The South Broadway neighborhood, originally part of Newburgh Township, formed one of the earliest settlements in Cuyahoga County, with New Englanders first arriving in the area in 1796. Newburgh's early growth resulted from its location on high ground, away from the mosquito-infested lowlands of the Cuyahoga River valley, as well as from its proximity to the fast-flowing Mill Creek, which provided the fresh water and power necessary to support development of the area's first industries.
The construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad in the firs half of the 19th century led to industrial growth and increased commercial trade in the Broadway area, including the establishment of several steel mills. By the mid-1870's, most portions of the original Newburgh Township had been annexed to Cleveland.
The 1870's also brought a large influx of Czech and Polish immigrants to work in the nearby iron and steel mills. The Poles formed their own settlement near Tod Street (today East 65th Street) and Fleet Avenue in the area now known as "Slavic Village." These large residential areas north and south of Fleet Avenue developed after the turn of the century to house the growing Polish population. Fleet and Broadway Avenues, as well as East 65th and East 71st Streets, developed at that time as the main commercial streets in the neighborhood. The neighborhood reached its peak population during the 1920's.
During the 1950's and 1960's, South Broadway experienced substantial out-migration, following the general trend toward suburbanization in Greater Cleveland. As a result, in the 1970's, business activity also decreased, particularly along the secondary retail districts on East 65th and East 71st Streets. Along Broadway, the focus of the retail district shifted from East 55th to Aetna Road, where a modern discount department store and supermarket are now located.
One of the largest housing developments in the City's recent history is proposed to be developed on the site of the former State of Ohio Developmental Center on Turney Road. "Mill Creek" is a 200+ unit subdivision designed to fit into the existing neighborhood by respecting Cleveland's traditional architecture and acknowledging the surrounding natural environment.
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