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Lee Seville: Part 1

 This was my first run of the Lee Seville neighborhood.

Map: Run 1, Run 2, Run 3

Distance This Section: 10.3 miles

Distance So Far: 734.6 miles

Kerruish Park was established in 1943. At a massive 76 acres, it features (4) basketball courts, (5) baseball fields, (3) tennis courts, a swimming pool, (2) playgrounds, and (8) picnic shelters. It's home to the B-Buzz Little League, which started in the 1950s. The park is named after Kerruish family, who owned the land as far back as 1839. William Kerruish immigrated to Cleveland from Ireland in the first half of the 19th century and was part of the sophomore class of Western Reserve College. He worked side gigs to make ends meet while in school, taught his teachers Gaelic and, given his strong abolition beliefs, convinced Frederick Douglass to give his college commencement speech in 1854 (highly controversial at the time). He went on to study at Yale and came back to Cleveland to lead a top law firm. His daughter, Mariam, was the first female doctor ever to practice at Cleveland City Hospital (now MetroHealth), where she specialized in obstetrics and pediatrics. She was also a champion of child welfare, organizing the Women’s Protective Association of Cleveland and serving on the board of trustees of the Woman’s Hospital, the Maternity Hospital Council and other causes. She was also active in the woman’s suffrage movement, starting the Cuyahoga County Woman’s Suffrage Party and spearheading its activities. Tragically, she died in the Cleveland Clinic Fire of 1929. Her husband - amateur track world record-holder, professional baseball umpire, state representative, official for mayor Tom Johnson as well as general legal counsel for the Van Sweringens - Billy Stage, donated the land to the City for a park in 1943 with the condition that it be named after the Kerruish family. He died of a heart attack three years later in 1946 on the 17th anniversary of Miriam's funeral.

In 2012, Kerruish Park installed a new .9 mile walking trail which also connects to several side streets along Lee Road, such as this one on Fairfax Ave.

This home at 4612 Lee Road was built in 1946 but actually looks older. Perhaps the nicest house I saw in this section of the neighborhood.

This building at 4567 Lee Road was built in 1930 and was one of only 4 brick structures on Lee south of Miles Ave at that time.

This building at 17100 Miles Ave was built in 1950 and was originally home to Cleveland Color Services, a photofinishing business (remember those) owned by Frank & Helen Cinovic. In fact, Frank introduced the first color photo lab to the state of Ohio. The building was purchased by Solomon's Temple in 2003 after Frank passed. Helen passed away 10 years later at the age of 95.

These railroad tracks just south of Miles Ave separate the Lee Harvard and Lee Seville neighborhoods. The line was established in the 1850s as the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railroad (later Erie Railroad). It ran from downtown Cleveland to downtown Youngstown and also spurred to Sharon, PA. Its last station run as a commuter line was January 14, 1977. A park and ride depot was constructed in 1948 near where this photo was taken but all that remains is the canopy and platform (image).
Herold's Salads (17512 Miles Ave) started as a cornmeal mush manufacturer in 1920s, owned and operated Fred and Della Herold. In 1945, Della and her son Jack began to diversify the produce line and distribute to retail outlets. Jack's son Cathy would eventually introduce the idea of focusing on varieties of pasta salads and desserts, which allowed for even greater distribution (now up to 10 states). If in the Cleveland area, you can pick up one of their products at the main store on Miles Ave (above) or at any Dave's grocery store in the region. Click here for a complete list of local locations.

I picked up these two varieties of pasta salads at the main store and they were great. Fresh ingredients and authentic flavor. They have a bunch of creative varies as well as other items such as vegetable & potato salads, seafood & protein salads, side dishes, dips, salsas, desserts and more.

Tremco is a large roofing manufacturer headquartered in Beechwood. However, they have a plant on Miles Ave called "Mameco" which produces a commercial sealant product called AlphaGuard. Things are going so well at the plant that they recently built a $25 million, 113,100-square-foot expansion to the east of this photo. According to NeoTrans, Tremco's origins trace back to 1928 when William Treuhaft opened a small roofing materials manufacturing plant in Cleveland. Tremco grew organically and through the acquisition of related companies over the years. By 1958 it was the nation's largest maker of maintenance materials for industrial, institutional, and commercial buildings. Tremco is now a subsidiary of another corp but has over 3,000 employees and generates $1B in revenue annually. Over 800 of those employees are in northeast Ohio and they maintain 3 business locations in the city itself.

And while Miles Ave has great success stories like Harold's and Tremco, only a block or so away is significant decline such as this. Believe it or not, there's actually an active auto parts business still within part of this building.

Most of Miles Ave is industrial or commercial in nature. However, there are a couple of homes dotted in between such as this one which was built in 1922 making it one of the oldest houses in all of Lee Seville.

Lee Seville is serviced by the RTA #50 bus which provides transit from the neighborhood to University Circle. Here it is making a stop on E. 173rd Street.

This building has been owned by two different painting businesses since 1997. Definitely adds a little bit of color to this bleak industrial stretch of South Miles Road.

According to Dr. Todd Michney, "This affordable brick model home proved popular with upwardly-mobile middle class African American families. Offered by the city's largest black-owned construction firm, the Taborn Co., it reduced costs through the use of a special hollow brick that made plumbing and electrical installation easier. 3,000 potentially interested buyers reportedly toured this model home when it debuted on Fourth of July weekend in 1954. Albert Taborn, who arrived from Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1946, ultimately built several hundred homes. He was the first black member of the Cleveland Home Builders Association and received an award for his designs from the Saturday Evening Post in 1958."

Southeast Seventh-Day Adventist Church (16602 Tarkington Ave) started in Glenville. The congregation realized they needed another chapter on the Southeast side due to the fact that many of its members lived in that part of the city. The church first rented from St. Paul United Methodist Church across the street until they outgrew that space. They then moved to Aldersgate United Methodist in Warrensville Heights until constructing the current church in 1977.

Lee Seville Baptist Church was founded in 1957. It initially held services in a commercial building at 4963 Lee Road. The current church (above) opened in 1958. An educational unit was built in 1969 and then a sanctuary was added in 1976.

The Marc Apartments (4733 Lee Road) offers those 62 years and older an affordable housing option in the neighborhood. It was built in 1983. Kerruish Park is located right behind it.

According to The Making of Cleveland's Black Suburb in the City: "In 1957, white developer George Dubin announced his plan to build 500 homes for African American families on three streets south of Tarkington Avenue. The Cleveland Development Foundation lent Dubin $100,000 to acquire land and install utilities; by 1960 FHA financing was available to eager black buyers, making Dubin 'the area's largest builder of homes for Negroes.'" These are several of Dubin's original homes on E. 174th.

Dubin Ave connects E. 175th and E. 176th streets and is named after the developer, a fact perhaps not known to many in the neighborhood today.

This vacant parcel between E. 176th and E. 177th streets is where Emile B. De Sauze Elementary School once stood (closed and demolished in 2012). De Sauze was was a French born naturalized-American language educator who developed the Cleveland Plan for teaching foreign languages. He is credited with originating the conversational method where students hear a teacher speak a word, then write it, then speak it. He served as director of foreign languages for the school district from 1918 to 1949 and also taught at Case Western Reserve. He was also the founder of Maison Francoise de Cleveland. During his career, he wrote fifteen French text books, one of which became the official text book of the United Nations for teaching French.

 This is Federal Drive. The vacant parcels you see above were once occupied with single family homes not all that long ago (see image here). In 2010, vandals stripped pipes inside a vacant home owned by the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, rupturing a gas line which continued leaking for a significant period of time until an explosion leveled the block. 4 homes were completely destroyed, 6 more required significant repair and another 28 suffered damage. Cars were blown onto their sides and debris as big as 6' was found in trees nearby (see photo). The American Red Cross had to intervene to provide assistance for those displaced by the blast. The city demolished the remaining structures on the street and currently holds the land.

The Southeast Side Community Garden is located on the corner of Lee Road & Priebe Ave. It was launched in 2010-2011 with assistance from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (above) and the Ohio State Extension Summer Sprout program. However, like so many community gardens from this time period, it appears to have faded away. Sadly, all that remains are some decaying raised planter beds, a picnic table and a storage shed on Priebe Ave.

This home - and the nearly 20 or so others on it on the eastern segment of Kolin Ave - was developed by African American developer Rufus Ranaldson. Ranaldson was born in Alabama and moved to Cleveland after service in WWII in search of employment. He attended the Cleveland School of Meats and opened a grocery store in Glenville, then organized 10 other Black Cleveland grocery store owners to form a bulk purchasing arrangement which would ultimately lower costs for customers. He eventually became a certified realtor and purchased a former Czech-American brokerage firm with 9 others, with the intent to be able to loan to Black residents who were being denied mortgages by banks and to prevent predatory land contract situations which were common then. He eventually went on to form his own company (Economy Realty) in which he applied his bulk buying power strategy to reduce cost. The strategy was to build entire neighborhoods at once which, through economy of scale, would bring down construction costs. This co-operative model was actually endorsed by the Federal Housing Administration to help low-income individuals become homeowners. His development on Kolin Ave was called Inland Homes and involved pre-fabricated houses in which VA loans could be used for financing, too. Ranaldson and his wife Imogene actually chose to live in one of their own houses on the street (here). Ranaldson passed away in 2008 but Imogene still lives in the home.

"Where the sidewalk ends": The end of Cleveland and the beginning of Warrensville Heights.