No mystery, just electricity


This was the scene as Cleveland’s “whale wall” featuring “Song of the Whales” was dedicated in 1997.

Social media, Facebook specifically, has been awash with posts about the “mysterious” building with the whales on the wall. This last weekend, we were tagged in two posts on the subject, so we thought we would try and put an end to the intrigue.

Seasoned Clevelanders are very familiar with the site and if you ask some about Cleveland Public Power – they instantly think WHALES!  The “Whale Wall” is on the side of CPP’s former generation plant and is visible to anyone who drives The Shoreway. The plant has not generated power since 1977. Today, Cleveland Public Power operates a transmission substation on the property.

So now you know what happens on this site, but you’re probably still scratching your head trying to figure out why whales would be on the side of a building next to a lake – right?

The “Whale Walls” project was launched by artist Robert Wyland in 1981 in an effort to increase appreciation and understanding for aquatic habitats and the life within. In 2008, Wyland’s goal of painting one hundred of these walls was reached and the Wyland Foundation reveled in the success stating, ““Our goal with these projects over the last three decades has been to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public. The health of our ocean and waterways are in jeopardy, not to mention the thousands of marine animals and plants that face extinction if we do nothing.”

Cleveland’s wall was dedicated in 1997 under the administration of former Mayor Michael R. White. Below are some interesting facts about the mural:

  • 75th mural
  • Titled “Song of the Whales”
  • Meaning behind the wall – to be eye opening and to remind us to preserve and protect all of our water habitats: the lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, etc.

What better location to send such a strong message than CPP’s substation, which is right next door to our greatest natural resource – Lake Erie.

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