Alhambra Bowling Co. was located in the Euclid-105th Market building. It was reported for discriminatory treatment of Black bowlers in 1940. By the late 1950s it was known for its Algerian Lounge (formerly the Algiers), which hosted African American musical acts. Additional information coming soon. Resources “Call-Post Columnist Wins Cash for Bowling Jim-Crow.” Call & […]
Not Listed in Green Book
The Apex Club was a private Black social club located on Aurora Road (Route 43) near Bedford for a short time in 1936-37. Club president Charles V. Carr was a very prominent African American attorney during this time. Carr’s success led him to be a city councilman later in his life. The club featured both […]
Art’s Seafood House was located at 9809 Cedar Avenue. Operated by Art Williams, its slogan was “If it swims, we have it.” Additional information coming soon.
Babe’s Baby Grand Lounge at 5522 Euclid Avenue originally opened in 1959 as Babe’s Harlem Cafe. It was among the earliest Black-owned businesses on Euclid Avenue. Proprietor Babe Brondfield had previously operated Club Congo on Woodland Avenue until it burned in 1957. He then started operating the Harlem Cafe, located almost in the shadow of […]
Bama’s Bar-B-Q was a barbecue restaurant owned by J. H. James on Cedar Avenue near East 86th Street in the 1930s-40s. In 1941 the owner gave up half of his space for Yee’s Chop Suey and became solely a takeout spot. Bama’s moved in 1942 to a location one block west of where it started. […]
Bedford Reservation in the Cleveland metropolitan park system was occasionally referenced as a picnic spot used by African Americans in the 1930s. Later, in 1962, despite many years of Black horseback riding on the Bedford Reservation’s bridle paths, the Black Beauty Riding Club refused to rent its horses to African Americans, claiming that “99 percent […]
Brady Lake was an amusement park and leisure destination along Brady Lake between Kent and Ravenna, Ohio. It opened in 1898 and was regionally popular into the mid-20th century. Brady Lake attracted African American leisure-seekers in the interwar years. An article in 1935 about a jazz concert noted that Brady Lake “will be turned over […]
Located about a thirty-minute drive south of Cleveland, Breezy-Air Country Club opened in 1947 on Ledge Road off old Route 8 between Northfield and Macedonia and about one mile from Sportsman’s Park. The country club boasted sixty acres of rolling farmland and was an ideal place for summer. The property was home to the former […]
Brownwood Acres was the country estate of Dr. Stanley and Viola Brown of Glenville. It was located in Shalersville Township north of Ravenna and hosted a number of picnics and social outings in the late 1940s to mid 1950s. The estate suffered significant damage in a 1956 tornado. Additional information coming soon.
Located in Furnace Run Metro Park, Brushwood Lake was one of two public parks in Summit County (the other being Virginia Kendall Park) whose swimming areas were open to African Americans in the mid 20th century. Brushwood’s swimming area operated only for a few years in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Additional information coming […]
When we think of historically Black beaches, Atlantic coastal resorts usually come to mind, including American Beach near Jacksonville, Highland Beach outside Baltimore and Washington, and Atlantic Beach near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But in the early 20th century, African Americans in the Great Lakes region also sought out their own lakeshore beaches, including on […]
Cafe Tia Juana opened in 1947 and was in operation until 1969. Cafe Tia Juana was located in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. Located at 1045 East 105th Street, Cafe Tia Juana was a safe place for African American travelers as well as residents of the Glenville neighborhood to grab a drink and watch numerous jazz musicians […]
Camp Cheerful opened in 1945 by the Society for Crippled Children as the nation’s first camp designed especially for children with disabilities. It is located in Mill Stream Run Reservation near Strongsville. In its early years the camp operated on a segregated basis but eventually integrated its programs. Additional information coming soon. Resources “Handicapped Youth […]
Camp Cleveland, now known as Camp George Forbes, is located at 25440 Harvard Road in Highland Hills. Additional information coming soon.
Camp Mueller is located on Akron-Peninsula Road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park north of Cuyahoga Falls and was started by the Phillis Wheatley Association in 1939 as an interracial camp for inner-city children. Additional information coming soon. Resources “Phillis Wheatley Association.” Cleveland Historical. https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/19. Phillis Wheatley Association (Oral History Collection). Cleveland Voices. https://clevelandvoices.org/collections/show/58. Vasarhelyi, […]
Camp Robin Hood was a camp near Burton in Geauga County that opened in 1937 to serve the children of unionized workers regardless of race or creed. At some point it moved to a site along the Grand River near Geneva but appears to have have closed before 1950. Additional information coming soon.
Centerville Mills Camp was located in Bainbridge Township north of Aurora. The Cedar Branch YMCA in Cleveland held summer camps there each summer. Like the other regional YMCA campground, River Road Camp, Centerville Mills segregated campers by schedule, offering white campers their choice of multiple weeks but allowing just one week each summer for African […]
The Central Avenue Public Baths building still stands at 2526 Central Avenue. It housed a pool that was one of only two in the city where African American swimmers were openly welcome in the earlier decades of the 20th century. More information coming soon.
Chestnut Beach hosted various organizations’ outings and offered outdoor recreation and dancing. In 1937, it hosted the “All Ohio-Pennsylvania Negro outing.” The precise location is unclear. It was described as being “reached via route 8 and route 526.” The latter highway, now defunct, ran from East Akron through Mogadore to Route 43 in Suffield Township. […]
Located on Riverview Road in the Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, Chippewa Valley Camp was home to the Playhouse Settlement (Karamu House)’s summer camp from 1923 to 1947. The camp was part of a broader collaboration between the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board and the Cleveland Welfare Federation. Additional information coming soon. Resources Raponi, Richard. […]
Circle Theatre was located at 10208 Euclid Avenue in the city’s so-called “second downtown” that centered on Euclid and E. 105th. The theater opened as the Hoffman in 1920, became the Circle in 1927, and operated until 1959. In the 1950s, as the adjacent Hough neighborhood transitioned to a majority Black area, the entertainment businesses […]
Text from Ohio Historical Marker: “Golfer and World War II veteran William J. Powell, excluded from playing on many American golf courses because of his race, overcame the indignity of discrimination by creating his own course. Hand built in two years and opened in 1948, Clearview Golf Club is the first golf course in the […]
Club Ron-Day-Voo was a so-called “Black and Tan” jazz club operated by Leroy Robinson from 1943 to 1949 at 9804 Cedar Avenue. Additional information coming soon.
Cottage Grove Lake in the Portage Lakes emerged as a picnicking and recreational spot as early as the 1880s after the Cleveland Terminal & Valley Railroad initiated passenger service through the Cuyahoga Valley between Cleveland and the Portage Lakes. By 1890 the railroad financed the development of Cottage Grove Lake into a full-fledged resort. A […]
The Cotton Club featured jazz and blues and other entertainment at 2230 East 4th Street. It opened in 1948 and was renamed the Modern Jazz Room in 1957. A highlight was Duke Ellington’s appearance there in 1956. Additional information coming soon. Resources “Duke Ellington Into Cotton Club, Nov. 23.” Call & Post. November 17, 1956.
Craig Beach was a beach, park, and amusement park area located along Lake Milton to the west of Youngstown. Gaining massive popularity in the 1920s, the location could accommodate thousands of visitors at one time, and was a very popular vacation and resort location for the people of Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. While the […]
Crystal Beach was a lakeside amusement park that operated in Vermilion, Ohio, from 1907 to 1962. The earliest mention of Black visitors was that of the Union Sunday School picnic in 1908. In 1932, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cuyahoga County Lodge of Colored Elks held its annual picnic at Crystal Beach, suggested […]
Dearing’s Restaurant, lauded by the Call & Post as “Cleveland’s Pride,” was one of the most popular Black-owned dining establishments in the Midwest. Owned and operated by Ulysses S. (U. S. or “Sweets”) Dearing, the restaurant opened in 1944 at 1035 East 105th Street and was one of several Dearing eateries over the years. The restaurant was beautifully […]
Diamond Lake Park, also known as Diamond Lake Picnic Grounds, was a popular park, lake, beach area located about 15 miles east of Cleveland along Mayfield Road (Route 322) just west of Chesterland. It is known to have operated in the 1950s and early 1960s. Owned by Diamond Cratsas, from whom its name was derived, Diamond […]
The Cabin Club / Drift Inn Club (sometimes spelled “Drif In” or “Driff Inn”) was a Black club and recreation hub located at 5360 Akron Peninsula Road in Peninsula. It operated from the 1930s to 1957. The location featured six “ultra modern cabins” with running water, a recreation hall, and a baseball diamond, amateur baseball […]
Richard T. Kyers opened the Duchess Hotel in the former Duchess apartment block at 2125 East 79th Street next to his Green Book–listed Kyers Service Station (7901 Cedar Avenue) in the 1940s to meet the surging demand for lodging for Black visitors and newcomers to Cleveland during World War II. Kyers also converted a large […]
Duncan’s Farm was a dairy farm that doubled as a rural recreational retreat. The farm appeared in advertisements in the Call and Post between 1938 and 1942, but there is currently no official record of when the farm closed or opened. The farm was owned and operated by Frank and Janie Duncan and was located […]
East 9th Street Pier has long been a center for pleasure, initially as the principal Cleveland dock for passenger ships that plied Lake Erie. Later, during the 1960s, the Pier became home to a popular local restaurant, Captain Frank’s. Today, it is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Goodtime III […]
Ebony Lounge was located at 6916 Cedar Avenue. Previously Jimmy Frazier’s Caravan Club during the World War II years, the nightspot fell on hard times before prominent Black businessman Alonzo G. Wright financed the business, which reopened as the Ebony Lounge in 1949. When the club’s profits fell short of his expectations, Wright quickly sold […]
Edgewater Park Beach is located along the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway west of downtown Cleveland. In its early years the park appears to have been open to African Americans but not well used. In 1908, the Cleveland Gazette reported, “A few ladies of the East End held a picnic at Edgewater park last Thursday afternoon. Our […]
Elite Recreation was a Black-owned bowling alley at 2111 East 96th Street. In 1941, a white bowling-alley operator, Art Loew, bought a sixteen-year-old auto garage and turned it into Elite Recreation with the promise to welcome African American bowlers. Loew promised to hire Black unionized workers. After three years he sold it to Roland Boyce, […]
Erma Lee’s Beauty School was located at 2331-33 E. 55th St. in the 1940s. It offered dormitory accommodations for out-of-town students. Additional information coming soon.
Euclid Beach Park, located in Cleveland’s North Collinwood neighborhood along Lake Erie, was the city’s best-known amusement park for about seven decades. Throughout its history, Euclid Beach was also the site of many confrontations over its policy of racial segregation. Euclid Beach was segregated starting in 1895, its first season, denying African Americans use of […]
Like several other Metroparks in Cleveland’s east side suburbs, Euclid Creek Reservation was a favored site for Black picnics at least as far back as the 1940s. Additional information coming soon.
Falcon Lake Park was a park and recreational lake area located on Caston Road along the present-day Nimisila Reservoir in Akron. It is known to have operated in the 1930s-40s, both before and after the federal government built the new Nimisila Dam in the late 1930s. Owned by Felix Krasinski, who immigrated to Akron from […]
Forest Hills Park Pool was located at 12310 Arlington Avenue in the Forest Hills neighborhood between Glenville and Collinwood. The pool was the site of racial threats to Black swimmers in the 1930s-40s. Additional information coming soon. Resources Michney, Todd M. Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900–1980. Chapel Hill: University […]
The Friendly Inn Camp in Sagamore Hills was the program of the Friendly Inn, a settlement house located in Cleveland’s Cedar-Central neighborhood. More information coming soon. Resources Holder, Sule. “Friendly Inn.” Cleveland Historical. https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/399.
Fullum’s Farms was a picnic ground that hosted an Argonauts’ outing in 1948. The group chartered buses from the Cedar YMCA for the event. Additional information coming soon.
The Garfield Park Pool, located within the Garfield Park Reservation, was first opened to the public in 1917. Assisted by an extension of the Broadway Avenue streetcar line to the front gates of the park in 1915, as well as opening alongside a new sand beach at the park, the pool itself attracted an estimated […]
Gay Crosse is best known as a Cleveland saxophone player who led his band Good Humor Six in the mid-twentieth century. He played music for various local venues, such as the Rose Room at the Majestic Hotel, Towne Casino, The Lucky Bar, Gleason’s Musical Bar, Ebony Club, Club Ron-Day-Voo, and the Blue Grass Club. His […]
Gay Crosse was a well-known Cleveland musician from the mid-1930s to 1950s, but many do not know that he was a local business owner. Through Crosse’s illustrious career as a saxophone player and front man for the band Good Humor Six, he was able to save his earnings and become the owner and operator of […]
Geauga Lake Park was a picnic ground, recreational area, and amusement park located 18 miles southeast of Cleveland on Geauga Lake (previously known as Picnic Lake and Giles Pond) along the border of Bainbridge Township in Geauga County and Aurora in Portage County, where it operated from 1887 to 2007. The earliest mention of African […]
Gleason’s, variously referred to as Gleason’s Bar, Gleason’s Musical Bar, Gleason’s Cafe, and Gleason’s Restaurant, was a bar and restaurant located at 5219 Woodland Ave., at the corner of Woodland and East 55th Street. It was founded by William “Jap” Gleason in 1944. Prior to opening the restaurant, Gleason had been a manager for Alonzo […]