Born in 1874 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to formerly enslaved parents who had migrated from eastern Kentucky after the Civil War, J. Walter Wills arrived in Cleveland in 1899 after graduating from Antioch College. He was among eighteen African American…

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…

In the early 20th century, many African Americans sought refuge in northern cities from the tyranny and violence of the Jim Crow South. For those participating in this Great Migration, a city such as Cleveland seemed a logical choice, with the…

The beginning of Cleveland's Playhouse Square is almost universally acknowledged to be February 5, 1921, when Loew's State Theater opened, showing the photo play (silent film) Polly with a Past. According to an article which appeared in the Plain…

The Campbell Block was for many years one of the most recognizable buildings in the Old Angle neighborhood on Cleveland's near west side. It was actually at one time two separate buildings located just east of Pearl (West 25th) Street,…

At the turn of the 20th century, Cleveland already had its own version of today’s Donald Trump. Oliver Mead Stafford may have come from money, but he also had a talent for making and raising it, while he ceaselessly strived to keep up with the…

Imagine leaving work in downtown Cleveland on a cold, early winter evening in 1887. Though that winter would go on record as one of the warmest in Cleveland’s history, and it was in the upper 60s just days before, November 29th was a bitterly cold…

Traveling through the naval blockade zones of World War I, trained lookouts aboard American merchant ships scanned the hypnotic landscape of rolling waves for evidence of the German U-boat menace.  While watchmen stared along the vast expanse of the…

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…

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."…

When John Barr opened Nighttown on February 5, 1965, it was a one-room bar. Constructed in 1920, the building had previously housed the Cedar Hill Diner, a deli, Sam’s Beauty Parlor and Stock's Candies. The Silhouette Lounge, which was run by…

Well into the 20th century, waves of immigrants swelled Cleveland's ranks. Among them was a Greek native by the name of Chris Mitchell. Rather than contenting himself with a factory job, however, Mitchell tried his hand in business.…

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…

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…

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.,…

Samuel H. Halle, who founded the Halle Bros. Co. department store with his brother, established his summer home far from the city in Kirtland, Ohio. Besides a summer house, the Halles added other extravagant amenities including a suspension bridge,…

Canadian-born Cleveland real estate developer Barton Roy Deming was smitten with the verdant beauty of a craggy knoll just south of the recently closed Euclid Golf Club, which stood near the intersection of what are now Norfolk and Derbyshire Roads.…

The history of the Taylor Building highlights the rise and fall of Cleveland's downtown department stores as well as the recent revitalization of Euclid Avenue. It was part of the wave of department store closings that signaled the beginning of…

The New Amsterdam Hotel was a seven-story brick and stone residential hotel built in 1901 by "Chewing Gum King" William J. White. It stood on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street until being razed in 1969 to build a…

Alexander Winton was a Scottish immigrant. In 1897, established the Cleveland-based Winton Motor Carriage Co. The company was a success, enabling Winton to build a large estate for himself and his family at the current location of Winton Place at…

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…

Forest Hill was once the sweeping estate of oil baron John D. Rockefeller. Originally from a small town near the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, Rockefeller purchased the land along Euclid Avenue as a commercial venture in 1873, opening (along…

The National Electric Lamp Association (NELA) formed in 1901 under Franklin Terry and Burton Tremaine. Much of NELA's light-bulb innovation stemmed from, and competed with, both Brush's arc light technology, and Thomas Edison's…

Oris and Mantis Van Sweringen, the brothers responsible for the construction of both the Union Terminal Complex and the Village of Shaker Heights, are two of the least remembered contributors to the development of Cleveland and its suburbs. The…

At their peak, Cleveland's downtown department stores anchored a lower Euclid Avenue that ranked among the largest retail districts in the United States and was compared to New York's stylish Fifth Avenue. Massive, multi-level stores…

Frank Sterle, an immigrant from Ljubljana, Slovenia, founded his Slovenian Country House in 1954. With a small building on East 55th Street, a few picnic tables, and only one waitress - who had to memorize the small menu since none had been printed…

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…

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