East Cleveland Public Library's local history collectionsOn the way home from giving a presentation on campus this morning, I stopped by the East Cleveland Public Library on a whim. I'd been meaning to visit, ever since reading in the Plain Dealer that the late Icabod Flewellen (founder of the African American Museum) had donated a collection of African American materials to the library. Eric Linderman, a member of their staff and their representative on our local history consortium, has been processing the collection and I was lucky enough to find him in on a Saturday.
The library is on Euclid Avenue, housed in a lovely old building with a barrel-vault ceiling over the main reading room and with two front rooms sporting original fireplaces. Neither of them are in use now -- one has even been converted into an aquarium for the children's room -- but the building's architecture, with its wood paneling, bespeaks the grace of East Cleveland's past. Eric showed me a series of vintage photographs of the building in earlier decades and it was, as still is, really quite charming. There has been at least one addition to the building, to the east, which fits in well enough and there is currently a major addition being constructed to the west side of the building. It will house a new auditorium, I understand, and is due to open sometime this spring.
Of particular interest to me were their historic photographs of the buildings and neighborhoods of East Cleveland, as they included a picture of Carlyon Avenue, showing a house my grandparents lived in before it was torn down for the expansion of the Nickel Plate Road railroad tracks in the 1920s.