Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10/18: Severance Hall Tours

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 11:53 AM

It’s the little things — like a brass machine screw among the chips of marble in the terrazzo lobby floor — that will stick in your head long after you tour Severance Hall. But the real reason you should take an extended look at the Cleveland Orchestra’s home is to gawk at the magnificence. Initially planned to give an itinerant orchestra its first home venue, the hall became a memorial after Elisabeth Severance — wife of lead donor John Long Severance — passed away. If love can be expressed in dollars, Severance must have really adored his wife, since he ended up donating three times what he pledged. The building — designed by Cleveland architects Walker and Weekes, who were also responsible for the Cleveland Public Library and other glorious buildings in town — cost $7 million by the time it was completed in 1931. After 78 years, it still sparkles — thanks to a 2001 renovation that cost more than five times its construction. The building is open for free tours today, so you can take a close look at the silver and gold leaf pattern, which matches a detail on Elisabeth Severance’s wedding dress. Tours start at noon and 1 p.m. at Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Ave., 216.231.1111). They’re free, but you need a reservation. — Michael Gill

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