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South Collinwood: Part 2

 This was the second run of the South Collinwood neighborhood: 

"The South Collinwood neighborhood is a mixture of residential enclaves interspersed with industrial districts that developed along the rail lines which followed the southern shore of Lake Erie. Industrial development accelerated rapidly following the construction of the Collinwood Yards rail switching center and freight yard. It became a neighborhood of Cleveland when the villages of Collinwood and Nottingham were annexed to the City in 1910 and 1913. Most of the housing dates from before 1930 with the oldest cluster, from the late 1800s, located around East 152 nd north of St. Clair."

Map: Run 1, Run 2

Distance This Run: 7.1 miles

Distance So Far: 629.0 miles

According to Cleveland Public Library: "Opened in 1928, the Collinwood Branch was designed by Cleveland architecture firm Walker & Weeks. Its modernized classic design with a large, arched entrance opens onto a 14,100-square-foot facility. Collinwood is an example of a fireproof building, constructed of brick with steel book shelving. The building was designed with three club rooms. By opening the folding doors, the club rooms could be converted into one large auditorium. This branch was remodeled in 1980."

According to Cleveland Historical: Five Points is where St. Clair Ave., E. 152nd St. and Ivanhoe Rd. come together to form a star. The Five Points name often is used to describe all of Collinwood, although it actually is a specific intersection within the neighborhood of South Collinwood. The Five Points intersection is home to Collinwood High School and (along with the Waterloo Arts District 1.5 miles to the north) is one of Collinwood’s two commercial hubs. Beginning early in the 20th Century, Five Points was the destination for many Italians who had previously resided in Big Italy (a residential area near a market place close to where the Guardian's baseball stadium is now located).

Topeka Park (E. 137th & Aspinwall Ave) is a 31,200 sqft city park featuring a playground and full basketball court. It gets its name from nearby Topeka Ave (which was once called Beech Ave but switched names sometime between 1898 and 1912).

The Cleveland Jobs Corps Academy (13421 Coit Road) is a massive job training center for young adults between the ages of 16-24 and is run by the U.S. Department of Labor. Jobs Corps has actually been in Cleveland for over 40 years and has had several homes. One was the Tudor Arms Hotel building on Carnegie Ave. This 25-acre, $35 million dollar new facility was built in 2007 and serves over 400 individuals. The site was originally home to the General Motors Fisher Body Plant. Fun fact: The historic Collinwood water tower is located on the campus (pictured in the photo).

This vacant industrial lot at the corner of E. 140 & Aspinwall Ave was once home to the Lindsay Wire Weaving Company. When founded in 1903, it was one of the nation's leading manufactures of papermill wire cloth. The company peaked in the 1950s, employing over 300 people, developed a research and development center, and opened a branch plant in Mentor. Eventually, plastic cloth would replace metal cloth and the company shifted operations to Mississippi. Eventually the Cleveland plant wound down operations and was sold off. The current owner - an LLC from Mansfield - demolished the building in 2015 and hasn't paid any taxes or utility liens since taking possession. They also left the site in very poor condition. This is where the Cuyahoga County Land Bank can intervene and take back the property so that local control can be maintained and redevelopment planning can begin.

This section of South Collinwood struggles with significant issues of vacant and abandoned residential property due, in part, to its immediate proximity to blighted commercial and industrial property like the photo above.

However, investment is still being made. This crew was hard at work on a renovation project on E. 140th. The house was built in 1919 and has been owned by the same family for at least 50 years.

Lake Erie Preparatory School (14405 St. Clair Ave) is a public charter school serving 250 students in grades K-8th. Built in 1922 and featuring Greek Gothic architecture, the school was initially home of St. Joseph Elementary School which was part of an important neighborhood parish of the same name. There was originally a church in the basement of the school but it was eventually converted to a gymnasium. The original St. Joseph's church was located a few blocks north near intersection of Aspinwall & Saranec Aves (see post toward end). After school/church was decommissioned in 2006, its Stations of The Cross were relocated to the Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood.

This mural near the intersection of E. 147 & St. Clair Ave was done in 2022 by local artist abstract graffiti artist Bob Peck. The walking path was also improved.

This little spot in the 14600 block of St. Clair is a BBQ and ice cream collaboration called Carbry's BBQ Soulfood & Cottrell's Ice Cream. Carby's has another location a little further down the road (and in N. Randall).

Thomas G. Smith Funeral Home is a Black-owned funeral business located at 14601 St. Clair Ave. Founders Thomas and Lisa Smith repurposed a former 12,000 square foot neighborhood grocery store to create the funeral home over 20 years ago.

East Clark (885 E. 146th St) is a CMSD elementary school serving 214 students in grades K-8th. The site has been the site of a school going as far back as at least 1881 and has maintained the same name the entire time (adjoining E. 147 Street used to be called Clark Ave, hence the name). Home of the Lions.

This church at the corner of E. 150th & Aspinwall Ave was built in 1900. It was originally Collinwood Congregational Church (which was founded, as a parish, in 1876). In 1965 it became the Collinwood United Church of Christ but then disbanded shortly thereafter in 1967. It has been Greater New Calvary Baptist Church since at least 1999.

This home sits right next to the church above but was built 28 years later. Historical maps suggest it was likely the parsonage house for the pastor. Eventually, it was likely sold to a homeowner. Sadly, historical records suggest that it fell victim to the housing bubble and Great Recession of 2008. It was then sold by Dueutche Bank in 2009 for $1,000 to an investment first in Texas who then "flipped" it for a whopping $2,200 to another out of town LLC two months later. It has been in possession of that entity every since. It remains a rental and by looks of the exterior condition, they don't appear to be investing much back into the property. This is called "milking" and it's how many neighborhoods (particularly vulnerable ones) are slowly allowed to decay. Records show this company has been taken to court by cities in other states for code violations. Such enforcement (as well as rental property registration and inspection) is required to hold these out of town money grabbing slumlord property owners accountable.

Cool historic home on E. 152nd near the branch library.

This is the site of the original Beulah Baptist Church. It sits on the corner of Cardinal Ave & Saranac Road. Beulah was established in 1917 and this structure is designated as a Cleveland Landmark. The congregation built a new church across the street in 1981.

The Cleveland Landmark marker for Beulah Baptist Church.

This is the site of the original St. Joseph's Church mentioned a few posts above. The parish was founded in 1876 due to the decision of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway to build a roundhouse and repair shop (which, thus, led to the development of Collinwood). The first church built on this site (corner of Aspinwall & Saranac Ave) was a wood-framed church that was christened on Christmas Day, 1877. In 1895, a beautiful brick church with a magnificent steeple was erected (photo). In 1922, the church built a new school and church on E. 144th & St. Clair Ave (see several posts above). In 1929, the parish razed the old church on this site and built the rental property you see above. In 1962, they built a new rectory for the parish behind this building. All buildings, including the school on E. 144th, have since been sold to other religious organizations, thus closing a significant chapter of Collinwood history regarding St. Joseph's parish.

Pastor James Walden Jr. was the longtime leader of Aspinwall Church located on the corner of E. 146 & Aspinwall Ave. He passed away in 2020.

This church at 863 E. 150th was built in 1900 and was home to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. It's one of the oldest original church structures in South Collinwood.

Researching this one led to one of my favorite "bizarre tales of Cleveland" finds. This building was built in 1890 originally as the home to Wade Park Bank. (This was actually a branch location; the main branch was located on Euclid Ave in East Cleveland). The bank only lasted 15 years. However, its president was Frank Rockefeller (yes, of the Rockefellers...although Frank was a lousy businessman despite the family pedigree). But perhaps most notably, the bank was also the victim of probably the biggest fraudster in Cleveland history (and perhaps the greatest female fraudster of all-time) - Betty Bigley. You should absolutely take a few mins and read this highly entertaining Smithsonian Magazine article about her incredible antics (which included a massive fraud that involved Andrew Carnegie...which inadvertently, resulted in the creation of Oberlin College's main library). It's actually kind of amazing a movie has never been made about her.