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…

When James and Fannie Horwitz experienced the unspeakable heartbreak of losing a child--their 2-year-old son Aaron in January 1865, they undoubtedly found some consolation in burying him in the new Jewish cemetery out in the countryside, west of the…

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,…

The vacant lot at 8127 Superior Avenue N.E. sits quietly in the midst of an East Side neighborhood that has seen a great deal of upheaval and civic unrest. In the late sixties, the lot was the home of the Afro Set Black Nationalist Party for Self…

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…

Many would argue that the heart of Cleveland's historic Polish community lies at St. Stanislaus Church and in Slavic Village on the southeast side of the city. But there is so much more to Cleveland's Polish community than this one church and that…

It was not the first Sidaway Bridge. That one–the longest wooden bridge in Cleveland history–was a massive trestle bridge that stretched 675 feet across and 80 feet above the Kingsbury Run, connecting the Jackowo Polish neighborhood on the…

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…

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…

According to legend, Prince Vlad III, the fifteenth century Wallachian prince who inspired Bram Stoker to create Dracula, once cruelly impaled a thousand Saxons on stakes in his bloody quest to conquer neighboring Transylvania. While Vlad the…

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,…

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…

Originally founded as Trinity Church in Old Brooklyn in 1816, Trinity remained a west side congregation until 1826, when church leaders decided to relocate to the east side of the Cuyahoga River near Public Square. At that time a number of families…

Arriving in 1807, Cleveland pioneer Andrew Cozad settled in the area east of the city that is known today as University Circle, later establishing what proved to be a successful commercial brick-making business. He and his wife Sally had five…

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…

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.…