PURITAS - LONGMEAD

NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

Cleveland's final major expansion occured in 1923 with the annexation of the neighboring municipality of the Village of West Park. Originally a part of Rockport Township and named -- not for its western location -- but for early settler Benjamin West, the former 12.5-square mile village stretched from West 117th Street to the Rocky River, south of the City of Lakewood. Today, in addition to Puritas-Longmead, it includes the neighborhood areas of Kamm's Corners, Jefferson and Riverside.

At the end of the 19th century, before West Park was a village, real estate developer George Linn founded Linndale, which was much larger than the present day Linndale, and which covered parts of the West Boulevard neighborhood, as well as the northeast section of the Puritas-Longmead neighborhood. Linndale prospered briefly as a railroad town -- site of the western station where trains changed their steam locomotives for electric engines before entering Cleveland. Many of the African-American porters who worked on the trains settled in the vicinity of the station and established a small African-American enclave in the otherwise predominantly white west side of Cleveland. After World War II, the change to diesel engines made the switchyard obsolete.

Rail lines have served to influence the land use patterns in the neighborhood as industrial uses, and later three industrial parks, were developed along their lengths. The rail lines and industrial areas have also acted to separate the various residential areas in the neighborhood from one another. Although there was a spurt of residential development in the 1910's and 1920's, most construction in the neighborhood occured after World War II. Between 1940 and 1960, the population of Puritas-Longmead increased from 5,430 to its peak of 21,027. Puritas Park shopping center was built in 1962 at West 140th and Puritas to meet the increased demand for retail services.

Opportunities for future industrial and possibly office development are presented by the recent opening of I-480 along the southern boundary of the neighborhood, as well as the proximity of Hopkins Airport and the NASA Lewis Research Center.

 

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