Ohio Theatre Lobby
In 1964, a fire struck the Ohio Theatre, designed by Thomas Lamb, in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. The Ohio reopened in December 1964, but the Italian Renaissance style ornament, murals and decoration were not repaired. In 2015, about 50 years following the fire, EverGreene used early photographs, drawings, and some extant ornament, to recreate the ornament and restore the theatre’s lobby to its original glory.
In addition to archival photos, EverGreene found the original blueprints and designs of the theatre made by Lamb in Columbia University’s Avery Drawings and Archives. With these drawings and photographs, and extensive on-site investigation, the original decoration was replicated with full respect to the designer’s original intent. The investigation yielded an unexpected find – underneath the non-historic ceiling, more than half of the gable decoration was recovered and much of the entablature was still intact and, in fact, had served to catch pieces of the ceiling as they fell during the fire. This serendipitous find of the ceiling decoration was instrumental in replicating the ceiling’s original pattern as it actually appeared. In areas where there was no original ornament from which to create molds to cast replacement ornament, the lobby of the adjacent State Theatre, also designed by Lamb, served as a reference for how the Ohio Theatre’s pillars, capitals, and balustrade were likely to have originally been styled. Artists implemented a historically-accurate decorative palette to the restored lobby, evoking the original Old World grandeur.
Architect: Westlake Reed Leskosky
General Contractor: Turner Construction; The Coniglio Company
Photography: Ken Blaze