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Lee Harvard: Part 2

 This was my second and final run of the Lee Harvard neighborhood.

Map: Run 1, Run 2, Run 3, Run 4, Run 5

Distance This Section: 19.5 miles

Distance So Far: 724.3 miles

The Feiner Homes Historic District is located between the block of Feiner Drive (west), E. 187th (east), Harvard Ave (north) and Deforest Ave (south). Arthur Feiner was a prominent Jewish contractor who began building buildings in the 1950s to include the 100 in this historic district area alone. His other planned community projects in the Cleveland area included E. 255th and Lakeshore Blvd in Euclid and the Fairmount Circle Shopping Center. He also helped redevelop Thistledown Race Track. He died in 2007 at the age of 93. Special thanks to Karl Brunjes at City of Cleveland Landmarks Department for his assist with this info.

 "No Finer Value - Than a 'Feiner' Home" (1954 ad).

Randomly ran into this harem of wild turkeys on Garden Boulevard. They safely made it across the street, in case you were wondering.

The Perry B. Jackson Building is a senior apartment building that once was a neighborhood elementary school. The building was built in 1950 and was converted to its current use in 1987. It offers (50), 1-bedroom apartments. Perry Jackson was the first elected black judge in Ohio, and the first black American to win a Cuyahoga County-wide election. He went on to serve in a variety of elected political and judicial roles over the course of his decades-long career. While a member of Ohio's General Assembly he was responsible for the adoption of permanent voter registration forms eliminating reference to color or race. He was also very active in the local community, serving in the NAACP, the Cleveland Area Church Federation, Goodwill Industries and the Boy Scouts of America. He was also editor of the Cleveland Call, one of Cleveland's leading Black newspapers (it would later merge with the Cleveland Post to become the Call & Post which is still in publication).

Harvard Community Services Center is the neighborhood's community development organization. It was founded in 1968 by Rubie McCullough who grew up on a farm in North Carolina before moving to Cleveland in 1945. She became a staunch civic activist for not only the neighborhood but also Cleveland Public Library, the public school district, and Cuyahoga Community College in which she served as a Trustee for 20 years. The organization has occupied the former St. Henry Parish since its closing in 1969 and provides services such as business improvement assistance and social services for neighborhood families.

Archbishop Lyke School (18230 Harvard Ave) is the combination of 10 Catholic parish schools that once served the southeast side of Cleveland since 1899. Archbishop Lyke was the first African-American bishop of Cleveland (1979). In 1991, he was appointed to be the Archbishop of Atlanta, making him the highest-ranking Black clergyman in the American Church and just the second Black archbishop in American history.

This building at 18810 Harvard Ave was originally the Jewish Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center of Cleveland. Founded in 1937, the nineteen bed facility met the needs of tubercular patients who were released from the nearby Warrensville Sanatorium and the City Hospital. The hospital expanded in the 1950s but with the decrease in tuberculosis, began to serve the chronically ill. In 1979, it was sold to a private nursing home operator (remains).

Michael Debose Sr. was a former Ohio House Rep from Lee Harvard, serving from 2002 to 2010. He was an alumni of Cleveland State where he earned a degree in Mass Media Communications and was also an ordained minister for Zion Chapel Baptist church. His positions on issues ran the spectrum of far-right to progressive. You can read more more about his career/views here if interested. Debose died from complications of Parkinson's Disease in 2012 at the age of 58.

Lee Harvard was farmland before development exploded in the mid-20th century. This home on Garden Boulevard - built in 1900 - is speculated to be the original farmhouse. It was renovated in 2023 after being sold for $67,000.

This is the current condition of the old J.F.K. Recreation center which is located behind the former J.F.K High School on Harvard Ave (scroll down a few images below). It was developed by prominent local African American architect firm Whitley & Whitley in 1971. In fact, the firm was honored with an award for design excellence for the project. The facility and the school are now owned by the City who plan to demolish both and seek development proposals.

Roye Kidd Field is located just behind the school and recreation center. It is named after the legendary J.F.K high school football coach who retired in 2008 after 36 years at the helm, winning 5 city championships and compiling a record of 204-127-5. The Cleveland Browns gave the field - and 4 others like it throughout the city - a full turf makeover in 2016. It will remain regardless of the site's development plans.

"Coach" Kidd (no relation to me) also has his own ceremonial road named after him. Not surprisingly, the road terminates at the stadium.

And here's a shot of the old JFK high school as it's being prepped for demolition. Built in 1965 and expanded in 1972, the school was one of the first to experience desegregation through school bussing in Cleveland. Legendary talk show host, comedian and actor Arsenio Hall briefly attended.

And here's a shot of the new $45 million JFK High School on Miles Ave which opened in 2020. JFK has a proud alumni base, so much so that they have their own mentoring room inside the school. You can watch a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the school here if interested.

Situated on the the same parcel as JFK is the brand new Frederick Douglass neighborhood resource center (in the background). The $15.3 million facility features a gym, indoor pool, children's water play area, aerobics room, multi-purpose room, arts & crafts room, computer/instruction room, tots room, playground, outdoor children's splash pad, tennis courts and baseball fields.

KJ's Caribbean & Soul Food (17528 Harvard Ave) offers up some great authentic grub prepared fresh each morning. Above is my post-run meal: jerk chicken, red beans/rice and cabbage. Fantastic.
Whitney M. Young PreK-8 School (17900 Harvard Ave) serves approximately 315 students. Before mergers, it consistently ranked in the top of the state and nation in terms of test scores and attendance rate. Whitney Young was civil rights activist who served as a president of the National Urban League and became very influential with the U.S. government's War on Poverty.

Step Forward’s Louis Stokes Early Learning Center was dedicated in June 1997 and was built specifically to serve the needs of pre-school children in the Cleveland area.It was the first Head Start site of its kind in the nation when it opened. The facility was named for Congressman Louis Stokes for his dedication to fighting for the rights of Cleveland's disadvantaged.

City of Cleveland Fire Station #6 on Harvard Road was built in 1952 and features a 2016 Rosenbauer Commander engine. It services the Lee Harvard & Lee Seville neighborhoods.

The Cleveland Public Library's Harvard-Lee Branch was dedicated in 1979 and was designed by Whitley & Whitley Architects who also designed the J.F.K. Recreation Center (noted above). The branch offers early literacy play dates, preschool story times, an annual Kindergarten kickoff, a monthly book club for adults, Maker Labs, and craft programs. The artwork to the right is titled Delicate Volume 2 whose theme seeks to combat "the dangerous stereotype that Black women are strong and independent". Shout out to awesome branch manager Kristen Schmidt (who I met at recent neighborhood planning meeting) for her advocacy for the branch and neighborhood.

The Lee-Harvard Plaza - located at the intersection of Lee & Harvard - is the commercial epicenter of the neighborhood. It first opened in 1949 and doubled its footprint in 1955. In 1972 it was purchased by a group of African-American investors who offered $10 shares of stock to the surrounding community, making it the "largest Black-owned commercial complex in the nation".

In 1999, the Lee-Harvard Plaza faced foreclosure, was sold, and underwent extensive renovation, earning it the Cleveland Community Development Awards 'Project Of The Year' in 2001, as noted on this stone marker.

This apartment building near the intersection of Lee & Miles was once the Beehive School which was established in 1917 when the area was still Miles Heights. It would later become the Miles Heights Village Elementary and Secondary Schools when the City eventually annexed the area in 1927. The school was nicknamed "Beehive" because of a nearby resident who harvested honey from bees. The school closed in the 1980s and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It was then converted into a senior living facility in the 1990s.

McMullan Realty was founded in 1962 and was run by the Stoudermire family since 1979. The firm is the largest and oldest minority-owned real estate company in Ohio. It's now run by a third generation of the family. You can read more about their story here.

Henry Stoudermire Sr. took ownership McMullan Realty in 1979, pioneering efforts to help many Black residents become homeowners in Cleveland over the years. Wyatt street was ceremonially dedicated to him in 2019.

Kaba's African & Caribbean Market (4102 Lee Road) serves many authentic Afro-Caribbean foods such as cassava leaf, palm butter, dry fishes, goat meat, gari, Ghana yams and fufu. They also have "African DVD-movies" for the curious. Kaba's used to be in a plaza across the way but moved into this renovated space in 2023.

A few snacks from Kaba's (mostly from Jamaica) including some homemade Puff Puff which is a donut-like pastry which is very popular in West Africa.

Affinity Missionary Baptist Church (4411 E. 175th St.) started in a couple's home on E. 178th Street in 1966 and has grown into this large congregation nearly 50 years later.

In an effort to increase traffic calming on neighborhood streets, the City of Cleveland launched a pilot speed table program in 2022 which yielded great results. This is one on Judson Ave. Over 150 more tables will be installed in Spring 2024.

A shot just before dusk of the beautiful tree-lined Judson Ave.

Saniyah Nicholson was a 9-year-old who was killed by a stray bullet during a shooting on Lee Road in 2018. Since then, her mother has lobbied a host of state and local officials to strengthen penalties for gun-related violence. She and others have also lobbied to have a ceremonial street sign installed on a side street in honor of Saniya but that was met with opposition. This imitation street sign was installed on pole on Lotus Ave instead.

Citizens Southeast Campus is part of the Breakthrough charter school network which places a strong emphasis on civic values and virtues. The building was originally home to Charles W. Eliot Middle School which operated between 1954-2017.

Although it's seen better days, this vacant structure on Lee Road still has a little vibe.

Idalia Park is a 6.8 acre park established in 1950. It will soon receive $350,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for demolition of aged infrastructure, a new play area, new swing sets, new benches, new paved area + safety surfacing and game tables.