DETROIT-SHOREWAY is a Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA) located on the city’s west side. Centered around Gordon Square (W. 65th St. and Detroit Ave.) it is bounded on the east by OHIO CITY (along an irregular line comprising W. 41st - 45th Sts.), on the west by W. 85th St. and W. Blvd., on the north by Lake Erie and EDGEWATER PARK, and on the south by Clark Ave.
Detroit-Shoreway became part of BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP in 1818. Most of the area joined Cleveland when Ohio City was annexed on 5 June 1854. Streetcar development along Detroit Ave.— both neighborhoods’ first main thoroughfare—began in 1863, spurring significant commercial growth along the corridor.
Detroit-Shoreway initially was a Yankee enclave, but immigrants soon carved out their own sections. GERMANS clustered around W. 76th St. after 1830, when many came to work on the OHIO AND ERIE CANAL. By mid-Century IRISH were settling between W. 45th and W. 65th Sts., building St. Colman's Church (see ST. PATRICK'S PARISH) in 1880 in addition to numerous pubs. ITALIANS and ROMANIANS arrived in the early 20th Century. The center of Italian community life became Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, built in 1926 on Detroit Ave. between W. 69th and W. 70th Sts. Romanians located between W. 52nd and W. 61st Sts. north of Detroit (previously an Irish area). They established ST. HELENA'S CHURCH on W. 65th St. and Cleveland’s first Romanian newspaper, the Romanian Press, on Detroit Ave. at W. 55th St.
Late in the 19th Century, large manufacturing plants began operating close to Lake Erie, served by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern rail lines that ran along the bluff. By 1920 job opportunities engendered by the manufactories helped push Detroit-Shoreway’s population to 41,000. Dense housing lined the streets around Detroit Ave. Many residents began moving to the suburbs after WORLD WAR II, opening the area to later arrivals such as Puerto Ricans and Mexicans (see (HISPANIC COMMUNITY), as well as Appalachians and AMERICAN INDIANS. Population and commercial activity began to wane, spurred by the suburban exodus and the demolition of homes along Detroit-Shoreway’s southern border to enable construction of I-90 (completed 1978). The neighborhood’s population dropped to 36,500 by 1960 and 20,741 by 1980.
Detroit-Shoreway’s population was down to 17,382 by 2000, although the neighborhood already had begun to rebound. Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Org. was launched in 1973, initially to spur improvement of the Detroit Ave. commercial strip. DSCDO also became an administrator for Small Business Assn. loans for area businesses and worked to help restore the Gordon Square Arcade and (what is now) the City Savings and Loan Condominiums at W. 75th St. and Detroit Ave. Since then, DSCDO also has helped preserve more than a dozen historic buildings and created hundreds of units of affordable housing.
Growth and redevelopment continue to occur throughout the Detroit-Shoreway district, with Gordon Square still considered the neighborhood’s epicenter. Named for WILLIAM J. GORDON, a wealthy entrepreneur best known for gifting his lakefront estate (Gordon Park) to the city of Cleveland, Gordon Square has become a social and artistic hub comprising a renovated Capitol Theatre, a new building for the Near West Theatre, a Cleveland Public Theater complex, and the Reinberger Auditorium (home of the Talespinner Children's Theatre) at 5209 Detroit Ave. Spurred by DSCDO the Detroit Ave. streetscape from West 58th St. to West 73rd St. has been rebuilt, with utility lines put underground. Restaurants are abundant. North and west of Detroit Ave. the brownfield site formerly occupied by the Union Carbide, Eveready Battery Co. and Otis Elevator plants has been transformed into a residential neighborhood of several dozen acres called Battery Park. The former BAKER ELECTRIC MOTOR VEHICLE CO. north of Lake Ave. is now the 78th Street Studios, a 170,000-sq.-ft. maze of artist studios and galleries. The West Shoreway (SR-2) has been reinvented as a more-scenic 35-mph boulevard. New and renovated tunnels under SR-2 connect the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood to Edgewater Park, which also has been transformed by the CLEVELAND METROPARKS, which took control of the park from the State of Ohio in 2013. A 22-acre recreation complex—the Zone Recreation Center—opened in 1982 at West 63rd St. and Lorain Ave. and was expanded and improved in 2012. And metaphorically connecting the new Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood to its past, abundant antique shops continue to operate along Lorain Ave. west of West 65th St. Approaching 2020 the area’s population stands just above 14,000 (~ 50% white, 23% Hispanic and 23% African American).
Detroit-Shoreway includes the Franklin Blvd. and West Clinton historic districts. Gordon Square and Cleveland Public Theater also are listed on the National Register.
Updated by Christopher Roy
Last updated: 12/12/2019