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,…

Carved out of the Brooklyn Township territory, West Cleveland was incorporated as a village in 1871. The new suburb consisted of 1,500 acres of land and was bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the east by the Cleveland corporation line near Gordon…

One of Cleveland's oldest and most enduring legends is that famed Sauk war chief Black Hawk was born in Cleveland and that the grave of his mother Summer Rain is located on the grounds of Riverside Cemetery. The story dates back to 1833 when,…

The Cleveland Leader dubbed the west side neighborhood near Herman Avenue and West 74th Street "Kilbane Town," in honor of world featherweight boxing champion Johnny Kilbane. In March 1912, Kilbane Town was the end point of one of the longest and…

Where a grocery store and parking lot now stand on the south side of Detroit Avenue just west of West 58th Street there once stood a mansion so large that neighbors called it "Castle Needham" after the man who built it. The castle was said to be…

He wasn't called "Black Jack" when, in 1912, he married Helen Mulgrew from West 67th Street and the two newly weds moved into a house at 1377 West 69th Street. In 1912, he was Tommy McGinty, and he was one of Cleveland's best featherweight…

The story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer read like a script from one of Bruce Willis' Die Hard movies. In the early morning hours of September 29, 1947, a dozen masked commandos armed with submachine guns and referring to each other by numbers…

The Zitiello Bank, located at 6810 Herman Avenue, was the earliest known ethnic bank opened in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. The bank was founded by Joseph Zitiello, an immigrant from the Campania region of Italy who came to Cleveland in…

Situated at 690 Lakeview Road in Cleveland's historic Glenville neighborhood, the E. A. Schellentrager House, known to the Schellentrager family as "Evergreen," was built in 1893. It was designed by one of Cleveland's most prolific late…

The yellow pastel colored, Italianate style house on the corner of W. 73rd Street and Herman Avenue, which in recent years has been restored to its nineteenth century grandeur, was built by a member of the family that pioneered Cleveland's brass…

The Oliver Alger House was built by one of the village of West Cleveland's most popular mayors. A successful commission agent in Cleveland before becoming a gentleman farmer, Oliver Alger served as mayor of West Cleveland for six years--longer than…

The High Victorian Eclectic style stone house located on the north side of Franklin Boulevard across from West 44th Street is still known to many Clevelanders as "Franklin Castle." The home has been a witness to much of the history of Cleveland's…

Franklin Circle, the centerpiece of one of Cleveland's rare radial street designs, was surveyed in 1836--the same year in which Ohio City became a city and Cleveland's chief commercial competitor across the Cuyahoga River. The land for the Circle,…

The Italian Villa style house at 2905 Franklin Boulevard in Ohio City was built in 1874 by a businessman who, according to one local historian, zealously sought to avoid involvement in government--even though his extended family was deeply involved…

The origins of the founding of Franklin Circle Christian Church, located at 1688 Fulton Road, lie in America's Second Great Awakening, an early nineteenth century movement which was characterized by a resurgence in religious enthusiasm and a…

The house at 7200 Detroit Avenue,which today is the Craciun-Berry Funeral Home, had an unusual beginning and an unusual end for the family which first owned and occupied it. Legend has it that, in 1888, the house was given as a wedding present to…

Founded in 1896, Lutheran Hospital is one of the oldest institutions in the Franklin Circle neighborhood. It is also the largest. Its campus extends from Franklin Boulevard on the north to Jay Avenue on the south; and from West 25th Street on the…

In 1886, 69-year old Abraham Teachout, a fierce supporter of the Prohibition movement gave a speech at the party's annual Cuyahoga County convention which he ended with the words: "The saloons must go but I am afraid I will not see the day."…

School children walking past the northwest corner of Franklin Boulevard and West 65th Street will someday remember it as where the Rite Aid neighborhood drugstore was located. Adults in the neighborhood remember that it used to be where the old…

Many people don't know the difference between a Christian Scientist and a Scientologist--other than perhaps to hazard a guess that Tom Cruise is a member of one or the other of these two religious groups. Clevelanders do, however, know a beautifully…

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. …

You're driving south on West 65th street in your Ford Model T, sometimes called a Tin Lizzie. You pass St. Colman Roman Catholic Church on your left, then the Cleveland Trust bank building on the corner of Lorain Avenue, and just a little later…

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…

In 1895, Hugo Chotek, a Czech-American journalist who lived in Cleveland, wrote a history of the city's early Bohemian (Czech) community. To learn about the origins of the community's west side settlement, south of the Walworth Run, he interviewed…

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…

It's 1840 and you're traveling from Detroit to Buffalo on business. The fastest route would be by boat, straight across Lake Erie from west to east, but it's November and this shallowest of the Great Lakes is notoriously treacherous this time of the…

If your ancestor was a Czech or Italian immigrant who lived on the west side of Cleveland, there's a good chance he or she worked at the Joseph & Feiss Company, or at least had a relative or close friend who worked there. A Cleveland business since…

In the early 1940s, before he was even old enough to cross the street, young Joe Bachna gazed at Ceska Sin Sokol Hall from his father's photography studio at 4203 Clark Avenue. The three and one-half story building located down and across the…

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…

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,…