Sleighing on Euclid Avenue in 1896
Students will view a Cleveland winter activity of the 1890s by
reading personal accounts of sledding on Euclid Avenue. Students
will create their own "sleighing" competitions by designing
a miniature sled for classroom competitions.
- What winter recreational activities did Clevelanders enjoy
- Who was "sleighing" on Euclid Avenue?
- Survey students on sledding. Where do they sled? What is the
best sled to use? What about snowmobiles, how are they powered?
Take them back to winter in 1896. How would a sleigh be "powered"?
Explain to students that during the 19th Century, Cleveland had
what was known at the most beautiful street in the world -- Euclid
Avenue. Euclid Avenue was also the center for many social activities
- bike riding, strolling, and carriage riding. In the winter it
was also considered one of the best streets for sleighing.
- Distribute copies of Readings - Sleighing on Euclid Avenue.
Have students read the accounts and then discuss. Students should
be able to describe the activity of sleighing, why it was enjoyable,
who participated in the activity, and identify the best qualities
of a good sleigh and horse. Have students draw comparisons to
winter snow activities today.
- Explain to students that they will have their own sleighing
competition in their class room. This can be done as an independent
activity or in groups. They are to design their own sleigh using
only classroom supplies. The sleighs should be a maximum of 5
inches square. The competition will be held on an incline (the
height and angle determined by the teacher. Be certain that the
surface is slick enough that the sleighs will slide down the incline.
A slide on the playground could also be used) Encourage students
to be as creative and inventive as possible, and to decorate their
sleighs as colorfully as possible. Competitions can be held for
best design, most colorful, etc.Winners could receive free homework
passes, treats, extra recess time, etc.
Have students write a descriptive essay of what sleighing on Euclid
Avenue must have looked like in 1896. They could write it from
a spectators view point or the view point of a racer.
Students could draw the scene of Euclid Avenue and the sleighing
For a science lesson, students could research snowfall records
of Cleveland from 1896 to 1996 and graph the results.
Video Tape from the Western Reserve
Historical Society on the mansions and lifestyle of Cleveland's
Millionaire's row "Showplace of America."