Teaching Cleveland
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High School Edition: 9-12

Lesson 9

Markets in Mid-nineteenth Century Cleveland


To familiarize students with the importance of markets in the lives of mid-nineteenth century Clevelanders. To acquaint students with the regulations which market vendors had to adhere to in mid-nineteenth century Cleveland.



blown, offal, construed, teinted, commodities, putrid, measly


  1. Why were markets important in the lives of mid-nineteenth century Clevelanders?
  2. Why did the city of Cleveland regulate markets so strictly during the middle of the nineteenth century?


  1. General Instructions: Review vocabulary terms with which students might not be familiar. These activities may be completed individually or in a group.
  2. Distribute copies of the activity to students. Have the students either individually or in groups, read Handout 1, and complete the questions for discussion below.
    a. Why do you think the city made it illegal to buy or sell large quantities of meat and produce any where but in a city market?
    b. What food items could a person sell in a local grocery store? Why do you think this was regulated?
    c. Why was it important to have accurate weights and measures in the market? Who provided the scales at the Cleveland market?
    d. Who regulates weights and measures today in the city?
    e. Most people earned about $6.00 a week in wages in 1846. Why do you think the fine for selling spoiled meat and poultry was so much?
    f. Do you agree with the rules for licensing butchers in the public markets? Why or why not?
    g. Why do you think the city restricted the slaughter of animals within the city? How might the failure to comply with this section of the law contribute to poor health conditions in the city?
  3. Have the students examine the advertisements for markets in 1846. How are these advertisements different from the advertisements for grocery stores today?

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