Caxton Building History

The Caxton Building built its story from the ground up–more than 115 years ago. Built by six successful 19th century Cleveland entrepreneurs, the building’s rich history saw traditional publishers, architects, and artists flourish in Cleveland before welcoming the entrepreneurs of today. 

historic caxton building built in 1903

Construction Finished in 1903

Designed by Frank Seymour Barnum’s architectural firm, the 8-story, steel-frame office building was designed to house graphic arts and printing businesses. The building had the most modern amenities for its day, including electric power generation on-site. The Caxton Building, an always innovative building, was a leader of Cleveland when it was top-10 populated U.S. city. 

Caxton Origins

The building is named in honor of William Caxton, the first to introduce the printing press to England. Caxton, a British printer in 15th century, printed the earliest versions of the Bible to be printed in English, along with other classical works and historic stories. Nearly 100 years after the completion of the Caxton Building, William Caxton was named in the 100 Greatest Britons by a BBC poll. 

william caxton sculpture in caxton building entryway

caxton building fire escape at sunset

Printing Press Strength

To accommodate the graphic arts and printing businesses house in the early 1900s, the Caxton Building was built to support an unprecedented 300 pounds per square foot. It was one of the early examples of reinforced concrete floor slabs in the world.

caxton building cleveland historic landmark plaque

Historical Landmark

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Soon after, in 1976, the Caxton Building was declared a Cleveland historical landmark. It was one of the first buildings to be landmarked in the city.

caxton building staircase looking down

Tenants over the Years

The Caxton Company was the original occupant, a commercial printing and graphic arts business. George Adomeit, cofounder and longtime president of the Caxton Company, was an artist of the Cleveland School whose work is featured in museums in Cleveland, San Francisco, and Charleston. The World Publishing Company, the printer of Webster’s New World Dictionary, the world’s largest American dictionary at that time in 1951, also made its home in the Caxton Building.