On the one hand, it was a bucolic, glass-walled, red-meat Mecca with unobstructed water and city views. On the other hand, both the Cuyahoga River and the City of Cleveland were increasingly dark, smelly and bereft of life. Moreover, travel to and…

Two things about iconic hostelries. First, many had larger-than-life owners (consider Mushy Wexler’s Theatrical or Herman Pirchner’s Alpine Village). Second, their repute often was magnified by the renown of their customers (politicians, rock stars,…

The famous (and infamous) Theatrical Grill was a mainstay on the equally famous (and infamous) “Short Vincent” Avenue off East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland. In fact, the histories of the restaurant and the street are largely comingled,…

The S. S. Canadiana was originally built in 1910 to ferry passengers from Buffalo, New York to the Crystal Beach Amusement Park in Crystal Beach, Ontario. It made the circuit up to six times a day for over 40 years. However, by the 1950s revenue…

As World War I raged across battlefields in Europe, Adele von Ohl Parker, nationally known daredevil rider, waged a campaign in the United States for the creation of a mounted Red Cross to be composed entirely of upper-class horsewomen. Conscious…

Beginning in 1893, and for nearly 100 years hence, Otto Moser’s was East 4th Street’s hippest hole in the wall—a cramped see-and-be-seen hangout featuring heavy food, boundless booze, and walls dripping with celebrity photos and theatrical…

Literally and figuratively, Captain Frank’s covered the waterfront. On any given day, visitors to the East 9th St. Pier restaurant might be felled by wilting humidity or blistering wind. Once inside, they could order anything from hake to steak.…

After the Great Migration a new nationalist movement arose in African American communities across the U.S., with Marcus Garvey as its spearhead. Founded by Garvey in 1914, the Universal Negro Improvement Movement (UNIA) stressed black pride,…

Icabod Flewellen founded the first independent African American museum in the United States. In his home at 8716 Harkness Avenue, Flewellen chartered the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society in 1953. His vision was the preservation and…

By the year 1956, the United States and the Soviet Union had been engaged with one another in the Cold War for almost a decade. Although there was no direct confrontation between the two world superpowers, the development of weapons and defense…

The Cinema Theater opened its doors to Euclid Avenue at East 17th Street on October 14, 1928. The movie house offered the “best of second-run pictures,” and audiences on that first night were shown “The Patent Leather Kid” starring Richard…

Parmatown was part of a national trend that emerged in the 1950s sparked by the father of shopping malls, Victor Gruen. Originally, like many malls of that time, Parmatown once looked more like it looks today as the new Shoppes at Parma before it…

It didn’t live long. Its street presence was minimal and its food unremarkable. Nonetheless, The Last Moving Picture Company deserves a place in the pantheon of Cleveland restaurants. Located at 1365 Euclid Avenue in Playhouse Square, “LMPC” was…

It is May 4, 1925. A great crowd of men, women, and children huddle together around the lanterns of their guides as they walk through a dark, stone hall beneath the earth. Somewhere under the arches, music begins to play as young men test their…

In 1923, the Air Service, a part of the U.S. Army, published and distributed a basic how-to manual on airport construction for America’s cities.  This publication, titled “Airways and Landing Fields,” contained information on the Model Airway…

National Basketball Association Hall of Fame inductee Larry Bird’s favorite place to play was one steeped in history, with hundreds of sporting events and concerts taking place within its confines each year. When Bird discusses his favorite place to…

Historic Bedford, located in downtown Bedford, Ohio, is a terrific example of the power of small-town preservation. Bedford, which has been around for more than 190 years, may be a small town, but it has connections to a big history. Indeed, much of…

"Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now; come on baby, do the locomotion!" Sound familiar? It’s the cover hit, "The Locomotion," by Grand Funk Railroad. The band recorded many hit records, as did many other bands during the 1960s and 1970s,…

The Van Dorn Iron Works Company was one of the leading companies in the iron industry and later plastic molding industry throughout the twentieth century. J. H. Van Dorn started his business in 1872 from the basement of his Akron home where he…

It’s a typical cold and drizzly evening in Cleveland, 1948. A young woman can be seen walking along the cracked asphalt. The buzzing light of the flickering neon sign ahead beckons her as the wafting sounds of snare drum riffs, husky baritone…

In the late nineteenth century, downtowns in the United States were the center of major commercial expansion and industrial growth. The construction of skyscrapers and tall business buildings was exploding and replacing old structures located in…

In the summer of 1975, Art MacDonald was 25. He had been kicked out of the Navy a few years before for his orientation. He had since partnered, and founded and continued to lead a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) congregation in spite of death…

On any given night people flock to Spice Kitchen on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood for great food, but diners might not realize where that food comes from prior to arriving at their table. Ben Bebenroth of Spice Kitchen…

When the North Presbyterian Church was dedicated on October 23, 1887, the congregation held its first two services with 800 people in the pews. According to a contemporary account, “The interior is very cheerful, being finished with light drab and…

You might say that the mammoth Union Trust Building on the northeast corner of East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue--which over the years has also been known as the Union Commerce Building, the Huntington Bank Building, the 925 Building and, since…

Established as a home for girls who came to Cleveland seeking employment more than a century ago, Martha House was considered to be a great blessing for many young Jewish single and self-supporting girls and young women from the ages of fourteen to…

The Cleveland Plain Dealer announced the grand re-opening of the Gordon Park Cleveland Aquarium in its September 5, 1954 edition, citing it as the “most public institution of its kind.” The unique aspect of the Aquarium’s development in Gordon Park…

Philip Cody, the grandfather of Buffalo Bill Cody, was one of Cleveland's pioneer settlers. A Massachusetts native, he lived much of his life in Toronto, Canada, where he became wealthy operating a tavern and speculating in real estate. In…

German-speaking immigrants have been settling in Cleveland for more than two centuries and remain one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups. Unbeknownst to many though, the end of World War II brought a wave of ethnic Germans from…

At the young age of fourteen in the predominantly Jewish town of Pryztyk, near Radom, Morry Malcmacher witnessed first-hand a violent pogrom fueled by his Polish neighbors. Three years later when the Germans invaded in 1939, Malcmacher found himself…