Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Windsor Terraces on Chester Avenue

Commuting into CSU via Chester each morning, I pass an odd little street called Windsor Terrace. It was fascinating, then, to discover that it is the remnants of the old Hotel del Prado, which was made from the former Gertrude S. Ely mansion, both fronting on Euclid on the 4200 block. Developer Walter McClure created the del Prado as an apartment hotel in 1917, boasting 88 rooms and, significantly here, 21 "terraces," they surviving as these Windsor Terrace units. Windsor Avenue, whence their name, was subsumed into Chester Avenue when the latter was cut through in the 1940s, which also lopped off a few units on the north end. The hotel side of the property is just a parking lot today.

A History of the NE Corner of Euclid Avenue and East 30th Street

CSU Archivist Bill Becker recently showed me a photo he'd found in his collection, of Fenn College students playing intermural football somewhere. We could faintly see Fenn Tower in the background and after some digging, discovered the identify of the old mansion in the foreground. So that meant this game was being played on the NE corner of Euclid Avenue and East 30th St. Well, I had other photos about that vacant lot, as my great-uncle had once had a driving range there, the "Hole In One." That parcel had once held "Andrews' Folly," the mansion of Rockefeller partner Samuel Andrews, which was reportedly too expensive to maintain. Now that corner is the home of WEWS TV. Here are photos of all four incarnation, as Millionaires' Row became today's Euclid Corridor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Cleveland lost the aircraft industry

According to a Plain Dealer article in 1928, Glenn Martin announced that he was moving his Cleveland aircraft factory to Baltimore, to develop the salt water operations the Navy required after WWI. Some Cleveland men had taken a gamble on him during the war, which brought the factory here in the first place, but after the war a “prominent corporate lawyer” consulted by leading businessmen concluded that commercial air travel was impractical and that the Navy would never put money into military airplanes except during wars and wars were no longer possible. Let’s find that “expert,” dig him up from Lake View or wherever he’s buried and pack him off to Baltimore. Or the west coast, where this all ended up anyway. (Feb. 5th, front page)

Friday, August 30, 2013

I just learned of the death of Linda Cantara (Abbott), whom you may recall from the earliest days (2004) of the Greater Cleveland History Digital Library Consortium. It was her idea to apply for a grant to implement an OAI (Open Archives Initiative) metadata harvesting of our respective on-line local history collections and construction of a single point of access for them all. While we didn't get that grant, her idea lives on in the Ohio's Heritage Northeast project, a subset of her idea later enabled by OCLC's Multi-Site Server program for those of us running CONTENTdm. That's not wholly satisfactory -- ironically it omits Linda's employer at the time, CWRU, who doesn't use CONTENTdm -- and we're looking to see if the idea could be resurrected with a more inclusive OAI. Here's the information on Linda's passing. Her services are tomorrow (8/31/13) in Lexington, KY. http://surfky.com/index.php/obituaries/local/lexington/36582-lexington-ky-linda-cantara-abbott-60-lexington-wife-of-scot-abbott-passed-away-thursday-august-22-2013-at-her-residence-a-daughter-of-richard-and-dorothy-macalone-miller-she-was-a-member-of-christ-church-cathedral-and-a-metadata-librarian-at-

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bernstein's Elbow in Cleveland

Someone asked me about Bernstein's Elbow, which was apparently a street that took a little jog to avoid the tavern of an influential city councilman, Harry "Czar" Bernstein. I'd never heard of it, but a little research in the collections turned up a 1912 map and some photographs of a short segment of East 14th Street, between Woodland and Orange Avenues.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Early Settlers' Assn Recognizes Cleveland Memory

The Early Settlers' Association of the Western Reserve has recognized the Cleveland Memory Project with its annual Herrick Memorial Award, given to me as they only award it to individuals. At the ceremony on Public Square July 20th, celebrating the city's 216th birthday in front of the Moses Cleaveland statue, some of the people who make Cleveland Memory possible posed with two previous winners. On the left end is John Cimperman, President of the ESAWR and the winner in 1991, whereas on the right end is John Vacha, District Coordinator for History Day in Ohio's local district and the winner in 2002. Between them are Cleveland Memory folks from the Michael Schwartz Library at CSU. From left to right are Joanne Cornelius, Supervisor of the Digital Production Unit where many of the digital images originate; Carolyn Hufford, long-time volunteer who created and builds the "Feeding Cleveland: Urban Agriculture" site in Cleveland Memory; Library Director Dr. Glenda Thornton; Me; Lauren Felder, the Web Specialist who designs the pages in Cleveland Memory; and Lynn Bycko, the Special Collections Associate who oversees the collections whence much of the content for Cleveland Memory originates. More...


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Drawing Card: A New Baseball Novel of Cleveland

Information just received from the author on an interesting new novel:

"Drawing Card: A Baseball Novel, just published by McFarland, is a Cleveland-based book written by an ex-Clevelander who was once a student at Cleveland State and maintains connections there"

"In writing this book I was inspired by learning from research that in the early part of the 20th century at least two female ballplayers were hired by minor league clubs, bit after signing contracts, they had their contracts cancelled by Commissioner Landis specifically because of their gender. These two women reacted to their rejection politely, as women were supposed to, and pursued other athletic careers. In my novel, a woman whose baseball contract is cancelled by Landis vows revenge."

In setting my story in Cleveland, I was able to use the neighborhood in which I grew up and many Cleveland landmarks as background. Then, in order to show the main character's violent nature, I used violent events in Sicilian history, beginning with the Olympic era, when Sicily was a Greek colony. This enabled me to demonstrate that throughout history many women enjoyed athletics but had little opportunity to engage in them."

"Today 's women ballplayers face the same discriminatory attitudes that those in the past had to fight against. Just reading one book, like Pam Postema's autobiography (she was an umpire), demonstrates what women in baseball face right now."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Where Did the Mounds Go??

As can be seen from this photo, David E. Davis put great emphasis on the three mounds -- represented here with blue waves -- in designing his "Bridge to Knowledge II" sculpture, currently on display at the Sculpture Center compound. 
In 1984, the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library commissioned the original version of "Bridge to Knowledge," seen here:
Claudia Mesch said this about the mounds in the "Bridge to Knowledge" series:

"Davis pursued his interest in the three-dimensional volume of the triangle in his commission for the Beachwood Public Library, Bridge to Knowledge, of 1984.... He also suggests the origin of civilization on a more local level: the mounds of Bridge cite the effigy mounds of the Ohio River Valley, such as the Alligator Mound or the Octagon.  These sites are thought  to have been created by the ancient Hopewell Culture, the earliest residents of Ohio.  Bridge to Knowledge therefore unties the origins of civilization in language and in Ohio and indicates that these origins are preserved as texts in the repository which is the library for future generations." (Claudia Mesch, "A Discipline for Modern Urban Space: David E. Davis's Public Sculptures Since 1975," in David E. Davis: Artist and Humanist: Sculpture 1967 - 2002, (2003), p. 26.)

So it was with great surprise recently that I drove by the CCPL/Beachwood and saw this:

The three mounds, representing the Ohio element of ancient knowledge, had been filled in and a hedge planted around the top!  These mounds were the third of the sculpture Davis was sufficiently concerned with to accentuate with the blue element in the subsequent version.   Here it is today from the rear:

One of the problems with installing an outdoor sculpture is one never knows what people unassociated with the original project, such as physical plant folks, will decide to do years later.

A William McVey Sculpture in Pepper Pike

I was working with Jonathan Herr this morning, on a map of all the William McVey sculptures in Cleveland, but then had to run out to Pepper Pike to pick up a collection.  On the corner of Pepper Ridge Road and S.O.M. Center, I noticed this piece.  Inquiring about it, I was surprised to discover that it was by McVey.  It's untitled, best I can determine, and was vandalized a few years ago, but restored by the neighbors.  We'll add it to the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory and the map of McVey's works.  Quite a coincidence!

Slight change of direction for my blog

Because I am actively involved with conserving and documenting outdoor sculpture in Cleveland and with theater and dance for the Michael Schwartz Library, I'm going to consider posting things from time to time on the arts in Cleveland, from a historian's and librarian's viewpoint.  For example, we have upgraded the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory database and are now going to start correcting and expanding its coverage.  (And any comments and opinions I make here are of course solely mine, just as I've maintained all along was the case about CSU, too.)

New Mural at the Beck Center

According to CoolCleveland.com, a new 51-foot mural by Natasha Turovsky now graces a wall in front of the Beck Center:  http://www.coolcleveland.com/blog/2012/05/video-beck-center-installs-record-breaking-mural/