Glenville High School

Glenville High School opened in 1892 on Parkwood Drive in Cleveland's east side village of Glenville. The student body grew so rapidly that even a series of early additions soon proved incapable of holding it, so a new Glenville High School building opened in 1904. Two years later, after Cleveland's annexation of the village, Glenville joined the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Following years of migration from the Woodland neighborhood to Glenville in the early twentieth century, the red-brick two-story school reached a 90 percent Jewish student body. As the neighborhood grew and African Americans began migrating to Glenville for jobs and housing, the demographic changed to 90 percent African American by 1950. Additions were constructed in 1911, 1922, and 1939 to serve the growing enrollment, but the school found itself overcrowded by the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1963, the school was well over its 1,608-student capacity with enrollment exceeding 1,900 students. To alleviate the problem, some Glenville residents were sent to nearby John Hay High School in Fairfax.

In 1963, Cleveland citizens voted to allow the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to receive a $55 million bond, from which $3.5 million went to build a new Glenville High School, since the present school at the time was old, small, and outdated (with its old science laboratories and equipment). The new Glenville High School opened for the new school year of 1966, located at its present day location of 650 East 113th Street. While the old school had one-way hallways, shared classrooms, and wooden floors, the spacious new school had large lecture halls, updated equipment, and a large gymnasium. Glenville High School had striking similarities to John F. Kennedy High School in the Lee-Harvard neighborhood. J.F.K. was built a year earlier, and as some Glenville alumni noted, the only difference from Glenville High School was that the blueprint was flipped, where the location of J.F.K. cafeteria was on the opposite side in Glenville High School. Glenville High School maintained a rivalry with J.F.K. High School in sports, as well as neighboring Collinwood High School. Glenville at the time was known for its track-and-field team, the Glenville Tarblooders. A "tarblooder" was a robot man, named after the men who "bled tar" from working on the railroads in the early 1900s.

Glenville High School has had notable alumni, whether it be athletes from Glenville's successful football team, politicians such as former Cleveland mayor Michael R. White and Howard Metzenbaum, actors like Steve Harvey and Ron O'Neal of Superfly fame, and the creators of Superman. In addition to its alumni, the school prides itself on its athletics, especially the track and football teams.



On the Origin of the Tarblooder Name
Clara Nelson explains what a "tarblooder" means to her. The "tarblooder" is the mascot of Glenville High School sports teams. Ms. Nelson describes that the tarblooder is a name that is often used to describe Glenville High School...
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Comparing Glenville & JFK High Schools
Doug Patterson talks about how the blueprints of Glenville High School, built in 1964, and John F. Kennedy High School, built in 1966, had extremely similar layouts. The only differing aspect was that certain rooms, such as the gym, were built on the...
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You Didn't Want to Be Late!
Doug Patterson explains the tardy system at Glenville High School in the 1960s. ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
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The A and B System
Leo Martin explains what the A & B system was in Glenville High School. Classes were separated into an "A" cohort and a "B" cohort. The "A" cohort would start in fall and the "B" cohort would start in the...
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Glenville High School "Rec"
Lilian Pyles remembers "Rec" at Glenville High School, which consisted of three periods. During the periods, you could eat lunch, watch a movie in the auditorium, or dance in the gymnasium. ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History...
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650 E 113th St, Cleveland, OH 44108