Sunday, February 12, 2012


The news of the decision to de-landmark and approve demolition of John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio, has been -- thankfully -- well reported by the local mainstream news media.  The Cleveland Landmarks Commission -- known now more familiarly as the Cleveland De-Landmark Commission -- has been quite busy lately with removing Landmark designations (most recent prior example was the Columbia Building).  There was a strong public reaction against the news that this might happen -- undoubtedly dominated by outraged Marshall alumni.  One very significant exception is a neighborhood resident, by the name of Satinder Puri.  A former structural engineer, he acutely recognized the structural solidness of the structure.  His passion to prevent the demolition caused him to become a streetcorner activist (literally), often standing on corners in the West Park neighborhood of the school with signs for passersby to read.  He even started a petition drive and accumulated a substantial number of signatures.  He was quoted as saying, very astutely, of course, that since it was architectural and/or historical significance that led to its being designated as a Landmark was someone trying to suggest that that significance had somehow disappeared.  He even attended the meeting that ultimately decided the fate of the school, naively hoping that somehow the City Of Cleveland was going to deny a request of the City Of Cleveland.   The Landmarks Commission is an entity of the City.  The Municipal School District (the building's owner) is also an entity of the City.  Understanding this, it should have been obvious that there could be only one outcome.  It is so very unfortunate that so many people have failed to see through the charade that is known as Cleveland Landmarks.  History has no real value to this very desperate City, which views it strictly as an obstacle to "progress".