George Dalton Interview, September 22 2006

George Dalton grew up in Cleveland Heights and worked as an architect in Cleveland between 1943 and 1984. In this 2006 interview, Dalton discusses his work in the city and offers his thoughts on Cleveland's urban development. Dalton briefly describes his work on the MetroHealth Medical Center and the various architectural firms he has worked for, spending most of the interview in discussion of Euclid Avenue and how it has changed over the years. He laments the death of the streetcar lines and the failed attempts in the post-war period to build a subway under Euclid Avenue. Cleveland's assets, however, remain in place according to Dalton, and can be used in the future redevelopment of the city.

Participants: Dalton, George (interviewee) / Gibans, Nina (interviewer)
Collection: American Institute of Architects
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Nina Gibans [00:00:02] This is George Dalton and I'm Nina Gibans. And George has been a respected member of the architectural community for a long time, so his perspective is very important here. So you were growing... Where did you grow up? And where are you from?

George Dalton [00:00:25] Well, I was born about a mile and a half from here in my grandmother Comey's house on East 105th Street. And this was way back, long before Carnegie Avenue had been put through. And when I was three years old, my family moved to Cleveland Heights, and my father had a hobby of buying lots and building houses on them. And so he bought a lot just off Lee Road on Clarendon Road across from Fairfax School. And at that time, none of the streets east of Lee Road were paved. It was all farmland and there were very few houses. This was back in 1918. And so we sort of watched the city grow, and I lived in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1933. And of course, this was in the depths of the Depression. I had intended to go to Cornell College of Architecture, where my uncle had gone. And I, unfortunately, the, my father's business was in very bad shape at that time and as were a lot of others. And so I went to Reserve until 1936, at which time my father had several projects that really brought things back to a fair shape. And he said he was able now to send me to Cornell. And so, unfortunately, I, when I registered at Cornell, all of my architectural subjects were not accepted. And because of the, because of the... I think at that time, the Cleveland School of Architecture had some problems with accreditation. But in any event, Cornell wouldn't accept them. So I ended up staying in Ithaca for five years and graduating in 1941 from Cornell. And how much? Turn it off.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:02:53] I'm gonna... Should I start recording again?

George Dalton [00:02:55] Yeah. I came back to Cleveland. Of course, at that time there was a lot of architectural work going on because America was beginning to gear up for the eventual entry in the war, which nobody thought would happen. But in any event, I worked for Merrill Barber and several people, and then I went east and worked for Shreve, Lamb & Harmon on the Geneva Naval Training Station at Lake Geneva in Ithaca, New York, or in New York State. And, I then, while I was there, received an offer from the University of Texas to temporarily replace the assistant professor of architecture who was going into the service. And when I got the offer, I thought this was a joke, because it was signed by a signature of the head of the architectural school. And the signature was, took up half the page. And so I thought this must be one of my friends in service down there is trying to pull my legs. So I didn't do anything about it. Well, it happened that the dean of the College of Architecture, who was also doing the landscape and site work for the Geneva Naval Training Station, and he and I had had a good relationship with him at school. And then every time he came up to see the site and whatnot, why we'd have a chat and he came up and about the end of August and we were talking, and he said, incidentally, did you ever get anything from the University of Texas inviting you to come down? And I said, yes, but I thought that was a joke. And he said, no, we recommended you for the job. So, I immediately rushed to the phone and wired the University of Texas that I would be down that weekend if that was possible or available for them. And so I went down and interviewed and got the job and ended up teaching two years at the University of Texas. At which point at the, as the war ended and the professor I was replacing was coming back in September of 1943. I think it was so that or '44 or '43, so, I had the possibility of going on teaching in some other university, but I really wanted to get back in practice. And in the meantime, my uncle Byron Dalton, who had been a partner of Walker & Weeks for many years, had started back up doing some small architectural work. And he had written me that if I wanted to, I could come back and join him. And we for a long time had talked of having a family partnership. And so in July of 1943, I came back to Cleveland with my wife, and, who I had met at the University of Texas. She was teaching harp in the Department of Music. And so we came back to Cleveland and I worked for my uncle until my three cousins, Bob and Jim and Cal Dalton had gotten out of the service. And we ended up in January 1946 forming a partnership that was Dalton-Dalton Associates. And we started out and our first home was in the old Arcade, and we had an office on the fourth floor. So I've always had a great fondness for the old Arcade, and we gradually grew and became quite successful. And I had just come back from Europe in 1957, and at that time there was this small recession and things had dropped off and we had to get rid of... But by that time we had about 140 people and we had to cut back. And part of my task was to talk to about 25 people and tell them that they were not, that we had to let them go. And this was a very disturbing thing to me. And I really began thinking that I really wasn't happy being in a large office, which we had become. And in the meantime, Bob Little had been... We'd been good friends since the, when he came to Cleveland and we had frequently met for lunch. And one day he suggested that we should join forces and become partners. And this was sort of a bolt from the blue. But it also fitted with my current feelings at the time. So after thinking and much consideration, I decided to join Bob and we became Robert A. Little and George F. Dalton and Associates. And this was in 1958. And for ten years, Bob and I had a very successful partnership and we enjoyed each other. And the office grew to about 25 or 30 people, which was a nice size. And we were doing good work. And...

Nina Gibans [00:09:08] Where was the office?

George Dalton [00:09:10] The office was at the Breyer Building on Prospect Avenue at 14th Street on the top floor, and we had a lot of fun there. It was a great place. And we then... As time went by, our interests began to diverge. Bob became very much interested in long-range planning, which well, I agree and I think it's fine. It has to be done. On the other hand, it doesn't come to fruition very quickly and I needed to be in a business that kept generating money and doing work at the present time. So we amicably parted and we split the office and each one took his clients and Bob moved across the street and I stayed in our office. By that time, we were on Shaker Boulevard in one of our buildings that Phil Hart had designed, a very nice building. And so we, for about a year, I well, not quite a year, maybe three or four months. I took Donald Johnson and Chalmer Grimm into partnership and we became Dalton, Grimm, Johnson & Associates. And in the meantime, Ed Flynn approached me one day and asked me to join him for lunch and he told me. Which I knew, that Gil Schafer was retiring and that they wondered if I would be interested in joining forces with them. And so after several months of deliberation, we formed the firm which had a long name Schafer, Flynn, Van Dijk and Dalton, Grimm, Johnson & Associates, which was a mouthful for the telephone operator. And we kept that for a year. And then suddenly Ed died in 1971, and Pete Grimm died in 1971. And this made for some changes. So we changed the firm name to Dalton, Grimm, Johnson & Associates, which it continued from 1958 until I retired in 1984. And that is the story of my career.

Nina Gibans [00:12:05] Well, it's a wonderful path. The downtown part, and your perception of the growth of downtown, and specifically your fondness for buildings on Euclid Avenue. What are your favorite buildings and what memories do you have there?

George Dalton [00:12:29] Well. My favorite building is the Arcade, and I can remember Euclid Avenue when it was a great place in a busy spot. And I mean, we used to go to Otto Moser's for lunch on East 4th Street, this delicatessen, and there was lots of life and activity. And I can remember in the Perry-Payne House was still standing and some of the mansions on Euclid Avenue although, well, I can't remember the name, I think it was the Everett Mansion at 40th and Euclid. But as Euclid rapidly filled up with not really very handsome buildings. It sort of began to deteriorate. And as we all know, downtown sort of kept drifting away. Actually, I don't find very many buildings on Euclid to begin with. I haven't been downtown a great deal in the last twenty years, and so I'm not aware of everything that has been built. But up until 1984, when I retired, I think the two chief buildings, as far as I was concerned, were the old Arcade and the Cleveland Trust original bank building. I thought... I enjoyed... I liked the Halle building. I thought it was a nice, pleasant structure. And the Sterling & Welch building because I had vivid memories of the great Sterling & Welch Christmas tree. And my uncle worked for Sterling & Welch. And so we had a chance to go in back inside and see the ornaments, which were about ten times life size. And it was always a great event for us.

Nina Gibans [00:14:38] What about the elevator?

George Dalton [00:14:39] Pardon?

Nina Gibans [00:14:39] Sterling & Welch, what about the elevator?

George Dalton [00:14:42] Oh, well, the great big elevator with the seats for the ladies to sit down. There was a certain great grace and dignity to Euclid Avenue in Cleveland in those days, which, unfortunately, with the coming of Wal-Mart and the Tops and the fast service places, has disappeared. But as things happened, times change. So that's it.

Nina Gibans [00:15:13] Favorite eating places?

George Dalton [00:15:16] Well, I used to go... We used to go to Monaco's on Short Vincent, and Pierre's was a great place, and the cafeteria. And I can't think of the name of it.

Nina Gibans [00:15:37] Forum?

George Dalton [00:15:37] There was a great cafeteria at the basement of about, around 9th and Euclid that was very good.

Nina Gibans [00:15:43] The Forum?

George Dalton [00:15:43] What?

Nina Gibans [00:15:44] Forum? Forum Cafeteria?

George Dalton [00:15:46] No, it wasn't the Forum. There was another name, but it was, it was a good cafeteria.

Nina Gibans [00:15:51] In the Rose Building?

George Dalton [00:15:53] No, it wasn't. It was, it was in the basement of like, I think not Union Commerce. I really can't remember. I went there. Oh, and then we used to eat at the Landings and Pat Joyce's. And there were some good restaurants, as I mentioned, Otto Moser's, earlier on 4th Street. And we, I enjoyed downtown when I was down there. We had a convenient parking spot at a garage at the end of 4th and Huron. And I could walk to the old Arcade. And then when our office, when I joined Schafer, Flynn, Van Dijk, we were in the One Erieview Plaza, and there, of course, part of the building was a garage and that was convenient. And we were in, we had a great view of the... We could see the lake and see the buildings around. And it was a very, a very great spot to be in.

Nina Gibans [00:17:01] Talk about some others who joined you downtown. Wasn't O'Sickey downtown at that time? Joseph O'Sickey?

George Dalton [00:17:11] Well, Joe yes. Joe and L.G. had started a, a design area and Joe's studio. They were in the... Well, actually before that O'Sickey had gotten to Algesa O'Sickey had gotten very involved in the 2300 Gallery, which was a great thing, which unfortunately didn't last long enough. Well, let's see, Joe was downtown and well, Peter van Dijk, my partner, he and Ed Flynn were downtown and...

Nina Gibans [00:17:55] Roy Lichtenstein is sometimes mentioned. Yes?

George Dalton [00:17:59] Who?

Nina Gibans [00:18:00] Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Lichtenstein.

George Dalton [00:18:03] Yes. Yes.

Nina Gibans [00:18:04] He have a studio downtown?

George Dalton [00:18:06] And there, there were... Downtown is a very active vibe alive spot at that time.

Nina Gibans [00:18:14] And didn't Roy's wife have a design, interior design?

George Dalton [00:18:21] Yeah, I think she did. Yes, yes. Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:18:24] For some of the houses. She did...

George Dalton [00:18:26] No. No.

Nina Gibans [00:18:27] The houses.

Nina Gibans [00:18:28] She did some work for Ernst Payer.

George Dalton [00:18:31] Oh, also then Howard. What was his name? He went to New York. Howard Wise?

Nina Gibans [00:18:36] Yes, Howard Wise Gallery.

George Dalton [00:18:38] Yeah, he had a gallery. Not that it wasn't downtown, but it was still again at that time, downtown and University Circle were sort of still closely related and as they are hopefully getting more closely related with the completion of the current construction.

Nina Gibans [00:19:00] What about the area around 105th Street since you are a native Clevelander? Did you use the market or?

George Dalton [00:19:07] 105th Street was a wonderful place. There was a B.F. Keith's Theatre, which was very good. There was another several other theaters and there was a wonderful market. And I can remember when my family, when we first moved to Cleveland Heights, we would come down to that market, and shop on Saturday afternoons, and the wonderful smells. And I always have been very fond of oysters. And we would always take a little container of a pint of oysters home so that we could have them for dinner that night. And that was a wonderful market. And the Cleveland Trust had a major bank on the corner, and the 105th Street area was a very active, growing community. There were several nightclubs and the Fenway tower, the apartment building or apartment hotel. And it was a very lively, active spot to be in.

Nina Gibans [00:20:18] The market, do you remember... Were you using it during the days when you had coupons for meat rationing? [inaudible]

George Dalton [00:20:27] Well, no, because that hadn't... That was... We were there before that.

Nina Gibans [00:20:31] Uh huh.

George Dalton [00:20:31] By the time we did that, we were shopping at Heinen's on Lee Road.

Nina Gibans [00:20:39] I see. Okay. We were still shopping at [Joseph] Zingale and those market stalls down at 105th Street.

George Dalton [00:20:45] Yeah. Well, see, we did that. By the time I left in 1936 for Cornell, and by then my areas of activity changed considerably.

Nina Gibans [00:21:05] Right, right. So if you think we've talked enough about Euclid Avenue? There are the questions about Public Square. What do you think we should do there? And the lakefront and the new... You know, all the things that you see in the papers that come and go. [telephone rings]

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:21:26] Chiming dinner time.

Nina Gibans [00:21:28] Okay.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:21:28] I'm gonna... Oh.

Nina Gibans [00:21:30] Back to the same questions about some of the things that we see.

George Dalton [00:21:34] Well, to begin with, the Public Square, I may sound old-fashioned, but I like the Public Square the way it is, just that it be kept up and planted very well. And perhaps they could do a little bit with readjusting traffic around it. But otherwise, I think the Square is still... It represents Cleveland to me, and I like it. The lakefront, I think they should close the Lakefront Airport and develop that into commercial and shore housing the way Chicago is along Michigan Boulevard. And I mean, we're losing, I think, a tremendous asset by letting that tremendous amount of acreage just sit there for a few private planes to be able to land close to downtown. [telephone rings]

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:22:49] And we're recording again.

Nina Gibans [00:22:50] All right. You were talking about the airport, but maybe you weren't finished yet. The Lakefront Airport?

George Dalton [00:23:06] Well, I just think, I just think that it's one of the great areas that can really make Cleveland an outstanding city if it's properly developed.

Nina Gibans [00:23:20] For how long have we thought about that?

George Dalton [00:23:22] Oh, it's been talked years that... This is one trouble with Cleveland. They, they talk a great deal and have all sorts of plans which are put on the shelf and the studies and whatnot. There, it's got to be, you have to recognize the fact this is a conservative area and they're not like Houston or Dallas with a lot of get up and go. So.

Nina Gibans [00:23:52] What are your thoughts about the mistakes we've made?

George Dalton [00:23:57] Well, I think the biggest mistake we made, it wasn't necessarily the city, but it was the not building the subway that was voted back in 1949. And I think, I think the then commissioner of the county, Albert Porter, was way off base. I mean, he contributed greatly to the problems of the city and the flight to the suburbs because he made it easy.

Nina Gibans [00:24:32] Okay, the subway and the mistake I think we need to do that again, because that's very important. Because wasn't it supposed to be Euclid Avenue?

George Dalton [00:24:46] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:24:46] Yeah.

George Dalton [00:24:46] It was from around, around from Euclid to 14th Street. And of course, it would have eventually have been extended.

Nina Gibans [00:24:55] So the subway, you feel that that's the biggest mistake that they made.

George Dalton [00:24:57] I thought it was a major mistake. And then it prompted, as everyone is aware, that the more fast highways we built around town, the quicker people moved out. And I think a further mistake was the politicizing of the school board and the fact that the Cleveland schools were not good. I mean, I nobody would come to the city and put their children in a school system that wasn't good when they could move into a school system in Shaker Heights or Beachwood, that is, was far superior. Of course, I, that's another whole issue, which is a state issue, the funding of schools and equalizing the money that is spent per pupil around the state.

Nina Gibans [00:26:09] Well, there's another way of looking at that. What sacrifices should the city have made then to achieve? How do you achieve the vision?

George Dalton [00:26:23] Well, that's hard to answer. I think a bad school system... To begin with, you can't do things without taxes and money. And as the city lost businesses and people to the suburbs and they lost taxes, they had less and less to do with to try and pull the city out of the out of a dead funk. I mean, that's what it was. And now I personally think Cleveland is a great place in which to live. I would, I would not live anywhere else. My, after all, my, I've, I've been an Ohioan. My great grandmother came out on a pillow in a oxcart in 1822 and settled just west of Cleveland in a little town called Wakeman. And my family have been here. [cuckoo clock sounds] Oh, that, that's our bird clock. [laughs] Our family have been here since that time. My grandfather Dalton came down as a two-year-old from Canada in 1852. And my great-grandfather Dalton was a soldier in the Civil War. So I have connections to Cleveland and Ohio, and I've always thought this was the only place to live in. And I can't understand. It's why people complain about it, because it has the greatest or probably the one of the greatest orchestras in the city, and a one of the, again, among the almost comparable to the Metropolitan in New York, the museum, the educational facilities, and University Circle, which is a unique area of learning and education, and also the Playhouse Square area, which is second only to Lincoln Center in terms of the flexibility and the number of people that can see a variety of theatrical and dance and music affairs, and it has plenty of nightclubs and activity and it has the Flats which is doing well. And it seems to me it's a great place. And on top of it all, it has housing costs which are considerably below the many other parts of the country and distances traveled to get to work and home are much less and commuting is easier. Traffic isn't as bad and I just find Cleveland to be a great place.

Nina Gibans [00:29:50] That's good. I think that you represent a very solid view of people who have loved it and been here for a long time and the sense of community. What about that? That sense of community that you feel? Because I know you feel it the way we do.

George Dalton [00:30:12] Well, I think that the, I think the sense of community is beginning to pull together. And I'm also very happy with the efforts and the conversations concerning regionalism because I've always thought of the area of not just the city of Cleveland with its 400,000 people, as it has today, but it's actually the whole county and even spilling into Lake, and Geauga, and Lorain counties. And then actually, if you want to consider it as, as far as Akron is concerned, too, so that it's really a vast area that houses, I think, about 3 million people. And it's it could be a very vibrant part of the country.

Nina Gibans [00:31:10] What else would you like to add that we have not talked about?

George Dalton [00:31:18] Well, at the moment, I can't think of anything. I think I'm perfectly satisfied. I've lived in Cleveland almost 92 years and I've really enjoyed it.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:31:32] I have a couple of questions if that's okay. May I ask a couple questions?

George Dalton [00:31:35] Sure.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:31:37] Just going back to when you were working with Bob Little and how you said that his interest was in long-term plans, what was your interest? What was kind of your, your passion niche?

George Dalton [00:31:50] Well, my chief interest in all of my career was in hospital work. I found that fascinating. And I've worked on many hospitals in the Cleveland area that I was the architect of the twin towers. And for 23 years I was the architect for the county hospital and added of almost a million square feet to the complex, which is on the Near West Side. And I was, did work at the University Hospitals and also throughout Northeastern Ohio. We did, I did, I was a principal architect of Akron City Hospital, Akron General Hospital, and Akron Children's Hospital. And we did the Miami Valley Medical Center. So you can see that hospitals were really my great interest. And along with other institutional kind of work. We didn't do any residential work. We did mostly commercial and institutional and all of my firms, except with Bob. Now we did do residential with Bob because that was one of his great fortes.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:33:13] Is there a project that you're most proud of or you're most, I guess, excited to talk about that you worked on?

George Dalton [00:33:24] Well, I think the, the project I probably worked on the most was the Cuyahoga County Hospital, now the MetroHealth Medical Center. As I said a minute ago, over a period of 23 years, we added almost a million square feet to the building. And the twin towers were a fairly unique approach to nursing units when they were built and have worked out very well. And I also was had a great time working with the various superintendents of the hospitals and the doctors and the nurses and the people involved in it. And it took up a great deal of my time for 23 years. So that's a big effort. Is that?

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:34:29] Didn't they just do a bunch of remodeling out there? Do you have feelings? Didn't they just complete a bunch of?

George Dalton [00:34:34] Oh, yeah, they're, they're going on. They... Politically we could not continue. After all, it's a public job. And I, we, they had to choose another architect. So when they started a new phase of stuff, they, that's what we ended. But, it was by far in a way my favorite project.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:35:02] Just leaving the architecture aspect for when you were talking about the market, going to the market on 105th.

George Dalton [00:35:11] Yeah.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:35:11] And you were, you said just remembered the smell. What did it smell like? What was the...

George Dalton [00:35:17] Well, it was a good smell, a combination of fresh meat and fresh vegetables and baking bread. And it just was a, I don't know. I, it's in my memory it was always a wonderful spot. And I loved to go there with my parents. And, and then I would enjoy the fact that we'd be going home and we'd be all just the three of us comfortable, and we'd be having a good dinner. And it just was a, a simple, straightforward, happy day that I had.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:35:57] How did you all get down there?

George Dalton [00:35:59] Well, actually, in the beginning, we walked from Fairmount or from Clarendon Road to Fairmount Boulevard and took the streetcar down, which stopped at, at Lee Road because Kenyon Painter didn't want the streetcar running past his estate. So he stopped it at Lee Road. And eventually, then my father got a, we got a Ford and we would drive down. But I remember the first period that when we lived in Clarendon Road that we would walk to the market and or walk to the streetcar and then take it down to 105th Street. And that, incidentally, is another wonderful thing that we had that has been lost. And that was the interurban system. We had a cottage in Mitiwanga, which is west of Cleveland on the lake, and we used to be able to take the interurban car. You could take a streetcar down to the Square and take the interurban car to Mitiwanga and get off and you'd be there. And that car went on to Toledo. There was transportation out to Chagrin Falls, down to Akron, and over to Painesville. And it was a wonderful system, which incidentally, there was just a movie which talked about how the system was killed by the auto industry. And, it's a pity that it can't be revived now in this period when gas prices are so high and we're depending on a lot of foreign oil, when we could be having a system where you could easily get to many places and inexpensively too.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:38:08] Was that your... Was that your impression? I guess being around while the interurban system failed, like failed or when it stopped functioning was that it was a the because of the auto industry or why do you think?

George Dalton [00:38:23] Well, I think it was well, gradually it, it sort of faded away as more and more people bought automobiles and more and more roads were put in [and] less money would be spent on urban transit. And they actually were lucky that we finally got the RTA because the Cleveland railway system was falling apart back 25, 30 years ago. And if we didn't have RTA, we'd be in a bad way today.

Nina Gibans [00:39:12] Right, this resonates with I'm going to tell you a couple stories and maybe you want to continue in any way. My dad started the surgery department at Metro.

George Dalton [00:39:22] Oh, really?

Nina Gibans [00:39:23] Did you know that?

George Dalton [00:39:23] No, I didn't know that.

Nina Gibans [00:39:24] But you were too young.

George Dalton [00:39:25] I mean, I knew him at all Mt. Sinai incidentally...

Nina Gibans [00:39:27] No, no. He started because he... He had a lame leg, could not get into the war effort, and became the senior surgeon...

George Dalton [00:39:36] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:39:37] Well, before he, I mean, he became a resident before he was an intern because of that.

George Dalton [00:39:43] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:39:43] And started the surgical department at Metro. The other thing is that the railroad on Fairmount Boulevard... We lived in a house at Fairmount and Woodmere that was built by the man that gave the right of way for the rapid.

George Dalton [00:40:06] For the rapid?

Nina Gibans [00:40:07] I can't think of his name right now but... So the railroad and Fairmount going out to Lee, I did not realize it only went to Lee Road. But we used that all the time to get up to the...

George Dalton [00:40:19] Yeah, it's, it's...

[00:40:20] So it used to go on 105th Street. You're absolutely right.

George Dalton [00:40:22] It stopped at Lee Road because Painter, you know, the, the but which is now...

Nina Gibans [00:40:28] Beaumont?

George Dalton [00:40:28] Beaumont.

Nina Gibans [00:40:29] Yeah.

George Dalton [00:40:30] He had... It was his private estate and he didn't want the cars rattling by.

Nina Gibans [00:40:34] I see.

George Dalton [00:40:34] So he had power enough at that time in the city to stop it.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:40:38] Who was he?

George Dalton [00:40:39] Kenyon Painter. He was. I had forgotten. He was a big industrialist. This was all, well, 85 years ago. So.

Nina Gibans [00:40:49] Right. And Stanley is the name of the man who gave Van Sweringen the right of way for the rapid.

George Dalton [00:40:54] It's for the rapid. Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:40:55] Yeah.

George Dalton [00:40:56] I can remember my grandmother had to go to St Luke's Hospital. They discovered a tumor on her brain and she was operated on successfully in 1927. And I can remember that was just when they were beginning, finishing putting the rapid through. And while she was in the hospital, my uncle took me and my cousin and we walked along the rapid tracks. I could still see us that day as we... And it was a nice, crisp, sunny day and...

Nina Gibans [00:41:35] And her surgeon was Lenhart?

George Dalton [00:41:37] I can't, I don't remember who the doctor was.

Nina Gibans [00:41:39] Oh, okay.

George Dalton [00:41:39] I was too young to know that.

Nina Gibans [00:41:41] Oh, Lenhart. There were some famous...

George Dalton [00:41:44] Oh, yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:41:45] Yeah, really wonderful people at University Hospital.

George Dalton [00:41:47] Yeah, yeah. I should say one other of my favorite projects is my first major hospital job was the original building on 105th Street of the 11th story addition to the original building, which was built in 1960. I think that was also one of my favorite projects and unfortunately that has been torn down. I can't understand why they did that.

Nina Gibans [00:42:24] How, how do you feel about buildings that you've built that are torn down?

George Dalton [00:42:29] Well, the only one that's been torn down is that one, that to my knowledge... It's sort of a shock because it was a good building as far as it could have easily have been used for some other purpose. And I don't think, as I remember, it didn't have a lot of asbestos or problems like that that would cause additional cost. And it was... I know Mr. Flesheim, who was the chairman of the building committee, was, would be very upset that it was torn down because that was his big project.

Nina Gibans [00:43:13] Let's go back downtown to your favorite building though, one of them, which is the Ameritrust Bank?

George Dalton [00:43:20] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:43:20] Yeah. Let's go back to how you feel about the Breuer addition and the demise, potential demise.

George Dalton [00:43:31] I think it's unfortunate to tear down the Breuer building. I think it's a... I find it a building... True, it's, as they call it, brutal, but I like the deep shadows and the articulation of the facades that you see. And I think it's I much prefer it to all of these smooth, glassy buildings that just are bland boxes that sit in the landscape. And I don't think it should be torn down.

Nina Gibans [00:44:05] Finally, the AIA I think has gotten some energy behind...

George Dalton [00:44:09] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:44:09] Behind that.

George Dalton [00:44:11] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:44:12] And hopefully, it can be saved.

George Dalton [00:44:14] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:44:14] Yeah.

George Dalton [00:44:17] I think it's unfortunate when three people, the county commissioners can sit down and decide to do something like tearing down a major building. I think it should be more people should be allowed to have an input on that.

Nina Gibans [00:44:38] Should I ask about the Hisaka building on the campus? It's about to be...

George Dalton [00:44:44] Well, I think I think, yes. Don's building and the fact that the university is planning to tear down Fred Toguchi's dormitories.

Nina Gibans [00:44:55] Case is.

George Dalton [00:44:56] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:44:58] Case is about to do that?

George Dalton [00:44:59] Well, the Western, Western Reserve. They're the Reserve dormitories. Well, that's part of their program. I don't know.

Nina Gibans [00:45:03] Right.

George Dalton [00:45:04] They, I think maybe they've changed since they've had these more recent financial problems.

Nina Gibans [00:45:15] Do you, do you think there's any wisdom in inviting the original architect if they're alive, to make the new changes to work with their own building to see if they can...

George Dalton [00:45:34] Well... I, well, I think times change and things change. And, if people are... That probably ties a client down too much to, if you would force him to retain the original architect.

Nina Gibans [00:46:04] I see.

George Dalton [00:46:05] Although the original architect probably has the best sense of what he wants the building to end up as.

Nina Gibans [00:46:13] Yeah. I've often thought of why don't they do that, you know? Why?

George Dalton [00:46:18] Yeah. Well, but usually it's because they, I mean they've ended up having problems with the architect.

Nina Gibans [00:46:27] Right.

George Dalton [00:46:27] And, and they don't want to continue with him.

Nina Gibans [00:46:36] Okay?

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:46:37] Yeah.

George Dalton [00:46:37] Okay.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:46:38] Thank you very much.

George Dalton [00:46:39] Okay.

Nina Gibans [00:46:40] Yes.

American Institute of Architects

The American Institute of Architects (Cleveland Chapter) Oral History Project. In 2006, in collaboration with Nina Friedlander Gibans, the Center began collecting oral history interviews with some of Cleveland’s best-known architects. 26 interviews in all were captured by Gibans and a team of researchers and students from the Center. These interviews help bring the city’s great buildings to life, and shine a light on current issues in architecture and urban design, making the series a major…