Tudor Arms Hotel

In 1933 the swanky, exclusive Cleveland Club opened the doors to its new building at 10660 Carnegie Avenue. It became known as the Cleveland Club Building. It was mainly occupied by the Cleveland Club, but also had a retail space on the first floor.  The enormous building built by famed architect Frank Meade (who built countless extravagant homes in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights)was the tallest and grandest in the University Circle area. The new building boasted ballrooms, a swimming pool, bowling alley, twelve stories, tall ceilings, huge windows, intricate and expensive detailing and beautiful views of downtown Cleveland. Over the years of its occupancy the club rented out its ballrooms and also hosted lavish parties and events. But the Cleveland Club could not sustain the building for very long due to the rough economy and dying upper class in the city and it ended its lease in 1939.

Nearing the end of the Great Depression the building evolved into a hotel. The original Tudor Arms Hotel opened in July 1939. The hotel became known for its entertainment and booked jazz musicians to perform in the building’s ballroom the Empress Room. It functioned as a supper club of sorts and offered dinner along with the entertainment. The hotel booked popular performers of the day. The musical performances spanned all types of tastes from the more conservative Lawrence Welk style to performers such as the one the Plain Dealer describes, “Patrice Wymore, the singer and dancer [who] beats up no small storm of entertainment performed in the Empress Room. Her rhinestone studded hosiery, by the ways retails at $75 a pair, and on her they’re worth it!” Acts like Patrice Wymore’s was about the most racy performed in the Empress Room. According to many at the time though it was overly provocative and brought the neighborhood down.

In 1960 as racial tension began to sweep the near east side, and a flashy night club was considered an undesirable tenant in the neighborhood,  Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology took over the property for use as a graduate student dormitory. They started the process slowly changing some rooms into dormitories while others continued to be rented nightly. By 1963 the building had been fully converted into a dormitory for graduate students. At this time Tudor Arms got a $500,000 facelift during the conversion to a dormitory, but it was not an extensive remodel. Later on CWRU leased the building to Cleveland Job Corps. The Job Corps stayed in the Tudor Arms until the building was sold in 2007.

After years of neglect and poor funding, the Tudor Arms needed a restoration. Cheap updates over the years had kept the building running, but it was far from its glory days of the 1920s. In 2007 Cleveland developers MRN Ltd purchased the property and devised a twenty-two-million-dollar plan to restore the Tudor Arms to its former glory. Every inch of the hotel was restored from the hardwoods in the first floor lobby, to the tower overlooking the city. The Tudor Arms hotel had many lives and saw the rise and fall of Cleveland during them. Hopefully in its new chapter it will see Cleveland rise again with the help of local rehabbers that care about cultural institutions and historic architecture.

During the late 1950’s, the building was used as the Tudor Arms Hotel with retail spaces on the first floor.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

The building’s exterior is as exquisite as its interior. This image shows a figure, Moses Cleaveland, carved into a corner nearing the top of the building.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

The building, which stands on 10660 Carnegie Avenue, has had many lives. It began as an exclusive men’s athletic club, became a large hotel, graduate dormitory for WRU, housed the Job Corps, and finally a hotel again.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

The Cleveland Club built the Tudor Arms in 1933. As a private, exclusive athletic club it had sporting facilities on its first few floors including an indoor swimming pool.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Guests of the Tudor Arms hotel dress for a formal event in the 1950s. The hotel was known for its grand events and swanky concerts.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

For twenty years the hotel hosted various entertainers and musical performers until when under WRU management, the nightclub was shut down.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Western Reserve University acquired the property in 1960. Already set up as a hotel, the University used the building as a graduate dormitory.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Once one of the glamorous ballrooms, this room was repurposed into a dining hall for the graduate residences of the Tudor Arms.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Graduate students of all ages were welcome to live in the facility as long as they had a single marital status.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

After years of wear and tear, like this small fire in the 1960s, the building was in dismal shape at the time of its 2007 sale to MRN LTD Development Company. It underwent a twenty million dollar renovation in order to be reopened in 2011 as a luxury hotel.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

 

 

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6 Responses to Tudor Arms Hotel

  1. Avatar of Mark Souther Mark Souther says:

    “The enormous building built by famed architect Frank Meade was the tallest and grandest in the University Circle area.” — I suggest a parenthetical addition after Meade that says (who also designed _____ and _____). Thus, why is he “famed?” You’re right that he’s a big name among Cleveland architects, but if we can provide our readers a sense of what he’s known for, it adds nice context.

    Check the quote about Wymore. I see a typo, and it’s worth checking the whole thing for accuracy.

    You might add that WRU and Case bought the building at a time when many feared the hotel was becoming undesirable — and at a time when racial transition was sweeping across the Circle area, leading institutional leaders to seek ways of firming up the boundaries of the cultural district.

    Can you get a modern interior shot of the building? It might even be worth contacting the hotel and explaining the project and the app.

    Overall, looks fine.

  2. Avatar of cciullafaup cciullafaup says:

    I love the interior images. Informative, and a good read. I was pretty unaware of the Tudor Arms Hotel and its history. I would love to visit it.

  3. Richard Bondy says:

    When my older brother, younger sister, and I were growing up in the late 1950′s and early 60′s, our dad used to take us to the Tudor Arms to go swimming. We were told that we belonged to The Racquet Club and that it provided squash courts, a swimming pool, and locker rooms to members. Our family never played squash, but we loved the swimming pool.
    In addition to a large pool, there was, in an adjoining room, a circular in-ground pool that seemed more like a tub. As kids we loved both–the larger one for regular swimming and the smaller one because it was always very warm, like a bathtub. Belonging to this club afforded us the opportunity to swim during the fall, winter, and spring months; and the “baby pool”, as we called the tub, provided a wonderful treat during the colder months.
    The building itself was rather mysterious to us as children, but having just read the history (above), I do seem to remember my dad mentioning graduate students living there. Of course, as a kid, I did not know what a “graduate student” was, and I don’t recall ever seeing any (or perhaps recognizing them). Even though we went on Friday afternoons or weekend days, I can scarcely remember seeing much of anyone in the building or in the pools. Even though we kids loved the place, it seemed a rather mysterious, somewhat scary place.

  4. Bre says:

    They left out one part this place was also Cleveland Job Corps..I lived here in 1991

  5. Audrey says:

    The Tudor Arms Hotel is an awesome part of history. I lived at the Tudor Arms Hotel in 1992 when it was the Cleveland Job Corps Center. I have always loved history and living there for me was like going back in time. It is wonderful to know the history of the Hotel. Thanks for sharing! :)

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