Author: Mark Souther

Cedar Gardens

Cedar Gardens was a restaurant and night spot that achieved regional and even national renown as a “black and tan” club in the 1930s and 1940s. Jacob Hecht opened Cedar Gardens at 9706 Cedar Avenue in January 1934. Hecht, who was White, had hired 65 employees by 1937, all of whom were Black. He turned […]

Handy Farm

The Handy Farm was located on Holbrook Road off Franklin Road near Chagrin Falls Park. Frank Handy, a native of New Iberia, Louisiana, moved to Cleveland in 1916 and earned money by gigging on the alto saxophone before opening a confectionery business at East 43rd and Cedar Avenue. Handy, who was a great nephew of […]

Lake Shore Country Club

Lake Shore Country Club in Bratenahl opened as a nine-hole public golf course during World War II after being reconfigured from an eighteen-hole course following the departure of The Country Club to Pepper Pike. The Cleveland Golf Club, adjacent to and affiliated with The Country Club (with which it later merged) had originally opened to […]

Mathews Hotel

The Mathews Hotel was Akron’s main Black hotel. Owned by George W. Mathews, the hotel was located at 77 N. Howard Street. Born on a farm in Thomaston, Georgia, in 1897, Mathews worked as a waiter in a Montgomery, Alabama, hotel from 1915 to 1920. He migrated to Akron in 1925 and opened the Mathews […]

Metropolitan Theatre

The Agora is a legendary rock and roll music hall whose history is well known. Most accounts of the Agora’s history rightly point out its start as the Metropolitan Theatre in 1913 and its nearly three-decade run in the 1950s-70s as the home of radio stations WHK and WMMS before becoming Hank LoConti’s proving ground […]

Roberts Bike Shop

In 1940, John B. Roberts borrowed $150 and bought six used bicycles that he rented to children from a stand at East 89th Street and Cedar Avenue. By 1941 Roberts had amassed enough money to rent a storefront at 2134 East 96th Street (on the corner of Cedar) and opened Roberts Bike Shop. Within a […]

Silver Lake Park

In July 1910, the Akron Beacon Journal ran an article under the sensational headline “Starts a Row; Shows Weapon.” The story opened with the account of a “colored damsel,” Retchel Park, who caused a commotion at the train station at Silver Lake Park, an amusement park on Silver Lake between Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, Ohio. […]

Victoria Park

Victoria Park was a picnic grove located along old Route 422 (East Washington Street) about two miles east of the village of Chagrin Falls. Various Black organizations enjoyed picnics, clambakes, and hayrides there in the late 1930s. The park’s origins are obscure, but its selection by the Tuxedo Club for the organization’s annual picnic in […]

Welcome to Green Book Cleveland

Welcome to Green Book Cleveland, a new resource from Cleveland State University Center for Public History + Digital Humanities. From the Introduction: “Victor H. Green’s Green Book guides, published between 1936 and 1966 to help Black motorists find courteous service and avoid harassment or the embarrassment of rejection in their travels, have drawn new interest […]