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South Collinwood - Part 4

 This was the fourth section 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, Run 3

Distance This Run: 9.8 miles

Distance So Far:  649.1 miles

The Collinwood Rail Yard located near E. 152 & I-90 is an extremely important site in relation to the history of the neighborhood. It was here in 1870s that repair stations and roundhouses began to service the then-Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Rail line which connected Buffalo to Chicago (then later NYC to Chicago). This set off a major influx of immigrant migration for work (2,000 were employed at its peak). This, in turn, led to the formation of what would become Collinwood. BTW: Collinwood is named after chief railroad engineer Charles Collins. It was believed that he killed himself over grief experienced over a bridge failure that killed 100 people in Ashtabula in 1877 (watch the PBS documentary about that here). However, some believe he was murdered (listen more here)! Today, the rail yard is operated by CSX.
This building at 15416 Saranac Road was built in the year 1910 (there is also a single family home attached to the parcel that was built in 1900). This section of South Collinwood was largely populated by Slovenian immigrants (Italians were south of St. Clair Ave). There's probably a lot of interesting history associated with this property given its age but it was tough to find.

The Collinwood Tavern ("The Wood") on Saranc Road is a neighborhood bar with above average food according to Google Reviews. The building was built in 1912.

On this vacant lot at the corner of E. 157 & Saranac once stood the childhood home of ‘America’s Polka King’ Frankie Yankovic. Yankovic’s family moved to Collinwood from Davis, WV after the heat his father was receiving by local law enforcement regarding illegal bootlegging. The family lived at this location from 1917-1930, ages 2 through 15 for young Frankie (the home was demolished around 2010 but you can see photos here). He became enthralled by a buttonbox player who stayed at their home as a boarder. He got his first accordion at age 9 and the rest is history.

A vacant commercial structure on E. 170th & St. Clair Ave. 

Elsons International (16601 St. Clair Ave) is a full service manufacturer and distributor of corrugated packaging founded in 1984. The CEO is Andrew Jackson who is a CMSD and CSU grad where he graduated Magnum Cum Laude and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. He owns multiple businesses, was formerly the Senior Vice President for Greater Cleveland Partnership and is a board member of the Port Authority. Outside of work, Jackson spends a lot of time in the community helping promote minority workforce and business development efforts.

Midwest Recycling (16419 St. Clair Ave) recycles 35 different materials in this 10,000-sqft facility. It was founded in 1989 by Richard Bole who was an officer in the Navy and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Relations from Georgetown and John Hopkins.

This newly constructed home (and lot next to it) on E. 162nd are being developed by EDEN, a major affordable housing provider in the area. They are adjacent to several Habitat for Humanity homes (out of picture but immediately to the right) which were built in 2011. This project was a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank who owned the lots. These combined housing developments are slowing building back the fabric and density of the street.

The Ginn Academy (655 E. 162nd St) is Ohio’s only all-male public academy founded in 2007. It's named after Ted Ginn Sr., a legendary local track and football coach and school security guard-turned-educator. The school has dual enrollment at Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University, where a partnership with HealthCorps provides nutritional support for each student. There are also direct apprenticeship for local businesses plus a summer jobs program with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (who has the best Twitter in Cleveland, seriously). The school was even was featured in the New York Times.

This building at 16001 Homes Ave is still in pretty incredible shape. Naturally, it caught my eye so I wanted to learn more. It turns out that in the first half of the 20th century, it was owned by Victor Bernot and his wife Josephine who were immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. They married in Cleveland in 1903 and opened a grocery store and raised a family in this building. But wait, there's more. This couple is also the maternal grandparents of former Ohio Governor and U.S. Senator George Voinovich (who lived in N. Collinwood until his death in 2016). You won't believe how much time I spent researching this place to "accidentally" find out this fact.

This church on E. 159th was build in 1920 and was once home to an Italian Pentecostal church. According to this source, these churches "formed among a community of immigrants in the first decade of the twentieth century. Italians entered America as nominal and devout Catholics. Growing anticlericalism and distrust for American Catholicism, dominated at that time by the Irish Church, forced many Italians to veer from their ethnoreligious roots." The neighborhood community development corporation bought the church in 2008 and turned it over to another church shortly thereafter (Overflow Church).

Stately row of homes on E. 157th Street. The one in the foreground was built in 1924 and is worth about $53,000 to give you some sense of the market condition of the neighborhood.

A beautiful row of magnolia trees on E. 156th Street.

The former St. Mary’s elementary school (716 E. 156th Street) was built in 1925 as part of St. Mary of the Assumption Church (below). It closed in 2010 due to low enrollment plus debt.

St. Mary of the Assumption (15519 Homes Ave) was formed in 1905 for Slovenian Catholics. It has and continues to serve as a culture epicenter for the community to this day. In fact, it still serves a killer Lent fish fry (complete with homemade strudel) and was also inducted into the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in 1996 (yes, that is an actual thing).

Reverend John Kumse has been pastor of St. Mary's Church since 1987. In 2017, he survived a gunfire attack by three youth outside the church while feeding his hens. However, he didn't let the incident shake believe in the neighborhood nor his commitment to it.

Reader Roofing, Heating & Cooling (676 E. 152nd St.) is a four generation family roofing company. It was started in 1920 by Ben Reader. The family worked out of their home with Ben's wife, Sadie, helping to manage the books. When Ben's son, Don, came home after World War II, he joined his father. The legacy continued on with Don’s two sons, Stuart and Michael, who spent their weekends and summers working with their father and grandfather, learning the business and honing their skills. Both attended college and used their education and skills to continue the success of the company. You can't miss this business on E. 152nd - just look to the rooftop Tin Man!

Standout home on Holmes Ave.

The Collinwood Slovenian Home (15810 Holmes Ave) was built in 1919. According to the  Cleveland Polka Hall of Fame: "As Cleveland’s Slovenian population migrated from the St. Clair neighborhood to the railroad yards and suburban atmosphere of the Collinwood enclave, the need arose for a new cultural oasis. Fifty-six stockholders raised $1,320 and a community brick-hauling brigade was enlisted to build Cleve-land’s first all-new Slovenian home. The facility featured a hall with a stage for plays and concerts; another for weddings, dances and banquets." The building celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019 but fell on hard times wen it was hit with a double whammy of the pandemic plus several catastrophic maintenance issues. It was sold in June 2023 to Ricky Jackson and his wife Clarissa. Rickey was famously released from prison in 2014 after spending 39 years behind bars for a crime he never committed. While in prison, he became a voracious reader and organized a major upgrade to the prison library in Lucasville and CPR classes at Grafton (the latter got him an award by President George H.W. Bush's Point of Light Foundation). After his release, he married Clarissa is 2014 and became a father at the age 61. There was also a documentary recently made about his situation. Instead of turning his back on Cleveland, he's now taking some of the millions paid to him for his wrongful conviction (the largest payout in Ohio history) and investing it back into the very community that took nearly 40 years of his freedom away...all while also saving a culturally historic building from the wrecking ball. What a story on Holmes Ave.

This church on W. 154th Street was built in 1894. It was originally home to Collinwood Christian Church (the congregation actually predates the church by nearly 20 years) which ceased operations in 1989. One notable parishioner of over 50 years was renown social worker and administrator Bell Greve. It's now home to Freedom Christian Assembly. The building is a designed Cleveland Landmark.

Here's a Google review of Marvin's Hardware (16001 St. Clair Ave) which has served the neighborhood since 1955: "A real-deal old-school hardware store with eclectic offerings. Need a cast iron skillet and a washboard? They've got it. Odd bits of hardware of the same era as the houses in the neighborhood? Yep. Knowledge that you can't find at Home Depot? They have some of that too. Every old neighborhood needs to covit (sic) little hardware stores like this that have the unique ability to serve their distinct neighborhood in a way big box stores just can't."

Loved this eclectic little house on the corner of E. 155th & Aspinwall. It was built in 1928 and the current owner has lived there for over 30 years.

When in season, this lot on E. 154th is home to the Camhp Foundation's Forest City Bees Program. The small foundation's is to "research and develop tools and programs that support long-term healthy relative economic stability, regardless of income. The purpose of (their) research, pilots, and programs is to aid in the reduction of the financial crisis that can lead to and/or contribute to poverty." The honey is sold to help fund their work.

This is the former City of Cleveland Fire Station #31. It's located at 739 E. 152nd and was built in 1920. It's currently owned by a consulting business of some sort.

The "new" Fire Station #31 at the corner of E. 152 & St. Clair in the heart of Five Points. It was built in 1991. 
The Volunteers of America Veterans Resource Center (775 E. 152nd Street) is a faith-based national service organization whose history of helping those in need dates back to the late 1800s. This veterans center was established in 2001.

The 5th District Cleveland Police Department headquarters (881 E. 152nd) was actually the home to the 6th District before consolidation in 2008. This building was built in 1969 and its Brutalist architecture type is very much representative of that time period.

This "ornamental" rusted classic greets you at the entrance of 16100 S. Waterloo Rd.

S. Waterloo is one big row of manufacturers. This one stands out the most. It's a former larger manufacturing site that now houses a colorful tire shop and a Melinz Rebar, a company whose origins date to 1914 in Cleveland.

Disabled American Veterans Chapter 147 (17600 S. Waterloo Rd) is a national organization founded in 1920 which helps disabled veterans with various life needs. Chapter 147 moved to this location this past December and totally remodeled it to make it a fully functional HQ for their programs and operations.

Before the disabled veterans group moved into 17600 Waterloo, it was occupied by a construction company which left behind this repurposed yard art.

Beta Machine Co was founded in 1984 but this building was built in 1946 and it's entrance caught my eye. Simple, sharp and stout.

The Sheffield Bronze Paint Company (17814 S. Waterloo Road) was founded in 1927 and produced metallic pigment and paint products for contractors, designers and architects. They also sold specialty items such as coating paint for stoves and kettles, finishes for chalkboards and ping pong tables, and porcelain touch-ups. Owner Mel Hart retired in April 2023 and sold the building to an LLC out of Columbus. Plans for the building are unknown. Bonus: off in the foreground, you can kind of make out the sweet art deco entrance to the building. 

More classic automotive rusted décor on S. Waterloo.

Memorials amid maintenance issues.

Life is a series of choices, including which direction you're going to go when run out of road on S. Waterloo.

I've ran over 650 miles of Cleveland city streets so far but this takes the cake as far as sidewalk obstructions go. Gonna need an assist from Public Works for this one.

This building is home to Cleveland Chemical Pest Control which is a 4-generation, family owned company that was founded in 1903 (their logo is a Sherlock Holmes with a pest eradication tank strapped to his back). Their HQ building was built in the 1960s but looks way older/cooler.

Before it ends up on your doorstep after ordering online, it comes to Cleveland by train through South Collinwood.

A little natural beauty breaking through the a bleaker part of the industrial landscape.