Cleveland June 25, 2017
10 Vintage Photos Of Cleveland’s Streets That Will Take You Back In Time
Photographs from Cleveland’s past seem to dazzle and entrance viewers for reasons that are difficult to put into words. The city is full of old monuments and edifices, and the structures make vintage glimpses of the past feel like a distant memory. Each era seems to have its own atmosphere, a change in lifestyle that is unique to area residents at the time. Nothing captures this shift quite as well as the photos of Cleveland streets, which have evolved remarkably over the years.
1. This grand view of the Cleveland Mansion demonstrates the wealth that nurtured early Cleveland-area industry.
This photo was taken in the late 1800s to immortalize a building that would eventually be demolished. This stone mansion was constructed by Charles Schweinfurth in 1885 for Sylvester Everett. Both men, it seems, were important in Cleveland history. Schweinfurth would construct at least 15 homes along Millionaires' Row and remodel stunning churches around the city, and Everett would go on to serve seven terms as the Treasurer of Cleveland.
2. Luna Park, brand new and glistening in 1905.
Luna Park was a 35-acre amusement park stretch full of constant festivities The "Luna Bowl" football stadium seated 20,000, its roller coasters terrified and captivated visitors, and attendees could bee-bop up to the dance hall for the occasional soiree. Its creator would declare bankruptcy in 1908, It was purchased and kept open for a few years by an investor. After Prohibition began, the lack of beer sales drove away a number of crowds. It would ultimately close in 1929, and over the years its features were disassembled.
3. In 1910, this car was seen as the ideal ride for physicians, It was also a regular guest at downtown Cleveland functions.
The Babcock Roadster Model 12 was an early electric automobile that could "go 100 miles on a single charge," and interested buyers could pick one up at 6604 Euclid Avenue at the Babcock Electric Garage & Sales Co. The garage was originally opened to be a convenient spot for Clevelanders enjoying a day at the theater to leave their prized vehicles. The company was only active for six years, and would ultimately merge with the Clark Motor Company before finally closing its doors in 1915. The cars, it seemed, struggled to compete with the chic appearance of gasoline-powered cars, such as the Model T Ford.
4. The humble Cleveland skyline as it appeared in 1912.
Public Square looks a tad bit different today, thanks in part to a massive revitalization project that just finished sprucing up the area. It is also worth noting that several buildings in this photo have since been demolished, including the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, which was built in 1875, the Lyceum Theater, and the Chamber of Commerce building.
5. The Cleveland Arcade, standing as regal as ever in 1965.
Originally constructed in 1890, the Cleveland Arcade has long stood as a local landmark. It cost nearly a million dollars at the time, and its extravagance was an appropriate accouterment for its role as one of the oldest indoor shopping malls in the nation. While the interior is all original, the exterior along Euclid Avenue was remodeled in 1939.
6. This now-vintage view of the antique Superior Avenue Viaduct.
When the viaduct opened in 1878, Cleveland's first high-level bridge was a symbol of economic advancement in a developing city and was thus greatly celebrated. It was made obsolete with the 1917 opening of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, but was still used and admired as a local landmark. However, when its central span was removed in the Roaring Twenties, the city began to dismantle it. Only a few pieces remain, and they have stood watch over the decades as the city it nurtured continued to grow around it.
7. This freeze frame from 1973 shows the Sanitation Department hard at work.
While their jobs seem to have changed very little, the sanitary habits of Cleveland's residents have noticeably improved.
8. Also taken in 1973, this glimpse into Cleveland industry is incredibly striking.
What is so unusual about this photo is that Cleveland's streets are obscured by smog. The Clean Air Act was still gaining momentum in 1973, but it clearly made an impact, as streets are no longer coated in a heavy layer of pollution.
9. This 1970s migration from the city to the suburbs.
Rush hour is a topic on which Clevelanders past and present would likely share an opinion... it's always been awful, and probably always will be. After it hit its peak in 1963, the Cleveland auto industry reached a point of stagnation and eventually resulted in many jobs being cut. Imagine the many rides home along this route spent in solemn silence as someone not unlike yourself drove and considered what their industry, and through it, their livelihood, would become. For more on the Cleveland auto industry, check out
of vintage photos.
10. This blast from the recent past that captured a rusting behemoth.
The Pennsylvania Railway Ore Dock was formerly located at Whiskey Island. When constructed in 1911, it was the largest ore-unloading dock on the Great Lakes. It helped reduce labor costs and unloading time, and with such efficiency it was thus designed to handle 17 tons. of ore. The structure was demolished in 2000.
Old photographs demonstrate and capture mundane moments in the lives of our predecessors, yet they manage to speak volumes about the positive and negative impacts that their choices had on the cityscape. From the dreamy castles of Millionaires’ Row to the smog-ridden streets of the 1970’s, Cleveland has undergone much change. To fuel your sense of nostalgia, check out these vintage photos of
Cleveland and from all over Ohio.