Remarkable Ohio

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14299 Superior Road
Cleveland Heights

, OH

The Curtis-Preyer Stone House takes its name from two families associated with its early history. Richard and Clarissa Dille Curtis purchased 70 acres in the Connecticut Western Reserve from veteran Elias Lee in 1819. The Euclid Township “Turkey Knob” settlement soon thrived around Dugway Brook, springs sites, and an American Indian crossroads. The Curtis, Dille, Lee, and Stillman families, related by marriage, helped each other succeed by harnessing the creek to power their grist and saw mills and selling quarried stone and felled timber. Sometime between 1819 and 1835 Curtis built his stone house using the Berea sandstone quarried on site. The roof was created of ax-hewn “pegged” tree timbers, and the thick stone walls fashioned of uncoursed, chiseled stones. A central chimney fed seven fireplaces and a bake oven.

1117 E 105th Street
Cleveland

, OH

Cory United Methodist Church is an icon of Cleveland’s civil rights movement. As one of the city’s largest Black-owned churches during the 1960s, Cory hosted events for national, local, and grassroots organizations such as the Fair Employment Practices Committee, NAACP Cleveland Branch, Cleveland Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and United Freedom Movement. Over 75 years later, Cory UMC continues its long tradition of community programming that promotes equity and education. Originally designed by architect Albert F. Janowitz to house the Anshe Emeth Beth Tefilo congregation, the building served as the Cleveland Jewish Center from 1922 to 1945. The Methodist congregation purchased it in 1946. Since 1961, the building has also been home to the Glenville Recreation Center. Cory UMC was designated as a local landmark by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission in 2012.

16980 South Park Drive
Shaker Heights

, OH

In 1930, nine women from Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights formally organized The Village Garden Club and set as its goal the beautification of Shaker Parklands with trees. At a time when women were excluded from environmental activism, the club’s careful planning allowed members to lead civic improvements. Since its establishment, the club has planted and maintained flowering trees at Horseshoe Lake Park, pausing only during World War II. In the 1960s, The Village Garden Club and 34 other local organizations successfully fought the construction of the Clark-Lee Freeway. Club member Mary Elizabeth Croxton chaired the Park Conservation Committee that won the battle and established the Shaker Lakes Regional Nature Center. The Village Garden Club continues its stewardship over the flowering grove with “civic and environmental responsibility” as its focus.

601 Lakeside Avenue E.
Cleveland

, OH

Carl Stokes was born in Cleveland on June 21, 1927. Recognized for his trailblazing service as a public official, Stokes is one of the few American politicians whose career spanned all three branches of state government. Over 30 years, he served 3 terms as an Ohio legislator (1963-1967), 2 terms as Cleveland’s mayor (1967-1971), and 8 years as a municipal court judge (1983-1994). In 1972, he became the first Black anchorman for a television station in New York City. After a decade working in television, Stokes returned to Cleveland to work as an attorney for the United Auto Workers. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles. While serving as Ambassador, he was diagnosed with cancer. Carl Stokes died, in Cleveland, on April 3, 1996.

650 E 113th Street
Cleveland

, OH

Invited to speak at three Cleveland high schools, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful “Rise Up!” speech to students at Glenville High School on April 26, 1967. It signaled King’s opening drive to elect African Americans to prominent government positions in northern cities. Encouraging students to “develop a sense of somebodiness,” King challenged them to “work passionately and unrelentingly for first-class citizenship.” Recognizing the fear of racial unrest in the city, King underscored the significance of nonviolence. “Our power lies in our ability to say non-violently that we’re not going to take it any longer,” he asserted. Making Carl Stokes’ mayoral bid the focus of his push for Black voters to elect Black leaders, King urged Glenville’s students to join civil rights organizations and community action programs.

13601 Corby Road
Cleveland

, OH

Ludlow, a neighborhood straddling Shaker Heights and Cleveland, was developed in 1905 by Otis and Mantis Van Sweringen. By 1920, they imposed restrictive deed covenants that racially excluded Black home ownership in the community. In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer that such covenants violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result, affluent African American professionals began to buy homes in Ludlow, seeking the suburban atmosphere and good schools for their families. While illegal, the Van Sweringen Company continued to require prospective African American buyers to gain approval from neighbors before they could purchase homes. Subsequently, the idea of African American families moving into Ludlow created white flight as realtors perpetuated unfounded fears that property values would decline in order to “blockbust” and purchase properties at depressed prices.

26811 Fairmount Blvd
Beachwood

, OH

A group of Jewish immigrants fleeing Germany after Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass) settled in Cleveland in 1940. The refugees formed a congregation and named it Shaarey Tikvah, “Gates of Hope” in Hebrew. They met in private homes until obtaining premises above the Tasty Shop Bakery on Euclid Avenue. As the congregation thrived it moved and merged several times before settling in Beachwood in 1986. Rabbi Jacob Shtull, Shaarey Tikvah’s first English-speaking Rabbi, sought to honor the founders by establishing Cleveland’s annual Kristallnacht commemoration. “Face to Face,” a Holocaust education program that shares the refugee story with local schools, began in 1994. Today, this “Small Shul. Large Community” remains a tribute to the German immigrants that found their way to Cleveland to unite in friendship and faith.

100 Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland

, OH

Players of the Cleveland Browns gathered eleven Black professional athletes and future mayor Carl Stokes to discuss with boxer Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942-June 3, 2016) his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. After their private meeting on June 4, 1967, the twelve men decided to “support Ali on principle” and held a lengthy national press conference. The boxer, considered the “greatest heavyweight of all time,” garnered national scorn and paid a high price for his stance. Ali was arrested, found guilty of draft evasion, his passport confiscated, titles stripped, and U.S. boxing licenses suspended. The men in attendance also faced condemnation and threats. In 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned Ali’s conviction. The Cleveland Ali Summit is considered “one of the most important civil rights acts in sports history.”