Filed Under Public Housing

Outhwaite Homes

The Outhwaite Homes Estates, along with the Cedar Apartments and Lakeview Terrace, were the first three public housing projects to be completed in Cleveland. The three projects were also among the first in the nation to receive approval and funding from the federal government's newly created Public Works Administration in 1935.

Outhwaite's brick Art Deco buildings, grouped around grassy courtyards, originally contained 557 units. Expansion occurred only a few years after Outhwaite's 1937 opening as demand for public housing in Cleveland continued. The need for new housing was particularly great within the African American community, whose growing numbers were leading to overpopulation in the Cedar-Central neighborhood, the city's Black enclave. Initially, African Americans seeking public housing could only live at the Outhwaite Homes – in Cedar-Central – as officials sought to keep each housing project racially homogeneous.

In 1938, brothers Louis and Carl Stokes, who went on to noted political careers, moved to the Outhwaite Homes with their mother, Louise. Louis Stokes was a US Congressional Representative for nearly three decades and his brother Carl became the first African American mayor of Cleveland in 1967. Both brothers credited their time at Outhwaite with having a role in their success.

Video

The Promise of Public Housing Venerine Branham describes her memories of growing up at Outhwaite Homes. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Audio

The Night Carl Stokes Became Mayor Newscaster Leon Bibb describes the night that Carl Stokes became Mayor of Cleveland Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Outhwaite Pride Venerine Branham remembers Cleveland's Outhwaite Homes as a place of pride, support and high expectations Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Voting For Carl Stokes Carmel Whiting describes taking advantage of her first chance to vote in Cleveland during the election of Carl Stokes in 1967 Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Carl and Louis Stokes, ca. 1930s The future politicians moved to the Outhwaite Homes with their mother Louise in 1938. Source: © Western Reserve Historical Society. Used by permission
Louis Stokes with Parents Charles Stokes died in 1928, leaving his wife Louise to raise sons Carl and Louis by herself. Source: © Western Reserve Historical Society. Used by permission Date: 1925
Carl and Louis Stokes with Mother Carl and Louis Stokes post with their mother, Louise Stokes, around 1970. Louise moved with her sons to the Outhwaite Homes in 1938. Source: Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Aerial View of Outhwaite This aerial view of the Outhwaite Homes taken around 1940 shows clearly how early public housing projects were intended to eradicate urban density and create expansive open spaces. Source: © Western Reserve Historical Society. Used by permission Date: ca. 1940
Gardening Program at Outhwaite Kids of all ages work together to garden at the Outhwaite Homes. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1941
Kids at Outhwaite, 1952 Youngsters play on the lawn in front of an apartment building at Outhwaite Homes in 1952. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Opening Celebration, 1937 The Outhwaite Homes housing project opens with a celebration in 1937. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections

Location

2452 East 46th St, Cleveland, OH 44104

Metadata

“Outhwaite Homes,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 25, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/11.