Civic Auditorium



CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Sunday, March 13, 1955

A glossary of new terms as exciting as some jive jargon has come into existence at Lakewood High School in the last few months.

Enriching vocabularies are such mysterious additions as sonic sieves, sound transparencies, echo breakers, floating ceilings and inverted ocean waves.

The terms have close affinity to "hi fi," now an almost universal abreviation for high fidelity sound transmission, particularly where music is concerned.

All the word combination's above described one way or another the acoustical design and properties of the new million-dollar Lakewood Civic Auditorium at Lakewood High School.

Irregular Bricks in Plans

An observer scanning the interior of the auditorium might be inclined to believe the bricklayers had been imbibing. Here and there bricks protrude and in other places they are depressed out of line.

But it was all part of the original plan by Bolt, Beranek & Newman of Boston, acoustical consultants, who believe they have produced one of the finest acoustical structures in the country.

In order to hold electrical loud-speaking devices to the minimum, a hard plaster ceiling form was adopted, similar to an inverted ocean wave and its angle was computed to accord with the slope of the auditorium floor.

The irregular surface pattern of the brick interior sidewalls break up reflected sound. Adjacent to the proscenium opening are hard plywood reflectors with directional wood fins to force sound directly into the audience.

Ceiling "Floats"

The ceiling "floats" between recessed panels surfaced with acoustical absorbing material. Just away from the stage the ceiling has a sound-absorbing chamber the entire width of the auditorium, a feature repeated along the rear wall. The chambers are composed of hard plaster recesses covered with wood fins to direct reflected sound into spun glass pads.

These chambers eliminate echo and off-cycle reverberations.

Although the projection into the audience of spoken lines is considered relatively simple, special additions had to be made to provide for music.

Before projecting music the tones must be completely intermixed to eliminate sound lag. This is accomplished by the erection of a plywood enclosure around the musicians and the suspension of a canopy above them.

Reflectors Blend Tones

The enclosing panels are placed at controlled angles with relation to the musicians and are subdivided into randomized sections to correspond with the various tone frequencies.

These reflectors thus completely intermix and blend the tones before they are projected to the audience.

Even the seats have entered into the acoustical act. Their backs are to be upholstered in a fabric of such density that the empty ones will have the same sound-absorbing values as the occupied ones.

Divided by Curtain

Of particular interest is a dividing curtain that cuts the auditorium in two to provide for small audiences.

Since the auditorium is constructed to operate as a unit the curtain blocks sight but does not block sound, thus the name "sonic sieve" or sound transparency. The curtain permits sound to move through it to be absorbed by the rear control chambers and chair backs in the same manner as if the auditorium were fully occupied.

Architects for the auditorium are Hays & Ruth of Cleveland, who have followed the modern dictum of "form follows function," their guide in designing the hall.



THE CLEVELAND PRESS, Monday, June 22, 1964

The hub of year-round cultural and student activities in the West Shore area is the Lakewood Civic Auditorium, celebrating its ninth birthday this year.

The $1,200,000 structure was financed through funds from two building bond issues. It now averages close to 400,000 people yearly who attend a varied program of civic and school activities.

Paul Spayde, assistant superintendent of Lakewood Public Schools, calls the 2000-seat building "the only facility of its kind on the West Side." Spayde is in charge of scheduling events in the hall.

"OUR AUDITORIUM wouldn't be as magnificent as it is if it hadn't been for the foresight of the late Omar Ranney," William B. Edwards, Lakewood schools superintendent, added. "'Bud' Ranney simply said let's not let the building glorify the last 50 years but let's look ahead 50 years."

When the original plans called for the more conventional type auditorium with a balcony, Ranney, theater critic for The Press, argued for one-floor seating.

All of the seats in the hall, designed by architects Byers Hays and Paul Ruth, are on one sloping floor. This was aimed to promote a feel of "togetherness" in the audience.

For smaller events the auditorium can be partitioned off by means of a curtain.

OTHER SPECIAL features of the hall include an air conditioning system which uses a stored water supply; panels of finned woodwork set into the Norman brick wall to act as sound boosters in the acoustics, dressing rooms and crafts shops.

Lakewood's is a self-supporting auditorium according to Spayde, despite the fact rentals for some non-profit groups can be as low as $100 per night.

Activities are varied.

SEVEN commencements will have been held this month. The West Shore Concert Series, which annually features the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, and also includes artists of such caliber as Anna Moffo and Arthur Loesser, uses the hall six times a year.

The Lakewood Travel Club meets at Lakewood Civic nine times yearly. Three private dance studios stage recitals there each year. And revival meetings are held regularly.

MANY WEST Shore residents and travelers who may not have been in the building recognize it because of the terra cotta sculpture that hovers over its entrance.

Believed to have cost more than $30,000, the 11-ton sculpture by Viktor Schreckengost is still thought by many to symbolize "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman. Officials however, maintain that the figure is simply an "Early Settler."

FURTHER TIES with the pioneer past and the present include a plaque on the inside of the building which reads:

"On this site a century ago Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, Lakewood's noted naturalist, through ingenuity and courage, successfully sowed seeds of agriculture, of science-the glory of the Ohio Settler.

"In this building...let us sow seeds of culture, of speech, of drama, of song-that all who enter will reap a harvest from ideas which are planted here."



SUN POST July 29, 1982

For the first time in two decades, the stage at Lakewood Civic Auditorium on Franklin Boulevard and Bunts Road in Lakewood is dark for the summer.

The darkness follows the move of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (GLSF) theater company downtown to the renovated Ohio Theater on Playhouse Square.

WHILE THE Elizabethan-style curtains which graced the theater's entrance in summers past have disappeared so have the crowd of theater patrons making their way across Franklin to the show.

Relocation of the professional theater group which performed 100 productions at the civic, drawing more than a million patrons from the West Suburbs and from as far away as Cincinnati, has left a void in the civic's summer schedule.

The stage was last used for school events in June and will not be used again until a graduation ceremony for practical nurses is held at the end of August. There have been two inquiries about summer use of the civic, but both came to naught.


No attempts to aggressively pursue rentals for the summer were made this year for a variety of reasons, say Robert Jericho, director of personnel and community services, and James Stanton, coordinator of municipal programs, who oversee operations of the civic auditorium for the Lakewood Board of Education.

One was uncertainty about whether GLSF might need the space, Stanton said, although GLSF's Vincent Dowling closed the festival's 1981 season with an adieu to the civic and a plea for patrons to follow the group downtown.

Another is that time was needed to do some maintenance on the auditorium, Stanton said, such as painting the ceilings which is planned for late this summer. In the past five years, the civic has not had four consecutive empty dates that would permit painters to erect scaffolds necessary to do the job. Jericho said a change in the stage managers also reduced marketing efforts, a situation which was rectified by the hiring of Art Moore, a former Lakewood High School teacher and drama adviser, for the job this summer.

"WE COULDN'T negotiate to lease the place without someone there to run it," Jericho said.

"We realize we have lost a major tenant and hope to replace it if that is in the school district's best interest," Jericho said.

Many of the other groups that stage a series of the events which could fill an 1,800-seat auditorium of the civic's size in the summer are locked into agreements for sometime, Stanton said.

The civic auditorium is also struggling with its 20-year image of being GLSF's home for the summer.

"People are not aware yet that we are available for the summer. As that happens in the future, I'm sure we will have inquiries," Jericho said. "We've been tied up most of the summer for so long people with summer events don't think of us yet-but they will."

There have been discussions about what type of major tenant the auditorium could accommodate for a series of performances over the summer. "We're interested in the lighter productions that would draw a large number of people-something like the summer opera company is doing in Wooster," Jericho said.

"We'll talk with any major tenant who comes forward with an interest in us," said Stanton, who plans to in the future contact civic groups who might sponsor shows in the auditorium, in addition to his tasks of running municipal rec programs. The sponsors are important because they underwrite programs for theatrical agents and groups to absorb some of any potential loss.

However, sources in the auditorium booking industry point out that a "come see us," approach may not work.

"IF THEY ARE interested in being a strictly community-oriented program vehicle, making contracts through civic groups is fine," one source who asked not to be named said. "There is tremendous competition for some events. There is the convention center which has four stages, the stages at Playhouse Square, the Music Hall, Masonic Auditorium, Karamu, Severance Hall, Cain Park, Kulas Auditorium at John Carroll University. You've got to go out and them (tenants)."

The marketing can take any number of forms from advertising in the theatrical trade magazines to going to conventions or finding a producer or agent to book shows into the facility.

And the civic auditorium is definitely in the big leagues of Cleveland auditoriums in size, if not in support facilities. Stanton points out the civic ranks behind Public Hall and the Hanna Theater in size in Cuyahoga County.

The most exciting prospect for the civic auditorium in the post-GLSF era was a report two years ago the Kenley Players might be interested in the facility as a home for John Kenley's summer bill of musicals featuring name talent. But Kenley spokesmen said the rumor was without basis, and Jericho said no negotiations of any sort took place.


Departure of GLSF and no rentals of the civic auditorium this summer would appear to have at least one definite impact on the auditorium by reducing rental income.

Rentals of the auditorium throughout the year generated $39,165 in 1980 and $46,789 in 1981, according Larry Gonzalez, business manager for Lakewood schools.

The school district projects income of $35,500 from the civic auditorium in 1982, which shows less loss than might be expected from GLSF's exit. GLSF leased the civic for $10,000 yearly from the schools for its July-September run, Gonzalez said.

ANY LOST REVENUE from GLSF's moving may be made up by reduced operating costs at the civic auditorium, Gonzalez said, particularly in reduced electrical bills because the air conditioning is not operated if the facility is not used.

No separate accounting of costs associated with the auditorium are maintained so a clear comparison of costs and income of the auditorium is not available. Costs are not recorded separately for the auditorium because of its heavy use by the schools-as a school facility with community uses-Gonzalez said.

"We know we subsidize the auditorium," Gonzalez said. "But it is a part of the high school and we can't function without it for high school activities."

Costs for renting the auditorium are based on operating costs the schools incur and depreciation of the equipment used. A basic charge of $640 is levied for private groups, and for non-Lakewood organizations. If a Lakewood group uses it or a group with 50 percent membership from Lakewood, the cost is $300 and Lakewood PTA may use it at no cost. Additional equipment charges are levied for everything from microphones to folding chairs. A $10,000 security deposit to cover potential damage may also be assessed.

The charges are kept at the district's barest costs for operating, Stanton said, because it is operating the civic auditorium as a non-profit community venture.

Putting in a major summer tenant raises some financial questions the auditorium's management has to consider. Jericho said the cost of opening the auditorium is such that in considering a long-term tenant the district has to consider the cost of cooling the auditorium and providing operations staff.

"It might not be in our financial best interest just to open for one night a week," Jericho said. "We don't make any money but we want to almost break even."

COSTS OF OPENING the auditorium are such that any tenant should be able to sell 1,000 tickets to the event, Jericho said, to break even.

The ideal operation for the civic would be a group that would come in for four to five weekends on a few nights over each weekend in Jericho's view.

"With each event, parking security, ticket takers and other personnel have to be lined up. But after you line them up once you may as well do it several times," Jericho said.


The chief reason little marketing of the civic auditorium has been done is that there has been little need to. Outside of the summer months, the auditorium has a busy schedule of community, school and ethnic events.

"People don't realize how busy it is (the auditorium) until they try to schedule it," said Moore, the stage manager.

Such is the case with the coming school year's season. Reports Loretta von Alt, who handles scheduling: "There are only a few weeked dates available. There are some-we aren't completely booked-but there aren't many."

The auditorium is perhaps best known for a large number of ethnic programs bringing in folk dancers of many countries to maintain ethnic heritages. Several religious groups also use the auditorium frequently. The following is such, von Alt said, that such renters typically reserve their date for the next year a few days after they perform. School events fill out much of the calendar.

BUT THE DEPARTURE of GLSF leaves as the major tenants of the auditorium-with a series of events spread through the year-the prized West Shore Concerts series which brings in the Cleveland Orchestra and other high-calibre programs for a total of five shows and the West Shore Travel Series, a monthly Tuesday-night series of eight programs of travelogues by adventurers which plays to a crowd of of 1,400 viewers.

If there is any shortcoming in the auditorium's billings, it might be a lack of name professional shows, which may be attributed to the large number of vehicles for such performances in Greater Cleveland.

The series presented at two other auditoriums indicate what others have done. The new $7 million Stocker Center at Lorain County Community College in Elyria itself sponsors 20 to 25 professional shows of all types from all over the country. The Cleveland On Stage series at Kulas Auditorium presents 16 events yearly. The Stocker auditorim has 1,000 seats and Kulas 1,121.

Stanton indicated he hopes to see more "name" shows at the Lakewood civic auditorium in the future, featuring such artists as Glen Campbell and putting on entertainment of a family type. He said he plans to suggest such offerings to civic organizations which might sponsor them.

Jericho sees little interest in rock concerts. "The only ones that are successful are the large ones, larger than the civic," he said.

If the need develops, Stanton said be may ask the school board to revise its schedule of fixed charges for auditorium rentals to allow more dealing with theatrical agents and producers. Typically, theaters lease in exchange for a percentage of the profits, taking a share of the risk in the process. "But that type of negotiating presents problems for us because we are a school district operating on a non-profit basis," Stanton said.

Show producers are required to print their own tickets and do their own promotion.

The interest in such use of the auditorium is present, Stanton said, as he and von Alt frequently field calls from throughout the country.

Such is the situation at other auditoriums with winter seasons. "We really don't solicit any rental business," said Kass Crooker, director of Stocker Center. "They know we're here. We get a lot of calls from people trying to sell us on letting them perform. And the commercial road shows look for locations such as this because it is on the main route from Chicago to Boston."

At Cleveland On Stage, a non-profit group which does programming at Kulas Auditorium, arts manager Jeanne Braun puts the interest of road shows this way: "The events we want are delighted to come here. It's more they court us than I them."


"We've put on everything anyone can imagine here except for circuses. And a few of our shows may have been closer to circuses," quips Art Moore, the auditorium's new stage manager, who is intimately acquainted with the theater after working for 25 years with Lakewood High School's barnstormers and drama department. He joined the school staff when the auditorium was three years old.

The high school groups have put on musicals and straight shows in the auditorium with great success. Moore said, "because there's practically nothing you can't do here."

While a lack of "fly space" to pull scenery above the stage when it is not in use is the theater's greatest shortcoming. Moore said careful rerigging can allow that to be done.

That shortcoming can also be countered up by the vast amount of space on the 75-foot deep stage and use of a trap door. When scenery is built, it often creates substantial storage space for other scenes in the unused stage area behind it.

As GLSF moved it cited several drawbacks of the theater: outmoded lighting, dressing rooms that don't meet actor's union standards and staging constraints.

Moore acknowledged the light control system is "not brand new," but attributed that to the revolution in electrical controls and computer applications that have occurred in theatrical lighting since the theater was built. It was built at the tail end of the old technology, he indicated.

"THERE ARE PLENTY of lights and you can do everything with them. It may take time to plan and five people to operate them all, but it is a good system. It's cumbersome but operable," he said. "But these lights have not outlived their usefulness and a new control system would be very expensive."

The other need for the auditorium is new curtains. "The curtains are in bad shape. They get year-round use by all sorts of groups. They need to be replaced but we are deferring that expense," Jericho said, due to tight school finances. New curtains would cost an estimated $30,000 Jericho said the "system does not have."

The Lakewood city building department reports there have been no recent inspections of the auditorium because there have been no complaints about it.

"We do continual maintenance," Stanton said. "The major maintenance needed is the painting we will have done this summer."

The size of the auditorium-as well as its capabilities-need to be taken into account in lining up major tenants.

"A small group doing straight theater has a hard time in this auditorium. It's a little large for them to play to," Moore said. "There is also the pyschological impact on the players of performing to an auditorium full for their purposes but still having a large number of empty seats.

"It lacks the intimacy a small theater group needs. It will take a large production which really fills the stage and can fill the auditorium to feel at home here."


The civic auditorium is such a familiar institution in Lakewood today it may be sometimes overlooked. The structure was built at a cost of $1.2 million and completed in 1955, so long ago that even long-term bonds which financed the project were paid off in 1980.

The opening of the auditorium on April 15, 1955 was a cause for a community celebration attended by 2,000 city leaders. It was the highlight of a month-long "Parade of Progress" which marked the spending of $50 million on major construction projects in the city.

Congressman William Minshall told the assembly. "If this wonderful civic movement were carried out throughout the country it could do much to bring peace and prosperity to the world."

HIGH POINTS OF the opening were a then-rare performance by the Cleveland Orchestra on the west side, and on April 30 the auditorium served as the stage for a live, coast-to-coast telecast for the Horace Heidt Show Wagon of musical talent.

At its opening, the civic auditorium was reputed to have some of the best acoustics in the nation-which Moore said holds true today because the auditorium is unaltered-and was noted for a design which allowed school use and the widest possible civic use. The ceramic cast of the "Early Settler" on the building's facade won a national arts award.

Noting that some states have laws which prevent the use of high school auditoriums for community purposes, Moore observed: "It's lucky Ohio does not have such a law. The taxpayers are certainly getting their dollar's worth from this auditorium."


SUN NEWSPAPERS, Thursday, October 17, 1985

When most visitors to Lakewood Civic Auditorium first see the building, the large terra cotta decoration on the facade grabs their attention.

Entitled "The Early Settler", the decoration is the logo of the Lakewood Public Schools and has been reproduced countless times in the past 30 years on Lakewood Board of Education publications, curriculum materials and stationery.

When the auditorium was constructed 30 years ago, it was in vogue to incorporate terra cotta decorations on architecture. Hays and Ruth, the auditorium architects, commissioned Victor Schreckengost, a renowned Cleveland painter and sculptor, to decorate the building's facade.

Schreckengost, exercising his creative prerogatives, designed the terra cotta as "Johnny Appleseed."

Although members of the Lakewood Board of Education accepted the concept of a terra cotta decoration, they did not accept "Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) as a folk hero, considering him to eccentric to hold a place of honor in front of the Lakewood High School.

A COMMITTEE was formed to recommend an alternative to "Johnny Appleseed." After some research, committee members turned to Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, an internationally known doctor, naturalist, teacher, writer, judge, legislator, geologist and horticulturist who owned and lived for 40 years on the land between Detroit and Madison and west of Bunts Road (then called Kirtland Lane). Kirtland's property is where Lakewood High School now stands.

It was determined the terra cotta would be named "The Early Settler" to honor Dr. Kirtland, who was an early settler and a local folk hero.

He built his home on Detroit near Bunts in the mid-1800s, where a supermarket now stands, and established what many referred to to as a "garden of eden" visited by naturalists from around the world.

CARVED IN the east wall of the lobby entrance to Lakewood Civic Auditorium is this inscription:

On this site a century ago

Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland

Lakewood's noted


through ingenuity and


successfully sowed the


of agriculture and science

-the glory of the Ohio


In this building

Lakewood Civic


Let us sow seeds of culture

-of speech-of drama-

of song-that all who

enter will

reap a harvest from ideas

which are planted here


Schreckengost's figure, which is 17 feet high and 30 feet wide, weighs about 30 tons. It earned international recognition in 1954 by receiving two first prizes for outstanding sculpture and architecture.

The 18th Ceramic National competition at Syracuse, N.Y., awarded the work first prize for architecture, ceramic sculpture and another first prize and appreciation for the finest example of ceramic sculpture in architecture produced in the last two years. The completion included entries from the U.S. and Canada, according to a Lakewood Post clipping from November 1954.

At that time, Omar Ranney, president of the Lakewood Board of Education, told the Post "The Early Settler" finished in colorful terra cotta, is the solution of a problem studied for months by high school students and faculty, artists, architects, citizens and the board of education to make attractive the expansive surface of the auditorium front and have it reflect the culture, heritage and good taste of our forward-looking Lakewood community. The first prize awards of the Syracuse Ceramic National competition supports the judgment of the many interested people cooperating in the creation of this work of art."

MARTIN ESSEX, who was superintendent of Lakewood schools at the time the auditorium was constructed, said a committee of teachers, pupils and board members selected "The Early Settler" to represent the spread of ideas, improvement of the soil, establishment of homes and building of a community.

"Dr. Kirtland stood for all those things. He planted both crops and ideas. He was a leader in Lakewood, the county and the state," Essex told a newspaper reporter in October 1954.

Legend has it that a tunnel led from the Kirtland mansion to Lake Erie and slaves who fled the South during the Civil War used the tunnel to board boats for Canada.





Saturday, March 26, 1955

GREATER Cleveland finally has auditorium facilities on the West Side for major theatrical and musical attractions.

Symphony concerts, opera, ballet, musical comedies, recitals, pageants-all can be presented in Lakewood's new $1,200,000 Civic Auditorium.

It seats 2000. It is air-conditioned and its acoustical design combines new features which sound engineers believe will make it one of the finest auditoriums of its size in the country.

Its first test will be Sunday evening, Apr. 17, when the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of George Szell officially opens the building with a symphony concert.

A variety of other uses to which the auditorium can be put will be demonstrated in a series of of additional special events-a concert by the University of Michigan Glee Club, Apr. 23; an onstage, live telecasting of Horace Heidt's TV show, Apr. 30; a concert by the combined choirs of Lakewood churches, May 8, and a large, school pageant presented by Lakewood public school students, May 12, 13 and 14.

How did a city of 70,000 manage to build such a modern, multiple-use auditorium?

Planners Had Two Purposes

THE answer is that Lakewood undertook the planning and construction with a double purpose in mind. First of all, the structure was designed to serve as a new auditorium for Lakewood High School but from the very earliest rough-sketch stage, the widest possible civic uses were kept in mind.

As form followed function in the designing, the architects' drafting pencils inscribed lines that spoke of high school assemblies, the playing of great symphonies, community audiences listening to concert stars, the impressive solemnity of June graduation time, the graceful movements of ballet being watched from 2000 seats, the soft strains of a violin being heard in the last row.

Into the building design, too, flowed the inspiration of community heritage.

Lakewood (originally Township 7, Range 14, of the Western Reserve) was once a pioneer settlement. In fact, the land on which Lakewood High School stands was, 100 years ago, the farm of Dr. Jared P. Kirtland, Ohio's first scientist.

Planting Settler Symbolic

WHAT better than to take the figure of an early settler, engaged in planting, as symbolic of present-day planting of seeds of culture of music and drama-in a modern civic auditorium?

In colored ceramics, the figure of "Early Settler," created by Artist Viktor Schreckengost, today stands above the marquee of Lakewood Civic Auditorium to link pioneer past with present.

As these ideals were determining the basic character of the new building, certain practical aspects were given emphasis in the design which was developed by Architects Byers Hays and Paul Ruth.

Primary importance was to acoustical treatment and internationally-known consultants from Boston were retained in an effort to make this one of the nation's best "natural sound" auditoriums.

Air-conditioning, too, figured prominently in the plans. Into the design went a cooling system that uses a stored water supply over and over, taking into consideration the shortage of water in summer.

2000 Seats on One Floor

METHOD of seating was another major factor in basic design. There is no balcony. All 2000 seats are on one sloping floor. This, besides being a modern treatment, is aimed at promoting a feeling of "togetherness" by being able to seat the entire audience on one level.

Simplicity, emphasized by the free use of natural materials, was still another underlying feature of design. While the walls of the interior are mainly of reddish Norman brick, effective use is made of panels of finned woodwork to give character and at the same time act as sound "boosters."

The use of color is striking. The seat upholstery is rust colored. Carpeting in the aisles is light green with a modernistic figure. The stage curtain is a brilliant turquoise.

The ceiling, with restful, recessed lighting, is in the form of an inverted ocean wave that has been designed to enhance the acoustics. Sloping toward the stage, it "floats" between recessed panels and is one of the distinctive beauties of the building.

More Auditorium Features

THERE are many other features-a stage large enough to seat 500, a green room and dressing rooms, as well as a crafts shop for set building, downstairs; a curtain that can partition off half of the seating area when the entire auditorium is not needed, attractively furnished lounges and specially-constructed orchestra shell to "mix" sounds before projecting them from the stage.

As a west wing on the high school, the auditorium balances a new east wing, opened a little more than a year ago and including an $800,000 gymnasium and student center. As a social lounge and meeting place for school activities, the student center surpasses many college unions.

Lakewood also has a new municipal swimming pool, is building a large addition to its public library and soon will convert its old high school auditorium into a little theater and a new school library.

All these are part of the decade of civic improvements Lakewood is celebrating in a month-long Pride of Progress festival.


LAKEWOOD POST, November 4, 1954

The Early Settler, the sculptured frontispiece embellishing the new Lakewood Civic Auditorium, earned international recognition this week by receiving two first prizes for outstanding sculpture and architecture. The 18th Ceramic National competition at Syracuse, N.Y. including entries from the U.S., Canada, and Central America, awarded the Early Settler first prize for Architecture, Ceramic Sculpture, and another first prize citation for the finest example of ceramic sculpture in architecture in the last two years." The Lakewood Public Schools and the artist, Viktor Schreckengost, have received citations.

Early Settler was designed to enhance the exterior of the 2,000 seat Civic Auditorium, now nearing completion at Lakewood High School, and to symbolize the pioneering spirit of the city's early ancestors, as personified by the renowned naturalist, Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, once owner of the site of the new building.

Omar Ranney, President of the Lakewood Board of Education, was elated by the international honor bestowed on the work of art. He told The Post: "The'Early Settler,' finished in colorful terra cotta, is the solution of a problem studied for months by high school students and faculty, artists, architects, citizens, and the Board of Education, to make attractive the expansive surface of the auditorium front and have it reflect the culture, heritage, and good taste of our forward-looking Lakewood community. The first prize awards of the Syracuse Ceramic National competition supports the judgment of the many interested people cooperating in the creation of this work of art."

The frontispiece is directed toward the concept that ideals are as important as ideas. The Civic Auditorium is for the purpose of extending learning and spreading ideas. The Early Settler who is planting a seedling portrays the planting of ideas within the auditorium. It is also a reminder of the ideas of early settlers who established homes, tilled the soil, improved the species, and created a community with churches, schools and government.

The inscription, written by Lakewood High School students and cut into stone in the foyer of the auditorium, is symbolic also of the Early Settler's ideals. It reads, in part:

"In this building

Lakewood Civic Auditorium

Let us sow seeds of culture --

Of speech, of drama, of song --

That all who enter

Will reap a harvest from ideas

Which are planted here."



Lakewood Post - 1955

First opportunity to inspect the new and ultramodern $1,200,000 Lakewood Civic Auditorium will be given some 2,000 city leaders this Sunday afternoon immediately following a brief dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. at which Congressman William E. Minshall will be among those giving short speeches.

Dedication of the spacious 2,000 seat auditorium - considered one of the finest in the state - will signal the start of Lakewood's month-long city-wide Pride of Progress celebration commemorating a bright decade of accelerated civic and business construction activity which saw a total of nearly 50 millions of dollars in public and larger private building improvements spent here.

A rare West Side appearance of the famed 100-piece Cleveland Symphony Orchestra batoned by Dr. George Szell on Sunday evening at 8 o'clock in the Civic Hall will climax Sunday's events and further turn eyes of Greater Clevelanders toward Lakewood and its "Pride of Progress" celebration. Concert tickets at $2 each are still available at the Recreation department lobby, 1456 Warren.

Opening with Wagner's Prelude to The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, the orchestra will follow with two movements from Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B Minor. Smetana's symphonic poems, The Moldau and My Country will bring the concert up to intermission time after which the orchestra is to offer the four movements of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 567.

Twenty-nine usherettes in spring formals, all affiliated with the three Lakewood and West Shore groups sponsoring the event will usher symphony concert ticket holders to their seats. Concert sponsors are the Lakewood PTA, Lakewood Woman's club and the West Shore Concert Series organization.

Mrs. B.G. Schmansky, chairman of the Symphony Concert committee, reports that special invitations have been sent to prominent Lakewood citizens and to Mayors of two neighboring communities, Cleveland and Rocky River. Guests will be seated in a special section in the auditorium.

The guest list includes: Mayor and Mrs. A.I. Kauffman of Lakewood, Mayor and Mrs. Anthony Celebreeze of Cleveland, Mayor and Mrs. Frank Gibson of Rocky River; Judge and Mrs. Stephen H. Hazelwood of Lakewood; Lakewood Council members William R. Fairgrieve, Thomas C. Ward, William H. Fahrenbach, Joseph Rozek, George Quinn, Ernest Gottermeyer, F. Wilson Chockley and their wives; Mr. and Mrs. Martin Essex, Superintendent of Schools; School Board members and their husbands and wives, including Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Abernathy, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Dickey, Mr. and Mrs. Omar Ranney, Mr. and Mrs. George Rich, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Arlo Graber and Mrs. Byron Mitchell.

Other guests include Mr. and Mrs. George H.L. Smith, Associate Manager of the Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Loesser, of The Press, Mr. and Mrs. Elmore Bacon, Sr. of The News, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Elwell of The Plain Dealer, Mr. and Mrs. John Shissler, Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Hawley, Lakewood-West Shore Post; Mr. and Mrs. Louis Seltzer, Editor of The Press, Mr. and Mrs. Mahlon Povenmire, Principal of Lakewood High School, Architects for the new auditorium and their wives, Mr. and Mrs. J. Byers Hays and Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Ruth and the General Conductor of the new auditorium and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Ursprung.


Delivery the invocation at the 3 p.m. Civic auditorium dedication ceremony which is the responsibility of the Lakewood PTA Council will be Rev. Robert F. Beck, president of the Lakewood Ministerial association who will be introduced by School Superintendent Martin W. Essex, Mrs. H.D. Abernethy, president of the Lakewood Board of Education will cut the ribbon and presiding over this portion of the program will be Mrs. Meldrum W. Berkey, past council president.

Guests will be then invited to tour the building. In charge of enlisting and instructing guides from ranks of PTA board of education chairmen and their husbands, men from the Lakewood High PTA and husbands of PTA presidents are Frank P. Celeste, High PTA president, and Mrs. D.J. VanDeusen.

Guides will meet in the new auditorium at 1:45 P.M. Sunday for a final briefing. Mr. and Mrs. Lorin B. Weddell, the latter general chairman of the event, will assign guests to the tours during which representatives of the Teachers association under direction of Assistant School Superintendent Sam S. Dickey will explain details of the building and its equipment.

The tours will culminate in the "L" room of the High School where Mrs. Joan B. Jefferies, hostess chairman, and Mrs. Lloyd Frueh have been planning refreshments including a hugh specially decorated cake. Serving as hostesses will be PTA presidents and other Council members.

A musical background will be furnished by an ensemble under direction of Arthur R. Jewell, supervisor of instrumental music for Lakewood schools.

Host and hostesses for the afternoon will be Mr. & Mrs. Celeste, Mr. and Mrs. Casper C. Clark, Mildred Dicke, Mr. and Mrs. Dickey, Mr. and Mrs. Essex, Mr. and Mrs. Mahlon Povenmire, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Wilson, and members of Lakewood Board of Education and their wives.




The eagerly-awaited opening of Lakewood's new $1,200,000-2,000 seat Civic Auditorium at Lakewood High School this weekend will signal the start of a month-long civic celebration commemorating a bright decade of accelerated building construction activity and civic improvements in Lakewood. The aptly-named "Pride of Progress" festivities will be centered around the new auditorium which is ro be dedicated Sunday afternoon.

Nearly 2,000 city leaders have been invited to the dedication ceremonies at 3 p.m. Sunday, with a preview and tour of the new facilities and a reception scheduled to follow the dedication. Congressman William E. Minshall will be among speakers on the dedicatory program.

First of the "five-star" program of events slated for the month-long celebration will be a rare West Side appearance of the famed 100-piece Cleveland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. George Szell on Sunday evening at eight o'clock in the new hall. The concert will climax Sunday's program and futher turn eyes of C__________ Clevelanders toward Lakewood and its Pride of Progress celebration. Concert tickets at $2 each are still available at Lakewood Recreation department lobby, 1456 Warren or call BO 5281.

Opening with Wagner's Prelude to The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, the orchestra will follow with two movements from Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B Minor. Smetana's symphonic poems, The Moldau

and My Country, will bring the concert up to intermission time after which the orchestra is to offer the four movements of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Twenty-nine usherettes in spring formals, all affiliated with the three Lakewood and West Shore groups sponsoring the event will escort symphony concert ticker holders to their seats.

Concert sponsors are the Lakewood PTA, Lakewood Woman's Club and the West Shore Concert Series organizations. Among special concert guests will be Mayor and Mrs. J. Frank Gibson of Rocky River.

Subsequent events to be held at the auditorium include a concert Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. by the University of Michigan's Glee Club; a coast-to-coast live telecast and two one-half hour variety show of the Horace Heidt Show Wagon and the Lakewood Kiwanis club at 7 p.m. April 30. An additional appearance of the Heidt Show Wagon has been arranged for Sunday afternoon, May 1st at 2:30 P.M. when Greater Cleveland amateur talent will compete for prizes from the stage of the Civic auditorium.

On Sunday, May 8th, Lakewood churches will present a Religious Music Festival and Vesper Concert featuring a combined church choir under the direction of T.R. Evans, and several guest directors. The large choir will include singers from all of Lakewood's Protestant and Catholic churches.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 12, 13 and 14, "Seeds of Progress" a heritage pageant featuring 2,000 Lakewood public school children, will be presented in the auditorium at 8 p.m. each evening.

Tickets for events at the Civic auditorium scheduled during the Pride of Progress celebration may be secured in the lobby of the Lakewood Recreation department.



Minshall Salutes Start of 'Progress' month'

"If this wonderful civic movement were carried out throughout the country it could do much to bring peace and prosperity to the world," Congressman William E. Minshall said yesterday in opening Lakewood's "Pride of Progress" month.

He spoke at ribboncutting ceremonies for a $1,200,000 auditorium at Lakewood High School, to serve both the school system and the city.

Mrs. Harry D. Abernethy, president of the school board, cut the ribbon opening the auditorium, which will seat 2,000 persons.


"The early settler on the facade represents the function of the building," Mrs. Abernethy said. "It is to spread ideas while fostering the ideals of our heritage for child and adult."

The figure on the front of the building, designed by Sculptor Vigtor Schreckengost, is believed to be the largest free-standing ceramic figure in modern times.

Another unusual feature of the auditorium is a nylon curtain closing off the approximately half the seats for events which draw a small audience. Only one other such auditorium, in Sweden, is known.

First school organization to use the stage will be the Lakewood High School band at an all-school assembly tomorrow morning.

Martin W. Essex, superintendent of schools, was master of ceremonies for the ribbon cutting program, which was planned by Mrs. Meldrum W. Burkey, former president of the Lakewood council of Parent-Teacher Associations.

The invocation was given by Rev. Robert F. Beck, president of the Lakewood Ministerial Association.

Several hundred guests took guided tours of the new auditorium after the outdoor ceremonies.

Later events in the 'Pride of Progress' month will include several concerts, a nationwide telecast and a pageant to be presented by public schools.



EDITOR'S NOTE: This is another in a series of articles telling of the new $1,200,000 Lakewood Civic Auditorium which will be dedicated on Sunday, April 17.

The projection of spoken lines from the stage is relatively simple, since generally but one voice is heard at a time. Electrical devices can project voice satisfactorily with a minimum of distortion when the loud-speakers are placed at the proper angle and height with relation to the seats. However, music requires special treatment. Before projecting musical tones they must be completely intermixed to eliminate sound lag. This is accomplished by the erection of of a plywood enclosure around, and the suspension of a special canopy above the musicians. The enclosing panels are placed at carefully controlled angles with relation to the performers; and the panels themselves are subdivided into random sized sections to correspond to the various tone frequencies. These reflectors thus completely intermix and blend the tones before being projected to the audience. It is proposed to give concerts without the use of the loud speaker system.

There is but one loud speaker location at the center top of the proscenium arch. This is to create the effect of natural sound.

The side walls and ceiling are at carefully computed angles with relation to the stage. The computations had to be repeated for each contemplated use (i.e., drama, musical drama, chorus and orchestra concerts for graduation) since each use requires a different size working stage and proscenium opening. The resulting contour of side walls and ceiling is, therefore, a common denominator of performance for all these uses.

The interior side walls are brick having an irregular surface pattern to break up reflected sound. Immediately adjacent to the proscenium opening are hard plywood reflectors with directional wood fins to force sound directly into the audience. The ceiling floats between recessed panels surfaced with conventional acoustical absorbing materials. These panels absorb high frequency sounds reflected from the upper portion of the walls. The long swell of the ceiling is hard plaster; the angle of the ceiling being carefully computed to cooperate fully with the slope of the auditorium floor. The ceiling wave progresses to a secondary interval toward the rear of the auditorium, taking on sharper angles because of the change in seating slope.

The side of the wave away from the stage has a sound absorbing chamber the entire width of the auditorium. This is repeated along the rear wall. These chambers are composed of hard plaster recesses covered with wood fins direct reflected sound into spun glass pads, the density of which was computed for this particular installation. These chambers are to eliminate echo, and "off cycle" reverberation. The computed placing of the absorptive areas also is to eliminate dead spots or freak acoustical properties often found in large halls.

The backs of seats are upholstered in a fabric of proper density so that each seat is essentially equivalent in sound absorbing value to each occupied one. Traffic areas are are carpeted to eliminate echo and traffic sounds.




The modern dictum that form follows function was the guide in designing Lakewood's $1,200,000 Civic auditorium at Lakewood High school. Thus, the shape and finish was determined by needs. It is a modern one-floor design, air conditioned, seating 2,000 persons, with space for 500 on the stage, to serve a city of 70,000 people.

To these ends seating was studied to provide maximum unobstructed sight lines to all activities about the stage, compatible with reasonable floor slopes and economical construction. The architects point out that clearance over intervening rows exceed generally accepted standards for theatres and auditoriums.

Emphasize Acoustics

The greatest emphasis was placed on study of acoustical properties of the interior. It was recognized that in spite of satisfactory seeing, when speech of musical tones emanating from the stage become indistinct or distorted, the audience becomes bored with the performance. The requirement for undistorted, sound delivery to 2,000 seats therefore became the major consideration.

The architects, Hays and Ruth of Cleveland, selected Bolt, Beranek and Newman of Boston Mass., as the acoustical consultants, who solved similar problems in the Royal Music Hall of London, United Nations Assembly Hall and Tanglewood Festival Hall.

In order that sound might be projected with a minimum of electrical reinforcement, a ceiling form was adopted similar to an inverted ocean wave. Since each sound had a different pitch and, therefore, a different wave length or frequency, the various tones must either be absorbed or reinforced by elements of the structure.