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Terminal Tower

Terminal Tower


Margaret Bourke-White

(American, 1904-1971)

Gelatin silver print

Overall: 49.4 x 37.2 cm (19 7/16 x 14 5/8 in.); Matted: 76.2 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in.)

Gift of Huntington Bank 2003.361


Bourke-White established her reputation during the
late 1920s by photographing industrial subjects in
Cleveland. She was especially attracted to the city’s
most distinctive landmark, the Terminal Tower
(completed in 1927), at that time the second tallest
building in America. She documented the Tower
from numerous vantage points, at different times
of day, and under various atmospheric conditions.
This photograph shows the Tower at the apex of a
visual pyramid, as if ascending from a smoky pit,
flanked by the “High Level” or Detroit-Superior
Bridge and smokestacks in the Flats. This new gift
to the Cleveland Museum of Art is probably the
largest known print of Bourke-White’s most popular
image of this landmark. The Tower seems to
symbolize Cleveland’s industrial power and
meteoric rise from a small settlement on the banks
of the Cuyahoga River to one of the most modern,
progressive cities in America.

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