Here Are Some Of The Very First Photos Ever Taken Of Greater Cleveland

It is arguable that the most significant turning point in the history of documentation was the invention of the Kodak #1. This camera was affordable, which meant photography was no longer saved for the elite. It was something even everyday people could take advantage of, and eventually, the world evolved into the photo-loving society we are today.

Of course, photos existed prior to this milestone… the first modern camera came out circa 1816. Photos from that era are nearly impossible to come by, as the American Civil War is considered to be the first major conflict to be documented. From that point on, photography was more commonplace… especially in modest towns like Cleveland. Old photographs of Cleveland exist, but you’ll find that most easily accessible images are from the 1890s and 1900s… even if you look to coveted researchers like the Library of Congress. Nonetheless, locals have preserved the memories of their ancestors splendidly, and many have hung onto mementos and photographs. The following images all predate the turn of the century, and all offer a snapshot of life in a Cleveland that is hardly recognizable today.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

These old photographs of Cleveland show a world that’s fascinatingly different. Do you have any old photos of Cleveland or Clevelanders? Even if they’re much more recent than those on this list, we’d love to see them and hear your family stories in the comments!

Love exploring history? These local landmarks keep old Cleveland alive.