HOPKINS NEIGHBORHOOD

HOPKINS (previously, and occasionally, referred to as Riverside) is a southwest Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA). It is bounded roughly by Rt. 237 (the Berea Freeway) on the east, Aerospace Pkwy. and the I-X CENTER on the south, Aerospace Pkwy. and W. Hangar Rd. on the west, and Puritas Ave. on the north. Hopkins is one of four Cleveland neighborhoods carved from the former West Park Village and annexed to Cleveland in 1923. The other three are JEFFERSONKAMM'S CORNERS, and Puritas-Longmead (see BELLAIRE-PURITAS). Originally part of ROCKPORT TWP., WEST PARK (named for early settler Benjamin West) had been formed in 1900.

Hopkins remained lightly populated well into the 20th Century. Its first development milestone was the completion of CLEVELAND-HOPKINS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in 1925. Currently situated on 1,717 acres of land—more than 80 percent of the allotment—Hopkins was the country’s first municipally owned airport. It also was the first to use an air traffic control tower and to deploy airfield lighting and ground-to-air radio control. In 1968 it became the first US airport to connect directly to a rail transit system. To accommodate the airport’s need for additional space, Cleveland annexed to (what was then called) Riverside portions of Brook Park Vil. in 1946 and Riveredge Twp. in 1992.

Hopkins also contains the NASA JOHN H. GLENN RESEARCH CENTER (est. 1942) on the airport grounds. The I-X Center, located within the neighborhood but south of the airport, was built by the US Dept. of Defense. It opened in 1942 as the Cleveland Bomber Plant, with roughly 15,000 employees tasked to work on the B-29 bomber. During the Korean War tanks were built in the rechristened Cadillac Tank Plant. Much of the workforce lived in housing projects built on Triskett and Berea Roads. The Plant was repurposed as an exhibition center in 1985.

Boosted by employment at the bomber/tank plant, neighborhood development accelerated during and after WWII, with the population growing from 1,422 in 1940 to 9,715 in 1960. The number of residents has dropped significantly since that time, due in large part to the construction of I-480 and an airport buffer-zone program which involved acquiring and demolishing homes immediately north of the airport. Some newer construction has occurred in the area of Grayton Rd. and Puritas Ave.

Virtually all residents live in the northeast corner of Hopkins, which has one of lowest costs of living of all neighborhoods in Cleveland. The dominance of the airport also means that Hopkins has one of Cleveland’s lowest population levels as well as the lowest level of population density. The entire neighborhood (excluding the airport) contains only about 50 streets; 54% of residents are white, 22% are AFRICAN AMERICAN and 16% are HISPANIC. Students of all ages attend the Cleveland Public Schools or those in BEREA or FAIRVIEW PARK.

Christopher Roy

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