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April 03, 2015

Namesakes - Newton D. Baker and the Baker Buildings

Newton D. Baker is well-known as Cleveland’s mayor from 1912 to 1916 and Secretary of War from 1916 to 1921. Baker’s CWRU connections are extensive, as well. He was a Trustee of Western Reserve University (1916-1937), Adelbert College (1929-1937), and Cleveland College (1925-1937).

Newton D. Baker, ca. 1937

An advocate of adult education, Baker was instrumental in the founding of Cleveland College in 1925. Opening in rented quarters in downtown Cleveland, Cleveland College focused on the part-time, adult student, with evening classes and an emphasis on life-long learning. When the Depression pushed the heavily tuition-dependent school to the brink of closing in the early 1930s, Baker was an energetic fundraiser whose efforts kept the college alive.

In 1942 the college acquired its own building on Public Square. It was understandable that it be named for Baker, who had died in 1937. When Cleveland College was moved to the Western Reserve campus in University Circle in 1953, the original Newton Diehl Baker Memorial Building was sold to the Society for Savings.

Downtown Baker Building, 1942

The proceeds of the sale, and other funds, financed construction of the university’s second Baker Building, on the southwest corner of Adelbert Road and Euclid Avenue. This Newton D. Baker Memorial Building served as the home of Cleveland College until it was consolidated, with Adelbert and Mather colleges, into what is now the College of Arts and Sciences in 1971. Baker Building, at various times, also housed the School of Management, Instructional Computing, several Arts and Sciences academic departments, the School of Library Science, Western Reserve College offices, Graduate Studies, and Alumni Relations and Development offices. Baker Building was razed in 2004.

University Circle Baker Building

Posted by jmt3 at April 3, 2015 07:08 PM

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