Editor's Note: This text comprises the preface to the first printed edition (1987) of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and as such its history of the city ends in 1987. It was written by several historians who had extensive expertise in the city's history for different time periods. Robert Wheeler of Cleveland State University (1796 to 1860 section); Robert Weiner of Cuyahoga Community College (1861-1929 section); and Carol Poh (Miller) (1931 to 1980s section).
Cleveland is a city of paradoxes. It is a sprawling metropolis and a small town. It is a city that pioneered in social reforms of all kinds, and yet it is a bastion of conservatism. Founded and developed by a small group of Protestants from the New England and Middle Atlantic states, it is peopled by members of over 50 ethnic groups representing every part of the world and many of the world's religions. It is a blue-collar city that supports a unique cultural complex—University Circle—composed of nationally acclaimed institutions, and a park system—the "Emerald Necklace"—surpassed by none. A "city of cooperation," it became famous for confrontation politics. Cleveland's past is filled with soaring achievements, such as the building of the iron, steel, and oil industries, and a great transportation network of railroads and waterways. Its past is filled, too, with missed opportunities and reverses, such as the failure to become the center of the electrical, automotive, and aviation industries despite the prominence of these enterprises within the city during the early 1900s. Recently the decline and decay of heavy industry that has plagued the cities of the Northeast has made some of these missed opportunities doubly regretted as the traditional economic backbone of the city has disappeared. Nevertheless, and perhaps because of these paradoxes and changes, Cleveland's story is exciting and vibrant. It is filled with personalities who have made contributions as spectacular as electric street lighting, and as small as the modern golf ball. One writer rightly called Cleveland and its history "the best kept secret," but it deserves to be known, and that is the goal of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
This work is the first history in encyclopedic format of a modern American city. It is, we hope, an up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive account of every important aspect of the city's past. A number of histories have been written about Cleveland. One of the essays herein, "Histories of Cleveland," demonstrates the evolution and breadth of historical inquiry into the city's past. However, the last comprehensive history was written over 4 decades ago. In the intervening years, not only has the city greatly changed, but, more important, historians have broadened their definition of urban history to include much more than the great men or events in a city's past. Given this chronological gap and new areas of intellectual inquiry, it seemed appropriate that Cleveland's history be updated in an encyclopedic format where a multitude of professional views could be brought forth on all aspects of local development. Fortunately, rich new resources were available to support such inquiry, as the article "Libraries and Historical Societies" attests.
The task of fully exploring Cleveland's history has been enormous. It has taken nearly 6 years to plan and arrange for the writing of this volume. It contains over 2,500 articles, of which more than 2,300 are shorter factual accounts of individuals, events, and institutions that will serve as a ready reference source for facts relating to nearly every aspect of the city's past. We have included the good and the bad, so while one can find a sketch of Cleveland's notable Progressive mayor Tom L. Johnson, he can also find an entry relating to the city's fiscal default in 1978. Similarly, the many articles relating to businesses and industries not only detail their rise but in many cases also trace their decline in the post-World War II period. Taken as a whole, the business and industry entries provide a stunning exploration of the effect of 'internationalization on a local economy. Nearly 170 of the articles are longer reflective and interpretive examinations of major topics in local history prepared by local and national specialists.
Cleveland was founded at the intersection of the CUYAHOGA RIVER and Lake Erie, primarily because it was thought to be an ideal location for an agricultural center. The site was part of the WESTERN RESERVE, a portion of land extending from the Pennsylvania border 120 miles westward and 80 miles southward, comprising 2.5 million acres, which was sold to the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. by the state of Connecticut. While the land company and MOSES CLEAVELAND made a correct assessment of the location, they failed to realize that commercial development was a long way off. In the interim, many came to the site seeking a good place to live, raise their families, and harvest bountiful crops—they were often disappointed. Throughout the first 30 years, there was no harbor at Cleaveland (this spelling was gradually replaced—the modern spelling will be used hereafter), because the entrance to the river was blocked by sandbars that forced goods and passengers to be off-loaded onto smaller vessels in order to land. Moreover, the miasmic floodplain with its numerous swamps produced an environment filled with disease, which claimed the lives of many early settlers and convinced numerous others to move elsewhere. It was these elements, the commercial potential and the sickly atmosphere of the location, that determined much of the early history of the hamlet and the township that surrounded it.
Through a series of protracted negotiations, the state of Connecticut had retained rights to western lands granted to it by a 17th-century charter. In order to settle this claim, the state was granted the "Western Reserve" tract in the Northwest Territory. Connecticut decided not to administer the land itself and sold it to a hastily gathered group of investors called the Connecticut Land Co. in Sept. 1795. The company wasted no time making arrangements to send a surveying party. One of its first jobs was to select the site for a capital of the Reserve. First, however, the Indians in the area had to agree that the land was owned by the company, because the grant from the U.S. did not remove Indian claims. Fortunately for the company, these claims were weakened by a series of battles that took place in western Ohio and ended in the defeat of the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in the fall of 1794. The treaty that followed reserved for Indian use a rectangular tract beginning with the western bank of the Cuyahoga River and proceeding westward for about 60 miles and south for about 40 miles. The area east and south was open to white settlement. Finally, with only 60% of the Reserve available for survey, the Connecticut Land Co. sent its surveyors in the spring of 1796.
Moses Cleaveland and the 40-odd members of the party confirmed the company's title to the land in a meeting with the Indians near Buffalo and proceeded to the Reserve, arriving on 4 July. As the constitution of the company had directed, the principal town was laid out as quickly as possible. Cleaveland landed at the future site on 22 July but did not finally select it because he needed to get "more information of the extent of the ceded land and the traverses of the Lakes and Rivers." He did indicate his assessment: "I believe, as now informed, the Cuyahoga will be the place. It must command the greatest communication either by land or Water of any River on the purchase or in any ceded lands from the head of the Mohawk to the western extent or I am no prophet." Two weeks later, his investigation was complete; he was at the mouth of the river "to lay out [the] capital town," he told Zethan Butterfield on 20 Aug. When Cleaveland specified communication as the chief reason for his decision, he used the word in several ways. His immediate goal was to use the river to transport men, food, and the awkward instruments quickly to the interior in order to survey it. Fortunately, it was possible to go up the river 25 miles in a small boat. Had that been his only purpose, he could have established a temporary camp at the mouth, but he laid out the capital because he saw the commercial prospects of the river, which was navigable for lake sloops for 5 miles and for smaller vessels to the portage if the river was cleared of debris. That was a large "if," because little support for improvements to the river and harbor was forthcoming until the 1820s.
The town was planned to conform to New England and New York models of agricultural villages, because that was the heritage of the surveyors. While the surveyors did their best given their knowledge, other plans that would have incorporated the commercial potential of the area would have been preferable. In any case, the central feature of the plan was a 10-acre PUBLIC SQUARE, which was placed on the plateau near the ridge overlooking the riverbed. The square was divided by Ontario St., which ran north and south and was 90 feet wide. The east-west street, Superior, was 40 feet wider than Ontario because it led to the river bank, where most of the river and lake traffic was expected to come into the town. Lots were laid out in an orderly fashion and made ready for sale by 1797, but virtually all of the "capital" was uninhabited for several years, and only gradually were the plots mapped by SETH PEASE and AMOS SPAFFORD cleared and settled. Consistently throughout the first decade, the company demonstrated that its primary goal was not settlement but quick sale for profit. Little encouragement was given, and no improvements were granted by the company to the capital site. In fact, other than a crude road cut through the woods from the Pennsylvania border to Cleveland, the company was interested only in land distribution. To that end, as soon as the final surveys were completed, tracts were chosen by lottery in Jan. 1798. At the same time, the company gave lots in Cleveland to several early residents because their presence encouraged other paying settlers. The lottery system itself made settlement haphazard, since investors picked land of varying qualities from separate boxes, which prevented them from owning contiguous tracts. Therefore, settlement of the entire Reserve was not orderly, and Cleveland, on the western edge of open land, was even more isolated. Some adventurous settlers did come to the area before 1800. They were more rugged frontier types interested in trade with Indians and supplying newcomers than they were farmers. The typical inhabitants during these first years did not stay long near the river: they either left the area altogether or moved to nearby townships away from the sickness that had begun to affect those who stayed near the village site. Undoubtedly, the most notable resident of these early years was LORENZO CARTER, who built a large log cabin where others could lodge and who quickly controlled most of the Indian trade. Others, such as JAMES KINGSBURY, NATHANIEL DOAN, and Ezekiel Hawley, came and liked the general area but moved out of the immediate Cleveland area. In Apr. 1800, Lorenzo Carter was the only resident of Cleveland.
While the number of immigrants to the Reserve did not meet the expectations of the Connecticut Land Co., towns such as Warren had begun to grow significantly. In all of the Reserve, according to the federal census of 1800, there were 1,500 people. Ten years later, the number had grown to 17,000 in the Reserve, but to only 10 families in Cleveland. The reasons for this discrepancy are found in the pattern of migration from the East and in the problems with the site. Land in the Western Reserve was owned by residents of Connecticut, but most of them were content to remain landholders rather than become colonists in the new territory. Therefore, northeastern Ohio was not settled wholly by or even by a majority of settlers from Connecticut. Many residents were from other New England states, and 20% were from New York. Apparently, those in upper New England (Vermont and New Hampshire) as well as those from western Massachusetts were more likely to move in the early years of the century. These areas had been opened for settlement after the Revolutionary War, and many who went there did not find the prosperity they had hoped to achieve. Therefore, they were willing to move. Sometimes they moved to New York State first, and then on to the Reserve.
Fortunately, there were positive signs that Cleveland would be a political center, which helped bolster long-term prospects. First, the entire Western Reserve was declared part of the U.S. in 1800, which opened the way for formal political organization. The same year, Trumbull County was created to encompass the Reserve, with Warren as its county seat. Significantly, Cleveland was made one of the 8 townships in the county. Of course, it would have been proper to name Cleveland the county seat, but because there was little population at the site, there was little need for a county seat in the area. It was also likely that new counties would be created quickly. Just 5 years later, Geauga County was formed from a portion of Trumbull, which included Cleveland. In 1807, the state legislature created Cuyahoga County, and after some debate, Cleveland was named the county seat in 1809 over the objections of its more populous neighbor, NEWBURGH. One additional form of recognition came when the federal government made Cleveland a port of entry in 1805 and appointed a collector to monitor trade from Canada as well as lake and river traffic. Each of these political changes added formal government responsibilities and officers to implement them. Throughout this early period, the primary political divisions were the township and county: no formal offices were created for the hamlet itself. The earliest positions insured that local elections were properly run and that the basic rules of government were observed. Because there were relatively few adult males in the entire township, many of them served in several offices simultaneously.
Several factors combined to inhibit long-term settlement in Cleveland. Early on, a conflict emerged between the rough group of settlers who lived "under the hill" near the river and those who thought the group was detrimental to the development of Cleveland. SAMUEL HUNTINGTON wrote to Moses Cleaveland on 10 Feb. 1802 that it was difficult to convince prospective settlers to stay, because Lorenzo Carter was "gather[ing] about him all the itinerant Vagabonds that he meets with out whom he gets all his labour done for their board and Wiskey: over whom he has an absolute control—organizing a phalanx of Desperadoes and setting all laws at defiance." Gideon Granger included these fears in a letter he wrote on 20 Oct. 1804 declaring his intention to settle in the Reserve. He said, "Cleveland has a Thousand Charms but I am detered from pitching on that place by the Sickness, the poorness of the Soil and the Inhabitants under the hill." Granger correctly identified the most important factor limiting the size of the hamlet—sickness. The most prevalent disease, described by contemporaries as fever and ague, was malaria, which affects its victims over a long period of time and debilitates them so they are more susceptible to other diseases. The Cuyahoga had changed its course to a new channel before the beginning of white settlement, and the abandoned channel had formed an extensive pool of stagnant water, which bred the mosquitos that carried the disease. Some residents observed that dry seasons reduced the problem, but none knew the cause or the cure.
In the wake of these realities, the population of the area grew slowly, which retarded institutional development and stunted economic progress. From 1802 to 1810, the entire township grew from 76 adult males (or about 200 people) to 300 people, and the hamlet itself managed only 57 residents by 1810. Political institutions were established quickly, but social and economic structures lagged behind. There were some cultural stirrings when a local lending library was formed in 1811 by 16 of the 18 families in Cleveland, and the Freemasons established a group, but formal schools would not appear until later, and no churches were organized, so the settlers relied on the occasional visits of missionary clergy such as JOSEPH BADGER. Residents were hampered in their attempts to prosper economically, because most were still in debt for their land and had not recovered from the expense involved in moving. In addition, they were forced to pay exorbitant prices for what they needed without having any way to earn money. The company turned a deaf ear to requests such as the one made by Huntington on 15 Nov. 1801 for funds to improve the harbor so that "our Salt, Iron, Potash, and Sugar Kettles and such Bulky articles" would cost less to buy and so that "we might supply the Ohio Country, if we had a harbour for Vessels, cheaper than they can be supplied from Pitt." Without this help, most residents planted crops in the marginal soil and bartered locally, for there was little hard money on the Reserve. They were aided by several local mills that ground flour and produced rough boards. Apart from these mills, the first signs of commercial life were the establishment of a merchant store in 1808 and the building of several lake vessels. One other positive sign was the opening of several communication links with other areas. In 1806, the company funded a road that connected Buffalo with the eastern boundary of its lands, where it joined the road to Cleveland. Impetus was provided for other roads when the western portion of the Reserve, which remained in Indian hands, opened for settlement as the result of a treaty in 1805. A road through this section from Cleveland to the Huron River opened 4 years later. In addition, Elijah Gun operated a ferry across the Cuyahoga to aid travelers and settlers. For all these reasons, the potential of the capital had grown, for it was now in the center of the Western Reserve.
During the 12 years that ended in 1824, Cleveland became a community with an adequate social and institutional base, a supportive political structure, and an economy poised to expand rapidly. Jessie Harris wrote home to Vermont in 1824 that Cleveland was a thriving town with 9 stores and 3 taverns. He added that there were 6 vessels owned in Cleveland constantly sailing the lakes and that all kinds of merchandise could be bought. He concluded that a canal from the Ohio River was scheduled to enter Lake Erie at the village site. Increased lake traffic and the likelihood of a canal terminus meant a total of 500 residents by 1825.
The population of all of Cleveland Twp. was only 605 in 1820, but even though it was not the most populous township in Cuyahoga County or the Reserve, it was the most significant commercial and manufacturing force in the area. A series of social and cultural institutions were founded in the years after the close of the WAR OF 1812, and political recognition of the hamlet as a village was successfully promoted in 1815. After years of accusations of irreligion, 4 churches were founded between 1815 and 1820. That same year, a Sunday school opened to keep idle boys off streets on the Sabbath, and within its first 3 months, 30 "scholars" attended weekly classes in reading, appearance, and behavior. Traditional schools were also founded during this time but were funded privately, since taxpayers were unwilling to take on the additional financial burden. A more socially motivated school designed for adults promised dancing lessons to students in 1820. Other cultural opportunities ranged from traveling exhibitions to a series of lectures on topics of the day. Displays of wax figures and a demonstration of gas were licensed by the village in the 1820s. Even before this time, several plays were performed, including weekly performances by a group called the Wags of Cleveland at the Shakespeare Gallery. By far the most impressive secular cultural institution was the Cleveland Forum, which held weekly meetings during the winter. Subjects for 1823 included "Is Love a Stronger Passion than Hatred?" "Are Agricultural Societies Beneficial?" "Ought the United States to Tax Unmarried Men over Thirty?" and "Is Slander Cause of More Mischief than Flattery?" One of the topics clearly met with approval, since in May 1823, the first meeting of the agricultural society was called. It was timed to coincide with the court of common pleas session in Cleveland, which would bring a large number of people to the village. Many informal social contacts were made at these sessions, where much business of all kinds took place. In sum, by 1824 these activities reflected a significant change from the frontier survival period. Furthermore, Cleveland had a newspaper beginning in 1818, which informed the growing local community and acted as an advocate of its growing importance.
As cultural activities increased, the social structure of the area became more differentiated. One observer noted that most Clevelanders did not dress fashionably. He found the typical dress of Cleveland women rather plain, and that men generally dressed in homespun cloth except on special days. However, some men and women did dress with good taste, many of whom were political and commercial leaders of the town. At the other end of the social spectrum, which admittedly was not as broad as that in eastern society, a number of poor appeared. The township warned several families to leave its jurisdiction to prevent their becoming dependent on the village and later paid for the removal of one family and for the funeral of another person. Other than court days, the 4th of July brought many members of the fledgling community together, perhaps because it celebrated both the founding of the nation and the date when Moses Cleaveland and his party entered the Reserve in 1796. In any case, there were elaborate celebrations for the time. Village leaders met to plan a celebration in 1819. All residents were invited to join the procession from Merwin's Hotel to the courthouse to hear the Declaration of Independence by REUBEN WOOD, Esq., and then to enjoy dinner at the Commercial Coffee House. Two years later, a list of celebrations in the Herald included 3 separate events for the area. Clearly, these events differed in tone from the early social problems between those under the hill and other residents.
Cultural opportunities and social differentiation complemented political changes, which gave the hamlet a measure of autonomy when it became a village in 1815. This new status required a village administrative structure, including a president, 3 trustees, a recorder, a treasurer, and a marshal. While the title of village was new, prominent political officeholders already knew who would be appropriate, and consequently the offices went to a small number of people. With the exception of the first year, there was only one treasurer before 1825, ASHBEL WALWORTH. Two men, DANIEL KELLEY and LEONARD CASE, served all but 2 of the 10 years as president of the village; Horace Perry was recorder for the 1810s, and Eleazar Waterman from 1821 to 1825. Horace Perry was recorder from 1815 to 1819, president in 1820, and a trustee from 1821 to 1825. During these same years, he also served the township as treasurer for 3 years, as justice of the peace for 7 years, as clerk for 3 years, and finally as trustee for 2 years. Clearly, Perry was one of the most important decision makers in Cleveland before 1825. Taken as a group, village officeholders were important economic leaders in both commerce and manufacturing.
Perry and his peers passed a series of rules governing the hamlet, which guaranteed a more orderly society and signaled the gradual end of the frontier period. In the first years, residents recorded earmarks that identified their animals, but by 1820 animals were a nuisance in the hamlet, and a set of ordinances regulated them. For instance, swine and cattle could not run in the streets, stray geese could be killed, and horse races were banned. Social controls prohibited discharging firearms or obstructing village officers. Economic regulations required all weights and measures to be sealed by the village inspector and all residents to use the village hay scales also run by the village inspector. The village fathers ruled that parents were liable for offenses their children committed. While these measures did not insure a peaceful, obedient society, they did suggest that most villagers preferred order to the disorder of the early years.
Village politics during this period were service-oriented, with few real rivalries. The most active races and the most significant political activity occurred on county, state, and national levels. Cleveland was the site of many political meetings to form slates of candidates for upcoming elections. Each township in the county sent 2 delegates to a county convention in 1818 to select a slate of candidates, for instance. Later the group published their preferred list in the Cleveland paper. On the national level, John Sloane ran against Peter Hitchcock for Congress from the area, but Sloane received few votes in the area because the people were not convinced by his recruiting sergeants. In spite of this lack of local support, Sloane won the election. On the state level, residents began to request aid through their representatives for harbor improvements and for communications with the south as early as the beginning of the 19th century. Proposals for funds to open a road to the south and to build a canal over the portage between the Tuscarawas and the Cuyahoga were presented, as were various plans to open the harbor. Generally, these requests failed. However, the most economically important one, the location of the canal terminus, succeeded after years of impatience. The idea was an old one, but the state legislature first seriously considered a canal proposal in 1817, the same year the Erie Canal in New York began construction. Two years later, legislation to incorporate a company to build a canal between Lake Erie and the Ohio River was before the state senate. After weeks of speculation on the great benefits this canal would bring to Cleveland, the Herald reported in Feb. 1819 that the bill was lost because the legislature had appointed several engineers to identify all practical routes. Fortunately for the Cleveland area, ALFRED KELLEY, a state legislator from Cleveland, served on the new commission. Over the next several years, each potential route from the lake to the river was surveyed. The politics were so intense that Kelley asked the Herald in 1822 not to publish news on the canal commission because it created regional jealousies, and he assured the public that no decision had been made. It would not be until Feb. 1825 that the final decision to locate the northern terminus where the Cuyahoga empties into Lake Erie was announced. While lake traffic would have continued to come to Cleveland, the location of the northern gateway in Cleveland was crucial to the quick rise in its fortunes. The positive impact that discussion of the canal had on the hamlet and its economic prospects was enormous and was undoubtedly the product as much of political influence as of sound engineering judgment.
Political help from the national level came slowly. As early as 1818, the hamlet petitioned Congress for funds to improve the harbor but failed. Consequently, all passengers and goods were landed on the shore in light boats. Six years later, Congress did allocate money for a lighthouse on Lake Erie, but at Grand River, not at Cleveland. Efforts to obtain funds to remove the sandbars and to build a public pier would wait until after 1824. Despite these setbacks, the economic history of Cleveland from 1812 to 1824 improved significantly after a shaky start. The War of 1812 helped Cleveland become a trade center, since supplies were stored in the hamlet and soldiers camped near the town, but the Panic of 1818 hurt economic opportunity, because it made barter pervasive and credit difficult to obtain. Finally, in the 1820s, lake traffic increased and the canal discussion intensified. Evidence of prosperity was nearly everywhere by the mid-1820s. The port of Cleveland was thriving by 1824, when exports exceeded $38,000 and imports $196,000, compared with 1809, when total exports were only $50.
Cleveland became the commercial center of Cuyahoga County during these years. The expansion took 2 paths: wholesale and retail trade and lake traffic. Trading posts were replaced by stores in growing numbers after the War of 1812, and merchants erected warehouses as early as 1815. The next year the COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE opened, partially to finance business and commercial operations. While no specific proof is available, there is little doubt that this bank gave the hamlet an advantage over its rivals, since it became the focal point of important economic decisions. Predictably, it failed in the aftermath of the national Panic of 1818. The shortage of hard currency was acute in the late 1810s, and the village issued corporation shinplasters or script to help residents pay taxes. Twenty businessmen, a considerable number given the small size of the hamlet, signed a notice informing the public that they would not accept the script. Retail outlets expanded during the early 1820s as furniture, books, shoes, and general merchandise of all sorts sold in the village. No doubt sales increased, because the first bridge linking the east and west banks of the Cuyahoga opened in 1822. By 1824 there were many local merchants selling eastern goods to local residents.
Significantly, the lake trade was also increasing in the late 1810s. At the peak of the shipping season in mid-July 1818, 21 boats entered or cleared the port for Buffalo and Detroit. Indicative of the lack of significant exports, they transported household goods, stoneware, dry goods, whiskey, livestock, pork, flour, butter, grindstones, and tallow. A ropewalk opened in the hamlet to supply rigging and other necessities to expanding shipping and boatbuilding enterprises. A new era in water travel arrived in Cleveland in 1818 as the first steamboat, WALK-IN-THE-WATER, arrived and was visited by a number of gentlemen and ladies from the village. The village entered the steamboat era with the launching of the 250-ton Enterprise in 1824. By the end of this initial stage of development, Cleveland was economically tied more to the lake than to the river, since most of its gross imports and exports came from the lake. Fortunately, it had all the necessary mercantile and financial institutions in place ready to meet any increased demand.
From 1825 to 1860, Cleveland, like other towns in the West, was swept through a series of changes at speeds far exceeding those experienced in the East as it quickly joined the nation in economic, cultural, social, and political terms. Cities such as Cleveland were better able to adapt to new ideas, because there was little to stand in the way—so much was to be lost by being left behind. Therefore, throughout the period, a nervous tension promoted change, while at the same time warning of the dramatic consequences of failure. Fortunately, Cleveland made few mistakes, partially because of its location and because it had sufficient reserves to make quick adjustments when needed. During the process, it quickly shed its frontier trappings to become the 19th-largest city in the U.S. by 1860. Also during the process, Cleveland participated in the passions of the antebellum era as a testing ground of what conservative easterners would become when transplanted to the Midwest. Just a few of the changes can be quickly listed to demonstrate their pace and significance: in 1825, "the West" was very close to Cleveland; in 1860, it was far away both physically and culturally. In 1825, canal TECHNOLOGY was supreme; in 1860, canals were virtually unused. In 1825, Cleveland was an 8-month city that stopped functioning economically when the lake and canal were frozen; in 1860, the RAILROADS kept it open year-round. In 1825, Cleveland had a predominantly native population; in 1860, only a minority were born in the U.S. In 1825, some social distinctions were just beginning to appear; in 1860, social classes existed, there was some friction between them, and there were attempts to control less-desirable elements. In 1825, political officeholders served out of self-perceived duty; in 1860, party POLITICS controlled many elections, and local residents were caught up in a plethora of national issues. In 1825, most of those in the village knew each other; in 1860, anonymity had replaced familiarity as institutions replaced personal ties. In 1825, the city had yet to expand beyond the original bounds set by the 1796 survey; in 1860, it included both sides of the river and several annexed areas.
Some things did not change. Commerce continued to dominate the ECONOMY of the city. In addition, the geography of the riverbed and the high ground overlooking it on either side kept the commercial warehouses and transient housing "under the hill." Fortunately, this cloistering meant that the STREETS above were healthier and free of the intrusions that plagued most cities of the era. It is no happenstance that Cleveland's tree-lined avenues and increasingly elegant residences overlooked rather than emerged from the river banks. The physical well-being of the residents did improve significantly in the optimistic times of the late twenties and early thirties. Twenty years later, descriptions of the city heralded its location and spaciousness, and local HOTELS were filled not only with businessmen but also with those who were "summering" in Cleveland. Visitors judged the city as one of the most beautiful in the country.
The first 20 years of Cleveland's emergence began with the construction of the canal and ended with the return of good times after a protracted depression, which began in 1837. In the process, a town developed that controlled its hinterland economically and was the focal point for culture and politics in northeastern Ohio. By far the most important single factor in the era was the transformation of the economy, for it drove all the other changes. Four events in 1825 determined the economic future of the village. First, in large part through the efforts of ALFRED KELLEY, the state of Ohio agreed to locate the northern terminus of the OHIO & ERIE CANAL at the mouth of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Almost immediately, eastern funds began pouring into the village to take advantage of the predicted boom. Second, Clevelanders watched the progress of the Erie Canal closely and celebrated its completion in October with a dinner. More important, the Herald reported on 25 Nov. that a "procession of about 20 carts laden with the produce of the western country, brought from Lake Erie through the canal passed through several streets of New York city ... carrying appropriate flags and banners. The produce was from Detroit, from Sandusky, from Cleveland, from Buffalo. ..." For the near future, Cleveland did not need the Ohio Canal, because the village served as a gathering place where local farmers sent their produce destined for Buffalo, and ultimately for New York City. Moreover, the completion of the Erie Canal freed contractors and workers experienced in canal construction to come to Cleveland and begin work.
A third event that contributed to Cleveland's economic future was its selection as the site of the northern terminus of the canal. Engineers determined late in 1825 that a west side route would be less expensive if a wooden aqueduct was built to take the canal across the river 4 miles south of Cleveland. Public opinion, stated the Herald on 19 Nov., "cannot be mistaken, it is decidedly and unquestionably in favor of the eastern route." The final decision in favor of the east bank was made by the end of the year and sealed the relationship between the two sides of the river: retarding west side development and insuring the supremacy of the village of Cleveland. Fourth, efforts to obtain money from the federal GOVERNMENT for harbor improvements finally succeeded when $5,000 was appropriated, undoubtedly to accommodate the increased shipping requirements of the canal. With another, larger grant 2 years later, engineers successfully opened a new straight channel to the lake. The swift-flowing river eliminated the sandbars that had blocked the harbor from lakegoing vessels and removed the miasmic swamps from the mouth, which eliminated the pervasive sickness in the village.
The prosperity canal promoters had hoped for was confirmed by developments over the next 20 years. With improved TRANSPORTATION and reduced freight rates, demand for agricultural products increased along with farm productivity and prices, which, in turn, enticed more people to move to the hinterland and gave areas close to the canal a marked advantage over their rivals. In the process, the canal replaced the river route to New Orleans as a major conduit for goods headed to the East Coast from the Old Northwest Territory. Cleveland benefited particularly because it was the terminal point and a growing lake port. Consequently, it collected produce as it came north and sent manufactured goods south. Often overlooked is that Cleveland's hinterland did not include much of the WESTERN RESERVE, because it followed the canal route south to Akron, Columbus, and the Ohio River and passed through only 2 Reserve counties, Cuyahoga and Summit. The Cleveland-Akron portion of the canal was the first scheduled for completion, and construction contracts were issued quickly. As workers poured in, the cash they received for wages replaced the local barter economy and increased the number of bank notes in circulation, thereby facilitating the economic transactions. Within the year, hogs driven to Cleveland were slaughtered and sent east, and the latest goods from New York appeared in local stores. Cleveland had become "a mart of business for this section of the country," according to the charter of Western Reserve College in 1826, as forwarding and commission agents appeared to send property anywhere, sell it in any market, and advance funds for property deposited with them. Less than 2 years after construction had begun on 4 July 1827, the first canal boat arrived in Cleveland from Akron with the governor and other distinguished citizens on board and was greeted by a large number of spectators who lined the hills and banks. Five years later the canal was finally completed; however, Cleveland traded with the region from Columbus north, whereas goods south of the capital went to the Ohio River.
From 1827 to 1840, the Ohio Canal was the exclusive avenue to the lake and eastern connections by canal. The first year, flour, ashes, and butter and cheese came north, while salt, lumber, and over .5 million lbs. of merchandise went south from the village. As the canal pushed inland, the amount of merchandise grew to over 3 million lbs. in 1830, to 10 million in 1834, and to a high of 19 million by 1838. As wheat prices jumped from approximately $.30 per bushel before the canal to over $.60 in 1833, the amount of flour and wheat transshipped at Cleveland jumped 8 times by 1840, when over 2 million bushels of wheat and .5 million barrels of flour arrived via the canal. Significantly, the town's grain trade was almost totally dependent on this traffic, since, for example, in 1841, of the 461,000 barrels of flour shipped from Cleveland, 441,000 arrived by canal. By 1840, 44% of Ohio's wheat and flour came from the "wheat belt," a group of counties north and east of Columbus, making it the focus of the principal grain market of the Great Lakes. The other major agricultural products, corn and pork, rose at slightly less impressive levels.
Newspapers followed the rapid rise in local fortunes. The Herald commented in May 1830 that the amount of goods received by canal had already surpassed that of 1829 because of the abundant harvest and confidence in the canal. Seven years later, the CLEVELAND HERALD & GAZETTE observed that in 1832, much of the local economy had been limited to barter, and few farm products were exported, whereas now "the rich products of the interior [are] floating along" the docks. Enticed by canal products and aided by harbor improvements, more and more lake vessels arrived and cleared. From a beginning of 350 arrivals and departures in 1831, the annual number rose to 1,000 by the late 1830s, and nearly 1,600 by 1844 exclusive of steamboats. Vessels increased in both number and size throughout the period. Nearly 50 of them made regular stops at Cleveland with passengers and some freights. It was not unusual for a visitor by the late 1830s to see the lake and harbor filled with sail and steamboats waiting for their turn at the docks and regularly emptying large numbers of immigrants into the town. Without doubt, by the mid-1840s, Cleveland joined Detroit and Buffalo as the 3 dominant Great Lakes ports.
The dramatic increase in trade brought with it good news for the entire village and led to a period of speculative excitement. By 1830, Cleveland had 138 dwellings, 13 stores, and 15 warehouses as the banks along the river became the wholesale district. To complement the progress along the river, retail stores located along Superior indicated the beginnings of a central BUSINESS district. A residential neighborhood also emerged between Superior and the lake and Ontario and the river. Here early schools and the first church building, Trinity Church, were built. Architecturally, the village was a mix of log cabins, small frame houses, and several more contemporary buildings, with few traces of its primitive frontier beginnings. During the early 1830s, a series of real-estate schemes developed to exploit interest in tracts on both sides of the river. The floodplain on the west side was poorly drained land that had not been farmed. It was purchased by a group of Buffalo investors hoping northern Ohio would expand as Buffalo had done because of the Erie Canal. The marshlands were drained, and an elaborate hotel was built on the newly surveyed lands. Another scheme involved the development of the oxbow area of the river, which was named WILLEYVILLE and laid out in a pattern of radiating streets off a central circle. A bridge built by the investors connected it to the west side. In addition, a planned residential neighborhood, Clinton Square, located just beyond the city limits near the shore, had a central square and a goal of preserving the privacy of residents. All of these ventures temporarily raised land costs in the area, and a number of local investors did benefit. For instance, in Mar. 1835, a tavern located on the west bank changed hands at a profit of $3,000 in 1 day. Few investors received similar windfalls, however, since these ventures failed because of national economic developments. The real impact of these speculations was to raise land prices higher than they would be for 30 years.
While some did make money, it was only temporary in most cases, for surprisingly, not all the economic news during the thirties was positive. The Panic of 1837 and the depression that followed stopped much development in the village and stifled economic advance for 6 or 7 years. Previous cyclical economic downturns had had little impact before the canal brought national markets and national problems to northern Ohio. This time the impact was widespread. Banks failed, forcing local stores to produce their own currency called "shinplasters," which were not redeemable universally. These and other economic reversals doomed the dreams of many railroad companies that had been chartered by the state before 1836. Had it not been for the panic, railroad development would have been much quicker, and the era of the canal proportionately shorter. The hard times forced many new residents to leave town searching for work and housing. Also, many cultural institutions formed in the early 1830s disbanded, unable to collect dues from their membership. Only gradually did the country and Cleveland emerge from the depression by 1845.
Understandably, the panic not only ruined speculation, it also arrested a population spurt that had begun with canal construction in 1826. The village grew from 500 to over 5,000 in the 12 years after 1825, and the west bank of the river added another 1,000 persons. The greatest jump happened between 1833 and 1835, when more than 50% of the total arrived. Through 1836, immigrants poured into the village, and Cleveland and its smaller cross-river rival, OHIO CITY, were named cities in 1836 (even though by modern standards Cleveland was more accurately a town and Ohio City a village). The panic began to limit growth almost immediately. By 1840, 7,500 people lived at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, an increase of only 1,500 in 3 years—half that of the previous 3 years. Nevertheless, Cleveland's annual growth made it the fastest-growing city above 1,000 in the state. It was able to continue to grow gradually until in 1845, 12,000 lived on both banks. Cuyahoga, led by the growing towns, became the most populous county in the Reserve by 1840.
Many migrants settled in the area because of the opportunities offered by local commercial and manufacturing concerns, just as migrants had done before the canal era. The proportion of those involved in commerce grew so that in 1840, over 70% of them lived along the river at the lake. More and more workers were involved in small manufacturing establishments, which dotted the two towns. A relatively large number, over 100, worked on the west side at the CUYAHOGA STEAM FURNACE CO., the first and, for many years, the only heavy industry of importance in the Cuyahoga Valley. The firm, located on the west side partially because the east bank was crowded with warehouses, became the first of a majority of manufacturing companies established on the west side. Many workers employed by the Steam Furnace Co. arrived in the mid-thirties. Some were immigrants from Europe, but most were natives; foreign IMMIGRATION had just begun. The trend established in the late precanal period continued after 1825 as more and more settlers came from New York State, and relatively fewer from Connecticut and the rest of New England. The natives included more members from the middle and upper class who came with funds to invest in the future prosperity of Cleveland, much as the land speculators did. In 1830, the village was still overwhelmingly (96%) native. Apparently, the canal workers, who included a considerable number of IRISH, did not settle in Cleveland. European immigrants did come to the area in the 1830s. Newspapers record several self-help organizations serving Irish, GERMANS, and Scots during the decade. By 1840, it is likely that well over 25% of Cleveland household heads were foreign-born.
Throughout the 2 decades after 1825, BLACKS lived and worked in the village. Their numbers were never very large, and they were not isolated residentially. Cleveland newspapers frequently reported activities of local blacks and on occasion lauded their efforts. The community formed a church in 1830 and a school in 1832. In response to the formation of a young men's union in 1839, the Herald commented on 29 Mar., "The colored people of this city are not numerous, but of the better class of free blacks. They are industrious, peaceable, intelligent, and ambitious of improvement. A school is supported by them," as well as a lecture series and a library. An equally revealing statement was made by a black responding to a racist letter in the 5 Nov. 1845 Herald. He stated that there were 56 blacks from 20 families who had accumulated property of $55,000 since 1833 and were employed as canal boat owners and as stewards on boats. Without doubt, racism existed in Cleveland, but the city was a reasonably liberal environment for the times, and some blacks prospered here.
The growing population continued to become more and more differentiated as class and neighborhood distinctions grew and old conventions were outmoded. An upper social group existed in Cleveland during this time, and it was virtually all native. Several dress dances or cotillions occurred before 1845 and were attended by the town elite. Major celebrations, especially on Independence Day, were accompanied by speeches and a dinner where local leaders spoke. Signs of opulence appeared in some homes. In the 1830s, architectural design replaced the vernacular forms used previously. A Georgian-style home, the Crittenden house, built by a leading merchant, was completed in 1832 on PUBLIC SQUARE. Four years later, a more contemporary style, Greek Revival, began to take hold, and by the end of the thirties it had replaced Georgian. These new homes were brick and stone rather than wood and were much more imposing than earlier residences. While these are some indications of an elite in Cleveland, after 1845 a more conscious upper class emerged as members formed organizations to promote the city and their own particular view of its needs.
In contrast, the poor were increasingly apparent after the opening of the canal. WILLIAM CASE, a leading figure in the village, believed that by 1828, canal construction had "brought a great many irregular—drinking and rowdy persons" to the city and county. Six years later, in the aftermath of a Cholera Epidemic that attacked the town, the Whig on 9 Sept. 1834 said, "The class of persons among which the disease principally raged" was indicated by the fact that "of about one hundred victims .... fifty-five were buried at the expense of the town." Many of the poor lived in the FLATS on either side of the river "under-the-hill." Here the thriving economy spawned numerous "groceries," which appeared on every wharf to dispense alcohol. A racecourse established in 1835 encouraged "a flood of imported depravity, strengthened by all the canaille that could be mustered from groceries and other dens of pollution," asserted the Whig of 14 Oct. 1835. Although he probably overstated the situation, Case said the city council had no power to force "suspicious persons" looking for public support to leave the city, so that at the beginning of the panic, "letters had been written to Ireland, England, Germany, that Cleveland took all the poor that came. In the spring of 1838, the poor came in swarms." Of course, many poor in Cleveland were not "black legs" or "out-laws," especially as the depression deepened. So obvious was the need that by the end of 1837, and for several years, a group of ladies coordinated efforts to feed and clothe the poor.
In between these two extremes were the working people of the town. Most laborers had problems of their own, which included the scarcity of housing even to rent and exploitation by employers. As the population increased and canal connections brought eastern ideas and people to Cleveland, workers joined their counterparts and formed local unions. As early as 1834, journeymen printers united, and 2 years later a meeting of carpenters and joiners of both Cleveland and Ohio City demanded a 10-hour working day. The depression affected workers, and many left the town. Those who stayed probably had difficulty finding work. Just as the financial problems lifted in 1843, mechanics and laborers of both cities protested the return to barter and asserted that they would accept only cash for their services. Moreover, they promised to form a mechanics' and workingmen's society, and as one of their first acts, they held a parade where 350 workers protested their financial problems. Activity was not limited to these issues. In the early 1840s, a Mechanics' Lyceum formed, which promoted lectures on topics of interest to workingmen. All of these gatherings demonstrate an awareness among some workers that they had common interests that could best be served by united action.
Virtually all sectors of Cleveland society united in one form or another during the canal era. As population increased, ethnic and racial distinctions appeared, and social differentiation took place, residents were forced to establish institutions in order to express themselves in a city that lacked the homogeneity and harmony of traditional rural society. Moreover, Cleveland became a regional center during this period by forming branches of eastern institutions. In a sense, the canal brought both commodities and ideas. The first secular organizations were imported from the East just as canal construction began. Many had a distinctly religious cast and reflected the conservative New England background of their members. A branch of the American Colonization Society, a group devoted to sending blacks to Africa, was formed in 1826. It marked the first appearance of New England conservatism, which limited local response regarding slavery to the antislavery position rather than to more radical abolitionist views. Subsequently, in 1833, an antislavery society appeared to promote these views. Another popular movement, TEMPERANCE, reached Cleveland in 1830 and continued for many years. As with most voluntary organizations, members tended to be upper-class, and the targets of their attentions tended to be lower-class. A series of groups were formed that were able to turn 4th of July celebrations in the thirties into celebrations of temperance. In 1834, for instance, children assembled from various Sunday schools, marched, and were treated to cakes, crackers, and cold water in an effort to rid the holiday of "rum and gunpowder." Throughout the period, hotels and steamboats converted to temperance principles. By 1843, Clevelanders joined a national movement to restrict the sale of liquor by the drink or to individuals who were drunk, but had little success.
National movements devoted to stimulating intellectual activity also prospered in Cleveland in the 1830s. Numerous public debates took place, especially in the winter months under the auspices of local branches of the lyceum movement, which continued a local tradition founded in the pre-canal era. As we have seen, mechanics and blacks founded their own versions of this popular format before 1840. Similar groups such as the Library Association, the Polemic Association, the Cleveland Reading Room, and various young men's unions provided refuge from the growing anonymity. They were supplemented by musical organizations such as the CLEVELAND MENDELSSOHN and MOZART societies. Service groups added to the institutional maze. The MASONS continued to be active despite an anti-Masonic movement that forced them out of sight during the late 1820s and much of the 1830s. Other groups, including the International Order of Odd Fellows, began to hold meetings as early as 1841. Another segment of the community formed private military units such as the CLEVELAND GRAYS and the Cleveland Guards. Composed of native-born, they served social and ceremonial functions in addition to their role in any military actions. Just at the end of the period, in 1843, local women who had been active in poor relief through their churches formed the MARTHA WASHINGTON & DORCAS SOCIETY to administer to all poor in Cleveland. They were attempting to supplement earlier mutual-aid groups formed to preserve ethnic, racial, religious, or fraternal bonds by Germans, Irish, Manx, blacks, firefighters, and BAPTISTS. These groups supported the temporary poor through a solitary gift to help them weather a difficult time. They made up the bulk of benevolence in the pre-1845 era, and while they continued after that time, other, more far-reaching relief was necessary.
Religious organizations formed quickly as population increased, and tended to be ethnically exclusive. From a beginning of 3 churches in 1830, the number rose to 12 Protestant congregations by 1845. The most prominent of these was the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, known as Old Stone Church, built in 1834 on Public Square. These congregations formed a series of social groups within their organizations, such as Sabbath schools, Bible classes, and female benevolent societies. Two Protestant churches were exclusively German and had about 600 communicants by 1845. By far the most significant change was the formation of the first Roman Catholic parish in 1835, which built ST. MARY'S ON THE FLATS in the oxbow area 3 years later. By 1845, there were also 2 Jewish congregations. In all, the directory estimated that there were over 8,000 members of religious organizations, many of whom made the church the center of their social activity.
While local children attended Sunday schools, Cleveland only gradually provided public EDUCATION for its citizens. Despite the rapid increase in population and in cultural and religious concerns, JOHN WILLEY, first mayor of Cleveland, told the city council in 1836: "Our character, our manners, our habits, and our means require an entire change, the introduction of a liberal and well adjusted system of education in our city" to replace private academies. The next year, a public school system began with a board of managers. After a shaky beginning, the system built 3 schoolhouses and was firmly established by 1845. HIGHER EDUCATION began near the end of the period, when the Cleveland Medical College opened in 1843. It immediately became successful and was viewed as one of the chief assets of the city. Other, similar institutions came only after 1845, when population and educational trends warranted expansion. Just as the school system evolved over the 2 decades, politics and city government changed dramatically. Clevelanders not only joined national movements such as temperance and antislavery, they also participated in national politics. The stylistic change to mass appeal and party politics, which had not existed in earlier years, was exemplified by a convention of 15,000 WESTERN RESERVE and northern Ohio Whigs who met in Cleveland in Oct. 1844 to ratify Clay's presidential nomination. The evolution that led to this system began as early as 1827, when the first convention was held to determine local candidates. The political preferences of residents betrayed their New England heritage, since by and large they were for Clay and the American System of internal improvements beginning in the early twenties, and they consistently opposed Andrew Jackson to the point that no Jacksonian newspaper could survive in the city. In the mid-1830s they remained WHIG, and they supported Harrison's campaign in 1840 with great enthusiasm, as they did Clay's in 1844. Newspapers became more and more partisan during the era, and much of their news emphasized political issues. There were also significant changes in local political activity, where "caucuses" that nominated approved candidates were necessary "for the common good," according to the Herald on 9 Sept. 1835. Local party representatives established vigilance committees to police voting at each polling place and "to use all honorable means to secure the election of the candidates nominated." Not all means were honorable, however, as in 1843, 3 persons convicted of voting more than once at the spring election were each sentenced to 1 year in the penitentiary.
All this conscious political activity changed the nature of officeholding gradually during the canal era. It did not, however, change the ethnicity of officers, who remained native despite rising numbers of Germans and Irish in the community. Prior to 1836, village officers seemed to continue the tradition of public service by serving several years: JOHN W. ALLEN served 4 consecutive years as mayor; T. P. May was a trustee for 5; and David Worley served 5 years as treasurer. After Cleveland became a city, the mayor and city council, consisting of a president, 3 aldermen, and 3 councilmen from each of the 3 wards, formed the government. Over the next 9 years, there was no consistent pattern of officeholding. No officer served as mayor, alderman, or councilman more than 2 years, for instance. Perhaps a writer to the Herald on 25 Aug. 1837 correctly observed that Cleveland had "a central aristocracy composed of capitalists, [paper mill owners], and speculators" that shared offices among its members. A brief analysis of these men shows that virtually all were wealthy businessmen, and many were deeply involved in the land speculations of the mid-1830s. It is possible that they did not need to have long-term officers, since the increasing population brought many qualified men to the city. In any case, local leaders did begin to affiliate with political parties, according to Cleveland newspapers. In 1844, the Herald suggested that since local Democrats and Whigs had each nominated a candidate for mayor, and since both were old residents, well-qualified, and popular, the election of either would be good for the city. Later the same year, the newspaper put the local election into perspective when it stated that the Democrats had won the mayoralty by 32 out of 1,100 votes cast, but the spoils belonged to the Whigs, who held 9 of the 12 council seats. The paper continued that over the last 4 years, these mayoral elections had been so close that the Whigs had won by only 14 in 1841, and then the Democrats won by margins of 12, 45, and 32. Politics in the city were partisan, it seems, but the rival factions were drawn from the same ruling group before 1845.
These city leaders had a difficult task managing the transition from village to town over the 2 decades. From a village of few regulations and few responsibilities that relied on private institutions to provide needed services, Cleveland was forced to regulate more generally and to control more city services itself. Beginning in 1829, fire protection began when the village bought a fire engine and volunteers formed a fire department. By 1836, there were 4 firehouses manned by volunteers, and a fire warden examined houses to enforce ordinances designed to prevent fires. As crime increased, the village appointed a marshal in 1832 and 4 years later formed a city watch, including 8 companies of men. Also during this time, the city regulated MARKETS and attempted to centralize them. The condition of city streets was a continuing problem. Attempts to repair the dirt roads served little purpose, since they improved mobility but were not a permanent solution. All of these areas would force more permanent solutions on the city in the years after 1845, but before then only a piecemeal approach was used.
Just as efforts to provide city services did not keep pace with growing demands during the canal era, efforts to create a unified city on both sides of the river were stymied, as well. That part of BROOKLYN Twp. directly across the river grew quickly after 1830, and in the winter of 1835, a letter to the Whig stated: "I cannot see any good and sufficient reasons why Brooklyn should not be included in the proposed corporation [of Cleveland]. The interests of one place are closely connected and allied with the interests of the other." On 30 Dec., a Cleveland meeting rejected including the west side, because Clevelanders did not want the opposite bank to benefit from the larger population and tax base of the east side, and because residents feared the influence it would give Brooklyn, Buffalo, and New York speculators. The rejection erupted into a year-long confrontation rooted in the view that each city was fighting for the same business. The immediate issue was the repair or replacement of a floating bridge, but by June 1836, Cleveland removed the bridge because it obstructed navigation. A replacement, the COLUMBUS ST. BRIDGE, was built on the southern edge of Ohio City, diverting traffic to Cleveland rather than letting it pass through Ohio City's business district. After several incidents of vandalism to the new bridge, attributed to unhappy Ohio City residents, a skirmish took place on 31 Oct. 1836 when an attempt was made to saw through its timbers. The bridge's destruction was prevented by Cleveland citizens reinforced by the county sheriff, but according to an Ohio City paper describing the event, the mob began to destroy the structure only after they were fired upon. Subsequently, each village established a watch to protect BRIDGES and buildings. The controversy receded after a year but left scars so deep that any discussion of unification ceased for more than a decade.
These unsettled problems did not obscure Cleveland's progress from 1825 to 1845. A newspaper commented: "But a few short years have passed since our thriving town, (then a rude hamlet) stood upon the farther confines of the rising west.... Ours is no longer a western settlement, our children are surrounded by the comforts, the blessings, and the elegance of life." Within these 2 decades, a hamlet had become a commercial town justifying the foresight of its founders. It had become the capital of the Reserve. The town had expanded to over 12,000 people and was on the verge of becoming a legitimate city. It was also on the verge of several major changes that would make canals obsolete and would require more creative solutions to urban problems. During the next 15 years, ethnic consciousness increased, and the celebration of Yankee heritage grew markedly as Clevelanders coped with the final phase of the antebellum period.
From 1845 to 1860, Cleveland became a city. Economically, railroads revolutionized transportation, laying the groundwork for the transition from commerce to manufacturing. Moreover, the city joined other Great Lakes ports in promoting regional economic development. Culturally, Cleveland shed its provincial perspective to become an integral if somewhat conservative part of national trends. Local politics, too, became embroiled in national issues. Significantly, Ohio City and Cleveland united following the trend of urban annexation. Finally, on the eve of the CIVIL WAR, some Clevelanders began to record the proud history of their progress. The economy continued to be the driving force of change during these years, as canal expansion and railroad construction led all other developments. After 1840, feeder lines connecting the canal with Erie, Pa., the Mahoning Valley, Pittsburgh, and Marietta on the Ohio River ended the monopoly of the Ohio Canal's north-south trunk line as they provided alternate routes and commercial centers. These canals affected Cleveland in much the same way railroads would in the 1850s, for they strengthened its hold on certain commodities, such as grain, while they reduced traffic in other goods, such as foodstuffs. The Mahoning Canal was particularly important for Cleveland, since it opened a direct route to the interior of the Western Reserve and to the Mahoning Valley that funneled dairy products, wool, and coal to the city.
From 1845 to 1852, canals recovered from several poor years in the mid-1840s and reached their highest levels, at the same time that railroads finally attracted enough funds to begin construction. In 1851, the canal brought 2.5 million bushels of wheat, nearly 1 million bushels of corn, .66 million barrels of flour, and 3 million bushels of coal to Cleveland, breaking records for each commodity. The Herald of 20 Feb. 1849 praised the long-term impact of the canal, saying that it had "made Cleveland," because while it had cost $5 million to build, it had paid back 20 times that much. Also, without the canal, the paper estimated that the village population would have been 3,000 rather than 21,000, and its property worth only $3 million rather than $10 million. Few doubted the evaluation, and few predicted the reversal that followed. In the 9 years 185160, flour volume fell by 1/3, wheat by well over 1/2, and corn by 3/4: the canal era had virtually ended.
While the end came quickly, prosperity in the 1840s masked the urgent need for railroad financing and meant that Cleveland was nearly left out of this next transportation revolution. Fortunately, such was not the case, for as the canal traffic reached its peak, the first rail connection was completed. Railroad promotion began in the 1830s and was revitalized in the mid-1840s. An editorial in late 1845 advocated support for a proposal to have the city of Cleveland purchase $2 million in stock of the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad and added, "It has become a matter of surprise to our neighbors that Cleveland has been so stupid upon the project of this and other railroads." A letter to the editor of the Herald on 14 July 1846 argued that many businessmen and active young men left the city each year to settle in younger cities and towns along the lakes, such as Sandusky presumably, which had built several railroads because it had no canal connections to the interior. Advocates of trains constantly pointed out that Clevelanders were active only two-thirds of the year; for the other 4 months, "they burrow like animals." The iron horse, they argued, would initiate a year-round city. Finally, after several ill-organized attempts, the most promising line, the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati (CC&C), was funded. Construction proceeded quickly, and by early 1851, plans for a celebration marking the arrival of the first train were quickly completed. By year's end, Cleveland was also connected with Painesville and Pittsburgh, and by 1853, with New York City, Chicago, and St. Louis. On the eve of the Civil War, it had become one of the major rail centers in the country.
The railroads revived commerce in Cleveland, which enhanced prosperity, but some observers saw problems unless the city's economic base broadened. Cleveland was a good place to live, said the Leader, 15 Mar. 1856, but there was "no living spirit of enterprise.... No thinking man with capital will stop in the city when we have only our commerce to sustain us. A manufacturing town gives a man of means full scope to his ambition ... commerce alone cannot save Cleveland, as but few are benefited by it directly. Manufacturing creates a demand for merchandise, mechanical labor, all the necessaries of life, and gives tone to all legitimate business in and around it." Moreover, the city had all the right resources—mechanics, raw materials, places to erect factories, and cheap food prices compared to older towns. Despite these advantages, the paper continued, real-estate prices had declined for over 2 years, and some quick improvement was needed. Other arguments emphasized the ability to weather economic crises by diversifying and the benefit of wresting retail markets in the hinterland away from eastern manufacturers. Of course, manufacturing did exist in the area, and had ever since the founding of the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Co. in the early 1830s. But as the 1853 city directory observed, investment in industry for a city of 33,000 people was much too small given "the capabilities of this location for sustaining manufactures." Most of the 150 establishments added between 1850 and 1860 were small and not related to the nascent iron and oil industries. Instead, they grew because the expanding population needed agricultural implements, woodenware, furniture, clothing, and sewing machines. While the number of inhabitants who worked in these factories continued to grow, they made up only 9% of the workforce on the eve of the Civil War. Iron manufacturing was still in its infancy as the first rolling mills began to produce in the 1850s, and therefore, the opening of the mineral resources of Lake Superior had only just begun to have an impact on the FOREST CITY by 1860.
Both commerce and manufacturing attracted people to the Cleveland area from 1845 to 1860. Fueled by canal expansion, the city's population jumped by 11,000, practically doubling in the first 5 years, and tripling the 7,000 residents of 1840. The excitement generated by the completion of the CC&C railroad generated another burst, which added 8,000 between 1850 and 1853. In all, the population increased by 30,000 to nearly 44,000 at the end of the 15 years, to lead all cities in the country of comparable size with a 10% annual growth rate. Other cities in northeast Ohio grew slowly from 1850 to 1860 in comparison; these increases, while not equivalent to that in Cleveland, were the beginning of a significant rural-urban movement as the proportion of urban residents in the Western Reserve rose. Clearly these changes suggest the continuing trend toward greater population concentrations. Another continuing trend was the rising proportion of foreign-born emigrating to Cleveland. At mid-century, the native-born made up only V3 of household heads in Cleveland, and only 2/5 of those in Ohio City. A decade later, both sides of the river were under 30% native, compared with 33% for German-born and 22% for the Irish-born residents. This native minority benefited from the influx of Europeans, who held occupations at the lower end of the economic ladder. Natives filled virtually all skilled positions, such as machinists and shipwrights, as well as more white-collar occupations, including merchants, physicians, and boatbuilders. Irish residents were at the bottom of the ladder. Half, who had no steady employment, were listed as day laborers, and the remainder had semiskilled jobs, such as shoemakers and sailors. Virtually no Irishmen held white-collar jobs. In contrast, 25% of the Germans were skilled craftsmen, and many semiskilled Germans worked in the more dependable building trades rather in the seasonal work along the wharves, as did the Irish.
Economic differences and preference concentrated the various ethnic divisions more and more in their own areas of the city. On the west side, for instance, the Irish began to dominate the lowlands near the river and the hillside leading onto the heights, where many natives lived in the fashionable FRANKLIN CIRCLE area. Germans made up less than Vs of the west side, except in a new residential area away from the lake south of Bridge St., where they constituted 7/3 of the households in 1860. These concentrations had their east side equivalents but should not be viewed as ghettos, since many residents were not forced into them by discrimination but chose to live close to countrymen. However, the increased presence of foreign-born undoubtedly raised ethnic consciousness in the city. A newspaper editorial on 18 Feb. 1851 offered a formula of assimilation that few followed when it advised foreigners to immediately become "Americanized" by "casting off" their European skins and encouraged natives to welcome them as brothers. Throughout the period, ethnic groups, especially Germans, created numerous organizations to preserve their languages and cultures in addition to the self-help groups formed in the 1830s. Germans added a German-language newspaper in 1846, a military group, the German Guards, in 1847, and a music society in 1848. In the 1850s, many Saengerbunden, German singing societies, were formed, and in 1859 the city hosted a North American SAENGERFEST, which included a group of 400 singers from Cleveland representing 24 separate local societies. Local churches expanded, as well, and by 1860, there were 6 German congregations. Some attempts to preserve culture were not successful, especially when they seemed to oppose AMERICANIZATION. The Ohio City Council denied a request to form a separate German school in 1853, for instance, but it did agree to print a city ordinance regulating dogs in both English and German.
Other ethnic groups did not form as many private organizations. Irish residents relied on churches and schools for their cultural activities, even though there were some organizations such as the HIBERNIAN GUARDS and the Irish Naturalization Society of Cleveland. By 1860, there were 4 churches and 7 parochial schools in the city. Throughout the period, there was little mention of the Irish in the newspapers. A great deal is made of the formation of the FATHER MATHEW TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY in 1851, which brought many Catholics into an essentially Protestant movement and promised an end to the heavy-drinking Irish stereotype that pervaded Cleveland newspapers. Immigrants from Scotland and the Isle of Man, who did not receive such negative characterizations, formed self-help organizations and were able to report in 1856 that only 1 countryman from each group had ever received city aid.
Blacks, too, increased in numbers and continued to associate in organizations for their social and economic improvement. They never made up more than 2% of the population, and they were not isolated residentially. Blacks worked at many levels of the occupational scale: 1/3 were unskilled; 45% were skilled; and 20% were semiskilled. Of course, serious questions of racism concerned all blacks. Three meetings held in Cleveland in 1847 considered a petition to Congress asking for enough land in a western area for blacks to form their own government and send representatives to Congress, but rejected it because slave-holders controlled the legislature. Several churches created new opportunities for religious and social activities, as did the Colored Young Men's Union Society, a debating club, and the Colored Association of Cleveland. The plight of blacks was explicitly highlighted by a newspaper, the ALIENED AMERICAN, published in 1853. The court system seemed to treat blacks with some fairness; a white in 1849 was found guilty of killing a black and was sentenced for the crime, while in 1854 a black man charged with raping a white girl was freed after it was learned she "did not sustain a good character."
The local upper class had formed a tight-knit society that entertained itself and attempted to control the destiny of the city. After 1845, when Cleveland became a boom town, one could have measured the social and cultural evolution of the upper class, because they began to copy eastern styles as quickly as they appeared in the East. By the late 1840s, Gothic houses had begun to replace earlier Greek Revival styles, and architectural provincialism had all but disappeared as eastern architects brought the latest fashion to Cleveland. A decade later, Italian villa designs such as the one built by AMASA STONE appeared along the posh section of EUCLID AVE. Stone's home featured rosewood and mahogany highlights and a heating system with a fireproof furnace that sent heated water to nearly every room. The house was the finest in the city.
The Protestant upper class did become more physically separated from the growing congestion of the central city, but at the same time it became more concerned with benevolence. What had been the purview of a few devoted wealthy women and ethnic self-help groups became an effort of prominent male leaders to instill the values of their heritage, especially self-discipline and Protestant morality, into the poor. Moreover, these leaders turned the attention of private and public organizations more toward the idle and begging class than to newly arrived immigrants or the ill. In so doing, they forged a movement that wished not only to help but also to control, as much out of fear as out of concern, and as further evidence of a growing class consciousness. There was legitimate reason for concern. The number of poor increased as the city population increased and as the cyclical downturns in the economy forced more newcomers out of work. Poor relief was a real problem, and when unemployment increased in 1856, the city provided outdoor relief. A survey of the beneficiaries concluded that 47% were Irish, 22% German, and only 12.5% "Americans." Throughout the 1850s, while the local economy weathered the panics reasonably well, each downturn reduced the number of workers dramatically, thereby increasing the number of needy.
The bulk of city residents fell between these two extremes. The working population continued to form groups to protect its interests during the late 1840s and 1850s. Cleveland's GARMENT INDUSTRY employed mostly women, and they protested wages and treatment in 1848 and formed a sewing society 20 years later. For a short time they ran their own shop. Throughout the 1850s, economic problems increased union activity. Most workingmen settled in areas where they could afford housing. On the west side, housing costs dropped after the speculative boom of the thirties, and prices stayed low so that in contrast to Cleveland, separate houses were available to most people, and "nearly all had breathing room." Further opportunities meant that a large number of "men of small means" could buy lots on the west side, build houses there, and be nearer to work than those who had to live farther away from their work to afford housing costs on the east side. Less-affluent laborers and workers clustered around Lorain and south and west of Pearl. Consequently, financial considerations, along with ethnic loyalties and xenophobia, created residential segregation by the end of the antebellum period.
A great variety of private and public institutions were founded between 1845 and 1860 to accommodate the growing complexities of city life within a national cultural context. Some organizations, such as antislavery or temperance, expanded their activities and involved more than residents. In Cleveland, church leaders from congregational and Presbyterian churches dominated the abolition affiliates. While Cleveland was not a hotbed of ABOLITIONISM even in the 1850s, it was a stop for a few prominent abolitionist lecturers, including Frederick Douglass and Cassius Clay. One shortcoming of the city that kept it from more radical ideas and, in part, reflected its general propensities was the absence of an abolitionist press and the conservative editorial policies of the city's daily newspapers. More in keeping with its conservative New England heritage was local support for antislavery. Throughout the 1850s, some runaway slaves were helped, mostly through the efforts of local blacks, and occasionally by whites. Such actions were illegal, according to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, but many Clevelanders were proud of their defiance. The most dramatic indication of local sentiments was the excitement generated by the OBERLIN-WELLINGTON RESCUE and fugitive slave trial, when 37 rescuers were jailed. Throughout the proceedings, which took place in Cleveland, crowds gathered, and at one rally 10,000 attended. At the same time, soon-to-be-martyred John Brown, then a fugitive because of his actions in Kansas, stayed in the city. When he was hanged for his role at Harpers Ferry, flags flew at half-mast and bells tolled in Cleveland, partially because he represented courage and freedom in spite of his unacceptable methods.
In politics, local business leaders tried to replace Representative Joshua R. Giddings with a candidate of more moderate views on slavery but failed and were forced to rely on him. Throughout the 1840s, Clevelanders supported antislavery Whigs, but in the 1850s they joined the movement led by Giddings and others through the successive stages of antislavery parties from FREE-SOIL to the Whig-Free-Soil-Independent Democratic party known as the Republicans. So while local leaders and voters were reluctant followers of this limited national shift, they joined the organizations and were committed by the eve of the war. The temperance movement in Cleveland followed a similar path, as it too became involved in politics. The Washingtonians, a group prominent in the 1840s, expanded the temperance cause and paved the way for the SONS OF TEMPERANCE and the Independent Order of Good Templars. Both of these fraternal organizations offered fellowship and social events but were primarily devoted to protecting their numbers from drink and elevating their politics. Gradually in the 1850s, they became more active in politics. In 1853, they could not obtain a temperance position from either major gubernatorial candidate, so the Cleveland Temperance Alliance supported a Free Soil-Democrat. As we have seen, there were also Catholic temperance groups formed after the 1851 visit of Father Mathew, a protemperance priest. The numerous groups often participated in 4th of July parades to counteract the portrayal of intemperance among immigrants and offered direct aid to countrymen.
Private relief groups also sought to aid the poor in more systematic ways. The SOCIETY FOR THE RELIEF OF THE POOR, formed in 1850, and its successor the Relief Association, as well as the Sons of Malta, were upper-class, male-dominated groups that gave aid to those poor who were deserving because of their moral character and potential for improvement. Typical of the terms of relief were the stipulations of the City Mission of the Euclid St. Presbyterian Church, which stated that "no continued or permanent relief [would] be granted any family ... not ... connected with some Protestant [congregation]" and that they would be subject to periodic visitations to determine whether they were worthy of help. By the mid-1850s, leaders of these groups realized that they did not have the resources to deal with the problem and consequently began a campaign to have the government assume more responsibility. Uncared-for children created another problem, which church groups helped solve with the formation of the Protestant Orphan Asylum and similar Catholic institutions in the early 1850s. In addition, the Ragged School was founded to attract children too poor to attend public schools. Some of these institutions, especially the Ragged School, were partially or totally funded by the city after private efforts proved insufficient.
Not all voluntary groups sought to solve urban problems; some sought to improve the social and intellectual environment of their members. German MUSIC groups proliferated in the period, and in 1854 the Cleveland Academy of Music opened. From the foundation laid in the 1830s and partially destroyed by the depression of the 1840s, the CLEVELAND LIBRARY ASSOCIATION revived and by mid-century had a collection of more than 2,000 volumes. Moreover, business leaders who were involved in church groups and other benevolent societies also formed a Board of Trade here where they could discuss economic issues and meet peers. Fraternal associations such as the Masons and Odd Fellows met throughout the period. Social and athletic clubs such as the Ivanhoe Boat Club, the Cleveland Cricket Club, the Cleveland Chess Club, and local gymnasium groups all prospered during the period. In fact, SPORTS activities and public celebrations increased markedly in the 1850s. Horseracing revived and became an annual event, drawing as many as 3,000 people. Foot races and baseball also took place. By far the most popular celebration occurred annually on the 4th of July; it attracted 40,000 people in 1858. Residents also had opportunities to attend countless musical concerts and plays. In 1853, a theatrical rendition of Uncle Tom's Cabin played to 12,000 people in 15 performances.
Churches grew rapidly as they attracted new communicants. The number of Protestant congregations nearly tripled over the course of the 15 years, to 34, and they supported 38 Sunday schools. Just as the social order became more differentiated, so too did local churches. As we have seen, some church leaders were members of the local upper class who built new church buildings reflecting their own stature, and others took an active role in the political issues that permeated all levels of society. Churches after 1845 followed Gothic and Romanesque designs imported directly from the East. Political and moral beliefs were enmeshed in the antebellum period inevitably, and some local congregations felt the effects. In Mar. 1850, PRESBYTERIANS who favored abolition formed their own church. Catholic churches continued to expand, as well, so that in 1860 there were 4 separate churches. These congregations supported several orphan asylums and 4 parochial schools, including a seminary.
The realization that private institutions could no longer handle many urban social problems caused city government to take over some institutions founded by voluntary associations and to create others. The city poorhouse had served few poor in the late 1830s and 1840s, since private groups provided considerable aid, but as the problem increased, a Poorhouse & Hospital was built to house the sick, insane, and indigent and aged poor. The City Infirmary could minister only to meritorious cases who had been residents for at least 1 year. In 1857, the Ragged School, which had been founded by private groups, was taken over by the city. Its goal was to change "scholars from dangerous to industrious citizens." The city also saw the need for expanded educational opportunities for all residents. From 1846 to 1860, the number of school buildings rose from 13 to 17, and the number of students from 1,500 to 6,000. A Board of Education, formed in 1853, directed the system. In addition to the Ragged School, renamed the Industrial School in 1857, which trained poor youth, a high school opened in 1846 that trained those who wanted to learn the higher branches of education; and a night school opened in 1850 to aid those who needed to work but wished to learn, as well. In all, public education had virtually replaced private education on the eve of the Civil War, since only 3 secular schools remained in Cleveland in 1860, whereas a quarter-century before, nearly all pupils had attended private academies.
Other city services increased to meet the demands of the growing population. One obvious sign of the number of newcomers was an 1848 city ordinance placing street signs at various corners. Public utilities were also in demand. Water from wells supplied homes, but the business district needed a larger amount, which was provided when a large holding tank was constructed in 1849. It proved insufficient, so by 1856 a system was built that pumped lake water to the KENTUCKY ST. RESERVOIR on the west side and then distributed it. Gas lighting was introduced to downtown streets and buildings in 1850 and gradually spread south and east from Public Square, along the main streets going east and to the west side. Street surfaces continued to be a problem throughout the period, as surfaces constantly needed repair and as a primitive sewage system designed to drain main streets proved inadequate. Partially because of this problem as well as crowded housing, the city appointed a public health officer in 1856 and formed a board of health as a permanent structure, which replaced earlier boards created to deal with specific emergencies. Fire and police protection kept pace with other changes. Cleveland had 10 fire engines and a volunteer group of 500 firemen to cope with the growing number of fires. Police protection expanded as the small watch forces of the 1830s were replaced by a formal police department that employed 40 patrolmen by 1860. More local station houses appeared in immigrant communities and other areas where crime was more prevalent. The justice system also expanded to meet new demands, as a police court was formed in 1853. In addition, a federal district court was established in the city in 1855 as a result of the increasing financial position of the city.
All of these new services sought to make living and working better in a new city. The long, difficult period of contention between Cleveland and Ohio City ended when they united in 1854. The two had cooperated on bridge and harbor projects in the 1840s, which initiated attempts to unite them in the early 1850s. The reasons were obvious: the river would be under one authority; the harbor would receive federal money more easily; property values, especially of Ohio City lots close to the Flats, would increase; and administration would be streamlined. Nevertheless, while 88% of Ohio City voters wanted union, Clevelanders rallied behind an antiunion assault and rejected the proposal in 1851. Three years later, the issue returned with new benefits. New taxes, increased real-estate values for the east side business district, access to "fresh, pure water" from the west side's system, and the addition of the industrial capacity of "manufactories, iron works, machine shops, and warehouses" apparently convinced Clevelanders, who voted 4 to 1 in favor of union. Ohio City voters also approved annexation. The terms of the merger created 4 west side wards and guaranteed that a bridge joining the two banks would be built within 2 years, but also insured west side dependence by reserving revenues and assets of each before the union to that side exclusively. Cleveland benefited immediately because Ohio City brought a commitment to manufacturing and helped turn it away from commerce.
Local politics became more complex after the union, since more local offices were available as the number of wards reached 11 and the office of alderman was abolished. Just as religious and secular organizations became involved in national politics, so too did local elections. In the canal era, there was a constant turnover of officeholders as the pool of available men grew, but after 1848, officers often served more than 2 years, probably because of the rising effectiveness of local parties. Their new tactics included efforts to muster German and Irish voters, beginning in 1852. Three years later, the DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT reported on 15 May a rather strong reversal of this approach, and one that was in concert with a national native American political movement, the Know-Nothing party. The paper reported that a crowd of "jackasses and hyenas and bawdy house bullies" had taken over the polls in the 1st and 2d wards, refusing to allow any anti-Know-Nothing foreigner to approach. All Germans were kept from voting and were beaten if they attempted to come too near. Whether these tactics continued is not known, but the Democratic party won virtually all the municipal offices in 1856. Clearly, local politics had become more organized and effective in the prewar years. Local connections to national parties were important as the rather conservative political views of many residents gradually joined the national trend to the left. Through the 1850s, Clevelanders supported Franklin Pierce over Winfield Scott in 1852, Fremont over Buchanan in 1856, and finally Lincoln in 1860. This shift toward the Republican coalition placed the area in the mainstream of American politics, just as it had gradually joined the economic and cultural mainstreams by the close of the antebellum period.
By 1860, Cleveland was one of the most beautiful cities in the country, with all the prospects associated with urban centers. It had matured quickly even by 19th-century standards. When the Herald compared the first city directory, published in 1837, to the one 20 years later, it saw major changes. Travel to Cincinnati had taken 80 hours by canal in 1837 but took only 10 in 1857. The number of names in the directory had increased from 1,300 to 11,000, while the number of factory workers had grown from 200 to 3,000. Other, more subtle differences included the rising separation of the city into a wholesale and commercial zone, a central business district, and numerous residential neighborhoods distinguished from one another by the quality of the houses and the spacing between them. This differentiation was not only economic but also social and cultural, as various institutions with more and more distinctly ethnic identities replaced the informal relationships of the pre-canal era. In effect, the social spectrum had widened, and organizations reflected this broadening. Cultural efforts to preserve traditional values by cultural associations became increasingly popular as many groups, especially natives, felt threatened by the majority foreign-born population. Conservative easterners had found ways to preserve their values by cultural associations and by joining national movements with a conservative bent. They also were able to form a ruling group that controlled the local economy and local politics. Urban problems and governmental solutions signaled the end to the era of voluntary associations providing most of the social services to the community. In the final analysis, in spite of all its problems, Cleveland in 1860 was a fully developed city with a brilliant economic future and a population capable of meeting the challenges it would present.
Robert Wheeler, Cleveland State University
Introduction. The 7 decades from 1860 through 1929 were the most exciting, eventful, and complex in Cleveland's history. From the beginning of the CIVIL WAR to the onset of the Great Depression, Cleveland rose from a small commercial city of 43,000 people to an industrial metropolis with a population nearing 1 million. During such a period of growth, the events, the people, and institutions loom bigger than life and were essential to the city's growth. The Civil War was a traumatic event for many Clevelanders who saw their sons and husbands and brothers off to fight for the Union cause, some never to come back. The whole city and surrounding population mourned the death of Abraham Lincoln, and everyone (an estimated 90,000 people) walked past the slain president's body, mounted on a catafalque in PUBLIC SQUARE. But the wartime boom had thrust the little commercial center on the road toward 60 years of industrial growth. Young JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER and Maurice B. Clark took the profits from government contracts to their produce-wholesaling business and invested in the new petroleum refining industry. SAMUEL MATHER, along with Otis & Co., went from iron-ore mining and smelting to the production of steel. In 1870 Messrs. Sherwin and Williams launched the paint-and-varnish industry in the city. Increasing numbers of immigrant groups, attracted by new jobs, families, and friends, populated Cleveland neighborhoods. Urban cultural institutions, such as the colleges and universities, the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART, the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, and the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA, were founded. Civic leaders such as TOM L. JOHNSON and NEWTON D. BAKER made the industrial metropolis a model for the 20th century city. WORLD WAR I, at the other end of the time period, further accelerated Cleveland's growth, attracting an internal migration adding to the already large foreign population and pushing the city into a period of suburban growth symbolized by the VAN SWERINGEN brothers' dual development of the suburb of SHAKER HEIGHTS and the downtown Terminal Tower complex.
These events and many more are important, and their story is fully told in other parts of this volume. But, in order to find meaning and to make sense of the bewildering array of particular achievements occurring during this 70-year period, one must step back and view it as a whole. In doing so, one begins to see the overarching continuities and the interrelations in trends. This section, therefore, will examine the growth of the city topically, over the whole period, treating the ECONOMY, demographic growth and change, geographic evolution, reform and the voluntary civic sector, and the political system. An understanding of the development of the economy is essential to understanding all other phases of the city's history. It explains the parallel demographic changes, which in turn influenced the evolution of the urban geography. Concurrently, the problems of poverty and SANITATION and demands for EDUCATION for the emerging metropolis spurred a variety of social and civic reforms, all of which explain and to some extent are explained by the political system and the development of the political structure of the new industrial metropolis.
The Economy. In the 7 decades 1860-1929, Cleveland's economy was a mirror of the American Industrial Revolution. Fueled initially in the 1860s by the Civil War, sustained in the latter decades of the century by the construction of a national TRANSPORTATION system, the growth of an internal market, and technological innovation, voracious growth continued into the first 3 decades of the 20th century on the crest of a wave of corporate consolidation, World War I, and a new industrial orientation toward consumer production. Highly sensitive to changes in the national economy, Cleveland made an economic transition from the commercial center of the Civil War era to the nation's 5th-largest industrial city by the close of the prosperity decade. AGRICULTURE was an important factor in this early growth. The opening of the Erie and Ohio canal systems made Cleveland the link in the transshipment of Ohio grains, most notably wheat, to Eastern Seaboard market centers. Much of the city's pre-Civil War growth and prosperity were the result of its advantageous geographic position.
Ohio's mid-century inclusion in the nation's growing RAILROAD network was accompanied by the realization by grain farmers tilling land bordering the canal that they could now ship directly to eastern markets and no longer needed to route their produce through Cleveland. The city's grain-oriented agricultural hinterland declined. However, the city's size soon influenced a second stage of regional agricultural development. Competition for land in the county between urban and rural uses had the effect of bidding up land prices and decreasing the size of farms. Those who owned small but high-priced farms now had to raise crops with high market prices. As early as the 1860s, Cuyahoga County farmers converted production to truck farming vegetables, fruits, livestock, and dairy products for the urban population. By the 1880s, when the county population was 197,000, agricultural production of the 5 surrounding counties was given over to truck farming and other high-intensity agricultural land uses, including greenhouse horticulture in Cuyahoga. In the 1920s, when the population of the city and its surrounding SUBURBS totaled over 1 million, 16 counties surrounding Cleveland produced agricultural goods for the consumption of Clevelanders and their agricultural processing industries. Cleveland's flour mills, breweries, and distillers became major consumers of regional agricultural output.
The commercial sector of Cleveland's economy comprised transportation, finance, and wholesale and retail trade. Until late in the 19th century, commerce was the city's leading sector, and transportation was the key to its rise. The state's railroad network was completed in the immediate post-Civil War period; by the 1880s, Cleveland could claim the densest network of railroad connections of any city between New York and Chicago. HIGHWAY construction in the 20th century paralleled the rail lines and reinforced Cleveland's position as a hinge between eastern markets and western sources of raw materials. Although the canal boom was spent by the 1870s, the city's Great Lakes water linkages remained important and expanded under the impetus of the iron and steel industry to include the iron ranges of the upper Great Lakes. In the 1870s and 1880s, oil pipelines added yet another transportation connection to the city. Pipelines linking Cleveland to the oil fields of Pennsylvania for a time made the city the nation's leading oil-refining center, and although this preeminence was short-lived, Cleveland did remain an important depot and refinery in the Standard Oil system. Gas from the West Virginia pipeline of the EAST OHIO GAS CO. completed the transportation network.
The locus of all modes of transportation was the mouth of the CUYAHOGA RIVER at Lake Erie. Very early in Cleveland's post-Civil War development, the inadequacies of the port became a primary source of local concern. The mouth of the river silted up with distressing regularity, while windstorms on Lake Erie battered the lakeshore, causing erosion and requiring constant repair of docks and unloading facilities. In the post-Civil War decades, unloading facilities were horse- and labor-intensive and were manifestly inadequate to meet the needs of a growing port. Cleveland's Board of Trade in the 1870s agonized over the loss of cargos to rival lake cities because Cleveland could not unload ships expeditiously. Systematic dredging to widen the river was also necessary, and in the 1880s federal assistance was sought and won. These accomplishments allowed for greater ease of navigation and enabled city fathers to expand dry-dock and wharf facilities. A major accomplishment was a breakwater constructed east of the mouth of the river, which offered refuge for vessels and provided protection from the corrosive effects of wind and water. These pioneering efforts set the pattern for harbor improvements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Changes in nautical TECHNOLOGY resulted in larger ships, which required cargo-unloading apparatus suitable for state-of-the-art vessels. The resulting facility crises prompted the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce to create a standing committee on harbor improvements, which worked with the local congressional delegation to seek federal funds to assist with harbor maintenance and to fund capital improvements. That made it possible for local steel, mining, transport, and shipbuilding companies to construct their own docking and loading facilities within the river and lake harbor complex.
As a result of Cleveland's becoming a significant transportation hub, commerce intensified. The rise of Cleveland's banking industry was a sensitive barometer of its commercial climate. The history of money and banking in the U.S. between 1860 and 1929 was a saga of chaos and unpredictability, punctuated by wars, panics, depressions, sudden surges of business growth and attendant speculation, a deflationary federal monetary policy, and of course the Great Crash of 1929. The institutional history of Cleveland banks was determined by these larger national banking trends, but the BUSINESS history of Cleveland banking was shaped by the currents of local economic development. In the Jacksonian era, local banking institutions chartered as state banks in hopes of becoming the favored "pet banks" of the federal treasury; the Civil War reversed this trend. In his efforts to finance the Civil War and impose monetary restraints on the civilian economy, President Lincoln secured legislation (the Currency Act of 1863 and the National Bank Act of 1864) that had the effect of reorganizing the nation's banking industry by offering strong incentives for state banks to recharter as national banks. To discourage state banks, the legislation established new standards for the capitalization of banks, set standardized requirements for reserves, and placed a tax on state-bank-issued currency. Sixteen cities, including Cleveland, were designated by the new legislation as reserve cities in which local national banks were authorized to issue federal currency. In Cleveland, the new legislation prompted much activity as state banks rechartered as national banks in order to catch the anticipated windfall of new business.
Despite the chaotic conditions of the national banking system, the institutional history of Cleveland banking, dominated by the conservative descendants of the original New England settlers, appeared to be one of stable, steady growth. Local banks created during the war continued to flourish, and the 2 decades bracketing the change of centuries witnessed in most large cities the development of 2 new forms of banking institutions. The first of these were savings banks, frequently located in working-class and immigrant neighborhoods. They were to play a major role in financing neighborhood enterprises and promoting homeownership among property-conscious European immigrants. The other was of far greater monetary consequence. The state-chartered trust company was a late-19th-century bankers' attempt to break the logjam of antiquated banking legislation of the 1860s. National banks rechartered as state-regulated trust companies. Under the relaxed laws and indifferent supervision of the state, such local trust companies as Central National Bank, the Cleveland Trust Co., and the GUARDIAN SAVINGS & TRUST CO. were founded and rapidly expanded. They benefited from having greater investment decision-making authority over large amounts of cash, securities, and realty deposited in trust accounts with the bank. They exercised considerable influence over the direction the local economy would take, particularly in the early decades of the 20th century; and very early in their development, the Cleveland investment banking trusts established close financial ties with their larger counterparts in New York and Chicago. In 1913, the federal government created the Federal Reserve System, and Cleveland, because of a creative partnership between the business community, Newton D. Baker, and the Wilson administration, was made a regional FEDERAL RESERVE headquarters, recognition of the city's importance in the nation's banking system.
The business history of Cleveland's banks is more difficult to recount. Cleveland was a city that experienced rapid rates of growth in bank capitalization and deposits and rose in the first 15 years of the 20th century to the second tier in the nation's banking hierarchy, behind New York and Chicago but abreast of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Paradoxically, the city's banking hinterland (the geographic area served by Cleveland banks) was substantially smaller than that of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, or St. Louis. Located midway between New York and Chicago, the nation's 2 strongest banking centers, Cleveland was also surrounded by the aforementioned strong regional banking centers. A second important reason for Cleveland's small banking hinterland can be found in the pattern of investment followed by local banks. Cleveland's economy in the late 19th century was rapidly making a transition from a commercial-sector-dominated economy to a manufacturing-sector-led economy. The city's banks were largely responsible for financing this transition. Cleveland banks were financing the growth of these manufacturing firms and were involved in the purchase of inventories, equipment, and the sale of finished goods. These activities required banking ties to New York and Chicago rather than a close investment relationship to other regional banks and businesses. In one area, however, Cleveland banks deviated from this practice. In the early 20th century, the city's banks shunned investments in the emerging automobile and aircraft industries, even though these local manufacturers were competitive with counterparts in other cities, with the result that Detroit and Los Angeles rather than Cleveland became the nation's production centers. In the speculation-fed 1920s, several Cleveland banks invested heavily in the rail and realty empire of the Van Sweringen brothers, and when that collapsed in 1929, several large city banks were devastated.
Wholesale and retail trade experienced a transitionary phase in the late 19th century. Many of Cleveland's leading bankers and industrialists, including MARCUS A. HANNA and John D. Rockefeller, began their business careers in countinghouses before the Civil War. In 1860, wholesaling, retailing, and light manufacturing activities were all housed in the same loft-type buildings between W. 6th St. and the FLATS. Competition for land for business uses drove up land prices at the same time wholesale and retail trade were becoming more specialized, more dependent on customer contact, and sensitive to changes in long-distance and commuter transportation. Considerable changes resulted in both businesses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wholesaling, facing competition for space from heavy INDUSTRY and retailing and its own growing space requirements, abandoned the central area in favor of lower-cost land and larger buildings around the railroad beltline encircling the inner city. Separate wholesale districts emerged specializing in food distribution, dry goods, and construction materials. In the 1860s, high-grade retailing broke away from general dry goods to serve the carriage trade along Superior Ave., but as the streetcar became the dominant mode of commuter transportation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a greater need for face-to-face contact with customers, and in consequence retailers competed for expensive land as close as possible to streetcar terminuses. Retailing became increasingly more specialized in the first decades of the 20th century, culminating in the department store.
Cleveland retailers and wholesalers served a local market primarily and did not, like those in Chicago, attract customers from great distances. That is reflected in employment statistics in wholesale and retail trade, which reveal an increase from 12% of the LABOR force in 1860 to 19% in 1900, only to decline to 12% in 1929. The rise and decline of employment in this sector of the local economy paralleled that of the nation, but the percentage of people employed in wholesale and retail trade never surpassed the national average. Transportation is credited with giving manufacturing in Cleveland its initial push. The canals made Cleveland a grain-processing center and provided stimulus for a BREWING INDUSTRY. The railroads, however, propelled the city into its industrial era, not only by giving it access to new markets and supplies of raw materials, but also because railroads were the major customers of the city's first industries. They stimulated a railroad rerolling industry, manufacturers of virgin rails, steam-engine factories, and the nation's largest railroad-repair industry.
Although transportation was also important in stimulating the growth of the iron- and steelmaking industries, geographic proximity to the requisite natural resources and local entrepreneurship also played a significant role. Cleveland was connected by water to the iron-ore regions of the upper Great Lakes and by rail to the coal fields of southern Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Cleveland businessmen, who in the Civil War decade had been in wholesale trade, invested in mines in both regions and in transportation enterprises to transport the raw materials to Cleveland. With its superb location, it followed that Cleveland would also become a shipbuilding center. The iron and steel industry expanded considerably after the Civil War, and it in turn spawned foundries and castings shops, which made the city attractive to machine-tool entrepreneurs. By 1900, the iron and steel products industry was outstripping the original iron and steel industry in terms of value of product and number of hands employed. That set the stage for the development of the automobile and automobile-parts industries. The mining and iron and steelmaking and fabricating industries were greatly aided by the presence of the Case Institute of Technology, which graduated a steady stream of metallurgists, engineers, and chemists who not only served these industries but also in many cases founded their own businesses, such as LUBRIZOL.
Technology, transportation, and above all entrepreneurship joined in the rise of the oil industry. John D. Rockefeller exploited Cleveland's water, rail, and later pipeline linkages to bring Pennsylvania crude oil to his refineries. The presence of the STANDARD OIL CO. had a multiplier effect on the industrial and financial development of Cleveland. Nowhere was that more evident than in the city's large cooperage industry and in the growth of local CHEMICAL and paint industries. The mid-19th-century paper industry, in turn, was the seed for the PRINTING INDUSTRY. This development led the city to become an important manufacturer of printing presses, aided by the existence of the original iron and steel industry. The ELECTRICAL-apparatus industry emerged from a series of local inventions that themselves were the product not only of genius but also of an environment that educated and rewarded technicians. For example, CHARLES F. BRUSH, the inventor of the arc light, became a manufacturer of electrical apparatus. Twentieth-century Cleveland was not like Pittsburgh or Detroit, which specialized in the manufacture of a single product. Cleveland's economy evolved to the point where its manufacturing sector employed 223,000, or nearly half the city's labor force, all of which made Cleveland in these decades far more recession-proof than neighboring cities in the region.
Industrial growth between 1860 and 1929 included less-obvious but equally important changes in the business organizations manufacturing industrial products. These became apparent both in ownership and in the techniques of production and distribution. Cleveland's manufacturing concerns were founded by men who began their careers in the city's commercial sector and then invested their profits in mining, transportation, or manufacturing, or some combination of all three. In the 1870s, these enterprises were wholly owned by their principal founders or by a small group of limited partners. Ownership was frequently interlocking, which gave rise to a new elite locally based on industrial wealth. In the 1880s, the capital, managerial, technological, production, and distribution demands of these companies escalated to such a scale that the original principal founders were no longer able to meet them. The corporate device was then introduced, which pluralized ownership and allowed the company to raise sufficient capital to do business. Even in this phase of corporate evolution, Cleveland businessmen typically invested in one another's corporations. However, Cleveland's manufacturing sector was becoming integrated into the national economy, resulting also in removing corporate decision making from ownership.
By the 1880s, the capacity of these new enterprises outstripped reliable local supplies of raw materials and local marketing outlets. Efforts to market goods nationally ran into the limitations posed by relying on third-party commission merchants and wholesale jobbers in distant cities to sell products. The solution to these problems was to employ the capital raised through the corporate device to vertically integrate the firm backward to include transportation and sources of raw materials and forward to build a system for distributing and marketing the finished products. Backward integration was accomplished by purchase of firms in transportation and raw-materials extraction. Forward integration was accomplished by adding distribution and marketing arms to the parent firm. John D. Rockefeller was able to achieve both in the Standard Oil Co. by controlling his product from the wellhead to retail sales. Both required the expertise of professional managers. This action placed the daily decision making, and ultimately policy making, in the hands of professional managers, removing them from ownership. The professional managers, and the bankers financing these moves, preferred corporate policies that would insure long-term growth and stability over those that would maximize current profits.
As these and other new manufacturing firms came into existence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they produced complex lines of products requiring consumer credit for purchase and factory training in their installation, use, and maintenance. For example, one of Cleveland's rapidly growing industries was expensive and complex printing presses. To facilitate sales, manufacturers would install the machinery and train printing-press operators in its usage, creating still more production and distribution demands on the parent firm and requiring still more integration of the organization. As further business expansion occurred in the 1893-1905 period and in the 1920s, business conditions dictated further vertical integration, which was accomplished in a wave of corporate mergers. Many Cleveland firms in iron and steelmaking, iron and steel products, automobiles, automobile parts, and electrical apparatus found it attractive to merge into larger national corporations such as U.S. STEEL, REPUBLIC STEEL, GENERAL ELECTRIC, and WESTINGHOUSE. In these cases, corporate decision making was delegated to professional managers, who often were not resident in Cleveland. Strong local leadership in mining, transportation, shipbuilding, and communications enterprises initiated mergers, and Cleveland became the national headquarters of these locally conceived corporations. Other firms, particularly those in clothing, printing, and sewing-machine manufacture, had large enough local or regional markets for their products to withstand the pressures of vertical integration and hence retained their autonomous status and local ownership well into the 20th century. By the 1920s, decision making in Cleveland's manufacturing sector was divided among professional managers in distant cities, professional managers with their headquarters in Cleveland, and local owners of smaller manufacturing enterprises, which, by the 1920s, were not the city's dominant industries.
Rationalization of production had an important impact on labor. Because of heavy capital, technology, management, and energy costs, profit-boosting economies were frequently made at the expense of the workers. These cost-cutting measures included seasonal and inventory layoffs, low wages, and, as the production process modernized, replacement of skilled labor with less-skilled, low-paid workers. In Cleveland, skilled workers declined from 40% of the labor force in 1900 to 16% in 1930, while the percentage of semiskilled and unskilled increased from 25 to 45% during the same years. The number of salaried clerical workers increased threefold between 1900 and 1930. Salaried workers not only were better-paid than those in production, but their salaries increased at a faster rate than the wages of blue-collar workers. The changing nature of production and the inequities encountered in the workplace prompted an ever-mounting number of Cleveland workers to join unions. Unionization was accompanied by tough management resistance marked by intervals of labor violence.
In Cleveland, the local working class was split by ethnic and religious antagonisms, pitting the recently arrived Southern and Eastern European Catholics and JEWS against northern European Protestants. Northern Europeans, including IRISH Catholics, arrived in Cleveland after mid-century and were partially assimilated skilled workers by the time large numbers of unskilled Southern and Eastern European immigrants began arriving after 1890. They came to the city at a time when the production process was being modernized in the metalmaking industry, when management replaced higher-paid skilled workers with lower-paid unskilled workers. The unionized skilled workers refused to accept the unskilled as members, deepening antagonisms that were frequently exploited by management. The story was repeated in the metals-fabricating industries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Strikes and attendant violence characterized union activity in both industries. Unions still were unwilling to incorporate unskilled workers in an era when both industries were becoming increasingly dependent on semi- and unskilled labor. Thus, unions entered the 20th century in a weakened position, and in the antiradical, antiforeign, antiunion, open-shop atmosphere of the 1920s, the union movement in the metalmaking and metals fabricating industries was further weakened. Craft unions in the transportation, food, clothing, and construction industries were far more successful, but even here, many union locals were ethnic satrapies that discriminated against less-favored ethnic groups. In the period following 1910, these practices were also directed against BLACKS.
Many working-class Clevelanders, denied opportunity in the formal economy, became participants in the city's informal economy. A dual economy evolved in Cleveland in which there existed a formal structure of income opportunities in enterprises that today would report their activities to the Internal Revenue Service alongside a second, informal, system, which included such activities as street peddling, barter, informal exchanges of services, illegitimate business enterprises, and petty and organized CRIME. Cleveland's declining rate of homeownership, increasing rates of cyclical and seasonal unemployment, the low wage structure, the rising crime rate, and the steadily mounting transfer of payments from public and private agencies serve as evidence that the informal economy existed but do not provide an accounting of its size. In the 20th century, American leaders had the choice of either reforming the formal economy so that it spread its rewards more equitably, or relying more heavily on the informal economy. That Cleveland's public transfer payments were at an all-time high, that the private welfare system was overhauled in the interest of greater efficiency in fundraising and delivery, and that local politicians and police systematically ignored the growing number of illegitimate business enterprises and activities, suggest that the latter was the course favored by decision makers national and local. It proved to be the path of least resistance.
Demographic Growth and Change. Urbanization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was usually an admixture of demography and industrialization, although there were important exceptions to the rule. London, Paris, and New York, the Victorian Era's largest cities, did not contain many large-scale manufacturing enterprises. Cleveland's urbanization, however, incorporated both demographic and industrial components. In 1860, Cleveland was a town of 43,417, but in the 7 decades that followed, the city added over 850,000 to its population and nearly 65 square miles to its geography. By the turn of the century, 1 in 10 Ohioans was a Clevelander. Cleveland in 1900 became the state's largest city, outstripping rival Cincinnati by a margin of 56,000. In 1930, Cleveland was the nation's 6th-largest city, with a population of 900,429. High population densities were a common feature of western urbanization. Paris, Berlin, and Liverpool by 1890 had broken the 100-persons-per-acre threshold. Only Brooklyn (44.6 ppa) among American cities approached Old World densities. The largest American cities ranged in density from 12 to 23 persons per acre. Cleveland's density in 1890 was 12 persons per acre, which increased to 22 by 1930. What alarmed Clevelanders about these statistics was the densities amassed in some urban neighborhoods. In Cleveland, the Central area, bordered by Woodland and Cedar avenues, had a 1910 density of 110 persons per acre. People living at these densities were frequently ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished, and the victims of poverty, disease, and crime.
Despite what appeared to be dim prospects for some, immigrants and migrants flocked to cities such as Cleveland, accounting for a sizable proportion of their growth during the period 1860-1929. Population growth was the result of natural increase (a surplus of births over deaths) plus migration. Growth from migration occurs when in-migrants exceed out-migrants. Two streams of in-migration fed the city's growth. The first was composed of native-born migrants. They came to Cleveland from all the eastern states and in some measure from Ohio as well. Southern blacks were also part of the native-born migration stream to Cleveland. Except in the decade of the 1920s, when foreign IMMIGRATION from all sources flagged, black and white native-born in-migrants accounted for nearly 50% of the city's population increase.
The second stream of in-migrants swelling Cleveland's population was made up of the foreign-born. Virtually every European nationality group, plus a scattering of Orientals, was represented. They came in successive waves: first the Northern Europeans from the BRITISH Isles, then the GERMANS in large numbers, followed by the Irish and a small number of SCANDINAVIANS. Culturally and religiously disparate, they were, however, usually skilled and semiskilled workers. Between the mid-1870s and the outbreak of World War I, a second wave of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe dwarfed the first wave: POLES, Russian Jews, HUNGARIANS, CZECHS, SLOVAKS, SLOVENIANS, CROATIANS, ITALIANS, and GREEKS. The new immigrants came from peasant societies and were overwhelmingly semi- and unskilled laborers who took their places in Cleveland's modernizing industries. In most decades, foreign-born migrants accounted for fully 25% percent of the city's growth. In the decade 1900-1910, immigrants were responsible for an estimated 40% of the city's population increase. In the 1920s, because of the restrictive provisions of the National Origins Act of 1924, foreign migration to the city slowed to a trickle. In 1920, perhaps the peak year of foreign migratory influence, the foreign element (the foreign-born plus native-born white with foreign parents) amounted to 75% of Cleveland's population.
Natural increase eventually became the major cause of Cleveland's population growth during the industrial era, but early in the era the indicators were not promising. In each of the 3 decades between 1890 and 1920, only 25% of the city's growth was the result of natural increase. In the decade 1920-1930, Cleveland's population growth was overwhelmingly the product of natural increase. Ironically, population growth through natural increase was achieved in the face of the declining birth rates achieved during these same years. Lowered birth and death rates are perhaps the most interesting feature of urban demography in the industrial era. Low birth rates are characteristic of urban lifestyles. That Cleveland's birth rates declined over time is an indicator of the city's growing urbanization. In 1870, the crude birth rate was 54 live births per thousand, a rate that dropped to 20 per thousand by 1930. The most impressive reductions occurred between 1870 and 1900. Although the great influx of immigrants in their childbearing years drove the birth rate up to the mid-twenties between 1910 and 1920, even these numbers did not rival the high birth rates of the mid-19th century. In order for Cleveland's population to grow through natural increase, an even more dramatic drop in the death rate was necessary. Most western cities in the latter decades of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th realized the "urban demographic transition," where live births substantially outweigh deaths, and cities are able to add to their populations primarily through natural increase. Cleveland's vital statistics, albeit fragmentary, reflect this trend. The urban demographic transition occurred because life expectancy improved for people of all ages, but the most striking gains were made in the reduction of infant mortality. Cleveland experienced a 50% reduction in stillbirths alone between 1890 and 1930, a reflection of the positive trend in infant mortality.
The causes of lowered mortality were many: improved medical knowledge and health-care facilities, more nutritious diet, improved water-supply and drainage systems, the PUBLIC-HEALTH movement, public regulation of food distribution and sales, and public imposition of sanitary and housing standards. A key element undergirding all of these efforts was the achievement of stable urban population densities. In 1910, population density stabilized at approximately 20 persons per acre, where it remained until 1930. Meanwhile, the vital index took its great leap forward to achieve values of between 167 and 192 births per 100 deaths. Densities in various neighborhoods, however, remained high throughout the first 3 decades of the 20th century, and so too did mortality rates in these neighborhoods.
Geographic Evolution. The first phase of the city's geographic evolution was the commercial city, a preindustrial settlement that took its shape from its initial advantages of site and situation. Cleveland in 1860 was a commercial city that had outgrown its original New England town plan with its historical focus at Public Square. Economically, the commercial city was oriented toward the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, where long-distance rail and water transportation fused. That, rather than Public Square, was the economic heart of Cleveland, the city's central business district (CBD). Production, distribution, sales, and services had yet to specialize, and all business functions might take place within a single loft-type building. Buildings of this nature were clustered on a narrow strip of land running from W. 6th St. down the steep hill to the Flats and the mouth of the river. North and south, this strip was bordered by the lake and Superior Ave. Land values in the CBD were substantially higher than anywhere else in the city; nearly 60% of Cleveland's business establishments were located in the central business district, and over 60% of the workforce found employment there. Virtually all businesses serving regional and national markets were located in the Flats end of the CBD, as were most of the nascent manufacturing enterprises. The transportation and construction companies of the city's commercial sector also favored central-business-district locations. Businesses in food wholesaling and retailing, finance, general dry goods, and services tended to locate in the W. 6th St. end of the CBD. Specialized retailers serving the carriage trade in the 1870s were opening shops on Superior east of Public Square toward Erie (E. 9th St.) and east along Euclid. Retailing also followed a less affluent clientele southeast along the banks of the river and due east following the shoreline of the lake. Still, most business activities in the commercial city were highly concentrated within the small central business district of the city.
Cleveland increased in size from 7 square miles in 1860 to 12 square miles in 1870, suggesting an increase in the city's radius from 2.5 to 3.5 miles. Population densities stabilized at 12 persons per acre, which remained the norm until the period of rapid industrial growth began in the 1880s. Population densities were symptomatic of the current state of commuter transportation technology. In a pedestrian city limited in size to the distance an individual could walk to work in an hour, the relatively high residential densities of the commercial city encouraged considerable social integration of housing within a small amount of space. Even though the commercial city was more integrated residentially than it would become in its industrial or metropolitan stages, patterns of residential separation did exist, which reveal that the choice residential land was found closest to and the least desirable land farthest from the central business district.
If the 6 Bureau of the Census occupational classifications of proprietors, professionals, clericals, skilled, semiskilled, and unskilled are used as approximations of social class, it is possible to gain an understanding of the residential structure of the commercial city. Proprietors and professionals, approximating the upper and upper-middle classes, lived in wards closest to the central business district. In 1870, a higher-status EUCLID AVE. residential corridor was evolving. Professionals and proprietors traveled from this silk-stocking enclave to their CBD establishments by horse or carriage. Solidly middle-class clericals made their homes in the CBD wards, but an incipient pattern of residential dispersion showed clericals inhabiting a semicircle of lower-cost wards extending south and west of the CBD. Among the working classes, skilled workers were more highly integrated into the city's residential fabric than the two lower-status laboring groups. Skilled workers inhabited east and west side wards on the outskirts of the city, while semi- and unskilled workers lived in relatively segregated circumstances in a middle ring of wards forming a semicircle around the entire city, east and west sides.
Assimilation of migrant groups was a feature of 19th-century urbanization, and in the commercial city the melting-pot theory got its first test. The foreign-born inhabited wards south of the central business district on the east and west sides of the river bordering the Cuyahoga Valley. The immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany were reasonably well assimilated into the residential structure of the city, but residual German and Irish colonies could be found on both east and west sides. In 1870, the most recently arrived immigrants were the Czechs. Virtually all Czechs were heavily segregated in 2 wards on the city's southeast side. Dense Czech concentrations in so few neighborhoods offered a glimpse of the residential segregation of the industrial future.
The industrial revolution gave its name to the second stage of urban geographic evolution. When the population of industrial Cleveland grew fourfold between 1870 and 1900, the limitations of its site had to be reckoned with. The city's topography embraced S features that did much to form the contours of the city during its industrial phase of growth: the Cuyahoga River, which presented challenges of navigation and docking through the 19th century; the Cuyahoga Valley, the east-west dividing line of both economic and social space; the shoreline of Lake Erie, which facilitated east-west radial expansion; the glacial ridges west of the mouth of the river, which impeded business expansion and residential settlement on the city's west side; and the level surface of glacial delta bordering the lake to the east, a permissive topographical feature that allowed rapid development east of the river. The land east of the river steadily rose in elevation, the earliest foothills of the Appalachian chain, affording attractive residential sites overlooking the industrial city below. It was within the limits of this topographical container that Cleveland evolved from a commercial town of 43,417 to an industrial city of 381,768 in the 40 years 1860-1900.
Industrial growth brought changes in the location of each type of business represented in the city's economy. Changes in the location of the manufacturing sector were perhaps the most far-reaching and of greatest social significance. Not only did the number of manufacturing firms and their volume increase during the period, but their spatial requirements were altered by the adoption of continuous-process production technology. The production requirements of these new enterprises and the limitations posed by the city's topography meant that only 4 distinct districts within the city could meet the spatial demands of the modern factory. The most important of these was the Flats, where 38% of all Cleveland manufacturing establishments were located in 1900. Beginning at the mouth of the river, where the lime and salt mines, the coal-storage area, and the oil-refining facilities congregated, the Flats industrial district followed along the banks of the crooked river. Giant metalmaking mills were built south to the southeastern industrial suburb of NEWBURGH, which formed a second industrial district, containing iron and steel mills, metals-manufacturing plants, clothing and bookbinding factories, and the bulk of the city's container industry. The Flats and Newburgh districts housed heavy industries dependent on both water and rail transportation. A third industrial district, developed by LEONARD CASE along the lakeshore east on St. Clair Ave. between E. 26th St. and E. 55th St., housed metals-fabricating and other factories dependent on rail rather than water transportation. Finally, land bordering the circumferential railroad belt surrounding the entire city, east and west, became Cleveland's fourth industrial district. But the inventory of industrial realty as early as 1909 was limited by the city's topography. Cleveland was hard-pressed to provide new factory sites for its expanding industrial base. The demand among competing businesses drove up the value of land in areas of the city where businesses congregated. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the CBD.
The increase in land values, the specialization of function within businesses, and the completion of the streetcar system combined to give the central business district its characteristic form in the industrial city. The most visible change was its location, which shifted from the W. 6th-Flats area to Public Square and the STREETS radiating from the Square. The major explanation for the eastward shift in location of the CBD was the completion of an electric streetcar system (see City of Cleveland Electric Street Railways map). That coincided with the decision of businesses to separate their production, distribution, and sales functions. Retailers became dependent on face-to-face contact with their customers. Public Square locations greatly improved the likelihood of meeting potential customers, who came there twice a day to make trolley connections. Buildings appeared around the Square and on Euclid and Superior Ave. that housed retail specialty shops on the ground floor and offices on the upper floors. Department stores and almost all financial institutions and insurance and real-estate agents competed for adjacent office space in the central business district. The CBD became the center of white-collar employment. White-collar employers were willing to make the tradeoff of high-priced land for the advantages of face-to-face contact with customers and clients. Blue-collar employers in wholesaling, construction, and transportation, where possible, stayed in the Flats or moved to cheaper business sites on the fringe of the central business district, putting pressure on close-in residential neighborhoods for land.
The residential structure of the industrial city was determined by the ability to pay for housing and commuter transportation. More subtle forces of ethnic, racial, and class discrimination were also at work, as doubtless were the preferences of some groups to live together, most notably the elite groups and many of the immigrant groups. The least urbanized of the city's residents clustered in the wards nearest the central business district, east and west of the Flats industrial district, north and east of the lake-shore industrial district, north and south paralleling the railroad beltline industrial district, and on the west side adjacent to the Detroit-Lorain-W. 25th railroad beltline industrial district. The urbanized wards formed a wedge beginning at 13th St. and bordered by Superior and Cedar and extended to the easterly limits of settlement. A ring of urbanized wards formed the outer circle of west side settlement. The residential pattern of the industrial city was one in which the least affluent lived near places of employment in the industrial districts of the city, and the more affluent lived farthest from the economic core and commuted there by streetcar.
An interesting feature of Cleveland's industrial evolution was the residential separation of the native-born from the foreign-born. Cleveland, in effect, was 2 separate cities. With the exception of the western lakeshore wards, the heaviest concentrations of native-born Clevelanders were found on the east side. Although they were substantially represented in affluent, urbanized wards, not all native-born Clevelanders had attained that status. Native-born migrants clustered in wards around the central business district, the eastern lakeshore industrial district, and the eastern railroad beltline industrial district. They were most conspicuously absent from the Flats-area industrial district and the west side. The residential concentrations of the foreign-born were almost an exact reversal of those of the native-born. They were found in the urbanized outer ring of west side settlement and the west side industrial district, most prominently in the Flats-area industrial district, and some few spilled over into the east side railroad beltline industrial district.
Cleveland's ethnic duality was less apparent in the social geography of its classes, because class distinctions cut across ethnic lines. The residential concentrations of the upper-status proprietors and professionals roughly paralleled that of the more urbanized population. There was a concentration of this group on the near-west-side wards containing the west side retail district and its industrial site. The remainder of the proprietors and professionals were found on the east side in a wedge-shaped zone of settlement. This zone formed in the wards around the central business district and spread out the Euclid Ave. corridor to the edge of settlement of the proprietors and professionals, not unlike that observed in the same class in 1870. However, clericals were more likely to choose residences on the west side than on the east side. Of the lower-status groups, the unskilled workers provide the clearest examples of the residential structure of the industrial city. They were most heavily concentrated in wards containing the city's 5 industrial districts. The skilled and semiskilled workers followed a similar pattern, but they tended to live farther from their places of work. The skilled and semiskilled were least represented in the Flats and Newburgh industrial districts, which boasted the city's most modern, least skill-dependent factory operations. By World War I, Cleveland, a mature industrial city, with its segregated allotments of space to specific human activities, resembled a doughnut with a center containing the bulk of its business enterprises, and the most recently arrived, least urbanized, and east affluent of its citizens surrounded by a ring of relative comfort and affluence.
Cleveland's third phase of geographic evolution, the metropolitan region, was simply a geographic magnification of business and demographic spatial trends already underway. In the decade and a half between the war and the onset of the Depression, Cleveland's physical expansion would be brought to a halt at 71 square miles and 900,429 people by a surrounding ring of politically independent suburbs. The arrival of the metropolitan city was hastened after World War I when urban growth, spurred by fear of environmental and social contagion and smoothed by the extension of streetcar lines and the introduction of the automobile, culminated in the appearance of such suburban bedroom communities as EAST CLEVELAND, CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, SHAKER HEIGHTS, and LAKEWOOD. The economic geography of the metropolis remained much the same as that of the industrial city. Dominant industries remained at their historical sites, although there was a growing tendency for retailers and service providers to decentralize with the spreading population. The metropolis was even more segregated by class, ethnicity, and race than its industrial predecessor, with affluent native-born Clevelanders monopolizing the suburban locations. The history of the metropolitan region can best be explained by the political geography of annexation and ZONING.
The annexation movement failed because of more intense racial, ethnic, and class antagonisms following World War I, new laws that facilitated incorporation and made annexation unworkable, and improved suburban services in suburban communities. Moreover, suburban municipalities discovered that restrictive zoning legislation could be used to keep undesirable businesses and people out of their communities. Cleveland added most of its foreign population between 1890 and 1914. They were usually impoverished Southern and Eastern European peoples who retained their native village subcultures in tightly segregated neighborhoods near the industrial districts. Concern was often voiced by the native-born about the foreign customs and radical politics of the immigrants. Black migration began in the World War I years and quickened in the 1920s, so that by 1929, the old Central neighborhood, southeast of the central business district, emerged as the city's first black ghetto. In the immediate postwar years, national attention was riveted on the communist ideology associated with the foreign-born and with the eugenic origins of migrating blacks, who were perceived as ignorant, frightening, and incapable of being incorporated into white society. To native-born Clevelanders, both types of people were resident in the corporate city in alarmingly large numbers. In the war decade and in the 1920s, the upper classes, together with a growing number of mobile middle-class professionals, moved to the suburbs, where they had the power to create economic and legal barriers between themselves and the objects of their fears.
Until 1914, Cleveland's annexations kept pace with population growth. After the Great War, annexation slowed to a trickle. In 1910 the suburban population was 44,000; it mounted to 130,000 in 1920; and in 1930 some 300,000 people were living in the suburban ring surrounding Cleveland, an increase of nearly 600% in 2 decades. Under Ohio law, annexations were accomplished by city ordinance coupled with the approval of the voters of the area designated for annexation. In the 19th century, voters proved compliant. Voters so willingly giving their approval were often residents of industrial districts where manufacturing and employment opportunities had spilled beyond the boundaries of the corporate city of Cleveland. They welcomed the prospect of sharing the cost of neighborhood services with Cleveland taxpayers. Twentieth-century suburbanites, however, were affluent and required no pooling of resources to meet the costs of services. Accordingly, they typically voted no on annexation, particularly after discovering that the state legislature could be persuaded to pass legislation facilitating municipal incorporation.
White-collar and working-class Clevelanders might have found the quality of services provided by the city of Cleveland acceptable, but the more affluent and educated classes grew ever more disenchanted as the 20th century advanced. In 1922, Town Topics, the newspaper that chronicled the leisure-time activities of socially prominent Clevelanders, assailed the specter of annexation, concluding that a suburb was "not going to increase its burden by adding to it the weight of paying to help mismanage Cleveland." All manner of Cleveland services, ranging from education to garbage pickup, were found wanting in a city whose political apparatus was increasingly controlled by the very people whose proximity suburbanites were fleeing. Zoning became a major weapon in a suburban arsenal dedicated to keeping undesirable elements out.
In 1916, the city of New York passed the nation's first zoning ordinance, and CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL began in 1919 studying model zoning legislation that would not become a reality for another 9 years. In a heavily populated and congested city such as Cleveland, zoning ordinances were created to serve as guidelines for government-led environmental controls, but in practice zoning laws did little more than catalog existing land uses. Suburbs, however, were not laggard in their perception that zoning could give local government considerable sway over the future course of undeveloped land. Restrictive suburban zoning ordinances mushroomed thereafter, and all contained provisions either outlawing or severely restricting noxious businesses and incorporating provisions mandating lot size, setbacks, and even structural requirements for housing. These controls could be used to dictate the socioeconomic status of prospective residents. Ethnic and racial groups were specifically excluded under the common practice of issuing restrictive deed covenants. Cleveland's suburbs between 1910 and 1929 grew in accordance with these guidelines (see Population of Cuyahoga County maps).
Although restrictive covenants would not be struck down until the 1950s, restrictive suburban zoning ordinances were challenged in the court system in the 1920s. The village of EUCLID, an eastern lakeshore suburb of Cleveland, in 1922 passed a zoning ordinance that created several zones for various types of business and residential land use in the largely unbuilt village. The Euclid zoning ordinance was challenged by the Ambler Realty Co. on the grounds that zoning gave the municipal government police powers that abridged the company's right to use its property in accordance with rights assigned to corporate individuals under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In VILLAGE OF EUCLID V. AMBLER REALTY, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the company. This landmark decision gave the suburbs a legal stranglehold on corporate cities such as Cleveland. Thus, the political geography of annexation and zoning created the metropolitan region, in which the old industrial city would be forced to house the region's more undesirable industries and disadvantaged citizens and be in turn surrounded by a ring of environmentally pristine, affluent, and politically independent suburbs.
Reform and the Voluntary Civic Sector. Cleveland's economic transformation added new groups to the city's traditional social class structure. Each developed its own values, institutions, and civic agendas. The agendas, wide-ranging and not infrequently in conflict, touched most areas of urban concern. Some of them were designed to improve the commonweal, others to advance the interests of a specific group or individual. A modern network of voluntary civic-sector organizations emerged late in the old century to collectively pursue both types of agendas. In consequence, GOVERNMENT was overhauled to deliver its services more effectively and equitably. Arts and educational institutions attempted to elevate the city culturally, set common standards of education, and teach American values. Other local organizations aroused themselves over the city's human and environmental needs, and all debated over what issues should be assigned to governmental institutions for resolution and which should be left to professionally managed and privately subscribed organizations in the voluntary civic sector. These organizations became advocates for a variety of conflicting political, social, and moral reform agendas, concerns originating in the social class structure of the industrial city.
The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce was by far the most powerful and molt effective of the organizations in the voluntary civic sector. Founded in 1848 as the Board of Trade, it served for many years as the institutional voice of businessmen in the city's commercial sector. The rise of the manufacturing sector and the new class of entrepreneurs and managers made the old Board of Trade increasingly less representative of Cleveland's business concerns. By the 1880s, the organization was moribund. Under the guiding hand of Ryerson Ritchie, who became the new organization's first secretary, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce emerged as a federation of business and professional "boards" representing manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, realtors, and sundry professionals, but the real work of the chamber was done by a network of small issue-oriented committees whose portfolios included both business and civic concerns. Between 1890 and 1919, these chamber committees shaped a local agenda that would dominate policy making for the first third of the new century.
Local government was an early and ongoing concern of the chamber's Municipal Committee. Between 1890 and 1934, the committee supported such issues as structural reform in local government, HOME RULE, municipal finance, franchise regulation, at-large nonpartisan elections, annexation (for in 1916; against in 1923), REGIONAL GOVERNMENT, and the CITY MANAGER form of government for Cleveland. Other committees addressed the public-health issue in reports advocating municipal regulation of public markets and bath houses, improved sanitary and water-supply systems, water and air pollution, housing inspection, and school and visiting nurse services. The industrial rich and the middle-class professionals also used chamber committees to advance a variety of environmental reforms, such as neighborhood playgrounds, the PARKS that became the Cleveland and Metropolitan park systems, the Group Plan of public buildings, and city and later regional planning, and the Housing Committee over many years advocated such reforms as health and fire inspections, uniform building codes, zoning, and ultimately schemes to increase the inventory of new housing available to low-income Clevelanders. The chamber's committees on charities and corrections made recommendations that reformed the city's mosaic of charitable agencies and philanthropic institutions.
In each of these areas of concern—local government, public health, the urban environment, and charities—chamber committees followed a similar course of action. Initially the concern would be introduced to the full chamber, either by an influential Cleveland industrialist or by a lunchtime speaker of national distinction. The issue would then be assigned to a committee. Composed of industrialists and professionals, chamber committees studied problems exhaustively, even hiring professional staff and consulting with outside authorities. Local decision makers were drawn into the committee process as advisors. A final, comprehensive written report was submitted to the full chamber for discussion and approval. When approval was granted within the chamber, consensus was sought among local decision makers, and the public was informed in vigorous newspaper campaigns. Implementation of chamber-backed political reforms, for example, required an organizational coalition of voluntary civic and political groups. Reforms in public-health and environmental areas required that local government assume fiscal and management responsibility for implementation. In some cases, special-purpose districts, such as the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, were created as implementation vehicles. Social welfare was regarded by the dominant groups within the chamber as a private rather than public policy matter, so implementation of social-welfare reforms was accomplished by purposely reducing the role of municipal government and assigning fundraising, management, and delivery responsibilities to organizations in the voluntary civic sector.
In the 1890s, the chamber's Municipal Committee assigned to the Municipal Association (1895) responsibility for political reform. Guided by a board of trustees composed of young professionals, the association labored through these decades to achieve structural reform in local government and home rule, and to minimize the influence of the newcomers and the parties by advocating such "reforms" as at-large, nonpartisan elections and by screening candidates for local office. Municipal Association agendas could be realized only if the organization was willing to build consensus among elected officials and the two political parties. The coalition won the so-called federal charter, overhauling the structure of the municipal government, in 1892, home rule in 1912, and the city manager form of government passed in 1921.
The public-health movement saw the chamber at work in tandem with all varieties of middle- and upper-class reformer. All agreed that death rates could be reduced and health generally improved if a broad range of preventive measures were undertaken. The health problem was seen to have its roots in both human behavior and the local environment. This insured health movement support from both New England purity reformers, who maintained that social problems were rooted in human behavior, and the industrialists and professionals, who emphasized the environmental origins of social maladies. Responsibility for implementation was divided between public and private sectors. Public institutions, primarily the schools, instituted programs of public-health education, which were reinforced by voluntary civic-sector organizations such as the Public Health Nurses movement and the VISITING NURSES ASSOCIATION. Much of the effort was directed toward the working classes and their neighborhoods. Newcomers were encouraged to attend adult-hygiene classes in the schools and settlement houses and to avail themselves of public bath houses and the laundry facilities provided by the settlement houses. Municipal government, under pressure from the public-health movement, added to the inventory of public bathing facilities, modernized the system of water intake from Lake Erie, constructed a network of sanitary sewers throughout the city, and launched an inspection program of markets where food was sold. And industrialists were asked to voluntarily curb water and air pollution. If the branches of the public-health movement did not all bear equal fruit, there nevertheless was a quantifiable improvement in Cleveland's mortality statistics, beginning in the 1890s and realizing sustained gains after 1910.
Chamber committees early in the new century came to appreciate that the physical environment of the city had been despoiled by the city's industrial growth. Increasing population densities, traffic snarls, housing shortages, inadequate recreational space, and growth-induced urban sprawl not only were an aesthetic source of civic embarrassment but, as European social surveys had demonstrated, were held largely responsible for the pathologies observed in urban behavior. Moreover, from the viewpoint of businessmen, such conditions discouraged professional managers and the better sort of worker from accepting jobs in Cleveland.
The park movement was the earliest example of applying an environmental curative to a social ill. Neighborhood parks with supervised recreational programs were promoted by purity reformers as alternatives to the street life of vice and crime. The chamber's Parks Committee, dominated by business and professional environmentalists, initiated the remedy, and also planned on a grander scale when it proposed to encircle the city with a ring of planned parks to achieve "a continuous bower of verdant foliage" that would effect "a distinct and powerful influence along the line of good citizenship." In response, the city created a quasi-public Board of Park Commissioners empowered to design the system, acquire land, and raise private subscriptions for land acquisition. Even though the park board hired architect E. W. Bowditch of Boston to effect a park design, and several industrialists, including John D. Rockefeller, made generous donations of land, the Cleveland Park System made only halting gains until 1900, when the city absorbed the park board and assumed fiscal and operational responsibility for the fledgling system of parks. A decade later, it became apparent that the city's growth was going to leapfrog the now nearly built surrounding ring of Cleveland parks and spill over into the county. In 1911, the chamber, working with Cleveland parks director WILLIAM A. STINCHCOMB, began an intense lobbying effort in the state capital to win approval for a special-purpose regional park district with an independent board and separate taxing authority. In 1915, the Metropolitan Park District was empowered to design, build, and manage a ring of parks around the entire metropolitan region. With a park design crafted by Frederick Law Olmstead, the nationally famous designer of New York's Central Park, and an annual budget of $850,000 from park levies passed in 1917, 1918, 1920, and 1924, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District (later called the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM) began its task of building a park system for Greater Cleveland. The two park systems underscore the environmental-reform origins of both city and regional planning and demonstrate that a chamber-initiated environmental reform could be institutionalized with taxpayer support.
Public responsibility for CITY PLANNING was further stimulated by the chamber's advocacy of downtown development. In the last 2 decades of the 19th century, the shift of retail and commercial activities out of the historic Flats business district to Public Square occasioned a scramble for land along the streets radiating from the Square, which spilled into adjoining residential areas, impartially disrupting the residential settlements of rich and poor alike. The more immediate problem in the eyes of the chamber was that the eastward development of the central business district (CBD), though welcome, was taking place without the benefit of a central focal point that might impose some physical limits on the spread of the industrial city's CBD. Two young chamber activists, FREDERIC C. HOWE and MORRIS BLACK, aware that the city could acquire several new public buildings, including a federal court and customs house, county building, city hall, public library, railroad terminal, and possibly more, devised a scheme that would locate these civic buildings within a single comprehensive group plan to enhance the chaotic central business district. In 1895, the Beer & Skittles Club, of which Howe and Black were cheery members, persuaded the local chapter of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS to sponsor a design competition for local architects to create designs for harmoniously grouping the potential inventory of new buildings at a central location in downtown Cleveland. Surprised by the local enthusiasm for the project, the chamber responded by creating a Committee on Public Buildings (later called the Group Plan Committee). The object of the final plan—the Group Plan—was an orderly center for the industrial city's central business district, a community of classically designed public buildings setting an aesthetic standard for future development. Moreover, the municipality had been given authority to finance and build the project, an important precedent in the realization of institutionalized government city planning. The development was to be monitored by a city planning commission created in 1913 and constituted largely of the industrialists and professionals who had supported the Group Plan.
A third chamber-inspired planning effort was the housing movement. The chamber created its Housing Committee in 1902. Initially, this committee saw the city's growing housing problem in environmental terms. It commissioned studies of working-class neighborhoods and concluded that the city's housing problem stemmed from low-quality housing stock, overcrowding, and poor sanitary conditions, an environment that was said to be at the heart of the mental, physical, and social maladies observed in Cleveland's slum districts. After consultation with housing experts in New York and Chicago, the Housing Committee recommended to the full chamber that these conditions would be remedied only if the municipality adopted a comprehensive housing code, incorporating construction standards for new buildings and guidelines for remodeling old housing. The code would also impose sanitary and room-occupancy standards and be enforced by the newly created municipal office of Housing Inspection. When council approval was finally given in 1914, the Housing Committee realized that the language and enforcement provisions of the building code were too vague to have the desired impact on slum housing. The committee then drafted a more exacting Tenement Code, which passed the city council in 1916 over the objections of newly emergent real-estate interests, who protested that public regulation of slum property was contrary to the principles of the free-market economy.
It was the free-market economy that brought home the realization that no amount of public regulation was going to solve Cleveland's housing problem. Initially, in 1913, the committee sought to build a block of model workmen's housing as a laboratory to demonstrate to the working classes how to maintain their houses and budget earnings into household accounts. But World War I brought huge increases in the number of workers migrating to the city, and postwar inflation and the continuing demand of a growing population for workers' housing forced a clearer perception of the city's housing problem on the Housing Committee: the free-market system was not producing enough housing stock for the workingman, and the filtering process of existing housing was also not bringing housing within his financial reach. The Housing Committee estimated in a 1920 report that 12,900 new families entered Cleveland each year, but only 4,200 new housing units were built annually. Homeownership among the working classes declined from 38% in 1918 to 19% in 1920 to 11% in the mid-1920s. The price of housing increased 12.7%, and lending institutions required a down payment of 80% of the purchase price, with the balance to be paid off within 2 years. In the 1920s, the committee promoted 2 privately funded limited-dividend companies to build and finance housing for the workingmen, a growing number of whom were black. This limited-dividend concept was held suspect by the prevailing free-enterprise value system and by the era's antagonism toward labor unions, foreigners, and blacks. In the end, the scheme failed. Only in the Depression decade was the housing problem addressed, and by then the solution came from the public sector.
Well before their era closed, the industrial elite put social reform on the agenda of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. Social awareness was forced by the city's late-19th-century industrialization. To cope with the growing problem of local poverty, which was particularly acute in recession years, a dual system of charities evolved. The first was funded and administered by the municipality's Department of Charities & Corrections and was chronically underfunded. The charity program included soup kitchens and a variety of work-relief activities, both of which were roundly resented by taxpayers and civic leaders. The second charity network was composed of a hodgepodge of private charity organizations and agencies loosely affiliated with local churches and funded by private subscription.
By the 1890s, this dual welfare system was drawing the fire of an unlikely coalition of concerned Clevelanders. The New England purity element was critical of the municipality's program because it was too costly and attempted no accounting of return for a charity dollar spent. The purity element was similarly critical of the private agencies, because their charity philosophy—known as the "Sweet Charity" approach—was too soft-hearted and failed to apply a rigorous remedial direction for recipients. There also was the frequently voiced suspicion that charity clients "worked the charity scam," that is, exploitation of the dual system's lack of administrative coordination by collecting benefits from both. The industrial and professional elite in the chamber were sympathetic to the concerns expressed by the purity element but felt that their common goals would not be reached until all charitable organizations were merged into a single umbrella organization with responsibility for fundraising and imposing management and accountability standards on each member organization. Once that was accomplished, both groups agreed, the municipality could get entirely out of the charity business. The third element involved in charity reform consisted of the professionals who were employed in the dual charity system. The professionals sought to rescue the private charity system from sectarian control and replace soft-hearted clergymen with college-trained social workers and other professionals who would combine efficiency in the delivery of services with a compassionate understanding of industrial reality. The WELFARE clients and their spokesmen, often ward politicians, sought not only the preservation of the dual system but also an increase in the amount of money available to both types of charitable agency with limited client surveillance. The middle- and upper-class coalition, however, proposed to police the system with an army of social workers, sundry clergy, YMCA secretaries, and visiting nurses. After these groups had struggled with the problem and each other throughout the latter decades of the 19th century, they witnessed early in the 20th century the triumph of the industrial elite's management philosophy. Used in large measure to implement the philosophy of the New England purity reformers, the operational details of modern management were put into effect by the newly intimidated social-welfare professionals. Repeated cycles of high unemployment induced by industrial recession and pressures from welfare clients and their representatives made it necessary for the city to remain involved in charity. The journey toward a systematic and orderly social-welfare system was not smooth.
After the Civil War era, charitable organizations were spawned in increasing numbers, and by the 1880s the city's dozens of such organizations were loosely affiliated with either the Protestant-dominated Associated Charities or the Irish Catholic-dominated BETHEL UNION. In 1884, the two organizations merged to form Bethel Associated Charities in an early attempt to coordinate fundraising and determine those charities deemed worthy of benefactor donations. In 1882, the New England element and the industrial elite both joined to support the Society for Organizing Charity, which in 1884 became the fundraising and budget arm of Bethel Associated Charities. Each member charity would be required to apply to Bethel for funds, which meant that each agency was subject to the budgetary and management restraints of the Society for Organizing Charity. In operation, the system proved unworkable. A major obstacle to its success was a philosophy that "emphasized personal failure as the major cause of dependency" and that assumed that no one would work unless forced to do so. This initial effort to organize charity was dwarfed by the late-19th-century wave of immigration, industrial recession, and a new philosophy emphasizing the environmental origins of dependency.
In this environment, municipal assistance for the poor significantly increased, and charitable organizations outside the Bethel Associated Charities umbrella multiplied. The new radical environmental philosophy of the SALVATION ARMY, the institutional church, the YMCA, and the social-settlement house emerged as the Social Gospel, emphasizing that poverty took root in economic inequity. These local institutions promised to treat the causes rather than the symptoms of poverty and bring a halt to the practice of blaming the victim for his circumstances. At the same time, the attitudes of the New England purity element began to harden in the face of the onslaught of immigration. In rejecting the environmental origins of poverty among immigrants, they claimed that "to attempt to better the conditions of these homes as now grouped and huddled would be a waste of time and money." Many of the New England element thereafter broke ranks and gravitated toward TEMPERANCE as the remedy for the city's social ills.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Cleveland's charity problem was clearly out of hand, measured by rising public expenditures on charity and the proliferation of private charitable organizations, each motivated by conflicting philosophies and organizational objectives. Perhaps of most immediate concern was the competition among agencies for donations from the same small group of wealthy Clevelanders. In 1900, the chamber took charge of the problem when it created its Committee on Benevolent Associations, which in the next 20 years set in motion the process that would culminate in the creation of the Federation for Charity & Philanthropy (1913), the Welfare Federation (1917), and subsequently the Cleveland Community Fund (1919). The Welfare Federation (FEDERATION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING) became the long-sought umbrella organization that would be used by the business and professional elite to distribute charity dollars and set policy for 88 approved charitable agencies. Western Reserve University was drawn in to establish the School of Applied Social Sciences to train the social workers who would serve in the agencies. The Cleveland Community Fund (now UNITED WAY SERVICES) was founded as the fundraising arm for the Welfare Federation. By means of a highly organized annual fundraising drive, it was able to transfer the cost of charity from the local rich to employees of the businesses they controlled by requiring each employee to pledge a percentage of his income to the Cleveland Community Fund. In its first year of operation, the Community Fund was able to raise in excess of $10 million. As part of this larger process, the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION was created in 1914 by FREDERICK GOFF, the president of Cleveland Trust Bank, to fund social surveys, study the shortcomings of local public institutions, and make recommendations for their improvement.
In the first 2 decades of the 20th century, volunteer PHILANTHROPY was dominated by the industrial and professional elite who were able to impose order and efficiency on Cleveland's charity network. The majority of the city's charitable agencies became dependent on the Cleveland Community Fund for raising money and the Welfare Federation for fiscal disbursement and policy and management guidelines. The elite's ability to control the flow of money into the system and set policy guidelines and management procedures made the work of the radical young professionals who served in the social-welfare agencies ineffectual and reduced the influence of the clients and their representatives.
Unlike the New England purity element, who blamed the individual for his condition, both the industrial elite and the more radical middle-class professionals were environmental reformers. But a distinction should be made between 2 varieties of environmental reform. The more radical middle-class reformers saw the economy as the core environmental issue, because the capitalist system distributed its benefits so unevenly. Dr. LOUIS B. TUCKERMAN, a radical clergyman, rejected an Associated Charities fundraising appeal, claiming that "your society, with its board of trustees made up of steel magnates, coal operators, and employers is not really interested in charity. If it were it would stop the 12-hour day; it would increase wages and put an end to the cruel killing and maiming of men." This radical form of environmental reform was rejected in favor of an environmental approach that emphasized spatial solutions to social problems, seen in park-planning, Group Plan, zoning, and housing movements. The industrial elite was also cautious in the assignment of responsibility for implementation. Park planning was awarded to the public sector, but only in a carefully controlled special-purpose district. Implementation of the Group Plan and city planning generally was assigned to the City Planning Commission, whose membership included their representatives. Zoning, which proved a futile planning gesture, was awarded directly to the municipality. Housing was the least successful of the planning schemes, because it proffered solutions that implicitly undermined the free-market philosophy. Social-welfare reform was the most sensitive item on the industrial elite's agenda, but its resolution proved to be the most successful. Through employment of the newly created voluntary civic organizations, large amounts of money were raised, and modern bureaucratic methods of control were imposed throughout the welfare system. Thus, before the industrial elite moved to suburbia and began to play a more detached civic role as patrons of local cultural institutions, they were able to identify Cleveland's problems and impose their own methodology of order and businesslike efficiency on community decision making.
The Political System. A local historian wrote in 1896 that Cleveland's "commercial and private magnificence was equaled only by its municipal squalor." The problems of Cleveland's political system stemmed from 5 sources: the outmoded structure of the city's government; the quality of the city's political leadership; the manipulation of operating budgets and police powers to satisfy the demands of various interest groups, creating in the process a haphazard, inefficient system of service delivery; conflicts among elite-group reformers over means and ends of reform; and the conflicts attendant on the emergence of Cleveland as a metropolitan region, that is, a suburban periphery surrounding an inner-city core. These conditions were not unique to Cleveland and serve to explain the shortcomings of local political institutions throughout the nation.
In the middle third of the 19th century, Cleveland's municipal government was the ward of local businessmen. More businessmen than politicians, the part-time officeholders embraced the city booster philosophy of the day and used the municipality to promote civic growth with a mixture of boastful oratory and public spending on infrastructure improvements designed to attract new business to the city. Until the late 19th century, Cleveland was a low-tax, fiscally prudent municipality, unlike many American cities. In general, the 19th century was marked by speculation-induced financial panics, and cities emerged as irresponsible parties to the speculative fever in their flagrant issue of municipal bonds to fund local improvement schemes of dubious worth and inflated value. In the aftermath of each panic, state legislatures imposed more-restrictive city charters with respect to executive authority, policy initiatives, debt accumulation, and municipal independence of the state legislature. Cleveland's municipal charter, issued in 1852 and enduring until 1892, contained a full complement of restrictive provisions. The mayor was a figurehead who had little control over the city council, and only indirect control over his own administration. The executive, therefore, found it difficult to formulate policy, initiate legislation, or administer the public's day-to-day business. The charter forced the city to approach each problem on an ad hoc basis, often through the appointment of a special board to address a specific problem. In the latter decades of the century, the number of boards mushroomed, but none had a clear policy direction or sense of accountability to any level of public authority, the voters, the mayor, the council, or the bureaucracy. In the industrial era, this cumbersome, directionless system was manipulated at all levels. Power in the executive branch of government was exercised de facto by the bureaucracy, because by choice and design the mayor was a caretaker figure. Bureaucrats built their own satrapies and were virtually independent of the mayor, council, and public. In the final quarter of the century, there were repeated charges of bureaucratic mismanagement, favoritism, and embezzlement. City treasurers were especially vulnerable to charges of being unable to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate means of remuneration. In 1886, city treasurer Thomas Axworthy absconded to Canada with $500,000 in public funds.
The legislative arm of municipal government was undermined through skillful manipulation of the ward system of councilmanic election. The key to this maneuver was to retain a high ratio of wards to the total population of the city; in 1900, Cleveland had 42 wards for a population of 381,768. With the franchise limited to male citizens over 21, these wards rarely generated over a thousand votes on election day. Such small numbers of votes were easily controlled by ward-level politicians. In key elections, fraud was transparently clear in these small geographies when bona fide registrants voted early and often, transients appeared at polling places sporting gift bottles of spirits, and the deceased rose, Lazarus-like, to claim their rights of franchise. These machinations elected a councilman who was powerful in his ward and who as a public servant faithfully represented the interests of those who elected him, including native- and foreign-born migrants, the elite, and businessmen seeking contracts and franchises from the municipality. Cleveland in these years was never dominated by a single boss, as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, or Cincinnati was; instead, the city's ethnic, cultural, and class divisions produced a ward-level sachem, affiliated with either political party, who was, of course, powerful in his ward and by virtue of his electoral seniority able to win assignments to key city council committees where his power was in fact exercised. In addition, he often owned one or more companies doing business with the city. The councilman exercised a broker function, trading off the demands of various interest groups and on occasion advancing his own interests. By 1900, Cleveland City Council was highly representative of the city's ethnic and class composition.
Several ward-level political bosses achieved notoriety in the last quarter of the 19th century. In the 1870s, Silas Merchant emerged as a ward level-politician and dredging contractor dominant in the Republican party. In the 1880s and 1890s, William H. Gabriel, William Crawford, ROBERT E. MCKISSON, and HARRY "CZAR" BERNSTEIN were powerful Republican figures with their political base in the wards and their financial support from those who did business with the city. With the backing of the ethnic vote loyal to Bernstein, McKisson became mayor in 1895. On the strength of his political influence in the city Republican party, McKisson attempted unsuccessfully to unseat Ohio Republican boss Marcus A. Hanna in a state senatorial primary. The old boss settled scores in 1899 when McKisson sought a second term as mayor. Hanna contributed $20,000 to McKisson's Democratic opponent, "Honest" JOHN FARLEY, a sum that one Farley supporter claimed was the margin of victory. Farley, a Democratic example of a Cleveland ward boss, was described by Frederic C. Howe as a "big raw boned, profane Irishman of substantial wealth, who made his money as a contractor" doing business with the city he served as a public official. This group was representative of the professional politicians who attempted to broker the interests of the low-tax, right-to-work, honesty-in-government New England element; the industrial and professional elite with their demands for efficiency in government and their antilabor and environmental-reform concerns; and the demands of the ethnic and native-born newcomers for favors, city contracts, jobs, and lax enforcement of laws restraining saloon operations, and other activities. The New England element, especially those wealthy members with holdings in Cleveland real property, were unyielding advocates of low taxes. These sentiments were shared by frugal, taxpaying immigrants. Here their influence was felt, for Cleveland remained throughout the entire period (1870-1900) one of the nation's low-tax cities. In this multicultural city, the New England element also expressed fears for the sanctity of property, law and order, right to work, and the enforcement of vice laws. Their right-to-work sentiments dovetailed with the antiunion sentiments of the industrial elite. The city's operating budget suggests that much of this agenda was met. Police and fire department expenditures steadily expanded during the period, and by 1900 the CLEVELAND FIRE DEPARTMENT was regarded as one of the nation's best. Local reformers and union officials frequently charged that CLEVELAND POLICE were used as scabs and strikebreakers. The operating budgets reveal that during years of labor strife, expenditures for police, courts, and the operation of correctional facilities increased as much as 33% and then declined in years of labor tranquility.
The businessmen and professionals who built the city's manufacturing sector required a local government that not only was antiunion but also would maintain existing infrastructure, and fund those environmental-reform measures that could not be legislated into special-purpose districts. In 1900, the public money spent on all the projects favored by the two elite groups amounted to 69% of all public monies raised from the tax duplicate in Cuyahoga County. Even so, this spending did not allay their concern for honesty and efficiency in local government and the need to overhaul the social-welfare system, the educational system, and the criminal-justice system. The newcomers, foreign-born and native-born alike, demanded representation, jobs, favors, contracts, and a laissez faire public attitude toward the informal economy, all to be accomplished within a low-tax environment. By the end of the century, virtually every ethnic group was represented on the city council—one of the benefits of having a great number of small wards. German and Irish mayors were also elected in the late 19th century. And with a payroll of $99,000 a month, the municipal government had jobs to dispense, and the names of ethnic newcomers appear with mounting frequency in the latter decades of the century.
As a growing city, Cleveland needed extensive bridge construction and repair, street paving, water supply, lighting, sewer construction, and, at the end of the century, garbage collection. It was in the provision of capital requirements for these improvements that the city was most frequently charged with corruption and favoritism. Between 1880 and 1900, municipal spending on these items increased by 300%, which in 1900 amounted to 42% of the municipality's $3.1 million budget. City council had committees devoted to each of these activities, and councilmen with greatest seniority and greatest ward-level power appeared most frequently on the committee rosters. They were charged with favoritism in hiring in these departments and in awarding contracts for construction work. Even though such charges were repeatedly made, these, like charges of electoral fraud, were seldom investigated. The professional politician was thus able to reward his ward-level constituents with jobs and contracts and distribute some of the benefits of civic largess to the newcomers. Through his influence within departments charged with law and code enforcement, the councilman was able to insure the continued operation of the informal side of the dual economy, although the two elite groups were highly incensed by the lax enforcement of saloon hours and by the flourishing trade in gambling and prostitution.
The municipality awarded franchises for the operation of public utilities and streetcar services. Tom L. Johnson, one of several streetcar-franchise operators, claimed that the franchise was the best of all business worlds: it gave the operator a long-term monopoly on the service rendered and the ability to set prices in defiance of normal market restrictions, and it allowed daily operation free from public scrutiny or meaningful consumer criticism. The difficulty was in winning the initial franchise award from the city council and keeping it when renewals came due. Both concerns kept actual and potential franchise operators active in municipal politics, especially at the councilmanic level. Although the great majority of Cleveland businessmen were not franchise holders, they were willing to ignore the corrupt relationship between the businessman franchise holders and the councilmen until Mayor Tom L. Johnson, in a complete about-face, sought to end the corrupt franchise alliances and replace them with public ownership of utilities and transportation. The influence of the ward-level political boss also spilled over into the system of public education, a large, growing institution with an expanding capital budget and an ample payroll reliably funded from the real property tax. The ward system, which had by the 20th century won the bosses' control of the municipal government, was also employed to elect ward politicians to the school board. Once they were in office, the familiar pattern of contract and patronage abuses came into view. These practices did, however, result in a roster of middle-level administrators and faculty who were remarkably representative of the diverse clientele the public school system served.
Less visible abuses appeared in Cleveland's system of criminal justice. These embraced the executive branch's law-enforcement responsibilities and extended into the judiciary. Sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, a comprehensive study of the local system of criminal justice, prepared in 1921, concluded that the Cleveland Police Department was saddled with outmoded managerial techniques and professional incompetence. Although the department had added officers proportionate to the increase in the city's population since the 1880s, modern systems of staff and line management had not been adopted by the department, with the result that many police officers were spending time in station houses performing routine clerical duties instead of being in the street pursuing their line responsibilities as police officers. The department also did little to train officers and detectives in police work and modem principles of criminal detection. The 1922 survey inspired a furious round of changes in the system, as local newspapers for a time kept massive pressure on elected officials to institute reform. Accordingly, recordkeeping at all levels of the system improved, staff and line management was introduced, and recruiting and training programs were adopted.
Despite these criticisms, the Cleveland Police Department made 27,000 arrests each year, at which point the problem shifted to the prosecutor's office. Between 1863 and 1921, the number of indictments increased from 60 to 2,700, and crimes defined by statute increased from 249 to 1,053. These numbers reflect not only the increase in Cleveland's population but also the growing complexity of society. The number of employees in the municipal prosecutor's office, however, reflected only the increase in population. Staff and line responsibilities were not defined, nor was the office organized along functional lines corresponding to categories of criminal offense. In addition, the municipal prosecutor did not have authority to appoint those who served in his office. That was the function of the city's law director, who saw the prosecutor's office as part of the patronage network. The criminal court system gave clear evidence that merely expanding a system that had been adequate when Cleveland was a commercial town would not serve the needs of a modern industrial city. Although Cleveland was served by the municipal court and the county court of common pleas, neither court seemed able to define its own role in the system of justice, and both were plagued by whimsical systems of recordkeeping. The result was overcrowded dockets, court terms that ran continuously and concurrently, lengthy delays in trial dates, and inspired plea-bargaining arrangements. Sentences were glaringly inconsistent, causing some observers to suspect that sentencing bore a closer relationship to solvency of the offender than to statutory requirements. Yet, the juvenile court, created in the Johnson era, though burdened by the demands of a growing young population, won high marks from the criminal-justice survey.
Those unfortunates who traveled the full length of the Cleveland criminal-justice system ultimately found themselves jailed in one of the city or county lockups, where the woes of the system persisted. Segregation of inmates occurred only among the sexes; it was not extended to separate adult from juvenile offenders. The recordkeeping failures that plagued the entire criminal-justice system provided some embarrassing incidents of prisoners' being "lost," others' being freed before sentences had been served, and still others' being caged well beyond their terms. Faulty management, hiring, and training practices opened the penal system to patronage abuses, the hiring of sadists, a lack of educational and recreational opportunities for inmates, and even maintenance of minimal sanitary facilities. Inefficiency and incompetence also combined to flaw a well-conceived parole program. Many of Cleveland's civic activists agreed that the municipal system had failed but pursued conflicting reform agendas through the first 3 decades of the new century. The dramatic clashes of principle and personality, however, did generate some real change in the political system by the time the Great Depression cast its pall over the city.
Structural reform, embracing the home rule and city charter enthusiasms, was the most enduring reform issue. Between 1852 and 1931, Cleveland had 7 city charters, 6 of which were put into effect between 1891 and 1931. These repeated charter-reform episodes reflected the growth pains of the city, as well as the fact that the reform coalition was built on a foundation of sand, which could shift with each political tide. When the home rule problem was resolved by state constitutional amendment in 1912, the reformers seemingly were free to shape their city's destiny; yet their efforts to shape a mayor-council government in 1913 and a city manager system in 1921 were to a large extent influenced by the city's growth in numbers, physical size, and institutional complexity. Thus, the municipality would never again suffer a caretaker administration of part-time businessmen-politicians. By 1916, the Board of Real Estate and good-government reformers were once again dissatisfied with the new city charter. The city manager system was the newest panacea for the weaknesses of municipal government. Although reform was in abeyance during the war, by 1921 the cumulative effect of several successive corrupt administrations gave the matter of charter reform renewed urgency. Support for the city manager system came from a coalition of reformers and businessmen. They persuaded the voters in 1921 to approve a city manager charter. The newly approved charter assigned policy making to a city council of 25 members elected at large from 4 districts essentially equal in population size. The intent was to eliminate the parochialism of the old ward system, although the east side-west side divisions of the city were perpetuated in the new ward scheme.
The suburbanization of Cleveland's upper and middle classes showed some local reformers that even if Cleveland could be given a satisfactory form of government, it would still be hampered by geographic restrictions imposed by its own political boundaries. As early as 1916, when only 100,000 lived in the suburbs, a small group of reformers resident in the suburbs called for a regional system of government embracing the entire county. The model was the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District. The regional-government scheme was advocated by the middle-class professionals of the Municipal League, who were unable to win the endorsement of the more powerful Chamber of Commerce, which still preferred annexation as the political solution to the problem of metropolitan sprawl. By 1924, when over 200,000 Clevelanders were living in the suburbs, the chamber changed its mind and established the Committee on Cooperative Metropolitan Government. No longer controlled by the industrialists, the chamber was now dominated by less powerful but nevertheless influential retailers, realtors, and publishers. The chamber, however, was unable to convince the state legislature to pass legislation permitting the formation of a regional government. Professional politicians both in the city and in the suburbs resisted metropolitan government because of the obvious threat it represented to the offices they held. Most significant, a unified political coalition of reformers could not be built around the issue of metropolitan government.
An important corollary of reform is that it costs money, and increased governmental responsibilities are usually accompanied by increases in revenue. During the entire 1860-1930 period, Cleveland was obligated to spend money on expanding infrastructure needs and on a steadily growing network of services in the 20th century, especially in the wake of the progressive redefinition of the role of government. In the Civil War decade, the city's budget was $.5 million; by 1930 the operating budget was $50 million. In the 19th century, per capita spending by the municipality remained constant at $8, while operating budgets increased nearly fourfold. The low tax burden was maintained through the simple device of physical growth, which added properties to the tax duplicate. During the progressive years of the century's first decade, per capita spending doubled, while the operating budget increased threefold. A local debate over taxation ensued, which pitted Progressive mayor Tom L. Johnson, who proposed to increase revenues with heavy property taxes on commercial and unimproved land, against those who proposed to keep the property tax low and raise additional revenue with a variety of new user taxes. Even though a 1910 property-tax reappraisal increased the value of the tax duplicate by 150%, the state legislature passed the Smith Act, which limited the municipality to taxing no more than 1% of appraised value, leaving the city with a budget shortfall of $3 million in 1910 alone. The Smith Act did allow an additional .5% through a voter referendum. In the next decade, the municipal budget increased 28%, but tax revenues remained level. The difference was made up in deficit financing. In 1920 alone, the city was forced to borrow nearly a quarter of its operating revenue, and debt service that year was 40% of the city's operating budget. In 1920 also, the state relaxed its strictures and allowed tax increases by local voter consent. A tax increase was won, but in 1925 it was neutralized by a lower property-tax valuation. The national economic crisis of the 1930s came to Cleveland early, and it made voters reluctant to approve new taxes. With the city now strangled by a surrounding ring of suburbs, it could not add to the tax duplicate substantially through new construction. The 1930 budget showed Cleveland sinking back into the same morass in which it had found itself in 1920, with 35% of its operating budget siphoned off to debt service. Many of Cleveland's higher-income people, who were now living in the suburbs, were also members of the civic organizations advocating higher taxes that residents of Cleveland would have to pay.
Through these years, the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS continued to be amply funded. Its problems were those of political control and pedagogical direction. Efforts were made to remove the school system from partisan politics throughout the industrial period. The municipality's Federal Plan charter of 1891 also reformed the school board by requiring nonpartisan, at-large elections, although subsequent charter reforms allowed 2 of the 7 board members to be elected from wards. Despite the reforms, suspicions of patronage abuse and fraudulently awarded contracts for construction, services, and textbooks were never far from the surface. Under pressure from the same civic coalition that had reformed the welfare system, the public school system's mission was broadened considerably between 1890 and 1930. When the performance of the schools inevitably failed to match the extravagant promises of the board and the professional educators, they were subjected to new rounds of bashing by reformers, newspapers, and the public. Educationally, the school system departed from the democratic ideal of the one-room New England schoolhouse to create commercial and vocational programs designed to serve the children of the city's growing body of newcomers. Critics claimed that these programs resulted in educational tracking. Tracking promoted social-class-based education, which predetermined the occupational futures of Cleveland's youth.
School superintendents, often the targets of local critics, were hired and fired frequently between 1890 and 1920, and their tenure seldom exceeded 4 years. Such shaky tenure was the result of school board politics, the tendency of board members to interject themselves into educational issues, and the superintendents' lack of management control over the entire system, including finances. Frank E. Spaulding (1916-1920), hired to implement the recommendations of the Cleveland Foundation's public-school survey, was the first superintendent with sufficiently sophisticated management skills to gain control over the entire system. Spaulding was able to integrate the fiscal and educational arms of the system into a single administrative unit. The superintendent's office became the center of management authority and systemwide planning and budgeting. Under Spaulding's leadership, the board became little more than a rubber stamp for policies initiated by the school system's professional managers. With the emergence of management control by professional educators, the history of the Cleveland public schools entered a new era.
In the 7 decades 1860-1930, Cleveland was transformed economically from a commercial village dependent on a regional economy to a city of nearly 1 million people integrated into an international industrial economy. Businesses changed from small counting houses to large, bureaucratic organizations owned by anonymous stockholders, managed by professionals, and employing thousands of workers. Intensified social stratification occurred in the wake of population growth, a more complex economy, and modem business organizations. The city's institutional development was a reflection of its social stratification. Decisions were made collectively in the city's new institutions, and they were a reflection of the triumph of corporate values over the traditional values of individualism and community held by the descendants of the city's New England forebears and newcomers from rural Europe and America. Management techniques adapted from industrial engineering were applied indiscriminately to factory production and the delivery of social, governmental, and educational services. That was the birth of modem America, and it was conceived in industrial cities such as Cleveland.
Ronald Weiner Cuyahoga Community College
An End to Prosperity: 1930-1939. "It is something to make anyone glad he is a Clevelander." So was the PLAIN DEALER moved to comment on 19 Aug. 1927, the day after steelworkers unfurled a flag from the topmost peak of the Terminal Tower and doffed their hats with pride. The "city within a city" was nearing completion. Development of the CLEVELAND UNION TERMINAL group—consisting of the Terminal Tower, with the city's new railroad station below grade; the Builders Exchange, Medical Arts, and Midland buildings; and the HIGBEE department store (the Hotel Cleveland had been built in 1918)—was the biggest real-estate news in the city's history. It had a profound impact, eliminating a large area of squalor and making PUBLIC SQUARE, the traditional center of BUSINESS and civic life, once again the focus of downtown. It left Cleveland with the mark of a metropolis on it. In conceiving and building so comprehensive a project, brothers MANTIS J. AND ORIS P. VAN SWERINGEN created not only a profitable commercial center but also a new focus for Cleveland's pride and a distinctive visual symbol for the city—a landmark. Dedication of the new $150 million Cleveland Union Terminal was the outstanding civic event of 1930. On 28 June, some 2,500 of the city's leaders gathered for lunch in the station's main concourse. Surrounding them were more than 40 shops and restaurants operated by Harvey, Inc., said to be the world's largest unified merchandising service operated in conjunction with a railroad passenger station. Cleveland's new station handled 80 trains a day, as well as the rapid-transit line serving the Van Sweringens' new residential development of SHAKER HEIGHTS. Railway Age called it "a passenger terminal which ranks in magnitude and completeness with the best in the country."
Cleveland in 1930 had other reasons to celebrate. The 1920s had been a decade of great industrial, economic, and financial growth; of municipal progress and reform; of advancement in the arts, MEDICINE, EDUCATION, and CITY PLANNING and beautification. Large and important commercial buildings had been erected, including the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK, the OHIO BELL TELEPHONE, Hanna, and Union Trust buildings. New theaters and motion-picture palaces had opened at PLAYHOUSE SQUARE, and drew in their wake new shops and restaurants. Following on the heels of the turbulent FRED KOHLER administration, municipal affairs had been guided by the able city manager WILLIAM R. HOPKINS. The Muncipal Airport had been established, and construction of the new CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM was about to begin. The Board of Education Building was nearing completion, and the city's Group Plan was progressing. Both the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY and the PUBLIC AUDITORIUM had opened. The latter, promoted by the Convention Board of the Chamber of Commerce, attracted some of the country's largest gatherings—143,628 delegates would attend 237 conventions there in 1930—and materially aided the city's bid to become a convention capital. Beyond the city's borders, the development of LAKEWOOD, EAST CLEVELAND, CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, and Shaker Heights signaled the first flush of metropolitan expansion. For Cleveland, the year 1930 marked a watershed in the city's fortunes. The preceding decade had been a heady success for Cleveland, a period best symbolized, perhaps, by the ethereal images produced by the young photographer MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE of a brawny city ruled and shaped by powerful industries and equally powerful industrialists. In the space of a few months, however, tens of thousands of Clevelanders would be out of work, while more than a few of the city's barons—including the Van Sweringens—would face financial ruin. The depression years 1930-39 thus mark a distinct period in the city's life—an end to prosperity, from which, it might be argued, Cleveland has never fully recovered.
With a population of 900,429, Cleveland in 1930 was the nation's 6th-largest city, after New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Los Angeles. With a combined city and county population of 1,201,455, it was the 3d-most-populated metropolitan area, after New York and Chicago. Startling changes had occurred since 1910. The population of Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland had more than doubled, and now represented 25% of the total population of the county.
Cleveland Cuyahoga County City as % of County
1910 560,663 637,425 88%
1920 796,841 943,495 84%
1930 900,429 1,201,455 75%
The 4 largest adjacent cities—Lakewood, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights—in 1930 had a combined population of 178,904. These 4 cities, accounting for slightly more than 4% of the county's population in 1910, by 1930 accounted for as much as 15%.
For 30 years, statistician HOWARD WHIPPLE GREEN studied and reported on population trends in Greater Cleveland. His first major study, Population Characteristics by Census Tracts, Cleveland, Ohio, published by the Plain Dealer Publishing Co. in 1931, contained a wealth of information about the city's people and revealed trends that could not otherwise be discerned. The percentage of Cleveland's foreign-born white population had declined from 30.1% in 1920 to 25.5% in 1930. The greatest number of the city's foreign-born had come from Czechoslovakia (15.1%) and Poland (14.2%). Other countries with large numbers in Cleveland included Italy (10.3%), Germany (9.8%), Hungary (8.3%), Yugoslavia (8.0%), and Russia (6.6%). According to Green, each foreign-born, white, non-English-speaking group occupied a distinctly different section of the 5-city metropolitan area except the GERMANS, who had been integrated into the population "as evenly as the English, Welsh, Scotch, IRISH, or Canadians." Cleveland's black population had increased considerably, from 34,451, or 4.3% of the city's population, in 1920, to 71,899, or 8%, in 1930. Cleveland's BLACKS lived in a section bounded by E. 9th St. on the west, EUCLID AVE. on the north, E. 105th St. on the east, and, on the south, the tracks of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad just south of Woodland Ave. There was also a small concentration of blacks living in the southwest section of the city along Bellaire Rd. between W. 117th and W. 130th St., most of whom worked at the yards of the New York Central. Finally, some 1,200 blacks lived outside of Cleveland; these were largely house servants and chauffeurs living with their employers.
Cleveland's 394,898 gainful workers were employed largely in the manufacturing and mechanical industries (41%), trade (18%), domestic and personal service (10%), TRANSPORTATION and communication (11%), and building (7%). A total of 20% were in the service 'industries, including professional and semiprofessional service, public service, and domestic and personal service. Industries employing large numbers of Clevelanders in 1930 included (in round numbers) the building industry (28,000), blast furnaces and steel-rolling mills (19,000), other iron and steel industries (42,000), wholesale and retail trade (62,000), and steam RAILROADS (15,000). Prophetically, 1, of Cleveland's gainful workers were not at work on the day in Apr. 1930 preceding the visit of the census enumerator. (One-third would be in this condition in Jan. 1931.)
By analyzing data for each census tract, Green statistically demonstrated for the first time in the city's history what he called the "great differences" among the economic areas within the 5-city region (Cleveland, Lakewood, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights)—differences in color, nativity, age, sex, literacy, employment, and the possession of radios and homes. Green identified 14 "economic areas" by ranking each census tract according to "equivalent monthly rental." The results showed that a disparity in wealth between the city and the SUBURBS was already well established. Only 21 of Cleveland's 201 census tracts ranked within the 7 highest economic areas (those paying $47 or more monthly rental), while all but 3 of the 51 census tracts outside of Cleveland ranked within the 7 highest economic areas. "In the high economic areas," Green wrote, "the picture is quite different than in the low economic areas. Homes are owned, families have radios, family heads are native white of native parentage, illiteracy is low, unemployment is uncommon, population is spread out over ample areas, the juvenile delinquency rate is low, likewise the infant mortality rate and the general death-rate are low."
As early as 1930, census figures showed that Cleveland was "decaying at the core," with increases of population occurring on the periphery of the metropolitan area and decreases occurring at the center. So Howard Whipple Green reported in the first Real Property Inventory of Greater Cleveland, published in 1933. The REAL PROPERTY INVENTORY OF METROPOLITAN CLEVELAND (RPI), of which Green served as director between 1932 and 1959, tracked movements of population into and out of census tracts in Greater Cleveland in the years between decennial census counts. Data of this kind, according to Green, were of great value for the "intelligent location and proper operation" of retail outlets, schools, branch banks, public transportation, and utilities. By charting trends, the RPI was designed to form the basis for "business judgments." In examining the periodic reports of the RPI over the city's long downward spiral, however, one cannot help but wonder whether RPI not only charted trends but initiated them as well. Census Tract M-7 (bounded by E. 55th and E. 71st streets and Central and Quincy avenues) is a case in point. This neighborhood centered at E. 55th and Woodland was home to large numbers of RUSSIANS, largely Orthodox JEWS, in 1920; 10 years later it was overwhelmingly black. "Few persons realized," Green wrote in the first edition of the RPI, "that census tract M-7 with 8.7% of its population Negro in 1920 would show 90.6% Negroes in 1930. An enormous increase in the number of Negroes in a particular section of the city with their influence on property values is always reflected sooner or later in mortgage finance."
By 1920, residential dispersion had already occurred among Cleveland's Irish and German populations. Between 1920 and 1930, once-strong enclaves of ITALIANS and Russians living on the near east side dispersed to other areas of the city and to the suburbs, while the black community became even more concentrated there, especially along Central and Scovill avenues. On the eve of the Depression, at least 90% of the city's blacks were concentrated in a ghetto bounded by Euclid and Woodland avenues and E. 14th and E. 105th streets. The first great migration of blacks to Cleveland had occurred during and after WORLD WAR I, when a need for workers in the North coincided with economic depression in the South. Between 1910 and 1920, the city's black population had increased 308%. IMMIGRATION from abroad, meanwhile, had fallen dramatically after 1914.
The new migration accelerated the process of residential segregation already underway, and the city faced the task of assimilating large numbers of uneducated blacks completely unaccustomed to urban life. The conditions of life of the typical black ghetto dweller were described by novelist CHARLES W. CHESNUTT: "The majority live in drab, middle or low class houses, none too well kept up ... while the poor live in dilapidated, rack-rented shacks, sometimes a whole family in 1 or 2 rooms, as a rule paying higher rent than white tenants for the same space." Despite these conditions, by most measures of socioeconomic progress, the status of black migrants who came north after 1915 constituted an advance over their previous condition. In contrast to the 1960s, when northern blacks were experiencing "actual gains but psychological losses" (as one sociologist has put it), the blacks in the northern ghettos in the 1920s and 1930s recognized their improved status. Hence, Kenneth L. Kusmer has called this era the "Quiet Ghetto." Paradoxically, the consolidation of the ghetto after World War I produced a growing sense of black unity and a philosophy of self-help and race pride that would provide a basis for future struggle against racism in all its manifestations. Although the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE had been established in Cleveland in 1914, the organization did not gain strength until the 1920s, when it began to fight discrimination in theaters, restaurants, and other facilities. In 1931, the policy of segregating black patients at City Hospital came to an end, and the first black intern was admitted to the staff. Black political power, meanwhile, grew slowly but inexorably. THOMAS W. FLEMING, an accommodationist, was the sole black representative on city council until 1927. Within a few years, however, as the black population spread eastward, gradually engulfing formerly white wards, the ghetto was transformed into an increasingly formidable political power.
In the months and years after the great stock market crash on Black Tuesday, 29 Oct. 1929, Cleveland coasted downhill at dizzying speed. The economic and cultural preeminence of the previous decade reversed to a fight for survival in the 1930s. There were an estimated 41,000 jobless in Cleveland in Apr. 1930, close to 100,000 by the following January. (In the Cleveland 5-city area, the numbers were 44,000 and 106,000 respectively.) Industrial conditions affected employment in Cleveland more seriously than in cities with small populations of gainful workers in the manufacturing and mechanical industries, including building. Detroit was the only other large American city with a higher percentage of workers so classified. Economic dislocation reached enormous proportions. The expenditure of $200 million for direct and work relief in Cuyahoga County in the 10-year period 1928-37 represented only 1/6 of the loss of $1.2 billion in normal wage and salary payments during the same period. According to one study, wages paid in industry in Cuyahoga County decreased from $251,942,813 in 1929 to $99,448,000 in 1933. To cope with rapidly shrinking tax revenues and the ever-growing need for massive amounts of direct relief (food, clothing, and shelter) to the unemployed, Mayor RAY T. MILLER turned to the enforcement of strict economy in GOVERNMENT. In 1931, $1 million was pared from municipal operating expenses and funneled to relief services, and a 1-mill county relief levy was adopted in 1932. But these measures fell far short of meeting the increasing cost of relief.
Within months of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's election, expanded federal assistance carried most of the relief burden. The Civil Works Administration (CWA), established in Nov. 1933, was followed by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), which supplemented city, county, and state funds for direct relief and made work available to several thousand employable members of relief families. FERA's peak of activity in Cleveland occurred in July 1935, with 10,075 men and women on work relief. In 1935, care of the unemployable was given back to the Cuyahoga County Relief Administration, and the Work Progress Administration (later the WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION) was established to provide work relief for 1 employable member of each relief family. Statistics demonstrate the intensity of the need in Cleveland. The monthly average of those receiving direct and (after 1933) work relief rose from 3,499 in 1928 to 52,995 in 1933 and 77,565 in 1936. Expenditures for relief (exclusive of administration) rose from $1,055,000 in 1928 to $14,506,000 in 1933 and $39,850,000 in 1936. The largest concentration of relief families and individuals, and the largest jobless ratios, were in those sections of the city Green had defined as "low economic areas" in 1930: the near west side and the east side south of Euclid Ave. Suburban areas were much less hard hit. In describing the geographic distribution of relief families, Green illustrated the disparity in concrete terms: "Families in the low economic tenths have little; many are on relief and the others are on the edge of dependence. Families living in the highest economic tenth have much; they pay high rents, own expensive homes, have telephones, automobiles, mechanical refrigerators, and most that the heart desires." By Mar. 1938, 54,849 residents of Cuyahoga County were receiving work relief under the CWA and WPA. These programs carried on much of the area's capital-improvements program, building STREETS, sewers, schools, and waterworks that would otherwise have been impossible. Aided by the WPA, the first portion of the lakefront highway (later called the Cleveland MEMORIAL SHOREWAY) was built between E. 9th St. and GORDON PARK. In 1938-39 the county, with WPA assistance, built the Main Ave. Bridge, which added another important high-level connection between the east and west sides of the city.
Cleveland's city and metropolitan parks especially benefited from the massive federal work projects. The CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM was substantially developed during this period, with the construction of roads, trails, picnic areas, shelterhouses, and other structures. The CLEVELAND PRESS on 22 July 1936 commented that the improvements financed with federal dollars were sweeping Cleveland's metropolitan parks into a completed system "a generation ahead of schedule." The once-beautiful city parks, meanwhile, had suffered from 3 decades of inadequate maintenance, and many of the homeless were using them for sleeping quarters. In the late 1930s, WPA forces working 2 shifts extensively rehabilitated the parks and built new playgrounds. In a radio address in 1936, PARKS Director Hugo E. Varga acknowledged that, without WPA help, "there would have been only a skeleton of the parks left as a bitter reminder of a pennywise and pound foolish policy...." Another tangible legacy of work relief in Cleveland was the ART produced under the Public Works of Art Project and the other programs that followed it. Unemployed Cleveland artists produced graphics, murals, paintings, and sculpture of exceptional quality and enjoyed warm public support. Much of the New Deal art exemplified the "Cleveland Scene," stressing pride in Cleveland's heritage—its people, industries, ARCHITECTURE, and accomplishments.
A significant revolution of the 1930s was the change in historical assumptions about social responsibility. Government recognized for the first time an obligation to provide decent housing for the poor, although the construction of PUBLIC HOUSING, at least initially, was viewed in large measure as an emergency activity to put men to work. Under the leadership of ERNEST J. BOHN, who served as the first director of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, Cleveland led the nation in establishing the first public-housing projects to be funded by the Public Works Administration. Construction began on 3 PWA projects in 1935: Cedar-Central Apts., located between E. 22nd and E. 30th streets and Cedar and Central avenues; Outhwaite Homes, between E. 40th and E. 46th streets and Scovill and Woodland avenues; and LAKEVIEW TERRACE, at W. 28th near the Main Ave. Bridge. The 3 projects, completed in 1937, provided apartments for 1,849 low-income families and resulted in the clearance of large slum areas. These were followed, in 1940, by Valley View Homes, at W. 7th St. and Starkweather Ave.; and Woodhill Homes, at Woodhill Rd. and Woodland Ave. (The latter utilized land formerly occupied by the popular amusement resort LUNA PARK.) All of the new housing projects were built in the modern functional style. One, Lakeview Terrace, received international recognition for its successful adaptation to a difficult site; its incorporation of the first community center in a public-housing project; and its use of the decorative arts, made possible by the Treasury Relief Art Project.
After Clevelanders voted to rescind the CITY MANAGER PLAN and return to an elected mayor and ward councilmen in 1931, successive city administrations struggled to provide relief to the destitute. As the numbers on relief swelled beyond the ability of local social-welfare organizations to cope, the burden of caring for the poor and unemployed fell on the city, dooming Ray T. Miller to be a 1-term mayor. Municipal government was in disarray under his successor, HARRY L. DAVIS. City finances were in sad condition, and the police department was corrupt and demoralized. In 1935, HAROLD H. BURTON was elected to the first of 3 terms. Burton, by 1938, brought order to the city, balancing the budget and cleaning up the police department. To accomplish the latter, he brought in a young federal agent who had helped break the hold of the Capone mob in Chicago to serve as safety director. ELIOT NESS was given free rein to conduct investigations wherever he suspected corruption.
Iron and steel, and iron and steel products, remained the city's mainstay. REPUBLIC STEEL acquired Cleveland's Corrigan, McKinney Steel Co. in 1935 and moved its headquarters from Youngstown to Cleveland. An improved economic outlook in 1936 encouraged Republic to undertake a major expansion of its Cleveland plant with the construction of a 98-inch continuous hot strip mill, then the widest in the world. The plant was continuously enlarged in the next 3 decades, and Republic until 1980 remained Cleveland's largest single employer. The first sign of the changes to come in the city's commercial life occurred in the late 1920s and early 1930s with construction of the first major stores and shopping areas to be built outside of the downtown area. These included new Sears department stores on the east and west sides of the city (1928), SHAKER SQUARE (1929), and branches of BAILEY'S department store at Euclid-E. 105th and Detroit-Warren in Lakewood (1929-30).
The Depression, then WORLD WAR II, postponed further decentralization of the city's retail industry. Cleveland's cultural growth was seemingly unimpeded by the economic hardship of these years. The decade saw the founding of the GARDEN CENTER OF GREATER CLEVELAND in 1930 and the opening of SEVERANCE HALL, the new home of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA, the following year. In 1936, DUNHAM TAVERN, Inc., was organized to preserve the famous inn, and on 30 July 1939, 35,000 people representing 47 countries attended the mass dedication of the chain of CLEVELAND CULTURAL GARDENS, which covered 35 acres in ROCKEFELLER PARK, and paid tribute to the contributions of the city's diverse nationality groups. The decade also witnessed a protracted period of labor unrest. A sit-down strike of 7,000 workers at the FISHER BODY Co. plant on Coit Rd. was followed by strikes in auto plants in other cities. Other serious strikes in Cleveland during this period included those at Republic Steel and the Industrial Rayon Corp. The Depression sharply curtailed construction, and, except for work-relief projects, few new buildings were erected in the 1930s. Two projects, however, would have a lasting impact on the city: Cleveland Municipal Stadium and the GREAT LAKES EXPOSITION. America in the 1920s was increasingly becoming a nation of spectators, and organized sports were becoming a popular and profitable activity. Other large cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Baltimore, had built municipal stadiums, and Cleveland followed the trend. Promoted by City Manager William R. Hopkins, the new Municipal Stadium was seen as a fitting lakefront termination for the city's Group Plan. Voters approved a bond issue in 1928, and the Stadium made its debut in a program of song and speeches on 2 July 1931. The following year, on Sunday, 31 July 1932, the CLEVELAND INDIANS played their first game there. An astonishing 80,184 filled the ball park, and the next day's headline captured the moment: "From Noon to 3 They Pour into Big Horseshoe through All Routes; Railroads Bring Thousands; Akron Sends 1,200; Same Number from Pittsburgh Area; "NAP" LAJOIE and Other Stars of Bygone Days Are Cheered; Depression Given Black Eye." Without a permanent lease, however, the Indians continued to play most of their games at LEAGUE PARK, in the HOUGH neighborhood, until 1947.
Another project helped revive the sagging spirits of Clevelanders. The Great Lakes Exposition was planned by business leaders to celebrate the industry and culture of the 8 Great Lakes states and the bordering provinces of Canada. The event also marked Cleveland's centennial as a city. The prospectus for the exposition summed up the important psychological benefits the event's promoters hoped for, stating, "Cleveland has for several years been so depressed by adverse circumstances that a forward-looking enterprise is needed to revive the sagging spirit of civic pride that formerly characterized the city." Financed by Cleveland business interests, the exposition ran from June through October over 2 years, 1936 and 1937. The lakefront exposition occupied the MALL from St. Clair Ave. north, and stretched from the Stadium to E. 20th St. Clevelanders witnessed the transformation of a former public dump into an attractively landscaped fairgrounds. The exposition offered exhibits of art, SCIENCE, industry, and horticulture, as well as popular entertainment. Extensive use of light as an architectural element showed off Cleveland's prominence as a center of lighting-industry research. The Great Lakes Exposition advertised Cleveland as a progressive, productive city and pointed the way toward economic recovery. Among its lasting benefits was the final realization of the Group Plan; the last building remaining in the area designated for the Mall was removed in 1935.
Dorothea D. Kahn, staff correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor, visited Cleveland in late summer 1938. She found a city appealing "in spite of its bigness," a city struggling with a serious relief problem but blessed with business and civic leaders "striving with rolled up sleeves to solve the city's problems, to improve business and so make more jobs, to provide better public and private housing, to increase educational opportunities, and to beautify the city." Kahn saw massive downtown buildings, but few skyscrapers; an abundance of tree-shaded homes, and new public-housing projects set down in slums; long viaducts that carried traffic high over the industrial valleys; and used-car lots with the legend, "We finance WPA workers." Public Square gave the big industrial city a New England "common" for a center. There, statues of the city's heroes brought the past tangibly into the present; much more than in other cities, Kahn wrote, "you find yourself reminded of the men who made the city." Nearby, a newly made lakefront stretched out beyond the factories and industries that had formerly claimed the shore, and the MALL stood as "a symbol of the city's long and patient efforts to bring its ambitious plan to realization." While the gathering clouds of war in Europe would soon mean the revival of Cleveland's economy, the resulting lure of jobs would also transform the character of its population, accelerating the move to the suburbs and prompting the first uneasy feelings that something was wrong.
War and Renewal: 1940-1949. The Depression had brought Cleveland to its knees. Industrialist CYRUS EATON would later say that Cleveland was hurt more by the Depression than any other city in the U.S. That assertion, George Condon wrote in 1967, "is plausible enough to people who remember the exuberant, dynamic Cleveland of pre-Depression days and who can compare it with the somber, convalescent city that walked with a dragging gait and a querulous expression until recent years. The Cleveland that the world knew from 1930 to 1955 was a hurt town and it showed in many ways. There was a disposition toward petty bickering among the civic leaders over petty issues, while the large issue of Cleveland's future went untended and the sprawling downtown area turned gray and shabby." The period 1940-49 was marked by war and postwar renewal, by personal sacrifice and industrial expansion that would carry over into a peacetime economy. Long before war's end, Cleveland would begin planning for its future, charting new highways and other improvements and considering, for the first time, the problem of interracial relations. Economic well-being—even victory in the 1948 World Series—seemed to give credence to the claim, born in this decade, that Cleveland was "the best location in the nation." Cleveland in 1940 remained the nation's 6th-largest city, but for the first time its population count, 878,336, showed a small loss. Of this number, 20.4% were foreign-born white, while 10% were black. Outward migration to the suburbs had slowed during the Depression, and during World War II, shortages of men and materials continued to discourage new construction of homes in outlying areas. But at war's end, pent-up demand was met with large new housing projects in such suburbs as BROOKLYN, LYNDHURST, MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, MAPLE HEIGHTS, and SOUTH EUCLID, and Cleveland would see no abatement of the trend for the duration of its modern history.
As the decade opened, Cleveland faced publicly for the first time the phenomenon of decentralization. A report published in 1941 by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce stated frankly: "It is evident that most people who live in Cleveland are anxious to move to the suburbs.... Experience has shown that if their economic status permits, the majority of Clevelanders prefer to live outside the central area." The reasons for this preference, according to the report, were several, ranging from smoke and dirt to congestion, vice and CRIME, deterioration, and, finally, the "proximity of races having a depreciatory effect on values." Although the population increased according to the 1950 census, the character of the city's inhabitants was changing. Native and foreign-born whites were leaving the city for the suburbs, and Appalachian whites and southern blacks were arriving in large numbers to seek work in Cleveland's expanding wartime industries. At the same time, migrant workers from Puerto Rico began arriving in Cleveland. Large numbers of Appalachians and Puerto Ricans settled on the near west side, and by 1970, some 20,000 Appalachians and 5,000 Puerto Ricans were living in that formerly Hungarian and Irish neighborhood. During the decade, Cleveland's black population grew from 85,000 to 148,000, and for the first time blacks began moving in substantial numbers into neighborhoods outside their traditional ghetto, including Hough, MT. PLEASANT, Miles Heights, and GLENVILLE. Glenville, annexed to Cleveland in 1905, was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, many of whose residents had begun to move to Cleveland Heights when the first blacks moved there in the 1920s. Between 1940 and 1950, the black population in Glenville grew rapidly, from 1,069 to 20,517. In 1945, confronted by the problems of a changing neighborhood, residents formed the Glenville Community Council to address such areas of concern as interracial relations and the need for better recreational facilities, improved public safety, and stricter enforcement of the housing code. As early as 1945, Glenville's leaders recognized the presence of "potential powder kegs" in the crowded, changing neighborhood. Glenville was 67% black by 1960, and 95% black by the mid-1960s. The same pattern would occur again and again as white neighborhoods became black and segregation took hold of the city's east side.
While suburban residents continued to shop, visit, find entertainment, and earn their livings in Cleveland, they did not share its responsibilities, and they contributed nothing to the support of its services. As Cleveland advertising executive and historian WILLIAM GANSON ROSE put it in 1950, the thriving cities and villages that "nestled close to the sprawling, fan-shaped mother city" were "content in their municipal independence and the charm of their residential sections." Civic and business leaders, meanwhile, struggled to find solutions to the population decline revealed in the 1940 census. Rose, at a meeting of the Greater Cleveland Council of Smaller Business of America, Inc., presented a program to counteract the alarming trend. Among his suggestions were to revise zoning regulations; eliminate smoke nuisances and enforce SANITATION laws; foster the renovation of buildings worthy of future use and get rid of unsafe and unfit structures; promote development by private investors of better neighborhoods; and encourage development of the lakeshore as a practical and pleasant place to live. Rose's program was the first of literally hundreds that would be put forth over the next 4 decades as the city struggled to reverse its decline.
Cleveland industries in the 1940s expanded rapidly to meet demand for war materiel. Cleveland factories turned out planes, tanks, trucks, jeeps, artillery and small arms, bombs, binoculars, and telescopes. Production at the Thompson Aircraft Products Co., a Defense Plant Corp. subsidiary, began in 1941. At Municipal Airport, the Fisher Aircraft Assembly Plant No. 2 was erected in 1942 for the assembly of B-29s and, later, P-57 tanks. Nearby, the $20 million National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (later NASA LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER) opened in 1943. Beginning with a national advertising slogan originated by the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO. in 1944 to help build postwar business, Cleveland claimed distinction as "the best location in the nation." The claim was based on the fact that within 500 miles of the city lived half the people of the U.S. and Canada; that Cleveland was the natural meeting place of iron ore, coal, copper, gypsum, stone, sand, and other vital raw materials; and that efficient water, rail, highway, and air transportation facilitated delivery and reduced costs. Cleveland further claimed—as a leader in the lighting industry and an important producer of machine tools, electrical goods, metal products, and paints and varnish—a diversified industrial base, a large supply of trained workers, and abundant low-cost power and water. Northern Ohio, embracing the Cleveland, Lorain, and Youngstown districts, remained the steel center of the nation. A survey of occupations made in 1946 showed that out of a total employment of 560,000 in Cuyahoga County, 4 industrial groups predominated: machinery (66,000 workers), iron and steel (50,000), transportation equipment (34,000), and electrical machinery (26,000). But a measure of the diversity of Cleveland industry can be seen in the fact that, in 1944, 4,000 workers were employed at the CLEVELAND UNION STOCKYARDS, while the city's 9 breweries employed more than 1,200. Industrial workers swelled the city's wartime population, and at war's end, an already severe housing shortage worsened with the return of servicemen eager to start new families. Throughout the city, single-family homes were subdivided into units housing several families, beginning a pattern of overuse and overcrowding, and laying the groundwork for future deterioration.
In 1943, at a luncheon at the Statler Hotel, Mayor FRANK J. LAUSCHE organized the Postwar Planning Council to begin the work of preparing Cleveland for the end of war-contract production and to coordinate planning at all levels of community life. The aim of the council, which was financed by donations from business, industry, and LABOR, was, in Mayor Lausche's words, "not only to build the bridge from war to peacetime production but also to lay plans for making Cleveland's industrial advantages so patent that we can keep all of the industries we have and attract new ones...." Cleveland was in a race with all other industrial cities, Lausche warned, and the days of rapid growth were over. Under executive director S. Burns Weston, 5 panels were named to study transportation, public works, interracial relations, the needs of returning servicemen, and public finance. Two panels deserve special mention. The role of the public-works panel was to stimulate public agencies to rush the production of construction plans. Interestingly enough, the freeway system was seen as the one public-works project that would absorb the first impact of the suspension of war work, and one of the panel's tasks was to spur planning and land acquisition "mercilessly" (as one Cleveland Press reporter put it). A panel on interracial relations, chaired by Dr. Leonard Mayo, dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences at Western Reserve University, was charged with answering the question: Are the community and its facilities prepared to deal objectively with interracial relations? The panel defined areas where problems existed—such as housing, recreation, health, and employment practices—and recommended that the mayor follow a policy of preventive action rather than wait for problems to come to a head. As a result of the panel's work, the CLEVELAND COMMUNITY RELATIONS BOARD was established in 1945, with a mission "to promote amicable relations among the racial and cultural groups within the community."
During the late 1940s, Mayor THOMAS A. BURKE initiated the first major municipal projects since the erection of Cleveland Stadium in 1930-31. The popular Burke, who served as mayor for 9 years (1945-53), sponsored construction of the downtown airport and activated the dormant plan, first conceived by the Van Sweringens, for a system of rapid-transit lines serving Cleveland. In 1942, the city of Cleveland, with some reluctance, had acquired the near-bankrupt CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO., thereby becoming the owner and operator of a street railway system with 4,400 employees and an annual business of $15 million. The new Cleveland Transit System, under the supervision of the city's public utilities department, made the transition from streetcars to buses and completed construction of a new 19-mile rapid system in 1955. The line extended from Windermere Station near Euclid and Superior avenues on the east side to W. 140th and Lorain. An additional link to the airport, completed in 1968, gave Cleveland the first rapid-transit system in the country providing a direct rail connection between the downtown business district and the airport.
In Feb. 1944, a master freeway plan was completed by the Express Highway Subcommittee of the Regional Association of Cleveland. The plan followed on the heels of a freeway program and bond issue of $4.5 million endorsed by the voters 4 years earlier but delayed by war and the lack of a comprehensive plan. The plan called for a $240 million integrated freeway system as the solution to metropolitan Cleveland's traffic problems. While the plan bears striking similarity to the freeway system as built—it shows, for example, an inner belt, the WILLOW FREEWAY (I-77), an outer belt (I-271), and an outer belt south (I-480)—the differences are notable. The West Shoreway, following the lakefront as far as ROCKY RIVER, forms the major east-west roadway on the west side, not I-90, while the BEREA-Airport Freeway (I-71) as planned followed a substantially different route from that built. Finally, the proposed Medina, NEWBURGH, and Heights freeways were never built, though not until the 1970s were the later 2 projects put to rest. In addition to freeways, other major public-works projects were underway. By the mid-1940s, substantial progress had been made on improving the CUYAHOGA RIVER for navigation; plans called for widening, straightening, and deepening the river channel. The city's stock of public housing was enlarged with the extension of Outhwaite Homes and the construction of Carver Park, the latter consisting of 1,287 units at Unwin Rd. near Central Ave. and E. 43rd St.
Superficially at least, Cleveland was healthy during these years. Clevelanders had generally supported the war effort. The temporary War Service Center on Public Square, whose walls carried the names of the local men who had died in service to their country, represented the volunteer efforts of Clevelanders and was an active center for recruitment and the sale of War Bonds. ALEXANDER WINTON's pioneer automobile, built in 1896, and the Brush dynamo that gave the city light in 1893 at a plant on Lime St. were both donated for their scrap value, and victory gardens were planted throughout the city. The existence of racial tensions had been acknowledged and the first steps taken to ease them. The Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau reported that conventions brought 152,185 visitors to Cleveland during 1946. The same year, Bill Veeck purchased the Cleveland Indians and subsequently orchestrated the liveliest and most memorable period in Cleveland BASEBALL history. Throughout 1946, Clevelanders celebrated the city's 150th birthday with pageants, parades, and entertainment, drawing national attention. L. H. Robbins, in the New York Times Magazine, commented favorably on the city and its people: "Clevelanders display an exuberant enthusiasm for their town and their way of life such as you don't recall ever noting in any city east of the Alleghenies.... It really is remarkable, their town-boosting, their local pride and contentment...." Robbins reported on the city's industrial might (noting that the Terminal Tower is "blacked out, some days, in the smoke pall from the valley") and its fine public buildings ("Here is a civic center to shout about"), though he acknowledged that, beyond the downtown core, "the first miles aren't so good."
Indeed, there were signs of trouble ahead. Within the city, as Mayor Lausche noted in his speech launching the Postwar Planning Council, were slums with "living conditions unfit for human beings." The city had expanded carelessly, and the mansions that remained on Millionaires' Row (Euclid Ave.) rubbed shoulders with billboards and car-wash lots, tourist homes and factories. Metropolitan progress, many thought, was hampered by the disintegration of government into some 100 independent taxing units. Above all, the pace of decentralization was accelerating. Of $1.7 billion spent on postwar industrial expansion, $1 billion was spent in the suburbs. Of the resulting 170,000 new job opportunities, the suburbs got 100,000, the central city 70,000. And suburban home construction was outpacing home construction in the city 4 to 1. "Every metropolitan area is plagued by the paradox of suburbs siphoning off tax income," Architectural Forum would comment in 1955. "In Cleveland this parasitic situation reaches an extreme.... Suburban chauvinism in Cleveland is more than a political and financial problem. It is a social problem." The problem, in coming years, would only worsen.
Exodus and Decline: 1950-1965. Cleveland, in the early 1950s, stood at a crossroads. Its central business district and its neighborhoods were deteriorating. Crime was worsening, and thousands of city residents were leaving for new homes in the suburbs. Over the next 15 years, civic and business leaders would struggle to define the problem, but answers would remain elusive. Urban renewal and the construction of freeways, meanwhile, would dramatically and permanently change the face of the city. And while the ERIEVIEW plan would serve as a critical catalyst for future downtown renewal, the city's single-minded focus on the central business district would lead eventually to conflagration in Hough and yet another turning point in Cleveland's history.
Recognition that something was wrong unfolded gradually. In a speech to the ROTARY CLUB in Mar. 1953, Elmer L. Lindseth, president of the Illuminating Co., named some of the issues the city faced. These included downtown decay (no new office buildings had been built since the Terminal Group); slum areas and areas that threatened to become slums ("in some cases only for lack of enforcing our building codes"); inadequate transportation and parking; and a need for low-rent private housing and new schools, parks, and hospital beds. On 13 Oct. 1954, city leaders met at the MID-DAY CLUB to map strategies for making the downtown more attractive to shoppers; according to the next day's account of the meeting in the Plain Dealer, no one mentioned the huge new shopping centers that had been built on the periphery of "Greater" Cleveland. Several months later, in a front-page story, the newspaper asked: Is Cleveland's downtown district dying? Blight, it said, had settled on "whole chunks" of the downtown, including the old wholesale district northwest of the Public Square, and E. 9th St., the downtown's major north-south artery; retail sales in the central business district had failed to follow the upward curve of Greater Cleveland's growth in population and prosperity; and parking adjacent to Euclid Ave. was scarce. Yet, it reported, many businessmen believed the heart of Cleveland was strong compared with the downtowns of other large American cities, and that some postwar developments—for example, new access routes such as the East Shoreway, Chester Ave., and the Willow Freeway; express buses, which had replaced streetcars; and the CTS Rapid Transit and INNERBELT FREEWAY (both under construction)—had contributed to the health and prosperity of downtown Cleveland. Plain Dealer editor PHILIP PORTER has called this period in Cleveland's life the era of "coasting," of "abnormal goodwill." Industry appeared healthy, and the "Best Location" slogan was adopted enthusiastically by the newspapers and the Chamber of Commerce. Democrat ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, Cleveland's first and only 5-term mayor (1954-62), presided over much of the period. He maintained a minimum level of city services while keeping taxes low and, under urban renewal, oversaw sweeping changes downtown and in other areas of the city.
As a result of wartime in-migration, Cleveland's population in 1950 showed a small increase of 4.2%—up from 878,336 to 914,808. But Cuyahoga County population continued to increase at a much faster rate, so that slightly more than 1/3 (34%) of the county's population now lived outside of Cleveland. The foreign-born represented a decreasing proportion of the city's population in 1950 (15%, compared to 20% a decade earlier), blacks an increasing proportion (16%, compared to 10% in 1940). While the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, and Lakewood all showed small increases in population, 8 cities had increased by more than 100%: Brooklyn (552%), Lyndhurst (240%), Mayfield Heights (193%), Maple Heights (181%), South Euclid (166%), Euclid (147%), PARMA (141%), and FAIRVIEW PARK (123%). Postwar prosperity, the construction of new HIGHWAYS, and the ready availability of low-cost, federally insured mortgages all accelerated the move to the suburbs. Racial transition in many of the city's east side neighborhoods was another major factor in the unprecedented white flight that took place during this period. Fortunes were made by blockbusting, a tactic the city's Community Relations Board was hard-pressed to stop. In poorer neighborhoods, large single-family houses were subdivided and, as rental income dwindled, often no longer maintained. Dramatic and rapid changes in the city's neighborhoods were accompanied by similarly dramatic and rapid growth in formerly rural areas outside the city's borders. Perhaps the most phenomenal change occurred in Parma, which grew from 28,000 in 1950 to 82,000 in 1960.
Retail stores followed the exodus. Prior to 1940, Shaker Square was the only shopping center in Cuyahoga County resembling the modern integrated centers of today. Developed by the Van Sweringens, it incorporated off-street parking, even though very limited by later standards. Suburban shopping centers mushroomed after World War II. Among these were Van Aken-Warrensville (Shaker Heights) in 1947; Eastgate (Mayfield Heights) and Westgate (Fairview Park) in 1954; SOUTHGATE (Maple Heights) in 1955; Parmatown (Parma) in 1956; and Golden Gate (Mayfield Heights) in 1958. Large suburban shopping centers evolved into climate-controlled regional malls, usually with 2 full-line department stores serving as anchors at either end. The first mall in the Cleveland area, SEVERANCE CENTER, opened in Cleveland Heights in 1963. While these suburban centers drained income from retail sales from the city center, Cleveland remained a powerful industrial center during these years. In 1950, 42% of Clevelanders who worked were engaged in manufacturing. The Cleveland Press (27 Jan. 1953) announced that 1952 had been one of the best business years of all time; 101 new manufacturing concerns were established, and existing industries spent more than $146 million for expansion and new equipment.
Cleveland looked forward to completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, anticipating that it would restore the city to a position of prominence as a port of general commerce and create a new wave of industrial growth as manufacturers sought dockside locations to cash in on the lowest shipping and handling rates in history. An $8 million bond issue to improve port facilities was approved in 1955. From the perspective of 1959, when the Seaway opened, the Cleveland area's development potential looked promising: It was located in a favorable market; it enjoyed unlimited water resources, abundant electric power, a good labor reservoir, and an unexcelled combination of transportation facilities; and raw materials were near at hand. "New Era of Prosperity on the Way," read the headline in the special Cleveland supplement to the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune published in Mar. 1956.
Coincident with postwar industrial expansion was the implementation of 2 federal programs that would have a profound impact not only on Cleveland but also on virtually all large American cities: the Housing Act of 1949, which established the federal urban-renewal program, and the Federal Highway Act of 1956, which gave impetus to a nationwide network of freeways by providing federal funding of 90% of construction costs. The concept of urban renewal was simple: Using its power of eminent domain if necessary, the city purchased property in specific project areas that had been legislatively determined as blighted. The property was cleared and improved for redevelopment, then sold to private developers at a reduction (called a writedown) from its assembly cost. The federal government absorbed 2/3 of the net project cost. Until 1950, Cleveland—"with slums as vast and as wretched as are to be found anywhere in the country," according to the Plain Dealer (16 Apr. 1954)—had relied exclusively on the construction of public housing as a means of fighting blight. It had built 8 developments, with 5,179 units providing housing for 18,951 low-income persons. Urban renewal was seen as a solution to the problem of multiple ownerships in blighted areas and the high cost of assembling sites for new, large-scale redevelopment.
In Mar. 1955, residents living on E. 38th St. between Scovill and Woodland avenues were invited to witness demolition of the first house—at 2534 E. 38th St.—signaling the redevelopment of "Area B" (later called Longwood) and the start of urban renewal in Cleveland. By June 1958, 800 new dwelling units, new streets, and a playground had been built there, making it one of the first housing projects completed under urban renewal in the U.S. The next target, "Area C" (St. Vincent Center), was less successful. Launched in 1959, Cleveland's biggest urban-renewal project to date encompassed 114 acres between E. 19th and E. 33rd streets and Woodland and Central avenues. Deteriorated buildings housing some 1,800 families (95% nonwhite, 98% tenants) were demolished; new apartments housing up to 3,500 middle-income families were to be built in their place. No developers came forward, however, and in 1963 Redevelopment Director James M. Lister acknowledged that there was no longer a market for the kind of housing that had been envisioned.
The urban-renewal program in Cleveland, encompassing just over 6,000 acres, was the largest in the country. Seven inner-city areas, all on the east side, were targeted for urban renewal: Garden Valley, Longwood, East Woodland, University-Euclid, St. Vincent Center, Gladstone, and Erieview. Ultimately, residential projects (Garden Valley, Longwood, University-Euclid) were able to attract only developers of government-subsidized housing, and although Garden Valley was acclaimed as "one of the boldest and most imaginative redevelopment jobs conceived in any city," by 1963 occupancy had reached only about 50%, and the Garden Valley Housing Association defaulted on its mortgage. The East Woodland and Gladstone project areas, targeted for industrial reuse, actually experienced declines in assessed value from prerenewal levels, as did St. Vincent Center, which stood largely vacant until CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE was planned in the late 1960s. Only Erieview was successful in attracting substantial new private investment. A significant lesson from Cleveland's urban-renewal experience was the difficulty of creating effective demand for land in the inner city. Residents in these areas lacked adequate income to support new residential redevelopment without heavy subsidies, while industries often preferred to locate in suburban areas, near freeways and, usually, closer to their employees' homes. Further, the large-scale dispersal of the city's poorest residents naturally had major consequences for the adjoining neighborhoods that absorbed them. By 1958, council members were voicing their concerns about the effects of displaced slum dwellers in the Hough, Glenville, Mt. Pleasant, and upper Central areas. In addition to urban renewal, the construction of highways, facilitated by the Federal Highway Act of 1956, caused significant alterations in traditional land-use patterns. The network of freeways led first to the massive dispersal of population and demolition of housing, followed by the movement of commercial and industrial activities to the periphery of the city. By 1975, the interstate highway system had displaced an estimated 19,000 Clevelanders, resulting in significant losses not only of people but of income and property taxes as well.
Spurred by the availability of urban-renewal funds, planning thrived in Cleveland during these years. The City Planning Commission, under the direction of John T. Howard, had issued the General Plan of 1949 laying out general guidelines for the growth and development of the city. The downtown was expected to continue as the "natural" main business and shopping area, and the freeway plan of 1944 was made an integral part of the plan. Ten years later, the commission issued another plan, soon superseded by Erieview, called "Downtown Cleveland 1975." Envisioned was the virtual reorganization and redevelopment of the downtown, including the redesign of Public Square and Playhouse Square, and the construction of a subway under Euclid Ave. between E. 14th St. and the Terminal.
By the mid-1950s, many of the institutions at UNIVERSITY CIRCLE were embarked on large expansion programs. The University Circle Development Foundation (later UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, INC.) was created in 1957 to reinforce the commitment of cultural institutions to the Circle area and to implement a 20-year development plan. The plan proposed the creation of a "unified, beautiful, cultural center" and called for development of parking, new roadways, a shuttle-bus service, and a private police force. The ambitious plans also called for massive demolition—including a great deal of what ERIC JOHANNESEN would later call the "architectural museum; that constituted Magnolia Dr. and other streets in the historic WADE PARK area -- much of which was later tempered by the economic constraints of the late 1960s-1970s. Many other plans, public and private, were frustrated and eventually abandoned because of a lack of money. Plans formulated between 1944 and 1967 for the city's near west side called for commercial revitalization by creating new parking lots, traffic arteries, and "open space." Planners often assumed that such low-income areas were "blighted" and, in some cases, recommended wholesale demolition. The City Planning Commission in 1944 and again in 1961 recommended major redevelopment of the near west side. Voters in 1963 rejected an $8 million urban-renewal bond issue that would have resulted in demolition of substantial portions of the neighborhood between W. 25th and W. 58th streets. Still another plan, in 1967, recommended the total clearance of what only a few years later would become the core of the OHIO CITY restoration effort.
The Erieview urban-renewal plan of 1960 was one of the most ambitious undertaken under the federal urban-redevelopment program. Prepared for the city by the internationally known firm of I. M. Pei & Associates, the plan called for clearance of the aging district northeast of downtown to provide sites for the construction of new office buildings, HOTELS, and housing. Erieview, it was hoped, would generate interest with the incentives provided by the urban-renewal program and encourage new private capital investment. Erieview embraced 163 acres located between E. 6th and E. 17th streets and between Chester Ave. and the lakefront. Almost 75% of the buildings in the project area were determined to be substandard; these and others that did not conform to the proposed plan were acquired and demolished. Parcels of land were assembled and gradually sold to private developers at substantial discounts. Erieview Tower, a 40-story office building at the heart of the project area, was erected first. The green glass curtain-wall building, incorporating a large plaza and reflecting pool, was completed in 1964 and served as a dramatic symbol of the entire redevelopment effort. Interestingly, it was built by a Columbus developer, John W. Galbreath; no Cleveland bank was prepared to take the gamble. A dozen other large buildings, private and public, followed over the next 2 decades. Among these were One Erieview Plaza (1965), the Federal Building (1967), the Bond Court Building (1971), the Public Utilities Building (1971), and Park Centre (1973). The latter consisted of two 20-story apartment buildings and a 2-story shopping mall. By 1972, over $220 million of construction had been committed to the Erieview project, and the following decade would see the construction of many other large projects, including 2 new hotels, and the firm establishment of a new office and financial district with 9th St. as its spine.
Erieview was not without its critics. Philip Porter called it "the mistake that ruined downtown." Erieview, Porter contended, "was no slum," and its redevelopment accelerated the deterioration of Euclid Ave. as Cleveland's major shopping street by draining it of people. Others criticized Erieview for producing a boring consistency and for eliminating the color, variety, and continuity that give a city character. But Erieview attracted critical new private investment, and without it, the construction of new office space might have followed the flight to the suburbs. As one city planner put it in 1972, Erieview "could be viewed as the catalyst which pulled the downtown area out of an otherwise inevitable downward spiral." In future years, Erieview would accommodate the expansion of Cleveland's service economy and point the way toward development of the lakefront. Nevertheless, from the perspective of the 1960s, one criticism remains valid: Erieview during this period claimed all of the city's energy and attention, while other parts of the city were virtually neglected.
As Erieview made slow but sustained progress, yet another plan to "save" downtown Cleveland was unveiled in 1965. The 2-year, $150,000 study was made by the firm of Ernst & Ernst at the behest of the CLEVELAND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION. It offered recommendations to speed Cleveland's rebirth and called for, among other things, a dizzying program of new construction: 5,500 to 6,600 new residential units, 2,300 new hotel rooms, and 12,000 new parking spaces in multilevel garages by 1975; and 5,000 additional residential units, 900 additional hotel rooms, and 9,000 additional parking spaces by 1985. Noting that "Cleveland has serious problems with its image and business climate," Ernst & Ernst partner Kenneth C. Caldwell reported that in the 7 years since 1958, employment downtown had dropped from 125,000 to 116,000, and retail sales had declined by $52 million. The number of convention delegates was also down. On the eve of the HOUGH RIOTS, the city's focus remained firmly fixed on the downtown.
The Loss of Confidence: 1966-1980. Though the fountains on the Mall, a gift of the Leonard C. Hanna Fund, were turned on in Aug. 1964; though the new $17.5 million underground Convention Center was opened that month with the "Parade of Progress" showing off the best of the city's industry and technology, commerce, science, arts, and education; though Erieview was giving Cleveland a new physical image and Clevelanders a sense of pride and success some thought no longer possible—these signs of wellbeing were illusory. For as business and civic leaders focused on the rebirth of downtown Cleveland, the city's neighborhoods were in disarray. Nowhere was that more apparent than in Hough. Bounded by Superior and Euclid avenues and by E. 55th and E. 105th streets, Hough had changed from a middle- to a working-class neighborhood beginning in the 1940s. In 1950 its 2 square miles were home to 66,000 Clevelanders, 95% of whom were white. Many of the neighborhood's large houses had been subdivided into 3 or 4 units, and landlords routinely ignored housing-code violations. A neighborhood conservation drive launched in 1951 by the Hough Area Council targeted the problems of architectural eyesores, ill-run taverns, crime, and, later, blockbusting. During this decade, blacks displaced by urban renewal began moving to Hough, and by 1960 the neighborhood was 74% black. Four years later, the county WELFARE department opened its first neighborhood office in Hough, where 25% of welfare cases now lived. In a series of articles in Feb. 1965, the Cleveland Press warned that Hough was "in crisis." Two months later, it reported insurance cancellations there because of widespread vandalism and arson. Meanwhile, progress in the University-Euclid urban-renewal project, launched in 1960, was dismal. University-Euclid was to have created a new model community and rehabilitated more than 1,400 existing homes in eastern Hough; instead, it was the nightmare of Cleveland's urban-renewal program. By 1965, almost $7 million had been spent, and there was virtually nothing to show for it.
Frustration was mounting. Mayor RALPH S. LOCHER and other city leaders could not or would not see the trouble brewing despite sporadic outbreaks of violence during the early part of the summer of 1966. Roving gangs were harassing drivers and hurling rocks and bottles at businesses and passing vehicles on Superior Ave. A brief, uneasy lull was broken on Monday night, 18 July, by an outbreak of violence that would last for 4 days and result in the deaths of 4 blacks and millions of dollars of damage to property. Mayor Locher described the east side rioting as a "tragic day in the life of our city." The jeeps of the National Guard lining the major arteries shocked the white community out of its complacency. The mood of the city was one of fear and futility. The city whose vision had once made it a national leader now faced staggering losses on all sides. Over the next 15 years, Cleveland would struggle to regroup and survive.
In the space of a few years, it seemed, the fabric of the city, both physically and psychologically, was shredded. The much-vaunted CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOL system was declining. Department stores—among them WM. TAYLOR & SON, the Bailey Co., and STERLING-LINDNER—were closing, as were the theaters at Playhouse Square. Cleveland was losing population and jobs. The heaviest job losses were in the manufacturing sector, once the city's mainstay. Formerly sound neighborhoods, now the province of the poor, deteriorated rapidly, and on streets where people had once lived and shopped, only rows of empty, gutted buildings remained. The city was hard-pressed to provide even a minimum level of service. Crime worsened, vacant lots became dumping grounds, and the empty hulks of heavy industry were bitter reminders of a prosperous past. Cleveland was an aging city where nothing seemed to go right, where even the river caught fire: Cleveland not only shared America's urban crisis, it epitomized it. The CLEVELAND LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION, formed in Dec. 1965 to make an in-depth study of all city operations, submitted its reports in the aftermath of the Hough riots. It identified community relations as the city's "No. 1 problem." The commission was also extremely critical of the police department—which it called "defensive, isolated, parochial, and mistrustful of the public it serves"—and of the department's program of race relations, giving credence to long-standing complaints by blacks of unfair treatment. Though most of the problems had their roots long before Locher took office, he bore the blame. The newspapers turned on him—"Locher has had little or no rapport with that third of his city's population that is Negro," the Plain Dealer charged—and sought a replacement.
Many in Cleveland looked to State Representative CARL B. STOKES as insurance against further racial disorder, and as someone to give the city a chance to move forward again. In 1967, the eyes of the nation were on Cleveland as Carl Stokes narrowly defeated Republican Seth Taft to become the first black mayor of a major U.S. city. Only 7 months after Stokes took office, however, Cleveland police and black militants clashed in Glenville. A shootout on 23 July 1968 left 10 dead and dozens wounded. By daybreak, the Ohio National Guard was mobilized to arrest widespread sniping, looting, and arson. The GLENVILLE SHOOT-OUT killed much of Stokes's support. Corporate Cleveland had supported a major Stokes initiative, the CLEVELAND: NOW! campaign, which collected money and channeled it into myriad improvement projects of Stokes's choosing. When Cleveland: NOW! money was later traced to FRED (AHMED) EVANS, the central figure in the Glenville shoot-out, donations plummeted. The predominantly white police force became Stokes's bitter foe, and racial division deepened throughout the city. Stokes and city council president James Stanton battled each other over virtually every issue. The newspapers got tough on Stokes. Later, in his autobiography Promises of Power, Stokes railed against their "simple-minded" interpretation that, "if only we could put our personalities and our vanities in the background and get along, the city could move ahead." In fact, Stokes wrote, he and Stanton were diametrically opposed on important issues—public housing, equal employment opportunity, gun control—on which there was no middle ground. Although Stokes managed to win reelection to a second term, he lost the support of many of his original backers and, tired of strife with city council, chose not to run for a third term.
Cleveland had been losing population since 1950, but the exodus accelerated dramatically after 1960, and by the early 1970s the rate of loss had climbed to some 20,000 persons a year. At the same time, the county outside of Cleveland continued to grow, though at a slower rate, until the 1980 census confirmed that it, too, was losing population.
Cleveland Cuyahoga County
1950 914,808 1,389,532
1960 876,050 1,647,895
1970 750,879 1,720,835
1980 573,822 1,498,400
As the city's population declined, the proportion of its black population rose dramatically, from 16% in 1950 to 38% in 1970 and 44% in 1980. The city was not only losing residents but also retaining a more dependent population. On the average, Cleveland residents were significantly poorer than the area's suburban population: in 1969, the average income for all city families ($9,717) was almost $6,000 below that for suburban families ($15,259), according to City Planning Commission statistics. Almost 1/3 of the city's families lived in substandard housing. By 1970, abandonment of entire neighborhoods—a phenomenon concentrated in all-black neighborhoods with high poverty, welfare, and crime rates—was well underway and spreading. Between 1966 and 1974, the city spent over $4 million on the demolition of abandoned buildings and still could not keep pace with abandonment, which was estimated at 3 units per day. A Brookings Institution study in 1975 ranked Cleveland 2d among 58 big cities having the worst social and economic problems. (Only Newark, N.J., ranked worse.)
Meanwhile, regional shifts confirmed that the city was becoming a less viable location for many kinds of economic activity. Although Cleveland's central business district was expanding as an office center, it lost dominance as a shopping center as its share of retail sales and employment declined. Vacant stores, however, were a citywide phenomenon: Real Property Inventory field counts showed that the number of occupied store units in Cleveland decreased from 15,768 in 1958 to 12,269 in 1972. The rest of the county, meanwhile, had gained store units: from 5,137 in 1958 to 6,735 in 1972. Many industries were abandoning obsolete, multistory buildings for modern one-story plants in the suburbs, usually on or near the freeway. The case of the National Screw & Manufacturing Co. was typical. National Screw, a leader in the fastener industry, had occupied a large multistory plant at E. 75th and Stanton since 1889. In the 1940s it produced more than 50,000 different items; in 1936 the plant's amateur women's softball and bowling teams both won national championships. But in 1969, National Screw moved to a more efficient one-story plant in Mentor, taking with it more than a thousand jobs. The abandoned plant, empty and gutted, remained a startling sight for years, and a frequent target for arson. Between 1958 and 1977, Cleveland lost an estimated 130,000 jobs, while the suburbs of Cuyahoga County gained almost 210,000. By 1970, slightly more than half of all jobs in the Cleveland SMSA (Cuyahoga, Medina, Lake, and Geauga counties) were located in the suburbs. Many heavy industries, however, were leaving the region altogether, choosing to relocate to the Sun Belt or abroad, where wages and other costs were substantially lower. The bulk of the losses occurred in the durable-goods (metals) sector. Richard B. Tullis, president of the Harris-Intertype Corp., in 1972 told the Plain Dealer that Cleveland would have to face up to the inevitable trend of major industries being replaced by light manufacturing and service industries.
The early 1970s were sad, tumultuous years for Cleveland, years when the city seemed to be in the midst of its own Great Depression, years of physical and psychological erosion. The parks were, once again, virtual dumping grounds. The transit system was approaching financial disaster. The downtown, offering little to attract people, was largely dead at night, and the opening of the Coliseum in Richfield (Summit County) in 1974 further drained it of life while making it more difficult for Clevelanders to support the home teams. To outsiders, Cleveland was the butt of jokes on "Laugh-In," the "mistake-on-the-lake." Two projects that would later prove important to the city's wellbeing had their start in these years. By the late 1960s, modest efforts were underway to make the FLATS, site of the city's earliest industries, the center of Cleveland night life. The Cleveland Press recognized this trend in 1968 when it wrote: "There is a bit of the romantic down there ..., with the rough and tumble seamen's bars, the cobblestone streets and the old buildings reeking [of] Cleveland's history." Settlers' Landing, a project of the Higbee Co., envisioned a complex of shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities near the traditional landing site of city founder MOSES CLEAVELAND. Though that project failed, it succeeded in focusing attention on the waterfront, and by the mid-1970s an informal coalescing of bars, restaurants, and shops—many occupying former industrial buildings—had infused the area with new life. The historic-preservation movement began to make modest gains during this period. Particularly notable were the efforts of Ray K. Shepardson, who conceived the idea of saving the old movie and vaudeville palaces at PLAYHOUSE SQUARE, for decades the center of the city's night life. The Playhouse Square Association was organized in 1970. With support from the Junior League and a cadre of other volunteers, the association created a cabaret theater in the lobby of the STATE THEATER. The production of Jacques Brel captured the public imagination and helped launch a concerted effort to preserve the theaters and restore them to their former glory. There were other, small signs of downtown renewal. Lunchtime concerts on the Mall, and at Huron Rd. Mall and Chester Commons (a new vest-pocket park of above-average design) drew thousands, while weekly "parties in the park," sponsored by the GREATER CLEVELAND GROWTH ASSOCIATION, helped keep young adults downtown after work and boost business at Cleveland restaurants and nightclubs.
Planning continued during these years, although it took a new tack. Between 1969 and 1979, under the direction of Norman Krumholz, the City Planning Commission worked to achieve what it called "equity objectives." Recognizing that Cleveland was not only losing population but also retaining a more dependent population, the commission staff deemphasized planners' traditional concerns with ZONING, land use, and urban design and instead focused on plans and issues aimed at ameliorating the worst problems of the city and its residents. The Planning Commission, for example, championed the needs of the transit-dependent (a 1969 survey showed that 1/3 of Cleveland's families had no automobile), securing reduced fares and service guarantees during the negotiations that led to the transfer of the Cleveland Transit System to the GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY in 1975. Under 3 mayors who could not have been more different (Stokes, Perk, and Kucinich), Krumholz continued to urge that the city abandon its preoccupation with what urbanologist Jane Jacobs has called "cataclysmic change" and focus instead on strategies aimed at conservation and gradual improvement.
In the 1970s, Cleveland, like many other of the nation's ailing cities that found themselves competing for new development, offered public subsidies to stimulate the private real-estate market. It was hoped that property-tax abatement would lure investors, and thereby create jobs. Under RALPH PERK, the NATIONAL CITY BANK Building was built, and STOUFFER'S INN ON THE SQUARE developed, with the aid of tax abatement. A growing number of critics, however, claimed that the projects would have been built without tax abatement, and that such public largess served only to further erode the city's tax base. In 1975, the city of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, and the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION together commissioned Lawrence Halprin & Associates of San Francisco to develop a plan to rejuvenate the downtown. Following a series of public workshops, Halprin unveiled his "Concept for Cleveland." It offered few ideas that went beyond the obvious and clichéd responses to "urban blight." Among the recommendations was the creation of a pedestrian mall on Euclid Ave. Some of the plans—open trolleys, for example, and sidewalk cafes—failed to account for the Cleveland climate, while others—the depression of Superior Ave. underground and reconstruction of Public Square above it—failed to respect the city's historical sense of place. In a page-one editorial, the Plain Dealer praised the plan for its "color, pizzazz, magnetism, [and] lift. It could make Cleveland one of the most attractive cities of America...." But the Halprin Plan, which cost over $300,000, came to nothing.
The final years in this, the most difficult period of the city's history, were marked by political turmoil, a court ruling whose consequences would persist long into the future, and, finally, a fiscal crisis. Though Republican mayor Ralph J. Perk had built a successful political. career by articulating the grievances of his largely ethnic, working-class constituency, the mood of the city was changing. In the 1977 campaign, Councilman Dennis Kucinich successfully targeted 3 issues: saving Muny Light, ending tax abatement, and the need to concentrate the city's resources on its neighborhoods instead of the downtown. Shortly after taking office, however, the populist mayor who modeled himself after Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON came into conflict with virtually every group in the city. His and his young assistants' confrontational style alienated business and civic leaders, the news media, and, ultimately, even those neighborhood groups that had been his chief supporters. Though
Kucinich survived the bitter RECALL ELECTION OF 1978 by 236 votes, he was swept out of office a year later.
U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti, meanwhile, in 1976 ruled that the Cleveland and state boards of education were responsible for the racial segregation of Cleveland schools and must desegregate them. Over a period of 35 years, Judge Battisti found, school officials consistently chose to segregate pupils; the state knew about the situation and chose to do nothing about it. The historical problem of segregation in the schools was in part the consequence of segregation in the city's housing patterns. However, since at least the 1930s, school construction plans and decisions with respect to school boundaries and teacher assignments had elicited protests from the black community, many of whom believed that the Board of Education followed an unofficial policy of separating blacks and whites. A major school construction program undertaken by school superintendent Paul Briggs in the 1960s was perceived as a further attempt to strengthen de facto segregation. The desegregation remedy of crosstown busing helped accelerate a movement from the city of those who could afford a suburban home—blacks as well as whites—while resentment of busing helped defeat levy after levy. By 1980, the Cleveland school system was spending more than $12 million annually on transportation, and enrollment had declined by more than 1/3, from 123,00 in 1976 to 81,000.
On 15 Dec. 1978, Cleveland became the first major American city to DEFAULT since the Depression. The city could not repay $15.5 million in short-term notes that came due, and city officials were unable to agree with local banks on a program to avert default. The default was the product of the dramatic loss of jobs and population—with a consequent shrinkage of the tax base—and a unique political environment in which the mayor's actions were limited by an unwieldy 33-member city council and citizen demand for low tax rates. The roots of the city's fiscal problems reached back at least as far as 1965, when voters defeated a city income tax referendum, prompting creation of the Cleveland Little Hoover Commission to study city operations. In 1970, when Stokes found that revenues were inadequate to maintain the level of city services, he proposed an income tax increase from 1 to 1.8%, tying it, as an incentive, to a reduction in the school district property tax levy. Voters turned down the increase but approved the reduction, and at the end of Stokes's second term, the city had a $13 million budget deficit.
Stokes's successor, Ralph J. Perk, pledged not to seek any tax increases and kept his word. To cover revenue shortfalls, Perk borrowed heavily and tapped bond funds to cover operating deficits. In addition, federal categorical grant programs (including urban renewal) were replaced by community development revenue sharing beginning in 1974, which allowed cities to use the money returned by Washington for locally determined priorities; by 1977, federal aid supported over 1/3 of the city's budget. Finally, under Perk, the city of Cleveland sold a number of valuable city assets. The sale of its sewage-treatment facilities to a regional authority in 1972 brought in $32 million. Transfer of the Cleveland Transit System to a regional authority in 1975 brought in another $8.9 million. Perk also leased Cleveland Municipal Stadium to private interests and won city council approval of the sale of the Municipal Electric Light Plant, although the latter decision was eventually rescinded.
The sale of assets to cover general debt-service payments and operating costs failed to provide a long-term solution to the city's deteriorating financial condition. Expenditures were increasing rapidly, especially for debt service, while revenues continued to shrink. When Dennis Kucinich was elected mayor in 1977, he faced a critical financial situation: $33 million in short-term debt was to come due by the end of 1978, $15.5 million of which was held by local banks. Kucinich, who had also promised no new taxes, continued to tap bond funds to cover operating expenses. However, he adamantly opposed the sale of city assets and halted the sale of Muny Light. Subsequent suspension of the city's bond rating by Standard & Poor's, and downgrading by Moody's, made it impossible to issue notes to the public to meet continuing obligations. In Dec. 1978, when local banks refused to roll over the city's short-term notes, default became a bleak reality. In Feb. 1980, under Mayor George V. Voinovich, voters approved a 50% income tax increase, an important first step toward the city's recovery of financial health. Of increasing concern, however, was the impact of the city's fiscal problems on capital investment in the city's physical plant. Streets, BRIDGES, and water and sewer systems were in poor condition, the result of a long history of neglect and a pattern of voter reluctance to raise taxes sufficiently to finance needed improvements.
It was, to be sure, a period of losses. The city had lost people, business, and industry. It had suffered unprecedented racial strife and the ignominy of default. But decisions to import "name" planners, to lure developers with land writedowns and tax abatement, to advertise the city nationally with such slogans as "The best things in life are here"—all had their roots in Cleveland's most important loss of this period: the loss of confidence. Cleveland in 1980 was far different from the city that had celebrated the opening of the Union Terminal with such pride a half-century ago. Once the nation's 6th-largest city, it was now 18th in size; once home to 75% of Cuyahoga County residents, it was now home to only 38%. By 1930, statistics showed, there already were 2 Clevelands. And the core of poverty and ring of affluence—begun with the introduction of the streetcar and reinforced by the automobile and the highway—were, in 1980, even more pronounced. Neighborhood erosion, epidemic after 1900, was still unabated. And although a multitude of grassroots conservation efforts were underway, the city remained home to a high proportion of low-income residents and to the county's poorest residents, while the economically well-off resided in suburbs that now reached into adjoining counties.
Although the city's historic ethnic groups and their descendants had largely departed for the suburbs, there were still distinct pockets of Italians, POLES, CZECHS, SLOVENIANS, CROATIANS, and HUNGARIANS. Foreign-language newspapers, though not so numerous as they had once been, were still published. New HISPANIC and Asian immigrants, meanwhile, had come to Cleveland, and their numbers were growing. While residential segregation persisted, blacks no longer were concentrated in crowded ghettos. Indeed, such areas as Hough and Central were now characterized by vast stretches of vacant land, with little prospect that anything would ever be built there. In the 1970s, for the first time, blacks in large numbers had found new homes in the suburbs. East Cleveland was now predominantly black, while Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, GARFIELD HEIGHTS, and EUCLID all had sizable black populations in 1980. Blacks had made substantial gains in all arenas, but especially in politics. The 21st Congressional District Caucus, organized in the late 1960s, continued to articulate the concerns of black voters. George L. Forbes had begun a long and powerful reign as city council president in 1973, and city council itself reflected a city now almost half black.
Like other cities in the nation's industrial crescent, Cleveland continued to struggle with wrenching economic change, with its transition from a blue-collar factory town to one where more than 70% were employed in service jobs. Of the city's 10 largest employers in 1980, only 3 (Republic Steel, JONES & LAUGHLIN STEEL, and ACME-CLEVELAND) represented the manufacturing sector. Cleveland was growing in importance as a center for education, applied research, and medicine—the CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION and UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS both ranked among the city's largest employers—and, though it had dropped in rank, it retained eminence as a corporate-headquarters city. In 1980, there were signs of interest in redeveloping such areas as the Flats, the WAREHOUSE DISTRICT, and the lakefront, projects that would prove important to Cleveland's economic well-being in the future. But some problems seemed as far from solution as ever. An aging capital plant, few high-income residents, and many high-cost residents were the recipe for ongoing fiscal trouble. Public housing, once the city's pride, was a shambles—often as deteriorated and as frightening as the slums it had replaced. Unemployment, especially among black youth, was high, as was the school dropout rate. Political volatility and fragmentation continued to characterize city hall, although voters in 1981 would reduce an unwieldy city council from 33 to 21 members and change the term of office for both council and the mayor from 2 to 4 years.
The legacy of highways, urban renewal, poverty, violence, and despair could all be seen in the Cleveland of 1980. Yet if the city had changed dramatically in the space of half a century, some things remained unchanged. Public Square, the original city center, was still the city's hub, and, despite repeated threats, the Group Plan was still intact. Clevelanders continued to shop at the WEST SIDE MARKET, at the Central Market, and on Coit Rd., where farmers from outlying areas still brought their produce. The Flats were still smoky from the remaining mills, and the crooked Cuyahoga was still crossed by a score of bridges. Blessed as it was with fine museums and theaters, a world-renowned orchestra, and numerous other institutions, Cleveland enjoyed its cultural maturity.
Cleveland's "steady march of progress" (to use the words of William Ganson Rose) had been interrupted—by depression, abandonment, economic decline, racial unrest, and fiscal crisis. But the city retained important advantages, not the least of which were hardworking and generous citizens proud of the city's past and hopeful for its future. For the fate of Cleveland, many realized, was not sealed by its past mix of industries and occupations, only influenced • by it. The future depended in large part on the intelligence and wisdom with which those who remained would marshal their resources for the betterment of a gritty city determined not only to survive but also to rebuild.
Carol Poh (Miller)
Epilogue: 1987. There is ample evidence that rebuilding has begun. Despite the still-present dark cloud of racial tension lowering over the city, a new spirit of cooperation and optimism about the city's future appeared by the mid-1980s which was energized by such unique private organizations of business leaders as the New Cleveland Campaign and the Greater Cleveland Roundtable. Their activities were sparked by the growing evidence of success of many long-planned projects. The business community pulled together to support the MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF GEORGE VOINOVICH, contributing manpower to assist in putting the city's financial house in order. By the mid-1980's, the city was again considered a good risk by the nation's bond markets. The Playhouse Square complex of restored 1920s movie palaces was nearing completion, making it the 3d-largest theater complex in the country, and the result of a 10-year cooperation between citizens' groups, businesses, and the Cleveland Foundation. The Flats and the warehouse district had become a regional entertainment center, filled with restaurants and nightclubs teeming with people in the evening hours, contending with the problem of success—a shortage of parking. The Inner Harbor project was underway, as dredging began in the spring of 1987. The project was designed to bring the lake closer to downtown, with a marina, shopping malls, entertainment centers, and an aquarium. The International Exposition (IX) Center, a converted tank plant, was drawing huge crowds to record-breaking industrial expositions and consumer events, such as the Boat Show. A list of building and development could go on, but the best evidence of the new spirit of cooperation and optimism was the more-than-a-year-long effort on the part of people from all parts of the city to attract the ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME beating out competition from cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, to name only a few. Nevertheless, much has yet to be done, for most of the problems existing in 1980 still persist. The progress thus far, however, should portend a better future.