Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has a new name — the Cleveland Guardians.
The organization ultimately selected the “Guardians” from an extensive list of over 1,200 options. By no means is the new moniker a random choice. Part of its allure is that the “Guardians” phrase is deeply embedded within Cleveland history.
The name “Guardians” specifically refers to the city’s famous Art Deco statues. The four pylons of Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge (originally the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge), which connects downtown Cleveland with the city’s Ohio City neighborhood across the Cuyahoga River, each contain two unique sculptures, one facing each direction. These 43-feet tall sandstone slabs are known as the “Guardians of Traffic.”
Each Guardian consists of a human-like figure clasping a specific vehicle, ranging from wagons to stagecoaches to trucks. As famed bridge engineer Wilbur Watson wrote, the Guardians were designed to “typify the spirit of progress in transportation.”
The bridge’s construction completed in 1932, finishing amid the early years of the Great Depression. It stretches 5,865 feet long and stands 93 feet above the river water below.
In 1976, the bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places so as to ensure the conservation of the historic Guardians.