The Old Cleveland Aquarium



Cleveland’s former aquarium – built in 1954. This space, formerly full of family fun now remains empty, sat quietly, hillside to a park directly off of East 72nd street. Driving along I-90, you may not even notice this once well-visited structure, even though it practically towers at the freeway’s edge. From what I have noticed through conversation, most people around do not even know that Cleveland once held another aquarium. Once again, another grim reminder of how quickly and easily we toss our creations aside, simply forgetting them.




Upon the building’s closure in 1985, Cleveland Police took control, turning it into a short-lived canine training academy. During my first venture into this bleak space, I wandered up and down each dark hall, finding fragments of our city’s history – ticket books and other remnants left behind by Cleveland Police. Boots and other uniform remnants remained inside lockers. Even a car door sat propped atop wood blocks, being lit only by the fluttering of light falling in through the crumbling ceiling. Through a dark hallway, I could vaguely make out the remains of rusted dog cages, sat behind dirt and debris that had been scattered about. After the building had begun falling too far into decay, the police decided to finally leave the space behind, shuttering the doors for good…kind of.





here you can see the disused Cleveland police car door.

Cleveland’s City Councilman Jeffrey Johnson hopes to see the building re-purposed – this will take a great deal of coming to many agreements with other board members, though it would be amazing to see it come to light once again.


The first time I crawled into this abandoned aquarium, the ceiling was intact enough to walk atop. The building has since fallen into such disrepair that every way you look, all you notice is a scene of wicked decay. Hopefully this structure can be saved, and turned into something useful for our community – all we can do is hope, wait and witness the final outcome.


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