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Victory Arch at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds to Undergo Restoration

Victory Arch at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds to Undergo Restoration
July 29, 2011

Although it’s unclear whether the Victory Arch at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was constructed due to the victory of World War I or because the site was the last-standing local site vying for the fair location, the Victory Arch has greeted people to the County Fair for over eighty years.  This beautiful piece of “old world” craftsmanship has becomea part of history for the Berea site, and residents have taken it upon themselves to restore the arch to its original beauty.  Kottler Metal Products is proud to support our community with the donation of the materials and labor to recreate the main arch structure.

 

Victory Arch Deconstruction

 

Victory Arch at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Gently Dismantled for Restoration

By Joanne Berger DuMound, Sun News

The 81-year-old Victory Arch was stubborn.

The ornate, rusty steel structure at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds’ Gate 1 refused to relinquish its concrete bases to workers who began preparing for its dismantling early last week.

The arch, wrapped in chains attached to a high-powered lift truck and supported from behind by two backhoes, gently kissed the earth.

“It’s a lot tougher than we imagined,” said Jim Jaworski, a local Berea resident. “It took a lot longer than expected.”

The arch was erected in 1929 at the Fairgrounds’ then main gate on Eastland Road. There is some controversy whether it was constructed due to the World War I victory or being the last-standing local site vying for the fair in CuyahogaCounty at that time.

The fair board, with Jaworski’s help, created a committee that is raising money to repair the structure. The arch will remain inside in Building 30 on the fairgrounds for rehabilitation. Visitors to various events at the grounds, including the fair, will have the opportunity to view restoration work. The committee will have a booth so visitors may purchase arch-related items, such as shirts and photos, and donate to the project. The arch will be reinstalled prior to next years fair.

The arch had its original concrete base, plus two additions, which caused more drilling work than anticipated.

Bob Cartmell, the fairgrounds’ maintenance supervisor, said the arch was sandblasted and painted in the late 1970s. About 10 years ago, concrete was poured at the two footings to better support the bases. He’s glad to see it undergoing restoration.

“It is the original signal of the fair. Having it refinished will be great,” he said.

The arch once had four 150-pound urns resting across its pinnacle. Those that can be restored will return to their spots.

Douglad McJunkins, a Berea resident and retired iron worker, is coordinating the structure's reconditioning.  He'll have help from Iron Workers Local 17's apprentice program.  He said some of the curved, fancy scroll work may be replaced, other, salvaged.

“It’s definitely worth saving,” McJunkins said. “It will look like it did in 1929. And will be good for another 100 years.”

The arch’s columns are 25 feet high. The arch, which has “Cuyahoga County Fair” written on it, spans 35 feet across the entrance. Jaworski said those leaving the fairgrounds will see another phrase — “Veterans Memorial Victory Arch” — on the back of that large sign.

McJunkins said he’s proud to be part of its rejuvenation.

“This is part of Berea. It’s our history. I’m glad I can offer my hand and be part of bringing it back to its original glory,” he said.

 Restored Victory Arch

 

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