Conflict

The social history of urban development is defined by conflict. Individuals and groups with competing interests commonly vied with each other to create a world that best reflected their beliefs and desires. These competing interests, often a reflection of the inequalities between disparate groups, found expression through public discourse, various forms of protest, and occasional eruptions of violence.

Cleveland was no exception. Since the late 19th century, the city's densely populated landscape was socially stratified and racially segregated. Within these tight quarters, inhabitants of the urban center were confronted with opposing worldviews and unfamiliar cultures. One need only look at a newspaper from any moment in Cleveland's history to find examples of conflict arising between ethnic groups, political parties, or social classes. These conflicts were often critical in creating public awareness of dissenting opinions, helping to change popular perceptions on social or political issues, and shedding light on inequalities.

Examining conflict provides an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of Cleveland's past. It allows us to trace the transformation of Cleveland society as its residents renegotiated the status quo, pointing to opposing viewpoints that might have otherwise disappeared from the historical record.

May Day Riot

In 1919, the United States was experiencing its first "Red Scare." Following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, public sentiment against Socialists - who maintained a strong presence in Cleveland during this era - was high. Many…

The McCart Street Gang

Many Cleveland moviegoers have seen Martin Scorsese's 2002 film "Gangs of New York," a story about the vicious street gangs that populated New York's notorious Five Points District around the time of the U.S. Civil War. Few…

Short Vincent

Vincent Avenue, known in its heyday as "Short Vincent," spans only a single city block between East 6th and East 9th streets, but it was a hub of Cleveland nightlife in the early to mid-twentieth century. Located behind the lavish Hollenden…

Hough

Cleveland's Hough neighborhood takes its name from Oliver and Eliza Hough, who settled there in 1799. Before the Civil War, the area was mainly used as farmland. After being incorporated into the City of Cleveland in 1873, Hough became home to…

Shaker Lakes & The Freeway Fight

The Shaker Lakes are man-made bodies of water created by the North Union Shaker Community in the mid-nineteenth century to power a series of mills. When the Shakers left and their lands became part of the suburb of Shaker Heights, the lakes remained,…

Euclid Beach Park

In 1901, Dudley S. Humphrey became the owner of Euclid Beach amusement park, vowing to make the park a respectable, family friendly place for recreation. He had previously run a popcorn stand at the park, though the prevalence of alcohol, freak…

Columbus Street Bridge

Anyone who has lived in Cleveland for a while knows that a certain rivalry exists between its east and west sides, separated as they are by the Cuyahoga River. What most people don't realize is just how far back in history the rivalry goes, or…

"Black Jack" McGinty

He wasn't called "Black Jack" when, in 1912, he married Helen Mulgrew from West 67th Street and the two newly weds moved into a house at 1377 West 69th Street. In 1912, he was Tommy McGinty, and he was one of Cleveland's best…

The Mounds Club

The story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer read like a script from one of Bruce Willis' Die Hard movies. In the early morning hours of September 29, 1947, a dozen masked commandos armed with submachine guns and referring to each other by numbers…

The Battle at St. Ladislas

On Sunday, August 2, 1891, the congregation of Hungarian (Magyar) and Slovak parishioners gathered in St. Ladislas Roman Catholic Church on the southeast side of Cleveland for mass. Father John Martvon, the church's Slovak pastor, began the…