Ohio City: Franklin Circle to the Market

Tour curated by: The Cleveland Historical Team

This tour presents glimpses of the eclectic residential and commercial corridor of a onetime separate rival city across the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland.

Ohio City was founded on the west bank of the Cuyahoga in 1818. Located just across the river was the city of Cleveland, founded just two decades earlier. The two cities' competition for commercial supremacy culminated in the Battle of the Bridge, an actual armed conflict on the Columbus Avenue Bridge which occurred in 1836. While in that battle the Ohio City forces were arguably the victors, Cleveland eventually became the clear victor in the struggle for commercial supremacy. In 1854 the voters of Ohio City opted for annexation to their larger neighbor to the east.

Once it was absorbed into Cleveland, Ohio City dissolved into the larger amorphous district commonly called the Near West Side. It swelled with the ranks of European immigrants and eventually Puerto Rican and Appalachian migrants--all drawn to the city's industrial jobs. By the late 1960s, the area attracted new interest as part of a national trend toward rediscovering and restoring what were increasingly viewed as historically significant central-city neighborhoods. Thus, alongside Columbus's German Village and Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine, the "Ohio City" name was resurrected as part of efforts to reverse the flow outward to the suburbs. Today Ohio City continues to be a site of development that borrows from its long, rich heritage.

This tour begins in the Franklin Circle area of Ohio City (now a historic residential neighborhood of Cleveland), strolls down streets featuring the quaint nineteenth century houses of the historic district, and proceeds to the food and brewing district surrounding the century-old West Side Market before ending at historic St. John's Church.

Locations for Tour

The Italian Villa style house at 2905 Franklin Boulevard in Ohio City was built in 1874 by a businessman who, according to one local historian, zealously sought to avoid involvement in government--even though his extended family was deeply involved…

Franklin Circle, the centerpiece of one of Cleveland's rare radial street designs, was surveyed in 1836--the same year in which Ohio City became a city and Cleveland's chief commercial competitor across the Cuyahoga River. The land for the…

The origins of the founding of Franklin Circle Christian Church, located at 1688 Fulton Road, lie in America's Second Great Awakening, an early nineteenth century movement which was characterized by a resurgence in religious enthusiasm and a…

On October 3, 1869, one of football's most iconic figures was born in Ohio City. Today he is best known as the namesake of the most prestigious award in college football, the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the…

Cleveland's Catholic schoolchildren began attending parochial schools in their neighborhoods during the 1850s, opting to avoid the public school system which many saw as being anti-Catholic. These first Catholic schools were merely grammar…

The nine-story, $1.5 million United Bank Building opened in 1925 as the tallest and largest commercial building on Cleveland's west side. It was one of the last of a series of classical bank buildings constructed in Cleveland during the 1910s…

In 1840, the west side of Cleveland belonged to the separate municipality of Ohio City. Two prominent businessmen and former mayors of Ohio City donated land at Lorain Avenue and Pearl Street (later West 25th Street) to the city for the express…

Some of the names on the stalls in the produce arcade at the West Side Market -- Calabrese, DeCaro -- have been there for generations, while others -- most notably those of Middle Eastern descent -- reflect a more recent crop of fruit and vegetable…

The Great Lakes Brewing Company opened in Ohio City in 1988, kick-starting an industry in Cleveland that a few years earlier had appeared to be finished. In 1984, the city's only remaining brewery, C. Schmidt & Sons, closed its doors,…

Irish immigrants flocked to Cleveland after the potato famine in 1848. Along the Cuyahoga River in Ohio City grew a concentrated Irish neighborhood known as Irishtown Bend. It was so named because of the Irish shantytown located along one of the…

Founded in 1896, Lutheran Hospital is one of the oldest institutions in the Franklin Circle neighborhood. It is also the largest. Its campus extends from Franklin Boulevard on the north to Jay Avenue on the south; and from West 25th Street on 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…
comments powered by Disqus