Our Living History event next Thursday is called "How the City of Ohio became Ohio City." It's already proving to be one of the most popular things we've ever done - almost 400 people have RSVP'd for it with a week left. (Get there early if you want to get in - we realize some people who registered won't come, but that's still more than will fit in the room!)
We wanted to tease the event a little bit with some of the things we've been researching. Here are some facts about Ohio City that we didn't know:
- Ohio City used to be part of "Brooklyn" (along with much of the near west side). The first name proposed for the area was Egypt, because the founders thought a lot of corn was going to grow there; Brooklyn was thought to sound better.
- The original name for Franklin Circle Christian Church was "God's Barn."
- Franklin Circle was originally a circle that was used as a farmers market and then a park. Over time, parts were taken away until it was just an intersection, but we still refer to its past as a "circle."
- Saint John's was the first church west of the Cuyahoga, and is the oldest church in Cleveland.
- There is an enduring rumor that each column in Saint Patrick's has a mast from a Cunard ship, many of which brought immigrants from Ireland to America.
- One hazard that we don't have to deal with anymore on the West Side is rattlesnakes. When settlers first got into Ohio City, rattlesnakes were a ever-present threat.
- John Carroll University was originally at Carroll Avenue and West 30th, and was first called Saint Ignatius College.
- The Jesuit founders wanted to build John Carroll on the East Side, since they thought that west siders were "more likely to go to work than to college" after grammar school.
- Tremont was first called University Heighs, because it was the home of Cleveland University. CU was founded in 1850 by several city leaders, some of whose names may be familiar: William Case, Samuel Starkweather, Harmen Kingsbury, Truman P. Handy, Ahaz Merchant and Richard Hilliard. (The first graduating class had three students, and enrollment declined after that; the university folded after a few years.)
- Cleveland's streets were given numbers in 1905, after considerable debate. This was because of a population boom that made navigating Cleveland's named streets difficult. (West 25th was originally Pearl Street.)
Copyright © 2015 Andrew Samtoy; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.
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