BELLAIRE-PURITAS is a southwest-Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA). It is bordered by I-480 on the south, I-71 on the west, Memphis Ave. and Giles Rd. on the east, and Bellaire Rd. and Puritas Ave. on the north (Bellaire becomes Puritas roughly at W. 139th St.).
The area that became Bellaire-Puritas initially was part of ROCKPORT TOWNSHIP (organized 1819) and remained a highly rural, thinly-populated region throughout most of the 1800s. Farms and greenhouse operations predominated. At the end of the 19th Century, the neighborhood’s northeast corner became part of the LINNDALE development and was used as a train-switching center. In 1900 the suburb of West Park was carved out of Rockport Twp. WEST PARK was annexed to the city of Cleveland in 1923 and divided into four separate neighborhoods: Jefferson, KAMM'S CORNERS, Puritas-Longmead and Riverside. The Puritas-Longmead SPA became known as Bellaire-Puritas around 2010, several years after Longmead School (after which the neighborhood had been partly named) was demolished.
Industrial development preceded residential growth throughout most of Bellaire-Longmead/Puritas. To this day, the area remains one of Cleveland’s most manufacturing-intensive neighborhoods, due largely to the presence of several industrial parks, adjacency to I-71 and I-480, and access to the Norfolk-Southern and CSX rail lines (see RAILROADS). What retail exists in the area can be found primarily along Puritas Ave. between W. 156th St. and Bellaire Rd., and on W. 130th St. between Bellaire Rd. and Sprecher Ave.
Most of Bellaire-Puritas’ housing dates to the years immediately following WW II. Homes initially were built in the neighborhood’s eastern section, with development moving west. A majority of dwellings are single family, although some multi-family structures have been built along Puritas and Bellaire. After reach a high of 21,000 in 1960, the area’s population has fallen somewhat, standing at almost 16,000 at the cusp of 2020. Roughly 50% of residents are white, 25% AFRICAN AMERICAN and 15% Hispanic (see HISPANIC COMMUNITY).
The northeast corner of Bellaire-Puritas borders the Countrymans Creek section of Big Creek, while its southwest corner includes a small part of CLEVELAND HOPKINS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. The neighborhood also has 8 city parks, as well as easy access to nearby Riverside and Maplewood Parks, and the Rocky River branch of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS.