Photos: Cleveland's Old Arcade Back in the Day and Now

Cleveland's Old Arcade has been standing since the Victorian Age. Take a look back at its founding and learn how it all began.

All vintage photos courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project. All original photos by Caitlin Summers.

Reporting by Brittany Rees

Editing by Brittany Rees and Caitlin Summers

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The Arcade was originally designed by John Eisenmann to reflect the architectural style of Milan. Eisenmann is also known for having designed Case Western University.
The Arcade was originally designed by John Eisenmann to reflect the architectural style of Milan. Eisenmann is also known for having designed Case Western University.
Almost all of the funding for construction came from none other than John D. Rockefeller. Though Rockefeller wasn't born, nor did he die, in Cleveland, he did spend a large chunk of young adult life in the 216. Now he spends even more of his time in the area with the local Lake View Cemetery being his final resting place.
Almost all of the funding for construction came from none other than John D. Rockefeller. Though Rockefeller wasn't born, nor did he die, in Cleveland, he did spend a large chunk of young adult life in the 216. Now he spends even more of his time in the area with the local Lake View Cemetery being his final resting place.
Much of the Arcade was redesigned in 1939. However, the entrance to the massive building is still original.
Much of the Arcade was redesigned in 1939. However, the entrance to the massive building is still original.
First opening in the summer of 1890, the Cleveland Arcade was the first indoor shopping mall the in U.S. Today, it's the second oldest functional arcades in the country. The oldest, in Providence, Rhode Island, is old enough to be Cleveland's grandmother, having been opened in 1828.
First opening in the summer of 1890, the Cleveland Arcade was the first indoor shopping mall the in U.S. Today, it's the second oldest functional arcades in the country. The oldest, in Providence, Rhode Island, is old enough to be Cleveland's grandmother, having been opened in 1828.
The Arcade adopted the nickname the "Crystal Palace" soon after opening because of its large skylights. Also thanks to its massive natural lighting, there isn't much of a need for bulbs or lamps.
The Arcade adopted the nickname the "Crystal Palace" soon after opening because of its large skylights. Also thanks to its massive natural lighting, there isn't much of a need for bulbs or lamps.
Over time, the Arcade has been host to dozens and dozens of major events in Cleveland. It's hosted national conventions, balls, concerts and festivals. In its jazz era heyday, the Arcade was known for its lavish Christmas parties and giant Christmas tree display.
Over time, the Arcade has been host to dozens and dozens of major events in Cleveland. It's hosted national conventions, balls, concerts and festivals. In its jazz era heyday, the Arcade was known for its lavish Christmas parties and giant Christmas tree display.
The Arcade has been a thriving shopping center for much of its lifetime. Today, however, less than half of the available shop spaces  are occupied, leaving the Arcade to be used primarily as office space and hotel space. The Chocolate Bar, however, is one Cleveland institution that still calls the Arcade home.
The Arcade has been a thriving shopping center for much of its lifetime. Today, however, less than half of the available shop spaces are occupied, leaving the Arcade to be used primarily as office space and hotel space. The Chocolate Bar, however, is one Cleveland institution that still calls the Arcade home.
In the 1990s, Cleveland grew concerned with the Arcade. Having fallen into disuse and disrepair, the Arcade was close to closing. Hyatt Regency swooped in, investing $60 million to renovate and revitalize the landmark.
In the 1990s, Cleveland grew concerned with the Arcade. Having fallen into disuse and disrepair, the Arcade was close to closing. Hyatt Regency swooped in, investing $60 million to renovate and revitalize the landmark.
In 1890, the Arcade cost $875,000 to build. With inflation, that's equivalent to $23 million.
In 1890, the Arcade cost $875,000 to build. With inflation, that's equivalent to $23 million.