Cleveland, Sesquicentennial, parade, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1946

Happy Belated Birthday Cleveland!

Submitted by Leslie Cade on

Cleveland celebrates the city’s founding on July 22nd of each year. The city’s sesquicentennial was celebrated with great fanfare in 1946.  With the end of the Second World War and the founding of the United Nations the city focused on world unity and the contributions of the city’s many ethnic communities by establishing One World Day, a celebration that continues to this day through the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation.  Although the sesquicentennial included events all year long, the capstone events occurred during the summer with a Lake Front Regatta, One World Day Parade, the annual Festival of Freedom, and a reenactment of Moses Cleaveland’s arrival at what would become his namesake city.

Cleveland Museum of Art director William Milliken served as chairman of the Committee on Art and that year’s May Show was dubbed the Sesquicentennial May Show. He commissioned local artist Michael Sarisky to design and build the museum’s entry in the birthday parade.  Milliken was very disappointed that the float didn’t win a prize but felt it was “a first rate thing, [that] represented the taste which I hope the museum stands for (Milliken to Sarisky 1946 July 25)”.