Part I: Community

3. Neighborhoods, Outreach, and Discrimination

Urban neighborhoods are regions of cities with distinct ethnic or class characteristics, and usually are bounded by major streets, railroads, parks, or important geographic features.[1] University Circle is surrounded largely by neighborhoods that have helped to shape it since the late 19th century. In turn, personal and institutional attitudes of discrimination often have characterized the Circle’s relationships with bordering neighborhoods. As a group the neighborhoods bordering on the Circle have reflected the demographic patterns of the city and nation over the last two centuries, but each has evolved a sense of community that has sometimes been at odds with the institutions of University Circle.[2]

Murray Hill was the earliest neighborhood to take shape. Consisting of a few scattered houses with a brickyard and some vineyards in the mid-1800s, and growing rapidly in the following years, Murray Hill is a wedge of steeply rising land between the railroad which runs along the south edge of the Case and Reserve campuses, and the edge of the heights that overlook the Lake Erie plain on which Cleveland is built.

The founding of the Lake View Cemetery in 1869 on the eastern side of Murray Hill had unforeseen consequences for the neighborhood. Because Cleveland’s growing industrial-commercial elite demanded elaborate monuments and even mausoleums for their family burial plots, the cemetery provided jobs for stone carvers, stone masons, and gardeners.[3]

In 1880 Joseph Carabelli came to Cleveland and established the Lake View Granite and Monumental Works along Euclid Avenue not far from the entrance to the cemetery. Carabelli was a stone carver from the province of Como in north Italy who had emigrated to the United States in 1870 and spent ten years in New York practicing his trade. Carabelli’s quick success in Cleveland attracted other Italian stone-cutters, some from Lombardy in the north, and many from the province of Campobasso in the south of Italy. Late in the 1880s Pasquale d’Enrico came to Murray Hill from the town of Ripalimosani, adjacent to Campobasso, the first of a large colony of “Rips” to arrive. By 1920 the population of Murray Hill was 98% Italian, completely eclipsing the earlier German settlement there. As the population grew, many of the residents found employment in various Cleveland industries, particularly in textile manufacture.[4]

The first outside intervention in the lives of the emigrant Italians of Murray Hill appears to have been the initiative of some members of the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church (of Doan’s Corners), who in 1887 gathered some Murray Hill Germans and Italians for biblical instruction and hymnsinging. A daughter of President Cutler of Western Reserve University helped lead the group, carrying out the bible studies in Italian. (Such outreach to emigrants by Cleveland Protestants was common in this era.) Since some in the neighborhood were Protestants, including Joseph Carabelli, this missionary intrusion was accepted, and laid the groundwork for the establishment of St. John Beckwith (Presbyterian) Church in Murray Hill in 1907.

The majority Catholic population of Murray Hill had no parish church within three miles at first, and the nearest Italian mass was held at the St. Anthony of Padua church (itself founded only in 1887) in “Big Italy,” the largest Italian settlement in Cleveland, near the center of the city. In 1891 the Diocese of Cleveland asked the Scalabrini Fathers to provide missions to the scattered Italians in the diocese, and one of them, Father Joseph Strumia, began regular work in Murray Hill. Living in the home of Joseph Carabelli, he said masses in a hall provided by Pasquale D’Enrico.

In 1892 a neighborhood meeting produced a resolution in favor of raising funds to erect a church. The committee appointed to carry out the effort had a composition which suggests that erecting a church was seen by the residents as a community need as much as founding a Catholic parish. The committee had four Italians and one German (Jacob Krass), and it included Father Strunia, the protestant Carabelli, and John Silveroli, who had provided his home as a meeting place for the earlier Congregationalist bible study group.

The committee raised funds to buy a lot on Mayfield Road, and by the end of 1892 a stone chapel had been erected. Ten years later the needs of the community had so grown that an adjacent lot was purchased and plans were drawn for a larger building, and in 1908 the cornerstone was laid for a new sanctuary, the Holy Rosary Church, which came to symbolize the Murray Hill community.

The church became the heart of many community activities, including those that preserved the regional Italian heritage of the residents, such as celebrating the Feast of the Assumption in August, and those that provided entry into American life. As early as 1895 the priest at Holy Rosary provided a school for adults desiring to qualify for American citizenship, and the next year invited a group of Ursuline Sisters to instruct children in English by teaching the catechism.[5]

The other major community institution in Murray Hill was Alta Settlement House. It grew out of a nursery school established in the neighborhood by the Cleveland Day Nursery Association, a philanthropic group which sought to provide childcare for low income working parents. In 1898 the director of the nursery and Joseph Carabelli approached John D. Rockefeller for funding for a more adequate building, and discussions evolved into financing the construction and operation of a social settlement. Opened in 1900 on Mayfield Road in Murray Hill, it was named Alta House in honor of one of Rockefeller’s daughters, Alta Rockefeller Prentice.[6]

The settlement house movement in the United States was fifteen years old by this time. Alta House was one of the 100 or so settlements in the larger cities of the East and Midwest, including ten others in Cleveland by 1922 (such as the Cleveland Music School Settlement discussed in chapter 8) that were established largely at the instance of middle and upperclass women aiming to promote social reform in urban working-class and immigrant neighborhoods. The staff of each house was committed to living in the neighborhood (hence the term “settlement”), and to learning firsthand about the culture and environment of the residents. Most institutions of this type provided a range of services to families, with a concentration on recreational, educational, cultural and health activities for children.[7]

A woman who grew up in Murray Hill described Alta House as “a marvelous service” to the neighborhood. She recalled:

My mother washed for a living and had to work in order to get along. My father’s wages weren’t enough. So in the meantime she would put me up to the nursery known as the Alta House. I think I was about two years old when she started leaving me there because I can remember them changing me out of my clothes and into rompers. . . They had a playground back of it which also was a boon to those little youngsters down in that area because the houses were built close to the street and there was no playground for the children really.[8]

Other services to the neighborhood included clubs, classes, and (with the construction of an addition in 1913) a library, swimming pool and gymnasium. Rockefeller continued to fund Alta House until 1921, donating a total of more than $300,000; afterwards it became affiliated with the Cleveland Community Fund (now the United Way).[9]

Murray Hill was in most ways typical of ethnic neighborhoods in Cleveland and many American cities of the Midwest and East. It was more densely settled than most of Cleveland, having a population of 6,510 in about a half square mile by 1930, but had few community services other than those provided by the church and private charity (although Murray Hill did have a public elementary school). While it provided mostly unskilled labor to the city’s industrial districts and family incomes were low, Murray Hill was known for strong family and neighborly relationships. For many immigrants, and their children, no other community ever replaced it.[10]

Across the Circle from Murray Hill was another neighborhood, radically different in origin, appearance and population: the Wade Park Allotment. It was part of the land originally purchased by Jeptha Wade in the 1870s, but he reserved it for later development when he donated Wade Park to the city in 1882. What became known as Wade Park Allotment was a curving strip of land to the north and east of the park, bounded by East 105th Street on the west, Ashbury Avenue on the north; East Boulevard on the south, and Bellflower Road on the east.

About 1905 Jeptha Wade’s grandson, Jeptha H. Wade II, decided to lay out the tract into large lots which would appeal to wealthy buyers. At the time Cleveland was in the midst of a vast reorganization of its residential districts, largely due to the effects of the streetcar and the automobile. The electric streetcar was introduced in the 1890s, and the automobile began to be manufactured on a large scale after 1900. Both devices extended average commuting distances (particularly after cheap fares and free transfers were introduced on Cleveland’s trolleys), so that both workers and bosses could live further from the crowded city core but still get to a factory or office in an hour or less.[11]

Part of this process was a relocation of the primary residential areas or Cleveland’s elite, from the mid-19th century when many had lived along Euclid Avenue between East 22nd and East 55th streets (“Millionaire’s Row”), although the city’s west side also had a silk stocking district in the Franklin Circle area. By 1900 the growth of industry and population had rendered these areas less attractive as they were hemmed in by dense immigrant and working class districts, and were adjacent to the noise and dirt of Cleveland’s major industrial areas.

Many wealthy Clevelanders were looking for a site which would combine attractive surroundings, ample space to construct large houses and outbuildings, a likelihood of neighborhood stability, and yet be within reasonable commuting distance of downtown businesses and offices. Some found the lakefront communities of Lakewood and Bratenahl attractive, others moved to the Cleveland Heights subdivisions laid out by Patrick Calhoun and the Van Sweringen brothers. In the 1920s Shaker Heights and Rocky River became focal points of upper-class settlement.[12] But the most prestigious new location for Cleveland’s elite was the Wade Park Allotment.

The advertising brochure for the Wade Allotment claimed that

Every known improvement of the highest grade has been installed and the building restrictions for every lot have been worked out with one object in view, the ultimate beauty and protection of the entire allotment. These restrictions, together with the natural advantages of the property, can produce only one result and that is a model residence section, for many years to come.[13]

Most lots were generous. The largest had 100 feet of frontage on Wade Park, with depths of about 250 feet. But some interior lots along Magnolia Drive were equally large, and others on Magnolia had the same frontage but less depth. Only clusters of lots north of Wade Park Avenue were more modest, averaging about 75 x 130 feet.[14]

It was not just size and location which made the allotment noticeably different than other Cleveland subdivisions, however. Wade also included in his deeds certain provisions (restrictive covenants) requiring that the owners had to construct a dwelling of a certain value, that only one family could be resident, that no liquor could be sold on the premises, and that the  land could only be resold to Caucasians and Protestants. The residents of Wade Allotment subsequently made or seriously discussed agreements with each other restricting the placement of buildings and fences, and forbidding ownership of the houses by fraternities or African-American organizations.[15]

These requirements were common in upper-class developments throughout the United States at the time, and upheld elite notions of private property as well as responding to their concerns about the lifestyles of the working classes and new urban immigrants. While Wade Park Allotment established standards of beauty which could be admired by almost everyone, restrictive covenants regarding ethnicity such as the Allotment employed were ultimately ruled unconstitutional and did not portend well for the future of liberty and equality in Cleveland or the United States.[16]

At the time, however, it seemed that Wade Allotment was an outstanding example of residential planning, and the results fulfilled the dreams of its founder and its residents. Many elite Clevelanders moved into the allotment and, with the assistance of the city’s leading architects, built some of the most beautiful homes the city has ever seen. Mr. and Mrs. Edmund S. Burke, Jr’s. house (1910), for example, was designed by J. Milton Dyer, a graduate of the Case School of Applied Science trained at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. The Burkes had purchased two lots at the intersection of Magnolia and Mistletoe Drives, yielding a diamond-shaped parcel without a clear front and back. Dyer adapted an English manor house style to the site, presenting attractive views of the 42-room house from all angles. Dyer had earlier received the commission to design Cleveland’s new city hall, so he had no difficulty with the scale of the Burke house.[17]

The Wade Allotment community had a particular sense of self-identity. Residents knew that they represented a significant portion of the city’s elite: by 1918 enough had moved there such that the Social Register of Cleveland, an annual guide to the city’s upper class, listed 46 prominent families living in the Wade Allotment.[18]

The husband and wife in such families often were both born to considerable wealth. Leading members of the Everett, Grasselli, Mather, Williams, Brown, Harshaw. Glidden, Burke, Squire, Wellman, McBride, White and Gordon families were among the first to claim places in the Allotment. It was common for these families to be interrelated by blood or marriage.[19]

The larger houses in the Allotment had servants’ quarters in the house or over the carriage house, or both, and staffs which might include housekeepers, a gardener, and chauffeur. The Burke house, the largest in the allotment, had the help of six live-in servants. The lawns were large and well-kept; there were ample carriage houses or garages available; often with a gasoline-engine car for the husband, and an electric automobile for the wife; and some houses had backyard greenhouses, tennis courts or outdoor gymnastic sets for the children. The Greenes, Everetts and Wades had tennis courts on the lots adjacent to their houses.[20]

One aspect of Wade Allotment life which should not be overlooked was that many families had second, or even third, residences elsewhere. Randall Wade, Jeptha H. Wade II’s father, developed Little Mountain in nearby Geauga County, Ohio as a summertime “camp” in the l870s: it evolved into a private vacation community with cottages, a lodge, and its own church. Several of the wealthiest Wade Park residents wintered at estates or luxury hotels in Thomasville, Georgia, where quail hunting was a favorite pastime.[21] Thus, community life in the Allotment was tempered by the seasonal absences of several families or family members.

The Wade Allotment actually had a relatively short lifespan as a prime residential district. Measured by the Social Register, its height was probably in the latter 1920s, when 56 Wade Allotment families were listed; by the latter 1930s there were 41 on the register; and by the latter 1940s only 23, about half of whom were headed by widows.[22] By that time several of the houses had been purchased for use by Circle institutions. On the other hand, while the heart of the Allotment – which held the largest, and most elegant houses – declined in population and importance, its northern and eastern portions did not, and areas just outside the boundaries of the Allotment actually experienced an increase in population during the housing shortages of the 1940s. The census tract which included the Allotment had 4,137 residents in 1930, 4,080 in 1940, and 5,021 in 1950.[23]

The heart of the Allotment also thinned out because the next generation of Cleveland’s elite did not want or need houses built for substantial entertaining or time consuming maintenance: tastes had changed to a more private lifestyle, and household expenses were more likely to be allocated for appliances than maids and butlers.[24] New residential districts on the periphery of Cleveland, such as Shaker Heights, had emerged to establish the bucolic suburban milieu aspired to by all social classes by the mid-20th century: many of the Wade Allotment’s families, or their children, moved to Shaker Heights, or further east to Gates Mills and Hunting Valley.[25]

The future role of the Allotment’s magnificent housing and expansive lots was obvious as early as 1936, when the Cleveland Music School Settlement moved into the Burke house, and the Western Reserve Historical Society moved into the Hay-McKinney House on East Boulevard. Through the following decades as houses came on the market they were almost always purchased for institutional use: Western Reserve University acquired many of them for office buildings, but also demolished some to provide space for dormitories. Most houses on the west end of the Allotment were replaced by the new Veterans Administration hospital in 1964, and the next year the Western Reserve Historical Society tore down the Grasselli house in order to build its Auto-Aviation Museum.[26]

In one sense, the pace of these physical changes was paralleled by the transformation of the areas adjacent to the Wade Allotment. In particular, the district bordering on the immediate north and west very early became a prime residential area for Cleveland’s African-American elite. That area and indeed the Doan’s Corners area in general had held a significant Black population for several decades, but only in the 1920s did the pattern of African-American migration within the city make it a particular focus of attention.[27]

Cleveland’s African-American population had increased dramatically in the first two decades of the 20th century, rising from 5,988 to 34,450. Increasingly discriminatory real estate policies as well as de facto racism in city and school policies had largely confined Cleveland’s Black citizens to the Central district of downtown Cleveland, overloading its public facilities and facilitating opportunities for vice and crime.

The city leadership’s understanding of the impact of Black migration can be represented by the attitudes of Newton D. Baker, a former mayor of Cleveland, secretary of war under President Wilson, and a chairman of the city’s Democratic party. According to the observations of one historian, Baker’s “thinking about blacks was hedged with contradictions…he publicly espoused the rhetoric of inter-group tolerance and supported an educational campaign against prejudice and discrimination. Yet he retained much of the paternalistic racism of his West Virginia upbringing and looked upon blacks as an infant race that needed guidance.”[28] Writing in 1935 Baker cast the history and results of black migration to Cleveland in a negative light:

[The] colored people who came here a dozen years ago … brought with them their habits, which were better adapted to cabin life in the palmetto swamps than they were to the sanitary and hygienic needs of congested life in an industrial city. The houses they took over had recently been vacated by a fairly sturdy lot of people who respected their houses and kept them in repair. After ten years of the new occupancy, they had to be torn down to keep them from falling down or crawling away.[29]

Baker’s attitude suggests that there was a limited basis for racial integration in Cleveland in his era. The city certainly had enough vestiges of the more racially-tolerant atmosphere of the latter 19th century to allow some residential mobility for those who could afford to move out of the Central district. These middle class and blue-collar Blacks generally moved eastward, where space was created by the out-migration of other ethnic groups (as Newton Baker had observed). One significant vacancy was in the East 55th Street area, since Eastern European Jews and their progeny were leaving that original settlement area and were creating new neighborhoods in Hough, Collinwood and other areas to the east.

Still, as has been true in Cleveland throughout the 20th century, the neighborhoods into which African-Americans could move generally were limited to those in which some of their brethren already lived, and those who actually exercised their Constitutional right to live where they pleased usually faced strong resistance. One outstanding case of resistance occurred when Dr. Charles Garvin, a leading Cleveland physician, decided in 1925 to build a house within the original Wade Allotment on Wade Park Avenue near Mistletoe Road.

As related by Kenneth Kusmer in A Ghetto Takes Shape (a history of Cleveland’s Black population from 1870 to 1930), when Garvin’s intentions were known a campaign of intimidation immediately began.

Whites … used every conceivable tactic in their attempt to keep Garvin out of the neighborhood. While the house was being built they harassed and threatened the workmen. Once construction was completed and the Garvins had occupied their new home, whites dynamited the house twice in an effort to force the Black doctor to leave. The first bomb, luckily, only shattered a window, but the second did considerable damage to one section of the house.[30]

Garvin and his family had the courage to complete the house and move in, although for some months in the summer of 1926 the house was guarded by police or sympathetic whites and Blacks. By the next year the incident was over, and Garvin was an established resident. He was a pioneer in the Black elite neighborhood on the northern edge of the Allotment which was later described by residents as “our Shaker Heights.”[31]

At the time of Garvin’s purchase a group of ten Allotment residents (including Garretson Wade, Jeptha H. Wade’s son) attempted to form a syndicate to repurchase his lot and any future lots obtained by “persons who are considered undesirable neighbors, particularly persons not of the Caucasian race.” The regarded such action as “absolutely essential to prevent the rapid and serious deterioration of the entire neighborhood.” They failed to obtain Garvin’s lot, but their statements are an unmistakable reflection of their concept of neighborhood and community.[32]

There was no significant resistance to the slow African-American migration to the district to the west of the Circle known as Hough. A neighborhood of single-family wood frame houses on modest lots, it accommodated only a few Blacks prior to World War II, and by 1950 was 5% Black. Its transformation to a majority Black neighborhood occurred in the next decade.[33]

Hough had been developed as a residential area in the late 19th century. It was largely estates and farmland from the north side of Doan’s Corners all the way north to Superior Avenue until the l880s, when it was subdivided into lots by major landholders, such as Doan’s Corners resident Stephen V. Harkness, whose fortune had been made in Standard Oil. There was little coherent planning for the area, either by developers or the city, with the result that the street layout (created before the automobile) was rather haphazard and there were few parks or other public areas.[34]

Residents of what was termed in 1910 “the healthiest [neighborhood] in Cleveland and with the best behaved citizens,”[35] found employment in the industrial-commercial clusters springing up to the south along the Nickel Plate railroad, to the west along East 55th Street (such as the Brush Electrical Company), and to the north along Lake Erie. There was only one major industry within Hough itself, the Cleveland Brewing Company at Ansel and Hough avenues.[36]

Hough had a variety of ethnic groups who settled densely. Initially, for example, Germans settled around Cleveland Brewing, and Slavic groups were on the northern areas nearer the metalworking businesses on the lakefront. In the 1920s Jews moved into northeast Hough adjacent to the Glenville district, an area that soon became the focus of Cleveland’s Jewish culture. The densest concentration of African-Americans was in the Crawford Road area.[37]

The Hough area showed symptoms of overcrowding by the 1930s, when depression-era incomes reduced home repair rates just when much of the housing stock was becoming 40-50 years old, and when families often resorted to doubling-up or taking in boarders to make ends meet. The resulting housing deterioration already was serious by the 1950s when the African-American in-city migration was heaviest.[38] The subsequent Black outmigration from these conditions by those who could afford it rendered the Hough district vulnerable to rapid demographic change. By 1960 Hough began to be a byword for all the troubles that American cities were experiencing; but those who regarded the problems of Hough as inherent in its new racial identity forgot that underlying the situation was a history of shortsighted development and citywide racism.

Hough, the Wade Allotment, and Murray Hill were the major neighborhoods adjacent to, or within, University Circle and were therefore the most likely targets for the outreach efforts of the Circle institutions. Their residents should have provided a large proportion of those taking art classes or musical instruction, using day care for preschoolers, or making visits to the parks and hospitals. Yet there were attitudinal obstacles to outreach to those neighborhoods and the ethnic groups resident in them, as well as ethnic groups generally, and these limited the full development of University Circle’s potential.

Cleveland had a liberal social tradition in the 19th century, when African-Americans found Cleveland a relatively racially-tolerant city and the early immigrant groups generally settled neighborhoods and founded churches without incident. But by the turn of the century intolerance bloomed in Cleveland as it did throughout the United States.[39] In some instances discrimination was a blatant and clear attempt to deny privileges or to intimidate. The racial covenants on Wade Allotment deeds, and the bombing of Dr. Garvin’s house were of that type, and were part of an effective pattern of discrimination against Cleveland’s African-Americans by virtually all segments of the white community.

Less consistent but still obvious discrimination was exercised against Cleveland’s Jews. While covenanted real estate also aimed to limit their mobility, developments like the Wade Allotment or Shaker Heights were a small portion of the market, and Jews found many neighborhoods open to them. Perhaps the ambiguity of Cleveland’s discrimination against Jews is best summarized by an incident which occurred in University Circle in 1906, when the leading Jewish social organization, the Excelsior Club, decided to move to a site on Euclid Avenue.

As reported in the Jewish press, the club decided to move from downtown to the cultural center of the city, and selected a site in the heart of the Circle, between the Women’s College and Adelbert College. President Charles Thwing of Western Reserve tried to block the sale by asking the trustees of the future art museum, who were then negotiating with the city to build on a site in Wade Park, to declare that the Excelsior tract lay on a crucial access-way to the future site. The leaders of the club took the matter to Mayor Tom Johnson, who told them that he would back them fully if there was any difficulty.

The Excelsior Club went ahead with their plans, and in 1908 erected a fine brick building with large meeting rooms and an auditorium. When the Excelsior Club merged with the Oakwood Club in 1931, the building was sold to Western Reserve University: in an irony apparently unappreciated at the time, the university trustees named the building Thwing Hall.[40]

Later developments suggest that Thwing’s attempt to stop the Excelsior Club may have been unrepresentative of the Circle’s attitudes toward Jews and Jewish institutions. When the Temple was constructed at Ansel Road and 105m Street in 1924, its leader, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, was recognized as a great intellect and a world leader of Zionism. His numerous invitations to speak at neighboring Epworth-Euclid Methodist Church indicate the widespread respect he had in the Cleveland community. His congregation was large enough that in the 1940s some worship services were held at Severance Hall on high holy days. In those same years President Leutner of Western Reserve University enthusiastically welcomed the establishment of a branch of Hillel, the Jewish student league, on its campus.[41]

The leaders of Circle institutions had a similarly ambiguous attitude toward the Italian population in Murray Hill. Many probably shared the hostility expressed in a Cleveland religious magazine which claimed that many residents of the Hill were “in manners, language and sympathies as unAmerican as though they still resided in their native lands,” and that it was “a social and political necessity that means should be found for educating them and elevating them.”[42]

In 1914 trustees of Western Reserve University and President Thwing also worried about the continuing growth of the Italian population in Murray Hill. In part they were concerned about its effect on the houses adjacent to the campus owned by various professors and administrators. One trustee argued:

… I really feel that the [Italian] invasion having reached the railroad is in fair way at most any time to leak across, and when it does, a snow man on a summer day will represent real estate values on some of these streets.[43]

In 1915 an agent of the University went so far as to ask Vincennso Campanella, the owner of property between Murray Hill and the university, to be “very careful as to whom he sold the property.” Campanella promised to sell only to the university “or someone endorsed by the University.”[44] In fact, there never was competition for land with the Murray Hill community until the 1960s, when the university was the aggressor.

Nonetheless, there remained a misunderstanding of the Italian community which sometimes led to absurd situations. I.T. Frary, an officer of the Cleveland Museum of Art, thought that the execution in Boston of Sacco and Vansetti in 1927 required police protection for the museum, even though the museum had “received no threats or rumors of trouble.”[45]

In hindsight, potentially the most insidious form of racism in the Circle was the research carried out for the Brush Foundation. Cleveland electrical pioneer Charles F. Brush created the foundation in 1928 in order to conduct research “contributing to the betterment of human stock, and toward the regulation of the increase of population, to the end that children shall be begotten only under conditions which make possible a heritage of mental and physical health.”[46] Brush’s ideas must have been known to many of Cleveland’s elite: he was a patron of music; a trustee of Western Reserve University, Case School of Applied Science, and University School; and president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Moreover, Brush’s view of the possibilities of science was held by many prominent Americans of the era, and by the 1920s a field of study generally known as eugenics had developed to carry out just such studies as Brush proposed. This field gathered strength from a grab-bag of observations and beliefs, ranging from the recognition that better public health and disease control of recent years was contributing to population growth, to the unsupported assertion made by some physicians and alarmists that upper-class women in Western nations were becoming physically less capable of bearing as many children as the women of the lower classes.[47]

The Brush Foundation chose as its director a professor of medicine at Western Reserve, T. Wingate Todd, who was already well-known for his research into the growth and development of children. With Brush Foundation support Todd continued his work, which involved the painstaking measurement of supposed hereditary differences in bone growth, and by launching a campaign to systematically x-ray children from the public schools, focusing on healthy children of English, German, Italian, and African-American descent.

Todd’s researches proved informative about child development, but were not in the end a contribution to eugenics. Todd himself was inclined to believe that environmental influences were the primary determinant of human development. On his death in 1938 a new director was appointed, William W. Greulich, an anatomist and anthropologist who continued some of Todd’s work before moving to Stanford University in 1944. The focus of the Brush Foundation changed after Todd’s death, moving in the direction of contraception research and other aspects of population control, rather than studies of heredity and racial characteristics.[48]

The racism and ethnocentrism which the Circle institutions exhibited on occasion, and which were implicit in the research sponsored by the Brush Foundation, were sometimes diminished by the blunt refusals of Circle leaders to be party to any action with racial overtones.[49] and other times by a strong countervailing belief that it was preferable to serve or even celebrate the diverse population of the city. Yet Cleveland’s elite had an ambiguous response to ethnic and racial groups which resulted in equally ambiguous outreach programs.

For example, the Circle institutions were tardy in directing their programs to the immediately adjacent neighborhoods. They preferred to develop citywide programs, or even to focus on areas distant from the Circle, rather than encourage participation by local residents.[50] Of course, one group of residents, those in the Wade Allotment, had a strong hand in creating and sustaining the Circle itself.

Direct services to the Circle were provided in cases. Schools adjacent to the Circle were included in those that were invited to the Circle’s institutions: the Historical Society had a scholastic program by 1912, and the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Orchestra followed within the decade. Western Reserve University had a daycare center in its School of Education which relied upon neighborhood children for much of its population. University hospitals served the local area substantially after they moved to the Circle in the 1920s.[51]

Other programs of Circle institutions focused on areas well removed from the Circle. For example, the University Neighborhood Centers, founded by Reserve’s School of Applied Social Sciences in 1926, were located in the Broadway and Harvard Avenue areas.[52] In 1939 the Museum of Art obtained funds from the General Education Board, a Rockefeller philanthropy, to make reproductions of art works available to high school classes, but aimed the program at Shaker Heights High School, an elite suburb.[53]

Most of the Circle institutions appealed to a broad spectrum or the city’s residents. Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology had perhaps the widest range of possibilities. Western Reserve was one of the earliest racially integrated undergraduate colleges in the United States, graduating its first Black student in 1892, and admitting one or more African-Americans to nearly every class thereafter. Cleveland College, the evening division of both Reserve and Case, drew a cross-section of the city’s population from its opening in 1925.[54] The campuses sponsored numerous public events, from lectures and theatrical performances, to sports. For the first half of the 20th century the Case-Reserve football game at Thanksgiving was probably the city’s most anticipated annual entertainment.[55]

The culturally-minded of any socioeconomic level or ethnic group in the city generally found in the Circle some program in which they could participate. In 1919 Frederick Whiting began the annual May Show at the Art Museum for local artists, and thereafter the possibility of entering a juried exhibition of the best of the art created by Cleveland’s (and later northeast Ohio’s) artists was a powerful motivating force in the city’s artistic community.[56] The Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and other Circle institutions provided public exhibitions of the artistic achievements of their students.[57] The Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, founded in 1930 and located in the old boathouse on Wade Lagoon, provided opportunities for gardeners and horticulturalists to observe and learn about plants cared for by professionals. It also instituted a Children’s Garden Program in the public schools.[58]

With these programs, and numerous others, the Circle became firmly integrated into the life of the Cleveland and its metropolitan area by mid-century. Its institutions provided a range of services which were indispensable to a modern urban area, and often were in advance of those in other American cities. Yet by mid-century the elite creators of the Circle had not repudiated their discriminatory impulses, nor had the professional managers of the Circle institutions confronted their ethnocentric traditions. In the 1950s and 1960s, despite all the good intentions of the founders of the Circle, the heritage of those attitudes would be tested and found wanting.

  1. Michael J. White, American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiation (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1967), pp. 2-9; Scott Greer, "Neighborhood," in David L. Sills, ed.. International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan & The Free Press, 1968), 5: 26.
  2.  Parts of this chapter are utilized and its subject is further developed in: Darwin H. Stapleton, “Religion, Reform, Race (and Rockefeller): Cleveland History Viewed Through the Lens of Philanthropy,” in Gladys Haddad, ed., From All Sides: Philanthropy in the Western Reserve. Tenth Annual Western Reserve Studies Symposium. (Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University), pp. 20-29. 
  3. J.H. Wade to Randall Wade, 6 February 1871, folder 1, box 1, Wade Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society (hereafter WRHS), Cleveland, Ohio.
  4. David D. Van Tassel and John J. Grabowski, eds., The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1966), pp. 152-53; Holy Rosary Church Golden Jubilee, 1909-1959 ([Cleveland]: n.p., c. 1959), unpaginated; Edward M. Miggins and Mary Morgenthaler, "The Ethnic Mosaic: The Settlement of Cleveland by the New Immigrants and Migrants," in Thomas F. Campbell and Edward M. Miggins, eds., The Birth of Modern Cleveland, 1865-1930 (Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1966), pp. 127-26; B.F. Whitman et al. to John D. Rockefeller, 16 October 1888, box 49, Office Correspondence, RG 1, Rockefeller Family Archives, Rockefeller Archive Center (hereafter RAC), Sleepy Hollow, NY; interview with Ruth Fiscus, 4 December 1985, in author’s files.
  5. Holy Rosary Church Golden Jubilee; B.W. Whitman et al. to John D. Rockefeller, 18 October 1888, loc. cit; Michael J. McTighe, "Babel and Babylon on the Cuyahoga: Religious Diversity in Cleveland," in Campbell and Miggins, eds., The Birth of Modern Cleveland, pp. 232-34; Miggins and Morganthaler, "The Ethnic Mosaic," pp. 127-28; Gene P. Veranesi, Italian Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland (Cleveland: Cleveland State University, 1977), p. 211; I.T. Frary, "The Italian Mission," Beacon Light (January 1905), copy in folder 1, container 3, I.T. Frary Papers, WRHS.
  6. Marian J. Morton, "From Saving Souls to Saving Cities: Women and Reform in Cleveland," in Campbell and Miggins, eds. The Birth of Modern Cleveland, pp. 331-32; Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 19-20.
  7. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 61-62; Charles N. Glaab and A Theodore Brown, A History of Urban America (Toronto: Macmillan, 1967), pp. 239-40.
  8. Rose Miller, "Alta House," Geauganspeak (September 1964): 5.
  9. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 19-20, 996; Grace Goulder, John D. Rockefeller: The Cleveland Years (Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1972), pp. 155-56.
  10. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 54-8, 559-60; Fiscus interview; Kenneth Seminatore, "Memories of Murray Hill," Cleveland Magazine, August 1976, pp. 48-52; John Bodnar, The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1965), pp. 177-79, 206-16; U.S. Department of Commerce, Sixteenth Census of the U.S.: 1940. Population, vol. 1. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1942), p. 542.
  11. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. xxxiv-xxxvi, 230-31, 268, 978-79; Eric Johannesen, Cleveland Architecture, 1876-1976 (Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979), p. 97.
  12. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp.120, 239, 611, 638, 664; Johannesen, Cleveland Architecture, pp. 101-9; Ian S. Haberman, The Van Sweringens of Cleveland: The Biography of an Empire (Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979), pp. 7, 9.
  13. Wade Park Allotment (Cleveland: Corday & Gross, c. 1905), unpaginated.
  14. Wade Park Allotment of parts of Original Lots 386-387-394-395-403 of East Cleveland Township (Cleveland: Wade Bros., c. 1915, single sheet; Johannesen, Cleveland Architecture. pp. 96-99.
  15. Wade Allotment Association papers, WRHS; memorandum of agreement, property owners on Bellflower Road, 23 June 1915, and abstract of deed covenant, J.C. Cromwell to Lillian M. Baldwin, 14 October 1920, box 1, Secretary-Treasurer's Office Files, Case Western Reserve University Archives, Cleveland, OH (hereafter CWRU Archives).
  16. Anona Teska, "The Federal Impact on Cities," in Melvin I. Urofsky, ed, Perspectives on Urban America (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1973), pp. 267-66; Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 366-67, 941; Haberman, Van Sweringens, pp. 13-14.
  17. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 352; Johannesen, Cleveland Architecture. pp. 75, 99. Burke was a governor of the Federal Reserve Bank and "the father of Cleveland polo": Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 779.
  18. Social Register of Cleveland. 1916 (New York: Social Register of Cleveland,1917).
  19. Wade Park Allotment as parts of Original Lots; author's interviews (1984) of former residents of Wade Allotment, 1984, identities withheld by request, in author’s files.
  20. Author’s interviews of former residents of Wade Allotment.
  21. Warren Corning Wick, My Recollections of Old Cleveland: Manners, Mansions, Mischief, Joanne M. Lewis, ed. (Cleveland: Carpenter Reserve Printing, 1979), pp. 62-64; Adella Prentiss Hughes, Music is My Life (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1947), pp. 69-70; Walter R. Brueckheimer, "The Quail Plantations of the Thomasville - Tallahassee - Albany Regions," The Journal of Southwest Georgia History 3 (Fall 1965): 44-45, 52-58, 62-63; Elisabeth G. Hitchcock, "The Travels of St. Hubert's Chapel," Lake County. Ohio. Historical Society Quarterly 15 (November 1973): 1-3; Bari Oyler Stith, "A Treasured Place: The Changing Community of Little Mountain, 1800-1986," AMST 536 seminar paper, American Studies Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, in author’s files.
  22. Social Register of Cleveland. 1928, 1938, 1941, 1949 (New York: Social Register Association, 1927, 1937, 1940, 1948. The author’s review of the 1941 Social Register (which has 1940 information), showed that in 1940 there were 60 households listed in the Wade Allotment. Of those, 26 were headed by widows (or possibly, in some cases, by divorcées), and 6 were headed by unmarried women. That is, the majority of households in the Wade Allotment were headed by women: Social Register of Cleveland. 1941.
  23. This tract is bounded by 105th Street on the west, Euclid Avenue on the south and southeast, and Wade Park and Asbury avenues on the north: U.S. Department of Commerce. Sixteenth Census of the United States: Population. vol. 1. p. 642; Ibid, U.S. Census of Population: 1950. Census Tract Statistics. Cleveland. Ohio. and Adjacent Area – 1950 Population. Census Report, vol. 3. ch. 12. (Washington: Government. Printing Office, 1952), p. 16.
  24. Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (New York: Basic Books, 1983), pp. 173-81, 192-93.
  25. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 933. 941-42.
  26. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp.253, 1010, 1041.
  27. Kenneth L. Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleveland, 1870-1930 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1976), pp. 168-69, 214.
  28. Walter A. Jackson, Gunnar Mvrdal and America's Conscience: Social Engineering and Racial Liberalism, 1936-1967 (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 22.
  29. Quoted in Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, The Politics of Knowledge: The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy, and Public Policy (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1989), p. 128.
  30. Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape, p. 169.
  31. The Observer (CWRU student newspaper), supplement, 7 April 1970, pp.7-9.
  32. W.H. Boyd, G.G. Wade, C.W. Collister, et al. to residents of Wade Allotment, 14 October 1925, historical collection of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH. Copy courtesy of Christine Rom.
  33. David A. Snow and Peter J. Leahy, "A Neighborhood in Transition: Hough, Ohio," in Edward M. Miggins, ed., A Guide to Studying Neighborhoods and Resources on Cleveland (Cleveland; Cleveland Public Library, 1984), pp. 103-4.
  34. Ibid, pp. 103-4; Marvin B. Sussman, et al., Hough, Cleveland. Ohio: A Study of Social Life and Change (Cleveland: Press of Western Reserve University, 1959), p. 56. In order to relieve traffic congestion the city planned as early as the 1920s to construct an extension of Chester Avenue from East 40th Street to University Circle through the southern part of Hough, but it was not completed until the 1940s: Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 930; Commissioner of Engineering to W.R. Hopkins, 7 June 1928, folder 1, container 2, W. R. Hopkins Collection, WRHS.
  35. Sussman, Hough, p. 103.
  36. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 122, 487-88, 525; David S. Brose and Alfred M. Lee, A Model of Historical Sites Archaeology in the Inner City. Archaeological Report no. 55. (Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1985), pp. 43, 68; Harkness Estate Ledger, 1899-1920, Commonwealth Fund Archives, RAC.
  37. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 574, 637, 773, 897; Lloyd P. Gartner, History of the Jews of Cleveland (Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1978), p. 270; Brose and Lee, "A Model," p. 68; Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape, pp. 151, 284.
  38. Snow and Leahy, "A Neighborhood in Transition," pp. 104-5; Glaab and Brown, A History of Urban America, p. 299; Susmann, Hough, pp. 18-22.
  39. Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape, chs. 3 and 8; Glaab and Brown, A History of Urban America, pp. 224-25, 287.
  40. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 383; Gartner, History of the Jews of Cleveland, pp. 94-5. Thwing's anti-semitism surfaced again in 1921 when he described a fundraising campaign as "Jewish," thereby offending Samuel Mather, the chairman of the board of trustees: Samuel Mather to C.F. Thwing, 7 June 1921, Samuel Mather folder, box 20, Charles F. Thwing Office Files (hereafter Thwing Office Files), CWRU Archives.
  41. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 107, 892, 961; Gartner, The Jews of Cleveland, pp. 274-75; W.G. Leutner, memorandum, 15 April 1946, box 15, Winfred G. Leutner Office Files (hereafter Leutner Office Files), CWRU Archives .
  42. "An Italian Mission," Beacon Light (May 1900), copy in folder 1, container 3, I.T. Frary Papers, WRHS.
  43. Homer H. Johnson to C.F. Thwing, 7 April 1914, Land Acquisition Folder, box 3, Thwing Office Files.
  44. Michele A. Vaccanello to C.F. Thwing, 2 April 1915, Land Acquisition Folder, box 3, Thwing Office Files.
  45. I.T. Frary to W.R. Hopkins, 19 August 1927, folder 5, container 2, William R. Hopkins Collection, WRHS; Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 421.
  46. Quoted in James M. Wood, "Cleveland Medicine's Incredible Ghosts"; Cleveland Magazine 12 (July 1983), p. 60.
  47. W. F. Bynum, E.J. Browne and Roy Porter, eds. Dictionary of the History of Science (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 131; Hamilton Cravens, "American Scientists and the Heredity-Environment Controversy, 1883-1940," Ph.D. dissertation. University of Iowa, 1969, esp. chs. 5, 6; Garland E. Allen, "The Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, 1910-1940: An Essay in Institutional History." Osiris, second series, 2 (1986): 225-264; Margarete Sandelowski, Pain, Pleasure and American Childbirth (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1964).
  48. Wood, "Cleveland Medicine's Incredible Ghosts," pp. 60, 127-26, 130; Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, pp. 133, 969; "Yale Scientist to Guide Brush Work," 15 November 1939, and M.R. Weir to W.G. Leutner, 17 May 1944, box 4, Leutner Office Files; T. Wingate Todd to L.E. Frank, 27 April 1933, 16 November 1933, folder 3952, box 369, series 1.3, General Education Board Archives, RAC; Charles C. Gillispie, ed. Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1970-1980), 2:171. Some of Todd's work on allergies and nutrition in children was supported by the Cleveland Foundation in the 1930s: "Brush Foundation," folder 20, container 2, Cleveland Foundation Records, WRHS.
  49. In 1914, for example, a member of a prominent Cleveland family who was a resident of the Circle was "inclined to treat with rather short patience" any discussion of "the Roman or Sicilian invasion" of the university area: Homer H. Johnson to C.F. Thwing, 7 April 1914, Land Acquisition folder, box 3. Thwing Office Files. Strong ethnocentrism, on the other hand, led a professor of the School of Medicine (prior to its removal to the Circle) to urge that only "native Americans" be appointed to the faculty: Frederick C. Waite to C.F. Thwing, 6 May 1919, "Annual Reports of Professors" folder, box 16, Charles F. Thwing Office Files.
  50. Leaders of Chicago institutions also tended to attempt city-wide programs before recognizing neighborhood needs: Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Culture and the City: Cultural Philanthropy in Chicago from the 1880s to 1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 156-62.
  51. Newton D. Baker to L.K. Franck, 1 April 1932, with enclosure of 23 January 1932, folder 1183, box 631, RG 1.4, General Education Board Archives, RAC; Plans and Policies for Future Development, of Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland (Cleveland: n.p., 1954), pp. 13, 71-72; The Cleveland School-Museum Program (Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1927); Hughes, Music is My Life, p. 292.
  52. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 1002, Thomas F. Campbell, SASS: Fifty Years of Social Work Education (Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University Press, 1967), pp. 55, 60-61.
  53. W.W. Brierly to Thomas Munro, 13 April 1939, and "Memorandum Regarding Exhibition Project with Secondary Schools," 1 June 1939, folder 3325, box 319, RG 1.2, General Education Board Archives, RAC.
  54. Frederick C. Waite to C.F. Thwing, 6 May 1919, "Annual Reports of Professors" folder, box 16, Thwing Office Files; Cramer, Case Western Reserve, pp. 123-34; Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape, p. 63
  55. Cramer, Case Western Reserve, pp. 170-71.
  56. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 667.
  57. Nancy Coe Wixom, Cleveland Institute of Art: The First Hundred Years, 1882-1982 (Cleveland: Cleveland Institute of Art, 1982), pp. 22-24, 36, 52-54; Silvia Sverina, And They Shall Have Music: The History of the Cleveland Music School Settlement (Cleveland: Cobham and Hatherton Press, 1988).
  58. Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, p. 430; Fifty Years of Growing and Serving: The Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, 1930-1980 (Cleveland: Emerson Press, 1980).


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