Teaching Cleveland
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High School Edition: 9-12

Lesson 24

Coming to America


To discuss the journey of immigrants coming to Cleveland at the turn of the century.



cabin, steer, agee, migrant, train, Michael P. Kniola


  1. What was the journey of immigrants, who came to Cleveland at the turn of the century, like?
  2. Why did some immigrants come to Cleveland, but later return to Europe?


  1. Distribute copies of the Handouts to the students and have them complete the activity as instructed.
  2. Have the students examine the handouts and then complete the questions for discussion below.
    a. Steerage was the cheapest class of travel. Passengers who traveled steerage had no specific seating or sleeping areas. They were expected to carry their baggage and in some cases bring food with them. They were frequently confined to the hold of ships and were only allowed to come on deck at night after the other passengers were asleep. Why do you think so many people came to Cleveland using this method, even though it was a very harsh way to travel?
    b. Michael P. Kniola was a very successful businessman and steamship agent in Cleveland at the turn of the century? What specific skills do you think Kniola had to have to deal with immigrant travelers?
    c. Why do you think some men traveled alone to Cleveland and left their families behind in Europe ?
    d. Why did children sometimes travel alone and unescorted?
    e. Why do you think some immigrants returned to Europe, the same way they had come here?
    f. Why did people buy tickets for other people coming here from Europe?
    g. How do most immigrants arrive in Cleveland today? Why has their method of transportation changed? How do you think it will change in the future?

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