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History

The darl center

Unique /yu̇-ˈnēk/
Adjective: Being the only one of its kind.

When describing The Darl, one word that applies is unique. Imagine spending over 50 years collecting the things you love, you find beautiful, you receive as a gift from the most interesting people in the world.

Now find a location with such imagination, designed to impress, and give it 120 years to find its real purpose. Match that collection of memories, artifacts, love affairs and luck with architecture that inspires and surprises. Put this mixture in the care of a master showman and storyteller and you have The Darl. 

Discover a life filled with adventure, travel, curiosity, and opportunity, be inspired to create, to collect and to love every day. The Darl is a visual feast, the table is set with wonders and a taste for life that few have tried. We always ask our guests the same question. If you wanted to display what your life collected, what would that look like?

ABOUT DARL

Darl Schaaff

Amidst these remarkable experiences, I cultivated a passion for collecting art and antiques, a journey that continues to enrich my life.

Our host Darl Schaaff grew up in a regular middle-class family, three sisters and a brother. The family did all those things families do. Dad worked, Mom raised the kids and managed the house. The kids were involved in sports, school and life. Darl was studying classical ballet. Nothing about his childhood was typical. Performing from the age of 7, discovering the good and the bad parts of being sexually active during my youth.

After running away at 16, life was then and always has been a series of chance encounters with people who provided inspiration and the remarkable gift of life well lived. After successful careers in Theater production, performing, business, world travel and intense love affairs, the creation of The Darl was the obvious choice, the next great adventure, where all the other things could come together and become the one great story of life.

Darl’s travelling highlights

BUILDING HISTORY

The Carnegie Library

A brief history of the Cleveland landmark

1904
Designs begin for the THE FIRST CARNEGIE LIBRARY IN CLEVELAND.

The Broadway Library is one of the few ten-sided buildings in the world. It was designed by architect Charles Morris, who also designed the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. The building sits on a lot north of the intersection of East 55th Street and Broadway Avenue. The lot is narrow because the two streets intersect at a sharp angle. Because of this, the building has an entrance on each of these streets.

1906
Library Construction is completed at a cost of $58,000.

Cleveland's growing steel industry drew many immigrants at the turn of the 20th centuryThe Broadway Avenue district's literacy rate of 98.5% was greater than that of most other Americans. To meet strong community demand, the Broadway Branch Library branch was established. With the assistance of grants from Andrew Carnegie, fifteen branch libraries were built in Cleveland during the period from 1904 to 1920.

1987
the Broadway library closes its doors to the public.

The declining population of the neighborhood and decreased tax base led to the library's closure, and it was sold to the Cleveland Teachers Union as a meeting hall. The building is a contributing structure in the Broadway Avenue Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. During the 1990s, the building housed a restaurant, then the Village Chapel, a small church.

2024
The library finds new life as The darl center for the arts.

The building was renovated in 2023 and continues to undergo changes to meet its plans for the future. These plans inlcude developing an alternative space to explore, create and present original works of art. As well as encouraging and promoting artists, and providing community space to meet and share their experiences.

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The Darl Center for the Arts wouldn’t exist without the generosity of others.