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Cleveland Historical

All Stories: 487

On the northwest corner of Walton Avenue and Fulton Road there is a little red brick house that is one of the oldest houses in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. It is also all that is left of Henry Hoffman's dream to build a great brewery in…

They were probably hoping for a better result. The Czech parishioners, that is. Especially those who were old enough to remember what had happened three decades earlier. Back in 1874, after they had completed construction of their first church,…

In his book "How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built," Stewart Brand explores the relationship between people and the structures they create. Referring to Winston Churchill's statement that "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our…

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Glenville High School opened in 1904 on 810 Parkwood Drive in Cleveland's east side community of Glenville, and became part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in 1906. Following years of migration from the Woodland neighborhood to…

Subjects: Education

The years 1856 to 1865 were tough ones for all Americans, as the country reeled toward and then fought a bloody civil war over slavery. But they were especially tough years for Maria Quarles Barstow. In 1856, her husband, William A. Barstow, the…

Subjects: Biography

You might not notice this house as you drive south on West 44th Street, first crossing the bridge over I-90 and then approaching the bridge over the Big Four railroad tracks near Train Avenue. But just before you get to that second bridge, take a…

He was caught by chance. In early December 1945, Cleveland police officers had picked up and questioned two 14-year old girls on an unrelated matter. The girls mentioned a 12-year old boy in the neighborhood who had boasted about setting fires. …

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Subjects: Events, Crime

The story of the failed Lake Erie International Jetport is one that generated a flurry of political interest but ultimately succumbed to the grandeur of its own ambition. Mayor Ralph Locher first introduced the idea of a new airport for Cleveland in…

As the clock neared midnight on Halloween in 1897, a band of boys armed with hatchets and axes descended on the intersection of Scranton and Clark Avenue. In the spirit of the holiday, the weapon-toting youths began their vicious attack on the…

Subjects: Events, Crime

The Cleveland Clinic was founded on February 5, 1921. Frank E. Bunts, George W. Crile, and William E. Lower volunteered to serve their country as field surgeons and physicians in the Medical Corps of the United States Army during World War I. The…

Subjects: Healthcare

Did Dr. Sam Sheppard kill his wife, or didn't he? This ominous question occupied the minds of Clevelanders for decades, and eludes them to this day. Dr. Samuel Sheppard was one of the most popular doctors at Bay View Hospital, yet he quickly became…

Subjects: Crime

The Euclid Beach rocket car is hard to miss. You might hear it coming first: the band organ music blaring from its speakers or the delighted shrieks coming from its passengers. Then you'll see it, the biggest thing on the road: a shining silver…

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Subjects: Transportation

Laughing Sal evokes a number of different reactions from those who encounter her. Her larger than life presence, mechanical gyrations, and raucous cackle cause delight in some and fear in others. Some deep thinkers have even speculated about the…

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Subjects: Entertainment

When John Barr opened Nighttown on February 5, 1965, it was a one-room bar. In earlier years the building, constructed in 1923, housed the Cedar Hill Diner, Stock's Candies, a deli, and a hair salon. By 1960, the Silhouette Lounge, which was run by…

Modern technology has been changing the shape of entertainment on Coventry Road for quite some time. Bars on the street can now show virtually any sporting event from around the world live and in high-definition, while DJs tote laptops filled with…

Subjects: Entrepreneurs

Not much remains of Euclid Beach amusement park at its former location in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. Sure, nostalgia seekers know that Laughing Sal often makes appearances at local events, the rocket cars are regularly seen driving around…

Subjects: Entertainment

In ninety years, three prominent Cleveland families have called 2540 Fairmount Boulevard home. The story of this house mirrors that of Euclid Golf, an early planned suburban development that benefited from the eastward spread of Cleveland's wealthy…

The Cuyahoga County Courthouse was being built on Lakeside Avenue in 1912. As it was being built, no use had been determined for the small plot of land which lay to the west. For many years different ideas were tossed around. One was for a probate…

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Subjects: Parks, Public Art

Founded in 1919, Hotz Café, located at the corner of Starkweather Avenue and West 10th Street in the Tremont neighborhood, is believed to be Cleveland's oldest tavern. The current owner, John Hotz, is the grandson of the founder, John Hotz, Sr., a…

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The Marjorie Rosenbaum Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport celebrates the "Golden Age of Aviation" when Cleveland hosted the National Air Races eleven times between 1929-1949. It was during this era that Cleveland was referred to as the 'Indianapolis…

Subjects: Events, Aviation

Covered in large farms in the mid-19th century, the northern end of Cleveland Heights was sparsely populated. The twenty school age-children all attended a simple one-room school house starting in the 1840s. This schoolhouse continued to serve the…

Subjects: Suburbs, Education

Trees have always been planted as symbolic gestures. Greater Cleveland - and Cleveland Heights particularly - is an excellent example. In fact, this was one of the very first regions to coordinate a living memorial to soldiers who gave their lives in…

Subjects: Wartime

In 1909, Francis K. Glidden, the son of the founder and president of Glidden Paint Co., built a dream home for his family in the University Circle district. The family chose to build in the Wade Park Allotment, a residential development near the…

Subjects: Architecture

Even before the Colonial Theater opened in 1903, vaudeville had emerged in America as a professionalized and more respected version of minstrel and burlesque shows. By the time the first act hit the Colonial Theater's stage, variety shows had grown…

Subjects: Entertainment

Near the northern edge of Coventry Village, surrounded by vintage, hip clothing stores, stands one of Cleveland Heights' oldest businesses. Operated by Tom and Andy Gathy, a father-son team, Heights Hardware is in some ways timeless: oak cabinets,…

Subjects: Businesses

On August 16, 1979, bulldozers leveled three homes on Rock Court in order to make room for a parking lot and expansion of the Pick-N-Pay supermarket. Possibly in a last act of defiance by those who had waged a campaign to save the buildings, someone…

Stand just to the left of the P.E.A.C.E. Arch where Coventry Road intersects with Euclid Heights Boulevard. Then look east toward the slope with the playground on the left and that’s where the "real" Coventry School stood for nearly 60 years. This…

Subjects: Education

Nearing its eightieth anniversary, Diamond's Flowers is the second oldest business in Coventry Village following Heights Hardware, and the oldest to originate on the street. Although many years have passed since the store opened, customers who visit…

Subjects: Entrepreneurs

Celebrating its 20th anniversary on September 22, 2012, the Grog Shop is a fixture of both the Coventry business district and the local independent music scene. The club is also a reminder of Coventry's re-birth in the 1990s. Twenty years prior to…

The opening of the Coventryard Mall in 1977 signaled a new era in the development of the Cleveland Heights business district. Controversy over the actions and intentions of real estate developer Lewis A. Zipkin sparked a public discussion concerning…

As the well-dressed young adults sit on the patio of Panini's Bar and Grill, sipping their drinks and watching the game on TV, few probably realize that their trendy warm-weather hangout was once the site of a slaughterhouse. From 1946 until 1992,…

Subjects: Food, Religion

Walking down Coventry in the mid-1970s, one would have looked up to see a large yellow sign on a wood-paneled storefront. The sign said "Tommy's" - a soda fountain and luncheonette. Inside the building, all of the restaurant's 27 seats would most…

Subjects: Food, Entrepreneurs

On April Fools Day 1991, people began flooding into the doors of Big Fun - a toy store located in the heart of Coventry Village where childhood memories of play are reignited. Overwhelmed by the store's colorful decorations, circus-like atmosphere,…

Subjects: Entrepreneurs

Operated by brothers Maxwell and Roman Gruber between 1947 and 1959, Gruber's Restaurant was one of the most popular establishment for fine dining in Northeast Ohio and acted as a social center for the affluent residential community of Shaker…

Subjects: Businesses, Food

The Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio is the current home of the Anshe Chesed congregation of more than1500 families. The temple, bearing the name of the street upon which it resides, follows the tradition of Cleveland's original Jewish…

Located along the shore of Lake Erie, where Villa Angela- St. Joseph High School now stands, was once the largest hyperbaric chamber ever built. The Cunningham Sanitarium was an institution that focused on clean-air breathing treatment. It was built…

Subjects: Healthcare

Sheltered in the quiet of Bratenahl Village, the Gwinn Mansion sits on the shoreline overlooking Lake Erie. It was home for William Gwinn Mather, the "first citizen" of Cleveland and one of the many wealthy industrialists who inhabited Bratenahl at…

Both historic and modern farmers in the Cuyahoga Valley faced significant daily choices about what to grow or raise on their properties each year. Early nineteenth-century farmers had few livestock, and mostly for personal and family consumption.…

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park contains over 1500 wetlands, which remain important sanctuaries of biodiversity and habitats for endangered species. Also important for the local environment, these wetlands store nutrients and reduce erosion and…

Subjects: Environment

The Ohio & Erie Canal, which was completed in 1827, allowed farmers in the Cuyahoga Valley to easily ship grain and other products to the growing markets in Cleveland and Akron. Water spilling over the canal's locks also provided a new source of…

Subjects: Industry

Today, Lemko Hall is well-known as the location of the wedding reception in the 1978 film "The Deer Hunter." Not many people know the meaning of the word Lemko, however. Lemko describes a Slavic ethnic group whose homeland (Lemkovyna) is located in…

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Upon entering the Tower Press building from Superior Avenue, one can not help but notice "The H. Black Co." engraved in tile over its doors. The Black family, enterprising Hungarian Jewish immigrants, decided to produce ready-to-wear clothing based…

Subjects: Industry

On November 24, 1862, in what is now Tremont, Ohio Governor David Tod ascended a large hill to be greeted by a fifteen gun salute by the 20th Ohio Independent Battery. The governor had visited to see the progress his greeters, as well as thousands of…

Subjects: Wartime

On October 30, 1990, the skyline of Cleveland acted as the backdrop for a symbolic transfer of power and prestige; the frame of Society Corp.'s new headquarters had surpassed the Terminal Tower in height. The moment was a reflection of larger changes…

Subjects: Architecture

Walking along Medina's Public Square you will encounter some of the most interesting shops in the county: Dan's Dogs, Whitey's Army Navy, Ormandy's Trains and Toys, Studio Knit, Hershey's Barber Shop, All Fired Up Pottery, and the Dress Bridal…

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During the 19th Century, the American Hotel was a location for stage coach travelers to stop as they traveled on the Wooster Pike between Cleveland and Columbus. There they had lodging and a hot meal. They could also get fresh horses to continue on…

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In the early years of Medina's history, government officials conducted legal affairs in homes, churches, or general stores. The need and demand for a county courthouse to handle land deeds, records, and court proceedings arose as the population grew…

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An orphan, Harrison Grey Blake -- better known as H.G. Blake around the Medina community -- founded the old Phoenix Bank in Medina, Ohio in 1845. Blake initially bought a general store and added an iron cage, or safe, to the back room, thus creating…

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Subjects: Economy

One of the major attractions during the first year of the Great Lakes Exposition was the Marine Theater, a performance which took place in Lake Erie and showcased swimming and diving acts. The following year, Broadway producer and showman Billy Rose…

Subjects: Entertainment

The 36 year old building with the boarded up windows and doors that stands today at East 79th Street and Superior Avenue is the second incarnation of Cleveland's famous East High School. East High School was coined a "20th-century schoolhouse" when…

Subjects: Education

At sunrise in the North Royalton Cemetery, a visitor may sense a feeling of isolation. One of Greater Cleveland's busiest roads runs by, but it is near silent at this time of day. Familiar names appear -- township founders for whom streets are named…

Subjects: Suburbs

The intersections of Bennett, Royalton, and Ridge Roads have always formed the civic center of North Royalton, even before there was a North Royalton. These roads made up the center of Royalton Township (established in 1818) of the Western Reserve,…

Subjects: Suburbs

Water, something we all take for granted today, was often the key resource needed to make a new settlement thrive. This was certainly the case for Kent, located in northern Portage County, about 40 miles southeast of Cleveland. The area around…

Memories of a signature blue-and-white, string-tied cake box filled with a streusel coffee cake, hot cross buns, sticky pecan rolls, coconut chocolate bars or an Easter "daffodil" cake evoke pure food nostalgia for anyone from northeast Ohio who…

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Subjects: Food, Entrepreneurs

One morning in 1906, in the small kitchen of Dora and Joseph Schwebel in Campbell, Ohio (near Youngstown), the couple was working together to mix, knead and bake the family's famous bread. Known for its outstanding taste, unmatched freshness and…

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Subjects: Food, Entrepreneurs

In the late 1940s, the Ford Motor Company decided to expand its engine production facilities. Ford intended to build more manufacturing plants outside of the Detroit area, with this project calling for a new engine plant and foundry. Five states and…

In 1820, $777 bought Mars Wagar 111 acres of what would become prime real estate in present-day Lakewood, Ohio. When the educated pioneer staked his claim in East Rockport (as Lakewood was then known), he set aside a portion of this land to be used…

Subjects: Suburbs

In the golden era of Cleveland's amusement parks, White City Amusement Park was one of many built to compete with the most successful of them all, Euclid Beach Park. It was located a mile to the west of Euclid Beach Park and was even served by the…

Subjects: Entertainment

Puritas Springs Park was the first amusement park on the west side of Cleveland. It stood next to a deep ravine overlooking the Rocky River valley. This created a wooded picturesque setting. While being unique because of its location, the amusement…

Subjects: Entertainment

Memphis Kiddie Park opened on May 28, 1952. The park was one of several designed and operated by Stuart Wintner. Wintner decided to open his amusement parks after reading articles on the industry in Billboard magazine. Encouraged by the success of…

Subjects: Entertainment

Luna Park opened in 1905 as the second in an international chain of amusement parks (all known as Luna Park) opened by Frederick Ingersoll, owner of the Ingersoll Construction Company. Ingersoll's company got its start building vending machines,…

Subjects: Entertainment

Is Amherst really the "Sandstone Center of the World?" In fact, it is, but it should share its title with South Amherst. Both Amherst and South Amherst have a vast amount of sandstone quarries. Not surprisingly, Amherst sandstone feels rough and…

While no actual Civil War battles took place in Northeast Ohio, the role that its men played in the war was still a significant one. The 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which is better know as the 7th OVI, was a heroic group of men from all over…

Subjects: Wartime

In 1890, you would have encountered a large circular building called the Cyclorama at the northeast corner of Euclid Avenue and Erie Street (now East 9th). In the nineteenth century, cycloramas were popular mass entertainment in the era before film.…

Subjects: Entertainment

As you look at the vast asphalt parking lot stretching from the Winking Lizard to Giant Eagle, it is hard to believe that the area in front of you was once one of the most exciting places in Lakewood. National tennis tournaments, softball world…

Subjects: Recreation, Sports

If you face the Lakewood Plaza strip mall on the north side of Detroit Avenue today, you are looking at the site where the family farmhouse of Mrs. Virginia (Jennie) Harron Andrews once stood. It may be hard to imagine this home and the 80-acre…

Subjects: Agriculture, Food

As you approach the Rose Hill Museum, formerly the homestead of Joseph and Lydia Cahoon, reach out and rub the exterior walls. Feel the texture of the wood and try to mentally strip the layers upon layers of paint that have been added since its…

Subjects: Museums

By the early 1920s, Cleveland's suburbs were growing rapidly. This increased the traffic in and out of downtown. In the suburbs of Lakewood and Rocky River, this increase necessitated the building of another bridge over the Rocky River in addition to…

Subjects: Bridges, Suburbs

On December 18, 1960, Kundtz Castle was seen by the public for the last time. In 1960 the Eggleston Development Co. paid $110,000 for the property, and in 1961 the company tore the mansion down to build 16 custom homes and Kirtland Lane. Built by…

In 1891 the National Carbon Company (now GrafTech) occupied the corner of Madison Avenue and West 117th Street at the Cleveland-Lakewood border. It manufactured batteries and developed the carbon filtered gas mask. The company employed recent…

While gangsters, bootleggers and gamblers were among the cast of interesting characters drawn to the bustling Gordon Square business district during its heyday, the historic Four Corners intersection also has ties to one of the most infamous…

Subjects: Crime

Lakewood's Fourth of July celebration in 1918 revolved around festivities for the dedication of the newly-acquired Lakewood Park. A parade of cars decked out in patriotic colors terminated at the park where thousands gathered to watch a ceremonial…

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Subjects: Parks

First Presbyterian Church, commonly referred to as the Old Stone Church, is located on the northwest quadrant of Cleveland's Public Square at the corner of Ontario and Rockwell Streets. Possibly Cleveland's best locally-know religious building, Old…

Subjects: Religion

In 1873, Isaac Leisy and his two brothers (all originally from Bavaria in Germany) left their small brewery in rural Iowa and came to Cleveland after purchasing Frederick Haltnorth's brewery on Vega Avenue for $120,000. Haltnorth (who was also the…

Subjects: Food, Industry

The construction of city-run public bath houses in Cleveland began around the turn of the twentieth-century as municipal leaders became concerned about health and sanitation in the city's teeming immigrant neighborhoods. Many of Cleveland's poorest…

The demolition of Cleveland Municipal Stadium officially began in November 1996 and was complete by the following spring. In the fall of 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to move the city's football team to Baltimore. Angry fans began…

Subjects: Sports, Architecture

Located at the intersection of W. 65th Street and Detroit Avenue, Gordon Square is the historic commercial district of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. As residential construction and industry grew along and away from Detroit Avenue following the…

Originally named the Yugoslav Cultural Garden, the Slovenian Garden is located near the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and East Boulevard, adjacent to the Polish Garden. Over 100,000 people paraded in support of the Yugoslav Garden's dedication…

Located at the corner of St. Clair and East Boulevard, the Polish Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1934 with the planting of an elm tree from Poland. Originally designed as a sunken, hexagonal court, the Polish Garden was designed with organic…

The Hebrew Garden was designed by T. Ashburton Tripp. It was the first garden to be built after the Shakespeare Garden and signaled the formal beginning of the Cultural Gardens. Dedicated in 1926, it is a monument to the Zionist movement, as well as…

The African American Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1977 following years of effort by local community leaders such as Booker T. Tall. Since then the African American Cultural Garden's construction has lain mostly dormant as the delegation develops…

Dedicated in 2005, the Indian Cultural Garden was the first to be added to the chain of gardens since 1985, when the Chinese Cultural Garden was inaugurated. Individuals from all regions of India have immigrated to Cleveland with more coming from…

The Hungarian Cultural Garden began with the dedication of a bas-relief to composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) on the site in 1934; it was completed and formally dedicated in 1938. The Garden is constructed on two levels along the upper boulevard, and…

Zion United Church of Christ (UCC) traces its history back to 1867 when forty German families living in Tremont received permission from the pastor of Ohio City's West Side Church to form a new congregation in their own neighborhood. The United…

Subjects: Religion

Throughout the first two decades of the 20th-century a small number of Arabs immigrated to Cleveland. Most came from present-day Syria and Lebanon and settled in either Tremont or the Haymarket district. In 1911, Arab immigrants established the…

Subjects: Religion

Organized in 1859, Pilgrim Congregational Church served the Tremont community's early Protestant elite under a variety of names. The congregation built a brick church on West 14th Street in the late 1860s. Eventually, Pilgrim sold this building to…

Subjects: Religion

In 2010, the nearly 100-year-old Tremont School was saved from the wrecking ball. In February of that year, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eugene Sanders decided against a plan that would have closed the elementary school (and several…

Lake View Cemetery opened in 1869. Representative of the garden cemetery movement, Lake View Cemetery is part of a trend which came to the US from Europe during the nineteenth century. Proponents of the garden (or rural) cemetery sought to move…

Many Cleveland moviegoers have seen Martin Scorsese's 2002 film "Gangs of New York," a story about the vicious street gangs that populated New York's notorious Five Points District around the time of the U.S. Civil War. Few Clevelanders, however,…

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In 1840, the west side of Cleveland belonged to the separate municipality of Ohio City. Two prominent businessmen and former mayors of Ohio City donated land at Lorain Avenue and Pearl Street (later West 25th Street) to the city for the express…

Subjects: Food, Architecture

The population of Cleveland rose dramatically during the first two decades of the twentieth century as European immigrants, African Americans, and others came to find work in the city's burgeoning industries. As in other American industrial cities…

University Hospitals of Cleveland is a world-class, not-for-profit medical institution with close ties to Case Western Reserve University. Its roots go back to 1866, with the formation of the Cleveland City Hospital Association, a charitable society…

Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church traces its history back to 1831, when the earliest Methodist gatherings in Cleveland were held at Doan's Corners. The church was christened Epworth-Euclid in 1919 with the merger between two historic…

Subjects: Religion

Founded in 1867, Western Reserve Historical Society is the oldest cultural institution in Northeast Ohio, the region's largest American history research center, and one of the leading genealogical research centers in the nation. Additionally, WRHS…

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Subjects: Museums, Education

Euclid Avenue's massive Hippodrome Theater opened in 1907 with seating for 3,548 and the world's second largest stage. It hosted performances by the most famous performers of the early twentieth-century, including W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, and Al…

Founded by Alexander "Pierre" Basset, Pierre's Ice Cream first opened in 1932 on East 82nd Street and Euclid Avenue. At first, Pierre's sold just three flavors of ice cream - French Vanilla, Swiss Chocolate, and Strawberry. The growing company moved…

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Subjects: Food, Entrepreneurs

The construction of the massive, 70,000 seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 1930s spelled the end for a much older stadium: League Park. Constructed in 1891 east of downtown in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood, League Park - despite renovations in…

Subjects: Sports

Established in 1824, Dunham Tavern was originally the home of the Massachusetts-born couple Rufus and Jane Pratt. The Dunhams came to the Cleveland area in 1819 after acquiring farmland. They lived in a log cabin until the main home was built in…

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