Cleveland October 25, 2017
Here’s What Life In Cleveland Looked Like In 1935
1935 was a memorable year in Cleveland history. Not only was the Great Depression in full swing, but the devastating Torso Murders had just begun. Cleveland was the fifth largest city in the United States at the time, and many considered it to be the most dangerous. In December that year, Eliot Ness famously came to Cleveland to serve as the youngest-ever Safety Director. Yet, outside of the bustling city streets and the horrors of Kingsbury Run, life was surprisingly normal. These photos will take you back in time, right into a world that was not quite safe but still as remarkably beautiful as today.
1. The Cuyahoga County Fair.
The fair was already a regular occurrence by 1935. In fact, with a history dating back to 1893, it was already a beloved local tradition. The fair was originally called the West Cuyahoga County Fair, as many smaller local fairs took place annually. When the stock market crashed in 1929, many of those fairs ceased to exist. The Cuyahoga County Fair persevered, though, perhaps because the thrill of festivities, crafts, fresh produce, and gourmet delicacies were irresistible.
2. A fun day at the Cleveland National Air Races.
In 1929, the first ever Cleveland National Air Race took place. The event was wildly popular, and crowds gathered to watch the fast-paced race. The annual event brought aviation celebrities like Amelia Earhart to Cleveland, offering Clevelanders a bit of glitz and glamour amidst a depressing era. Here, a young boy watches the skies during the races, relaxed and captivated. Over a decade later in 1949, the last air show took place in Cleveland. Pilot Bill Odom crashed his P-51 WW II fighter plane into a Berea home, claiming a mother and son's life in addition to his own. The tragedy caused local communities to pass laws banning races in their vicinity.
3. The family home of Jesse Owens.
While in high school, Owens had discovered his talent as a runner. On a single day in 1935 at Ohio State University, Owens made history. He broke three world records and matched the world record for the 100-yard dash. The following year, Owens would compete in the Olympics, hosted in the deceivingly pleasant German capital. He was positively received by the German crowds, and he even developed a close friendship with a German long jumper.
4. A glamorous evening at the Mayfair Casino.
This Ohio Theatre Supper Club was a new addition to the city scene in 1935, giving locals a reason to celebrate. Its art deco flair entranced guests that swayed to the sweet sounds of live jazz. Unfortunately, the club did not find significant popularity, and it closed in 1936.
5. Clara "Grandma" Tomanek and her iconic smile.
5. Back in the day, everybody knew Grandma. She had a reputation for being the oldest resident of Avon Lake, but she didn't let her age hold her back. Even at 80, she still walked into town to pay her bills.
6. Socializing by League Park.
6. League Park was an attractive spot to the younger crowd. It had made baseball history, and many famous baseball players appeared at the park.
7. The charming small-town corner store.
Avon Lake Drugs was a typical corner store, a familiar and welcomed sight in 1935.
8. A familiar urban scene.
Do you recognize this street? Today, just like in 1935, East 9th featured delectable eateries.
9. A horse-drawn wagon heading home.
Remarkably, it was still not uncommon to spot horse-drawn carriages in Greater Cleveland. This image was taken on Walker Road in Avon Lake, a stretch which is much more urban today.
10. An annual Alliance of Poles of America parade.
The Alliance of Poles of America was established here in Cleveland in 1895. Though membership dropped in 1935, they continued expanding, eventually launching the Zwiazkowiec newspaper and furthering their camaraderie.
1935 was, unsurprisingly, a somewhat depressing era. Despite the Great Depression taking a toll on the region, Clevelanders made the most of their situation, filling their lives with socialization and festivities.
For a blast from the more recent past, check out these
photos of Cleveland in the 1970’s.