Between 1854 and 1894, what now is known as the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, was absorbed by the city of Cleveland through the annexations of Ohio City, Brooklyn Township and the Village of West Cleveland.

Industry developed in this area when the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern Railroad was constructed along the shore of the lake in the 1850s. At the same time, the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati Railroad was constructed at the southern end of the neighborhood in the Walworth Run area. Many plants, including the Walker Manufacturing Company (now Westinghouse), a wagon and coach shop which eventually became Otis Elevator, Union Carbide and others prospered as a result of the rail service.

In 1863 the area began to attract home and commercial development, and horse-drawn street cars began to travel along Detroit Avenue. Later, these horse-drawn cars were replaced by electric street cars. Middle-income housing developed along the north-south streets intersecting Detroit Avenue, while the larger, more architecturally distinguished homes were built along Franklin Avenue to the immediate south.

Families from Ireland and Germany were the first to settle in the area. St. Coleman’s Parish, on West 65th Street near Madison Avenue was organized in the 1880s and was the focus of the Irish community. The Italian Renaissance style church, built in 1914, is hailed as one of the most beautiful churches in Cleveland. German immigrants settled in the southern portion of the neighborhood as early as 1839. The stability and strength of that community is symbolized by the massive, Gothic structure of St. Stephen’s Church, built in 1873 on West 54th Street between Bridge Avenue and Lorain Avenue.

Later, at the turn of the century, families from Italy, Romania and other parts of Southern Europe began to immigrate to the neighborhood. Although the number of residents of Irish or German descent in the neighborhood has significantly declined since then, descendants remain from some of the original Italian families who moved into the area in the 1890s. The hub of Italian community life was established at Our Lady of Mr. Carmel Church, located at 6928 Detroit Avenue, and has remained there through the years. The Romanians established an enclave between West 52nd Street and West 65th Street north of Detroit Avenue. The Romanians, like other ethnic groups, developed strong church ties.

During the Depression and World War II, the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood remained stable. But with postwar affluence, many long-time residents moved to the suburbs. In their place have come many new citizens of Cleveland – Puerto Ricans, Appalachians, Mexicans, Vietnamese and Laotians, joined by African-Americans.


The Detroit Shoreway Oral History Project, a collaboration between Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and the Cleveland State University Department of History Ryan Weitzel, aims to collect, preserve, and present stories about the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and, in doing so, to build on the pride that exists in our community . These stories create a tangible bond between the bricks and mortar of the community, and the people within it.

Click here to download a 14 minute sample: http://www.divshare.com/download/3923449-71a