The Churches of Tremont

Nearly two dozen churches are hallowed evidence of Tremont’s deep ethnic roots. The area—originally part of Brooklyn Township—was settled by New England Puritans. These people built homes along Jennings Avenue (now West 14th Street) and founded Pilgrim Congregational Church. In the 19th Century, the neighborhood became home to a large number of Irish, who founded Saint Augustine Parish, and Germans, who built Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church and Zion United Church of Christ. In the early 20th century, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and the Middle East—including Greeks, Poles, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Syrians—settled in Tremont. These immigrants built more houses of worship, such as Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Ghost Church (Rusyn), Saints Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church (Antioch refers to parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria). Later in the century, older structures were repurposed to serve growing populations such as African-American and Hispanic. These houses of worship include Scranton Road Bible Church, Spanish Assembly of God Church, and Saint Andrew Kim Korean Catholic Church. Still more structures are in various stages of secular repurposing, such as Our Lady of Mercy (now an office complex) and Zion, where traditional worship services will be held within the confines of a new community center and rock-climbing gym.

This tour covers the majority of Tremont and includes most of its churches—from West 7th Street to the east, Columbus Road to the west, Kenilworth Avenue to the north and Clark Avenue to the south. A lot of walking to be sure; but also a degree of “holy density” that may be unparalleled in the United States.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Like all houses of worship, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church’s spiritual focus was skyward when it opened its doors in 1919. However, the structure’s earthly perspective was quite different from today. Early on, Annunciation Church looked out…

Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church

Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church opened in Tremont in 1910 to serve Rusin (also spelled Rusyn) immigrants from Central Europe. Rusins (not to be confused with Russians) are a Slavic ethnic group with a distinct language and culture. They hailed…

Calvary Pentacostal Church

Like so many Tremont structures, Calvary Pentacostal Church has led many lives. In fact, the roots on its site at the corner of West 14th Street and Starkweather Avenue run about as deep as any church in the neighborhood. In 1865, when the area was…

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church

History looms large in the neighborhood surrounding Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church. Immediately to the north, Interstate 90 is a noisy reminder of Tremont’s 1960s evisceration. Across Scranton Road from the church, a cluster of Victorian-era…

Our Lady of Mercy Church

According to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, when the new Our Lady of Mercy church opened in October 1949, its Slovak-American parishioners called it "The Little Cathedral on the South Side." The exterior of the small church does,…

Pilgrim Church

A church by any other name . . . Organized in 1854 as a Sunday school, Pilgrim Congregational Church served the Tremont community's early Protestant elite under a variety of monikers: University Heights Congregational in the 1860s, Heights…

St. Augustine Church

St. Augustine Parish was formed in 1860 as part of Ohio City's St. Patrick's Parish—one of the oldest Catholic parishes in the city. Other Tremont churches formed from St. Patrick's include Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (1871)…

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church

Drawn more by economic opportunity than oppression, Arabs from numerous countries in western Asia and northern Africa began arriving in Cleveland in the late 19th Century. And although much of the Arab world is Muslim, these early immigrants tended…

St. John Cantius Catholic Church

In the 1880s, Polish immigrants began settling in Tremont. Many of these new arrivals found work in the booming steel mills just down the hill in Cleveland’s industrial Flats. They frequently referred to their new neighborhood as Kantowo, a village…

St. Michael Archangel Catholic Church

Not long ago, the elders of St. Michael Archangel Roman Catholic Church removed a copper cross from atop the structure’s massive 232-foot steeple. Expecting little more than the need for a thorough cleaning, they were surprised to find that the…

St. Theodosius Cathedral

St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral opened in 1913 and cost approximately $70,000 to construct. Most of the land-acquisition and building funds came from parishioners. However, it is believed that Russia's Czar Nicholas II–the one whose…

St. Wendelin Catholic Church

On July 29, 2012—nine months shy of its 110th birthday—St. Wendelin Catholic Church opened its doors. The Romanesque structure on Columbus Road had been closed since 2010, when Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon shuttered 50 area churches, citing…

Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church

Saints Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church on West 7th Street and College Avenue projects a somewhat ghostly vibe—an impression that this handsome building and nearby parish house were more vibrant in some bygone era. The church’s stained…

Zion United Church of Christ

German families began moving into Tremont during the 1860s—one of the first ethnic groups (along with the Irish) to settle in Tremont. Some Germans relocated from older communities on the city's near west side (particularly Ohio City). Others…