Romanian Cultural Garden

Not in the original chain of gardens, the Romanian Cultural Garden was inaugurated in 1967. This wide expanse of green space, surrounded by evergreens and maples, is home to a life-size bronze statue of twentieth century musician and composer George Enescu.

Romanians coming to Cleveland in the late 1800s and before World War I were from the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Transylvania and Bucovina. By the beginning of World War I there were about 12,000 ethnic Romanians living in Cleveland. The largest settlements were on the west side between W. 45th and W. 65th Streets immediately north and south of Detroit Avenue (where they gradually replaced the Irish and German settlements), and in the eastern part of Lakewood. A sizable group also settled in the E. 65th St. and St. Clair Avenue area and in the Buckeye Rd. section of Collinwood.

After World War I, when Transylvania and Bucovina became part of Romania, nearly half of the immigrant population returned to their native land. The distinct Romanian neighborhoods vanished along with them, except for the one on the west side which managed to maintain an ethnic and cultural Romanian character. The emigration back to Romania meant that by the 1920s, only about 6,000 Romanians remained in Cleveland. In 1940, this number had dropped to around 4,000. Beginning c. 1948, however, Romanian emigration was again replaced by immigration as about 2,000 Romanians arrived in Cleveland. Around this time, the compact west side community started to break up and move farther west to the suburbs. Only a few old-time Romanians remained in the original neighborhood in the 1980s.

Although the Greater Cleveland Romanian community has lost its physical cohesiveness, the influx of post-WWII immigrants and the strong position of the Orthodox church has helped maintain a variety of traditional programs. It has also helped build a Transylvanian-style church with a museum, library and other facilities.

Images

Audio

Priorities
Dr. George Dobriah describes the problem, both community-wide and within his own family, of getting younger generations of Romanian Clevelanders actively involved in the Romanian Cultural Garden.
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George Enescu
This is an excerpt from George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 Op. 11. Found at International Music Score Library Project
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