Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did Cleveland have a Fleet Street?

By which I mean, were there places in Cleveland that designated where a particular industry was situated, or a historic function took place, or are just intriguing? In this case, the city's newspaper row was more on Rockwell, but we never called it so.

Looking more generally, there have been places that have funky names that weren't the formal designation, but perhaps became so when the city later created planning districts and development zones. The Flats comes immediately to mind, but there's also ethnic neighborhood names like Little Italy, ritzy place-names like Millionaire's Row, and modified street names like Short Vincent.

Cleveland isn't old enough to have mysterious designations from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, like Boston or New York (much less even earlier ones in London), but am I missing any historic place-names that aren't already hard-wired into the fabric and consciousness of the city, like Ohio City, but still have some ancient resonances?

Anything come to mind? I'd like Cleveland Memory to have something useful on each of these historic place-names we identify.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

The Hidden City Revealed: A Walking Tour (1988)

When I first returned to Cleveland, in 1989, I became aware of a recent project called "The Hidden City Revealed," which seemed to be an archeological study of the Downtown and Flats districts of Cleveland. I just came across the map/brochure for it and see that it was more of a walking tour of early sites in Cleveland, created in 1988 by the Committee for Public Art, with the participation of David S. Brose, Robert A. Wheeler and a host of co-sponsors. Here's how the brochure described the project:

"The Hidden City Revealed is a unique walking tour which directs you to artifacts and historic sites that were an important part of the growth of Cleveland's first neighborhoods. This walking tour is not one of signs and words, names, dates and places, nor does it identify empty space where something once existed. Instead you will encounter actual physical evidence of the past and be able to see how history relates to the present day life of the city.

The twenty sites on this tour span a time period from Moses Cleaveland's first survey of what was to become the City of Cleveland, to the radical changes imposed upon the cityscape by the dominance of the automobile. Identification and selection of the Hidden City Revealed sites was made by a team of collaborators that included historians, archeologists and designers. Criteria for selection sites included their relative historical and archeological importance , and the visual and/or structural characteristics which give them special interest.

These sites are identified by temporary markers. Over the next two years, teams of artists and designers will be commissioned to design, construct and install permanent markers intended to me more than information plaques. They will also be public works of art. Some of the larger sties will be developed as public open spaces; smaller sites will receive a graphic marker.

If you follow the sites in the order in which they are listed you will traverse the entire district. It is not, however, necessary to follow the sites in sequential order, you may simply encounter them as part of any walk through the District. This list of twenty sites is not meant to be inclusive, but it is hoped that those which have been listed will make you more award of the historic nature of the neighborhood and its many other artifacts of interest."

Like many such historical research projects and exhibits, once it was over it vanished. I don't know if the promised public markers ever materialized, nor whether any still exist, but I'm checking. This tour literature could be recycled and made into a nice web site.

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Cleveland's 25 Biggest Moments: 1972-1997

On the occasion of it's 25th anniversary, the December, 1997, issue of Cleveland Magazine featured an article titled "The 25 Biggest Moments of the Last 25 Years." Here they are, 12 years later. How do they stand up?
1. "The Death of a Great Lake: Too Much Life 'Kills' Lake Erie." (Joe Mackall, 1972)
2. "Playhouse Square Dodges the Wrecking Ball." (William Troy, Spring, 1972)
3. "Mrs. Perk's Bowling Night." (Julie A. Evans, December 13, 1972)
4. "The Mob's Last Stand." (Ned Whelan, October, 1977)
5. "The Blizzard of '78. "(Richard J. Osborn, January 26, 1978)
6. "Busing: Battisti's Disasterous Legacy." (Michael D. Roberts, September, 1978)
7. "A Midnight Duel: Cleveland Defaults." (William Troy, December 15, 1978)
8. "The Shah of Iran Visits the Cleveland Clinic: The City's Greatest Myth." (James M. Wood, October 1979)
9. "Voinovich's Hard Hat Era Begins." (Mary Ann Sharkey, November 12, 1979)
10. "Jackie Presser, Changing of the Guard." (James Neff, July 21, 1981)
11. "The Halle's Tradition Ends." (Lynn Thompson, January 29, 1982)
12. "Stop the Presses (For the Very Last Time)." (Dick Feagler, June 17, 1982)
13. "The Sohio Building Rises, and Becomes the Promise at Public Square." (Shari M. Sweeney, December, 1982)
14. "Dorothy Fuldheim's Final Interview." (Patricia Mote, July 27, 1984)
15. "The Jacobs Brothers Save the Tribe." (Edward J. Walsh, July 2, 1986)
16. "The Drive and The Fumble." (Doug Clarke, January 11, 1987 and January 17, 1988)
17. "George Forbes Lashes Out." (Michael D. Roberts, December 1987)
18. "One Man, One Building: Changing the Flats Forever." [The Powerhouse] (Jeff Hagan, May 23, 1988)
19. "Tower City Center: From Civic Symbol to Glittering Mall." (March 29, 1990)
20. "Time Magazine States the Obvious." [Cleveland Orchestra] (Frank Bentayou, January 10, 1994)
21. "A Gift for Generations: Game Five of the 1995 World Series." (Michael Grant Jaffe, October 26, 1995
22. "Cleveland Rocks - Finally." [Rock Hall] (Lynne Thompson, September 1, 1995)
23. "Model Kidnaps the Browns." (Richard J. Osborne, November 6, 1995)
24. "Cleveland Says Goodbye to Carl Stokes." (Mary Ann Sharkey, April 8, 1996)
25. "Cleveland Stadium's Final Days." (Mark Winegardner, November 25, 1996)

I have my doubts about the importance of the Powerhouse, looking back, but what do you think of this list?

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