Tia Ewing towers 708 feet over Cleveland - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Tia Ewing towers 708 feet over Cleveland

Tia Ewing climbs more than 700 feet to walk a mile in someone's shoes. (Source: WOIO) Tia Ewing climbs more than 700 feet to walk a mile in someone's shoes. (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

It sounds like a daunting task, climbing 708 feet. That’s the height of Terminal Tower, the most iconic building in downtown Cleveland.

At one time the building was the fourth-highest skyscraper in the world. It held the title in Ohio as the tallest, but then Key Tower knocked it down in the ratings when it was erected in 1991.

It’s massive, 52 stories and back in 1930 when Terminal Tower was complete it came with a hefty price tag too: $179 million dollars. It’s known to illuminate the city in an array of colors, a task controlled through an app on a smartphone.

More than 500 LEDs are on the outside and inside of the tower. So with that history in mind, when I was approached to make the climb I didn’t think twice. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

However, this task was more than climbing to the top of Terminal Tower -- it was a mission for me to do Kevin Turner’s job. A job he didn’t even see coming.

“I took this job and didn’t know changing the American Flag would be part of my job duties,” said Kevin Turner who worked as building maintenance for three years.

Once you arrive on the top floor, you aren’t at your final destination yet; there’s a ladder you must climb to reach a very narrow yellow platform.

On that platform is where you stand to change the flag. There’s no harness, no protection, nothing to keep you from tumbling over. The platform is about three feet high and if the flag gets stuck you must maneuver around the platform to figure it out.

“The first time ever I changed the flag it got stuck,” said Turner.

The U.S. flag is only changed two or three weeks at a time, it’s 10 by 15 feet, and cost $1,800 each. It wasn’t easy to change and even though it’s a beautiful look at the city of Cleveland, it’s intimidating when you’re so high up.

I didn’t tell my mom I was on the job at Terminal Tower and Kevin Turner says he still hasn’t officially broken the news to his mother either.

“My mom was nervous, she doesn’t know how high up it is,” he said.

The general public can only go to the observation deck, which is enclosed. I was willing to stop there, but walking in Kevin’s shoes for the day I was afforded the chance to see Cleveland from an angle I may never see again.

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