The SALVATION ARMY in Cleveland, first known as the Christian Mission, represented the organization's first U.S. outpost, operating from 1872-76 and reorganized 29 Oct. 1883. Formed in England in 1865 by Rev. Wm. Booth, the Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian denomination organized along military lines. The first local group was established by an unemployed British cabinetmaker and lay preacher, James Jermy, who had worked with Booth, and local preacher James Fakler. They held regular open-air meetings in front of saloons in the HAYMARKET district and published a paper, the Mission Harvester. Fakler left Cleveland in 1874, Jermy in 1875; the mission closed in 1876.
The Army came to Cleveland again when 4 "soldiers" attracted an audience of 200 at an open-air meeting in the Haymarket district. They soon established headquarters at the corner of Hill and Commercial streets and began to offer Saturday night dinners to the needy and open-air Gospel meetings. By the late 1890s, the Salvation Army had gained acceptance in Cleveland and expanded to 3 divisions in 1891 and 8 by 1897. In 1889 it solicited its first funds, by mail, for a women's training center; in 1892 it opened its first institution, the Rescue home for unwed mothers, later North America's first Salvation Army hospital (see BOOTH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL). Around 1895, the Army sent homemakers, called "Slum Sisters," into poor homes. The Army moved its divisional headquarters to Eagle Ave. and E. 9th St. in 1903.
By 1907 the Army had 5 corps in Cleveland and sponsored, in addition to religious activities: prison visitation; employment, missing-person, "anti-suicide," day nursery, and salvage services; a young people's orchestra; and 2 workingmen's hotels. Slum officers investigated applicants before providing coal, clothing, bedding, or furniture. The Army continued to expand, opening a maternity home for African-American women (1925, see MARY B. TALBERT HOME); the Evangeline Residence for young business and professional women (1942); the Family Emergency Home for homeless women and children (1955); the Hough Multi-Service Center (1969); the Tremont Coordinated Service Program for the Elderly (1973); and a rehabilitation center for delinquent teenagers (1978). The industrial and salvage department became the Men's Social Service Center in 1936, was transformed after WORLD WAR II using Alcoholics Anonymous programs, and became the Adult Rehabilitation Center in 1977. The Salvation Army supported soldiers at the front during wartime, offered emergency food and shelter during the Depression and subsequent recessions, and aided both police and citizens during the HOUGH RIOTS. In 1983 the Army's work involved 32 officers and 750 soldiers and cost $12 million. The Salvation Army operated 6 thrift stores and 3 shelters in 1993; its main offices were located at 2507 E. 22 St. As of 2015 the organization served 143,101 people through direct assistance and social services and in 2019 it operated from five locations in Greater Cleveland.
Updated by Gretchen Norton