, Johnson is best known for his 1949 Glass House, a National Historic Landmark, in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Cleveland Clinic has purchased the Cleveland Play House and surrounding land for $13 million, as reported by the Plain Dealer. The Play House and MOCA Cleveland will be vacating the space in late 2011 or summer of 2012.
While the Cleveland Clinic has not yet stated its plans for the space, but it seems likely that they will demolish the building, including the 1983 addition designed by Johnson. They haven't shown any interest in historic preservation in the past, and it seems unlikely that they will start now.
As Steven Litt pointed out, two thirds of the land involved in the purchase is not occupied by the Play House. This land could be used for whatever the Clinic plans for the site without obliterating this landmark building. Surely the Clinic could find some use for the Cleveland Play House buildings - perhaps as a conference center?
The Plain Dealer reported Clinic spokesman Eileen Sheil saying "Over the next several months, we'll study the options and see what's possible and make the best decision for the Cleveland Clinic, keeping in mind the interests of the community."
I would like to believe that the Cleveland Clinic will actually consider the interests of the community, but their past performance hasn't given me any reason to hope that this will actually happen. We need to let them know that this is an important part of the Cleveland landscape, and that we will not accept its destruction.
I encourage you to contact the president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos Cosgrove, M.D., to let him know your feelings on this subject. He can be reached by phone at 216-444-2300 or by mail at:
Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Mail Code H18
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195
I will be running a photo essay on the Cleveland Play House in the near future. I would like to include some interior photographs. If you have any and are willing to let us use them, please comment here or email ClevelandAreaHistory@gmail.com.