John Eisenmann: designer of Ohio state flag, among notables

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 04/06/2006 - 15:38.

John Eisenmann designed the Cleveland Arcade, and... 

From a Case history site...

To ensure that the first new building of Case School of Applied Science would reflect the high standards of the institution, John Eisenmann was selected to develop the design for the Case Main building. Eisenmann was the school's first professor of civil engineering and pioneered structural steel construction in the United States. He is also credited with co-designing THE ARCADE in Cleveland, Ohio-the first commercial building in the state designated an historic landmark in architecture. Case Main's spectacular three-story structure was designed with a full basement and a huge attic that later became the fourth floor. Construction began in April 1883, and by September 1885 classes were already being held in the new building. Both Case Main and the scientific apparatus within were outstanding, and the structure was known as a "technical tabernacle." The world-renowned Michelson-Morley experiments were conducted in Case Main, and the building served as a dormitory, classroom building and even as a gymnasium. The trustees hoped that Case Main would meet the needs of the school for all time. Unfortunately, on October 27 at 3:00am-three years after its construction-a huge mass of flames issued from the windows of the third floor of Case Main. When the fire department arrived, the entire building was in flames-only the walls remained. All of the expensive equipment was destroyed as well as the library, which held the valuable book collection left by Leonard Case. In the spirit of cooperation between the schools, Adelbert College immediately offered the use of the north end of Adelbert Hall and the basement of Adelbert Main, and with this assistance classes at Case were resumed just two days after the devastating fire. The Case trustees and President Staley resolved to restore the building "as rapidly as the means we can command will allow." The first two floors were restored in 1888, and in 1890 the third floor was fully restored. In 1892, the fourth floor, originally a huge attic, was fitted for the first Case gymnasium. After the federation of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University in 1967, it was determined by the combined administration that the costs of renovating Case Main Building were too costly and impractical. Although the building was demolished in 1972-after much heated debate and controversy-parts of the historic building remain throughout the campus today. Stones from Case Main were used to build the base of the Michelson-Morley fountain and the base of the Case Institute of Technology sign located at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Alumni of Case received some of the stones from the building as souvenirs.

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Eisenmann -- a real statesman

John Eisenmann (the architect of the Strong Cobb Building) also seems to have designed our flag.

Could it be? 

Yes, Eisenmann designed the Ohio state flag


Ohio's state flag was adopted in 1902. The Ohio burgee, as the swallowtail design is properly called, was designed by John Eisemann. The large blue triangle represents Ohio's hills and valleys, and the stripes represent roads and waterways. The 13 stars grouped about the circle represent the original states of the union; the 4 stars added to the peak of the triangle symbolize that Ohio was the 17th state admitted to the union. The white circle with its red center not only represents the "O" in Ohio, but also suggests Ohio's famous nickname, "The Buckeye State."

Eisenmann wrote Cleveland's first comprehensive building code

EISENMANN, JOHN (26 Mar. 1851-6 Jan. 1924), architect of the ARCADE and author of Cleveland's first comprehensive building code, was born in Detroit, son of Christian and Anna (Schubert) Eisenmann. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1871, and headed the U.S. geodetic survey of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and Mississippi rivers until contracting jaundice and being forced to take a 2-year leave of absence. He then studied architecture at the polytechnics of Munich and Stuttgart, graduating from the latter institution, before returning to his former post. He came to Cleveland in 1882 as professor of civil engineering at Case School of Applied Science. When Case moved to UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, Eisenmann drew plans for the first building (1885). In 1880-90 he designed, with SOUTHWEST GENERAL HOSPITAL, the Arcade; and in 1904, under Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON†, Eisenmann wrote Cleveland's first comprehensive building code (see BUILDING CODE OF 1904).

Eisenmann, a member of the Wade Park Commission, participated in planning the Wade Park area. He is also credited with designing the Ohio state flag. A pioneer of structural-steel construction, Eisenmann invented and patented "Mannel," a hollow building tile. Upon his death in 1924, his widow, Anna M., revealed Eisenmann had mortgaged their home to raise funds to draw up plans for the Perry Memorial at Put-in-Bay. However, another plan had been chosen, and, disappointed, Eisenmann began failing in health. Before he died, he requested that his ashes be scattered from the top of the Perry monument.

Young, Herbert R. "John Eisenmann, First Case Professor of Civil Engineering and Drawing" (1962, WRHS).

From Encyclopedia of Cleveland History