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Terminal Tower Observation Deck reopens to the public for first time since shutting down before pandemic

Hidden Gems - Terminal Tower Observation Deck.jpg
View from Cleveland's Terminal Tower Observation Deck
Posted at 7:55 AM, Jun 08, 2021

CLEVELAND — The Terminal Tower Observation Deck—a place you can see a bird's-eye view of the city for miles (on a clear day)— has reopened for tours to the public after the coronavirus pandemic halted visitors from accessing the 42nd floor of the iconic landmark.

The observation deck reopened to the public on June 5. Tickets are $5 for the self-guided tour. Visitors are asked to limit viewing to 15 minutes. Masks are required.

Tours are on Saturday and Sunday. Click hereto reserve your ticket. No walk-up ticket sales are permitted.

RELATED: 100 hidden gems of Cleveland

Over the years, The Terminal Tower has undergone many changes, but what hasn't changed is the view it gives the public. Rooted in a deep history, and considered a national landmark when it was first built, the Terminal Tower was considered one of the tallest skyscrapers in the country next to the impressive skyline in New York City. Standing at 708 feet with 52 levels, the Terminal Tower was built in May of 1928.

The Union Terminal Project was conceived by brothers Oris P and Mantis J. Van Sweringen with the original idea to quicken the commute between Shaker and downtown. The tower was modeled after New York City's approach to transportation and infrastructure.

Terminal Tower opens observation deck
Terminal Tower was built in the wake of World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Bill Barrow, head of special collections at the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University, said the original plan included only a 14-story structure, but with the idea to bring more commercial tenants to the space and the tower's connection to Public Square, the tower was constructed with 52 stories.

"We think of the Terminal Tower as our landmark, but really it was the landmark identified across the country and around the world. It was part of the building boom era," Barrow told News 5 when the observation deck opened for a special winter event a couple years back. "The Terminal Tower gave visitors and Cleveland residents something to identify with other than a messy, polluted rust belt city."

RELATED: Terminal Tower Observation Deck takes the city through history

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