The frequently recited story of the Elysium has been expertly told for decades. The traditional story is one of Cleveland lore, heavily laden with adjectives that conjure images of firsts, greatness, and business-genius. Missing from the Elysium…

Soaring above a surfeit of drugstores, convenient marts and fast-food eateries a bell tower stands. The tower looms above the modern conveniences on Euclid Avenue, as testament to a different time. The tower once belonged to the parish of St. Agnes,…

To answer the need of the expanding Catholic population, Bishop Ignatius F. Horstmann, the bishop of Cleveland, appointed Reverend Thomas F. Mahon as pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on June 26, 1898. In 1905, construction finished on the grand…

On April 6, 1953, Dr. John Bruere, pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, mentioned that a "certain colored woman has been attending our services frequently of late." The appearance of an African American woman in the church's congregation "raised in…

It was, in the first place, road and bridge improvements that created the park--almost as an afterthought. For much of the first two decades of the twentieth century, the city of Cleveland had planned and then constructed Bulkley Boulevard (today,…

Boxing in the Old Angle, an historic Irish neighborhood located on Cleveland's near west side, has deep roots, reaching back at least as far as the year 1894 when Brother Salpicious of the Christian Brothers of the La Salle Order founded the La…

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, making him the first African American to hold the office. President Obama was a Democratic candidate, which is not surprising. Because of the Democratic policies of the New Deal and…

During the Great Depression, Cleveland struggled like many other cities. It went from being the second largest industrial center in the country, trailing only Detroit, to experiencing an exodus of citizens. Cleveland lost close to half of its jobs…

Chester K. Gillespie, who moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland as a young boy with his family, often said, "I do not take cases I don't believe in." Gillespie, an African American attorney who would be subjected to numerous incidents of racial…

Before Hot Sauce Williams and Beckham's B&M Bar-B-Que ruled the east side, Scatter's Barbecue was Glenville's home for ribs, shoulder sandwiches, fries soaked in Scatter's notable barbecue sauce. Herman "Scatter" Stephens, born in Birmingham, Alabama…

From about 1915 to 1935, Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood became a major area of settlement for second-generation Jewish immigrants. By 1936, more than 70 percent of the total neighborhood population was Jewish. New immigrants and relocated…

The integration of Cleveland suburbs was a long and controversial process. However, with the influence of the Cuyahoga Plan, many African American families were welcomed into predominantly white neighborhoods. In Bay Village, a black family was…

The Heights Community Congress was a fair housing organization which formed in Cleveland Heights in 1972 in response to racial discrimination practices in the Cleveland real estate and lending markets. After East Cleveland endured a dramatic upheaval…

Shiny windows, clean floors and new furniture. All are part of a new office and a new opportunity. This is what African American entrepreneur Isaac Haggins imagined for his realty business. Haggins, whose new office in Cleveland Heights in 1968…

Robert P. Madison was a young and eager man who returned from the Second World War in 1946 looking forward to a new beginning. Passionate about architecture since childhood, Madison knocked on the door of the Western Reserve University's School of…

"Urban renewal is black removal." So said 24th Ward Councilman Leo Jackson, a fiery African American politician who advocated for the advancement of his ward. This short but poignant quote summarized his feelings about urban renewal projects in…

The Jewish Community Federation collaborated with the Cleveland Board of Education to organize the Glenville Summer Tutoring Program in the summer of 1970. This program was designed to assist Glenville High School students, as the Call and Post…

Beginning in 1907, the Majestic Hotel served as Cleveland's primary African American hotel, a role it played until integration eased the need for hotels catering primarily to a black clientele. Before it was widely known as the Majestic Hotel, the…

From 1949 to 1959, the Chatterbox Musical Bar and Grill, located at 5123 Woodland Avenue, was a place to be and be seen. Owned by John (Chin) Ballard, the colorful spot featured soft lighting, swank decorations, and a glowing atmosphere. Ballard and…

In its heyday in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the corner of Woodland and East 55th was, in the words of bluesman George Hendricks, "like another city--it was like New York." Before Leo's Casino had its storied run as a Motown stronghold on Euclid…

"Antioch Church In Area Where Evictions Ordered: The Federal Court last Tuesday issued orders for the nearly 300 families living in the area bounded by E. 22nd St., Central and Cedar Ave. and E. 30th, to move by the 15th of October. While the judge…

Fairfax neighborhood's namesake, Florence Bundy Fairfax, was a decorated civil servant with a remarkable story. A graduate of Mather College for Women at Western Reserve University with a degree in chemistry, Fairfax excelled as a swimmer for the…

For a generation in the 1940s-60s, Pla-Mor Roller Rink provided a much-needed recreational venue for all ages on the eastern end of the Cedar-Central (Fairfax) neighborhood. Through the mid-1960s, Pla-Mor was the only black-owned skating rink in…

In the summer of 1981, the choirs of St. John's and St. James A.M.E. churches, two historic African American congregations on Cleveland's east side, joined together in the octagonal sanctuary at the inaugural service of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E.…

On August 4, 1946, almost one year after the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan and the end of World War ll, a picket line appeared in front of Cleveland's Euclid Beach amusement park for the first time in its history. Protesting the park's…

Sara Lucy Bagby was born in the early 1840s in Virginia. While visiting Richmond John Goshorn purchased Lucy on January 16, 1852 from a slave trader named Robert Alois for $600. After employing Lucy himself for five years, on November 8, 1857,…

The Friendly Inn Social Settlement was founded in 1874 to provide a liquor-free gathering place for the residents of poor neighborhoods. Originally called the "Temperance Coffee House and Lunchroom," it eventually evolved into one of the city's first…

Carl B. Stokes is widely known as the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city. Yet, Stokes, elected to office in 1967, was neither the first black mayor in Ohio nor even in the Cleveland area. Nearly four decades earlier, a small community…

In 1975, Shiloh Baptist Church held its 10th annual International Tea. Dressed in costumes representative of different nations, congregation members had arranged a buffet of ethnic food in the building's basement; upstairs, Reverend Jesse Louis…

The construction of city-run public bathhouses 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…