Filed Under Education

Boulevard Elementary School

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District has had four different schools at Lee Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard.

After breaking off from the East Cleveland school system, the district first built Lee Road School, the original Heights High. Eventually the structure would become the School Board building. Built in 1902, with an addition in 1905, it was home to the first Heights High graduating class in 1907: three girls and two boys. In the 1960s it was demolished for a track and field complex.

When Lee Road School opened, Cleveland Heights was on the cusp of tremendous growth and its civic leaders planned accordingly with a series of buildings over the next 20 years. Between 1910 and 1920, Cleveland Heights's population more than quintupled to 15,236. Population continued to swell to more than 50,000 by 1930. The scale of this growth is shown by the 1,077 homes built in 1919 alone.

The next building on the site, just south of the Lee Road School, was the first dedicated Cleveland Heights High School. This building, designed by the renowned firm of Walker and Weeks, was built in 1915. In 1926, it became Roosevelt Junior High School after a new high school was constructed at Cedar and Lee Roads.

On the opposite side of the site, facing east along Euclid Heights Boulevard, Boulevard Elementary School opened in 1924. Designed by Warner, McCornack & Mitchell, it was an expressive building (cost to build: $267,379), with minarets above its ornate stone-lined portico.

In the 1970s, Boulevard Elementary and Roosevelt Junior High were demolished and a more modern-looking elementary school was built on the site.

These four different buildings chronicle the growth of Cleveland Heights, as well as changes in educational architecture. While Roosevelt was demure compared to other Walker and Weeks projects, Boulevard Elementary clearly evoked the exuberant and expressive design aesthetic that characterized the "golden age" of school design.

Audio

'A Meeting Place' Former Boulevard Elementary student Lisa Hunt describes growing up near the school. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Memorable Teachers Lisa Hunt recalls some of her favorite teachers from her time at Boulevard Elementary School during the late 1970s. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Front Facade Shortly After Completion Unlike most buildings in the Cleveland Heights school system, Boulevard did not have an addition built on to it, except for a gymnasium. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Association
Two Schools, One Campus This map highlights the location of Roosevelt Junior High School and Boulevard Elementary School. The old Lee Road School building appears immediately to the north of Roosevelt on the map. Over time the five homes to the north and south of the site would be added to the campus. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation.
Early View of Lee Road School The original Roxboro Elementary School had a very similar look but lacked the prominent Richardsonian Romanesque arch over the front door. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation
Front Entrance of Boulevard Elementary As this photo, taken shortly after Boulevard's opening, shows, the building was notable for its ornamentation. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation.
Roosevelt School While most of Walker & Weeks designs are known for their architectural merit and details, Roosevelt Junior High was fairly utilitarian. Its large size was crucial until additions were made to Roxboro Junior High and Wiley Junior High opened in the 1950s. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation
Roosevelt School Class 9A, 1948-49 Class 9A from the 1948-49 school year. To accommodate the increase in enrollments, the District would have a January and June class, which functioned as if they were completely separate classes, even though the students were the same age. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation.
Roosevelt School Students Students from Roosevelt showing their school spirit at a performance at Severance Hall. Image Courtesy of the CHHS Alumni Foundation.
Northeast Corner of Lee Rd. and Euclid Heights Blvd., ca. 1928 Boulevard and Roosevelt Schools stood adjacent to the northern edge of a long commercial corridor along Lee Road. This drug store on the corner of Lee and Euclid Heights, like the schools nearby, invited nearby residents to walk for many of their daily needs. Since the early 2000s, a block of condominiums has occupied this site. Source: City of Cleveland Heights
Third grade class, circa 1937 Boulevard Elementary School third grade class, circa 1937. Courtesy of the family of Olga Liska. Source: Anne Grandi Date: 1937

Location

1749 Lee Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Metadata

Eric Silverman, “Boulevard Elementary School,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 26, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/480.