Mrs. Frankie Gilmer

On Kimberley Avenue in Glenville, ten lots west of where Jerry Siegel had lived when he created Superman with Joe Shuster, an African American woman named Frankie Gilmer offered welcoming accommodations to Black travelers some twenty years later. The postal carrier who delivered to this part of Glenville probably conveyed her information to Victor and Alma Green and recommended that her “tourist home” be listed in the Green Book. As was true of a number of Green Book listings, this one contained an error that was never corrected. Gilmer’s home appeared simply as “Mrs. Fannie Gilmer” starting in 1954. It also appeared across the street from its actual location, which was 10518 rather than 10519 Kimberley. According to the 1951 Cleveland City Directory, Gilmer’s husband Jesse worked as a laborer for the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose tracks then traversed the Cedar-Central neighborhood on Cleveland’s East Side on their way to Pittsburgh and points beyond. Little more is known about the Gilmers. The Green Book shows the Gilmers moving to 12421 Benham Avenue (in Mt. Pleasant) by 1957. Frankie Gilmer appeared only twice in the Call & Post in mentions of women’s social club meetings she held in this second house. The fate of this Green Book–listed home diverged sharply from that of the lovingly restored home of the Superman creator. Today her Glenville home is an empty lot that now supports an expansion of the next-door house’s driveway.

Green Book Details

Mrs. Fannie Gilmer appears in the Green Book from 1954 to 1957 at 10519 Kimberly Ave. and from 1959 to 1967 at 12421 Benham St. (Benham Ave.) in the category Tourist Homes.

10518 Kimberly Ave, Cleveland, OH

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