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ASHMUN, GEORGE COATES (31 Jan. 1841-25 June 1929) became a distinguished medical professor and civic official while remaining one of Cleveland's most illustrious CIVIL WAR veterans. Born to Russell Atwater and Maria (Wright) Ashmun and educated in Tallmadge, O., he served as a musician in the SECOND OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY before being recruited for a special Ohio company assigned as personal bodyguard to President Abraham Lincoln. He served as lieutenant in that unit, where he was a highly visible participant in Lincoln's 2nd Inauguration. Following the war he earned a medical degree in 1873 from the Cleveland College of Medicine, where he became professor of children's diseases. After that institution merged in 1893 into Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE), he served the latter institution as professor of hygiene and...
The FRONT ROW THEATER, built at an approximate cost of $3 million, was completed in 1974 and opened on July 5 of that year. It was located in HIGHLAND HTS. on Wilson Mills Road near I-271. Richard R. Jencen, who lived in SHAKER HTS., designed the Front Row. The first all-weather theater to be built in Greater Cleveland since the CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE in 1927, it seated 3,200 and was approximately 300 feet by 270 feet. Since it was a theater in the round, the last row was fifty-nine feet from the stage, which was twenty-nine feet in diameter with its orchestra pit. A circular curtain concealed the stage lighting, and the entire stage slowly revolved during each performance in order to provide a clear view for all the spectators. Also, the circular domed auditorium had no pillars to block spectators' views. The theater had three concessio...
COTNER, MERCEDES R. (3 March 1905 - 20 Nov. 1998) was the clerk of Cleveland City Council, for more than twenty-five years and was the first woman to ever fill this position. She also was the first woman to be a Democratic candidate for Mayor in Cleveland. Cotner was born in Cleveland to Caroline E. (Auer) and John S. Trapp, a jeweler. She grew up in Ohio City and was trained in stenography and bookkeeping at the old St. Mary Commercial High School. In 1918, she took her first and only job outside City Council at Harrington Electric, earning $12.50 a week. She married George Cotner in 1927 and worked at Harrington until their first son was born three years later. Both Cotner and her husband attended political meetings and rallies. It soon became apparent that she would be a rising star. She became a ward committee member and wa...
The DAILY CLEVELANDER gave Cleveland its first penny newspaper on 1 Oct. 1855. It was edited by William J. May, formerly of the CLEVELAND HERALD, who provided its 4 5-column pages with some lively writing. Avoiding politics at first, the Clevelander instead displayed a passion for the THEATER, regularly listing theatrical events under the masthead. Its most serious political fight was a successful campaign against a nearly prohibitive theater tax passed by the city council. As the national election campaign progressed in 1856, the Clevelander initially professed boredom with all candidates. By September, however, it hoisted the colors of Millard Fillmore to its masthead, while claiming no sympathy for the nativist principles of his American party supporters. Shortly after the election, on 18 Nov. 1856, the Daily Clevelander suspended p...
DECKER, EDGAR (18 Feb. 1832-1 Dec. 1905), one of Cleveland's earliest and most prominent photographers, grew up in New York State and was largely self-taught. At 13, he became a clerk in a store, after 7 years managing his own store where he developed an interest in photography. He moved to Cleveland in 1857 and worked in various studios for 2 years before opening his own on Superior St. in 1859, moving it to the more fashionable EUCLID AVE. in 1883. Decker maintained a studio in Cleveland for over 40 years, producing an enormous volume of work that included portraits of old pioneers, lawyers, businessmen, physicians, society women, and families. In 1862 he photographed Cleveland regiments encamped outside the city prior to their involvement in the CIVIL WAR. Decker won many prizes for his portraits of famous statesmen, soldiers, diplo...
GREVE, BELL (4 Jan. 1894-9 Jan. 1957), pioneer in relief and rehabilitation services, was born in Cleveland to Louis and Margaritha (Rummel) Greve. He entered Hiram College planning to become a missionary, but after working at HIRAM HOUSE one summer, became interested in social work and transferred to Flora Stone Mather College at Western Reserve University, where she received her degree. She later earned a law degree from Cleveland Law School. In 1918 Greve became a charity visitor in Cleveland's red-light district. She spent 3 years in Europe as head of a Red Cross child-health center and director of an orphanage before becoming superintendent of the Ohio division of charities. Five years later she became director of the Community Chest in Charleston, W.Va. In 1933, Greve became director of the Assoc. for the Crippled & Disabled, w...
The FREE SOIL PARTY of Cuyahoga County was organized in the summer of 1848 as part of a national third-party movement which supported free grants of public land to settlers and opposed the extension of slavery to the western territories. In Ohio the Free Soilers were concentrated in the WESTERN RESERVE, where the party drew its support from antislavery elements in both the Whig and Democratic parties and the Liberty party, which had been politically active in the mid-1840s. At the Ohio Free Territory Convention, held in Columbus on 21 June 1848, Edward Stowe Hamlin, editor of the Cleveland DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT, took the lead in securing a resolution approving the free-soil doctrine. The Cuyahoga County group was organized by THOMAS BOLTON and Huron Beebe, who along with EDWARD WADE attended the national organizing convention of the Fre...
The CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC is a nationally recognized conservatory, which was founded in 1920 by a group of supporters led by Martha Bell (Mrs. Franklyn B.) Sanders and Mary Hutchens (Mrs. Joseph T.) Smith. Classes were first held in the Statler Hotel and then moved to the Hall residence at E. 31st St. and Euclid Ave. ERNEST BLOCH, a Swiss composer and teacher, was appointed director. The institute moved from the Hall residence to the Chisholm home at E. 28th and Euclid in 1923, then to the Samuel Mather home at E. 26th and Euclid in 1932, and the Cox home at 34th and Euclid in 1941. In 1961 a new International-style building was constructed at East Blvd. and Hazel Dr. in UNIV. CIRCLE, with two concert halls, greatly expanded classrooms, studio and practice space, and a library and offices. Bloch's successors as artistic director...
The CONDUCTORS' STRIKE OF 1918-1919 involved the Cleveland Railway Co.'s female street car conductors employed during World War I to relieve labor shortages and Local 268 of the Amalgamated Assn. of Street, Electric Railway & Motor Coach Employees of America. Fearing the economic and social threats female employment posed, the male-dominated Amalgamated Assn. announced in May 1918 that it opposed women's employment as conductors or motormen and refused to grant them union membership. The Department of Labor agreed and issued a mandate for the women's dismissal by 1 Nov. 1918. In response, female conductors formed the Assn. of Women Street Railway Employees with the help of FLORENCE ALLEN, the Women's Trade Union League, and other reformers. While the women were successful in persuading Labor Dept. Secretary William B. Wilson to postpon...
ERIE LACKAWANNA, INC., was the company established in 1982 to liquidate the assets of the former Erie Lackawanna Railway. The liquidation, wholly centered in Cleveland, has been called one of the most successful in the annals of American business history.When the ERIE-LACKAWANNA RAILROAD was formed in 1960 by the merger of the Erie and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the headquarters of the new railroad company was located in Cleveland. In 1968 the line was renamed the Erie Lackawanna Railway when it was merged into the Norfolk & Western. It retained, however, a separate identity. The Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. filed for bankruptcy in June 1972, citing sharply rising costs and damage to its line from Hurricane Agnes. In 1976 all rail assets were transferred to CONRAIL. On 1 Dec. 1982, a new corporation, Erie Lackawanna Inc., came ...
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