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PARKS. Not until the 1870s were public funds allocated to establish parks. Cleveland in its early years was surrounded by wilderness, and city leaders saw no urgency to secure parkland beyond the 10-acre PUBLIC SQUARE set aside as early as 1796. By the time they awakened to the need for public open space, areas near the center of the city had long since been appropriated to other uses, and the city was unable to establish parks convenient to the crowded neighborhoods that most needed them. In Sept. 1865 a city council committee was appointed to consider the establishment of public parks. The committee reported that Cleveland was "far behind most cities of its class" and urged the purchase of parkland to accommodate the city's "great future population." In 1871, by authority of a new state law, the city's first Board of Park Commissione...
GERMANS formed one of Cleveland's largest and most influential nationality groups in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although not as large as the German communities in some northern cities, the local community had an important influence on the city's economic, educational, and cultural life. Cleveland and other lake cities lagged a few years behind Cincinnati and St. Louis in the influx of Germans, for both of these cities gained German immigrants via the riverways and the National Road. Prior to the opening of the OHIO & ERIE CANAL, Cleveland's Germans were chiefly those of German descent from Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland whose forebears had generally come to America before the Revolutionary War; many of Cleveland's early civic leaders, such as LEONARD CASE, claimed German heritage of this kind. Germans began arriving in Clevelan...
The ZION MUSICAL SOCIETY may have been the first public Jewish singing organization during the 19th century in America. Formed in 1861 by Rabbi/Cantor GUSTAVE M. COHEN, the society not only performed congregational work but also sang outside of the synagogue. Rabbi Cohen was European-born and educated and, significantly, was the first trained cantor in America. He was the author and composer of the Sacred Harp of Judah, published in 3 volumes by Brainard's (see BRAINARD'S SONS). His other works of hymns and services include Family Circle of Worship and The Orpheus, also published in Cleveland. Melodeon Hall was the site of the first public performance of the Zion Musical Society, on 5 Mar. 1862. The concert consisted of vocal and instrumental sacred music. The society associated with ANSHE CHESED until 1866, when Rabbi Cohen joined Tif...
GOLF, played on a large open tract of land, originated in Scotland in the 15th century. The object of the game is to hit a small, hard ball in a specified direction with clubs, and ultimately to sink the ball into a hole, utilizing the fewest possible number of strokes. SAMUEL MATHER is credited with introducing the game to Cleveland. Mather was invited to play the prestigious St. Andrew's course at Mount Hope, NY, in 1895 and brought his enthusiasm about the game home to Cleveland. His efforts resulted in the formation of the Cleveland Golf Club whose membership comprised the social and business elite of Cleveland. Mather served as the club's first president with R. H. S. Clarke as secretary. Located in GLENVILLE, the grounds opened 13 July 1895 with a demonstration of the game by T. Sterling Beckwith, Jr. and J. D. Maclennin, and the...
GOVERNMENT. The tract of land that became Cleveland had at one time or another been claimed by Spain, France, and Great Britain. When American independence was secured, the new federal government tried to resolve the conflicting territorial claims of several states while contending with Indians, who had their own claims, and who were made more restive by the slow removal of British troops from their western posts. The key event was passage of the Ordinance of 1787, making administration of the sparsely settled territories possible. The first real effort to enforce white man's law in the area came in the 1790s under the auspices of the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. However, during Cleveland's early years law and justice seem to have been meted out--with very little resistance--by the redoubtable LORENZO CARTER. The formal origins of municipal go...
GREEKS form one of Cleveland's smaller but most cohesive nationality groups, preserving their culture through their central institution, the Greek Orthodox church. The first Greek to settle in Cleveland reportedly was Panagiotis Koutalianos, a fabled "strong man," who is said to have come ca. 1880s. Out of 370,007 Greeks emigrating to the U.S. between 1890-1925, 5,000 settled in Cleveland, mostly coming because of difficult economic conditions in Greece. Because most early Greek immigrants initially intended to return to Greece, about 95% of them were male; however most remained in Cleveland, eventually having their families join them, or, if unmarried, returning to Greece to find a wife to bring to the U.S. Without women, most of the men formed nonfamily groups averaging 4-8 individuals, renting or leasing apartments and sometimes ent...
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