EAST CLEVELAND, originally part of East Cleveland Twp. (organized in 1845 from parts of the townships of Cleveland, Newburgh, Euclid, and Warrensville) and Euclid Twp., was incorporated as East Cleveland Village in 1895 and as a city in 1911. (An earlier village of the same name formed in 1866 but was annexed by Cleveland in 1872.) A residential city located about 7 miles from downtown Cleveland, it occupies 3 sq. mi. It is adjacent to Cleveland on the north and west and bounded by CLEVELAND HTS. on the east and south. The oldest remaining house is that of Thomas Phillips on Eddy Rd., where it was moved from EUCLID AVE. The name East Cleveland has been carried by at least 5 political entities in Cuyahoga County—township, hamlet, and villages, reduced by annexations by the City of Cleveland. A period of growth followed incorporation: gas and water lines were installed, Euclid Ave. was paved, and streetcar service from Cleveland began. The population reached 10,000 in 1910; the new city first adopted the mayor-council form of government. In 1910 and 1916 the city rejected annexation with Cleveland. A charter was drafted in 1915, and in 1918 the city adopted a city manager plan. The charter adopted in 1916 provided for women's suffrage in municipal elections—then the only such franchise east of Chicago (see WOMEN). The majority of the city's housing was built during the 1910s and 1920s. Commercial centers developed at the Euclid Ave. intersections with Superior, Taylor, and Lee roads. In 1920 the population was over 27,000. One of the early manufacturers was the National Bindery Co. (1905). Beginning in 1911, the National Electric Lamp Assn., later the lamp division of the GENERAL ELECTRIC CO., began the construction of NELA PARK on Noble Rd. Other light industries developed along the NICKEL PLATE and New York Central RAILROADS during World War II. In 1929-30, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., began a residential development on the Forest Hill estate that had belonged to his father, but only 81 of the planned 600 homes were built before the Depression. In 1938 he donated FOREST HILL PARK to the cities of East Cleveland and Cleveland Hts. The Rockefellers also contributed land for the East Cleveland Public Library (opened in 1916, with a donation from Andrew Carnegie), the HURON RD. HOSPITAL (moved from downtown Cleveland in 1931), and the junior high school. The A.M. MCGREGOR HOME for the elderly was built in 1908 and enlarged in 1941.
In 1986 the East Cleveland school system included 6 elementary schools, 1 junior high, and Shaw High School. The city has had many churches of all denominations, from FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF EAST CLEVELAND (est. 1807, one of the first churches in the WESTERN RESERVE) to St. Paul Episcopal Church to the Hare Krishna Temple. In the second half of the 20th century, small businesses and fast-food outlets replaced many Euclid Ave. homes.
During the 1960s, East Cleveland experienced a major population shift, as AFRICAN AMERICANS constituted an increasingly larger proportion of the population. Some community agencies such as the EAST CLEVELAND THEATER (est. 1968) dealt positively with integration while cases like the CITY OF EAST CLEVELAND, OH, VS. MOORE revealed fear and distrust. By 1984 East Cleveland was one of the largest predominantly black communities in the county, population 36,957. In Sept. 1988 the state formed a governor's commission to manage city finances. Throughout the 1990s, despite bond sales, cutbacks and layoffs, East Cleveland remained in a state of fiscal emergency. Community efforts to address these problems included the East Cleveland Coalition for a Better City and housing renovation by the city and the Lutheran Housing Corp. Nevertheless, in 2003 East Cleveland was owed $7.8 million in back property taxes, over half the city's $15 million tax base. In 1990 the population stood at 33,096 but by 2000 was 27,217, down 30 percent from 1970.
See also SUBURBS.