TREMONT is an industrial/residential neighborhood on Cleveland's near west side. Its boundaries include the CUYAHOGA RIVER to the east and north, Valentine Ave. and Steelyard Commons to the south, and West 25th St. to the west. Originally part of BROOKLYN Twp., the area was a section of OHIO CITY from 1836-54. In 1851 a group of prominent citizens founded CLEVELAND UNIV. in the neighborhood that, until that point, had been called Cleveland Hts. The institution—now part of what was renamed University Heights—lasted only until 1853 but its buildings were later used by other educational endeavors, including the HUMISTON INSTITUTE and Western Reserve Homeopathic Hospital, predecessor to HURON RD. HOSPITAL. In 1896, Lincoln Hts. succeeded Cleveland Hts. and Univ. Hts. as the neighborhood’s name. In the early 20th Century, the moniker changed again; this time to The South Side. Not until the 1970s was the area officially given its present name: Tremont.
Tremont's industrial base began with the establishment of the LAMSON & SESSIONS CO. in 1869 on Scranton Rd. It and numerous later enterprises provided employment to many new immigrants who settled in the area, including IRISH and GERMANS in the 1860s; POLES, 1890s; GREEKS and Syrians (see ARAB-AMERICANS), 1900s; displaced UKRAINIANS, 1950s; and Puerto Ricans (see HISPANIC COMMUNITY) in the 1960s. Altogether, more than 30 nationalities have lived in Tremont.
Complementing the neighborhood's ethnic diversity is its architecture. Many churches are on state and/or national historic landmark registers, including ST. THEODOSIUS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL (built in 1912), PILGRIM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (1893), St. Michael Archangel (1888), and St. Augustine Roman Catholic (1896).
By the 1980s, Tremont had become a run-down, isolated neighborhood in which 68% of the housing had been built before 1900. The population shrank from 36,686 in 1920 to 10,304 in 1980. Closing of the Clark Ave. Bridge and construction of highways I-71 and I-490 cut the area off from the rest of Cleveland. MERRICK HOUSE, founded in 1919 as a neighborhood settlement, served as a community focal point for Tremont, and the TREMONT WEST DEVELOPMENT CORP. was organized in 1979 to revitalize the area through rehabilitation of housing and neighborhood economic development. Citizens also helped to renovate LINCOLN PARK in the 1980s.
In the early 1990s, Tremont started to become known for its diverse restaurants and a growing artists' community. A generation later, many residents still struggle but Tremont is rebounding; hundreds of new homes have been built and an equal number have been renovated. Home prices have increased dramatically as upscale residents move into the community—a promising trend but also one that creates problems for many long-time property owners (whose taxes have increased) and older renters (exploited by opportunistic landlords). Despite these difficulties, Tremont in the 21st Century—like several other nearby neighborhoods (Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, Gordon Square)—has become a safer and more desirable destination for residents and visitors. As of 2014, Tremont’s population stood at 7,948.
Updated by Chris Roy
Hendry, Charles. Between Spires and Stacks (1936).
Keeting, Dennis. A Brief History of Tremont (2015)