Shattered Dreams Revisited

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Shattered Dreams Revisited

The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Photography and Text by Lauren R. Pacini Foreword by John J. Grabowski, Ph.D.



Shattered Dreams Revisited



Shattered Dreams Revisited The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Photography and text by Lauren R. Pacini Foreword by John J. Grabowski, Ph.D. With contributions from students of the following Cleveland-area schools: Entrepreneurship Preparatory School Ruffing Montessori School in Cleveland Heights Montessori High School in University Circle 2012


Copyright Š 2012 by Lauren R. Pacini All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America Artography Press, Cleveland, Ohio. With the co-operation of the Western Reserve Historical Society The Western Reserve Historical Society Publication Number 196 ISBN 0 911-704-62-0 Printed in Northeast Ohio on acid-free paper


The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Foreword Vision and Transition Shattered Dreams Revisited is a primer about the manner in which we have been acculturated to see change, as well as how we might re-envision that change. Lauren Pacini’s images of Cleveland focus on the sometimes troubling visual evidence of a city in a period of major transition. To use the vernacular of the time, they are photographs of a city moving from the industrial to the post-industrial age. We say these words today as a type of civic mantra and, by doing so, we try to take comfort in the belief that the loss of something old is leading to something new and, according to the prognosticators, something better – cleaner, safer, more modern. For those who have lived in the city for decades, indeed for those who have lived in any industrial city “in transition,” the shift from what was to what is to be is unsightly and unsettling. Too many memories are bound up in the empty factories that once provided jobs to family and friends. The loss of industrial power, a power epitomized by overwhelming structures, bustle, noise, heat and manly labor, seems both a personal and civic emasculation. Downsizing is not the American thing to do and, no matter how often one argues that smaller and less crowded equates to more livable and enjoyable, the loss of stature as the fifth, sixth or seventh city in the land is problematic for those with deep memories and strong beliefs in the mythology of what was. Forty-fifth place (Cleveland’s ranking as of the 2010 census) is not a matter of pride for Americans who always think big. Yet, this change is, perhaps, no more traumatic than those that have occurred before in the city’s history. Cleveland’s transition from a small, rather homogeneous mercantile city in the 1830s to a polyglot industrial center some two generations later was a wrenching experience for those who remembered open fields, clean water, breathable air and trees that stayed green until seasonal change, rather than air pollution, altered the color of their leaves. What came to be seen as progress for some, was a loss of Eden for others – the longings of the Romantic Era were as keenly felt by longtime Clevelanders during its shift to industrialism, as they were by those who looked for an escape from the traumas of a modernizing Europe. Log cabins and spinning wheels became the stuff of memory for those romantics, while castles and chivalry served as romantic balms in Europe. The fact that Lauren Pacini’s images have about them a palpable touch of the romantic gives power to this volume. They are, in some ways, the equivalent to the engravings and paintings of the ruins of antiquity so valued by 19th-century Europeans. That plays to the feelings of those who sense the loss of a golden era, albeit a very gritty one, in the demise of American industry. The photographs have the ability to stir memory and also to arouse regret and, perhaps, upset for those who can recall or believe they recall the actualities of industrial Cleveland. But this volume does not allow those who seek nostalgia in the past to find Page vii


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absolute confirmation of their beliefs. There are other ways to see the images, and it is Lauren Pacini’s students who serve as the guides to this alternate view. Their role in selecting images and preparing prose and verse to describe their feelings about what they see is the balance to nostalgia and the belief in myth. They have no personal recollections of “what was” during the industrial heyday of Cleveland. They equate the images of the past to their world, a world largely if not totally in the present. Their concern is not one so much built around size or power, but rather a concern focused on what they, as young citizens of the community, need to do to make a better present and future for the city. It’s not that they fail to sense the human crises brought about by a changing economy – they do, and much of what they have written for this volume evidences that. But, rather than looking back to what was, they seem, in the words they have added to the images, to suggest that their vision is focused on what can be. That, in the midst of compelling images of the remains of an impressive industrial history, is what makes this book thoughtprovoking as well as beautiful. John J. Grabowski, Ph.D. Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor of Applied History Case Western Reserve University Historian, Senior Vice-President for Research and Publications Western Reserve Historical Society Editor, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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Contents Foreword Prologue Introduction The City in Transition A Brief History As Seen by Its Youth Plates Contributors Attribution Epilogue Index

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Introduction Perhaps this body of work is more easily defined by what it is not. It is not a scholarly work, but rather an artistic one. It is not a collection of vintage photographs, but rather photographs made today. It does not intend for the photographs to define what was, but rather for the viewer to combine imagination and experience to arrive at his or her own conclusions. It is not a definitive history, but rather the story of a city in which I grew up and left, what I found when I returned, and what it is becoming now. This book begins with 29 photographs and accompanying narrative that comprised a presentation which I made to fifth- through tenth-grade students in a number of Cleveland-area schools. The first 17 photographs – The City in Transition – describe the city as it is today. The next 12 photographs examine some of the forces that led the city in a downward spiral during the second half of the 20th century. The last 24 photographs were selected by individual students and are accompanied by the students’ prose and poetry. I have included an Index of Plates for those who are curious as to the stories of the buildings and their contribution to the story of Cleveland. As a photographer, I strive to understand what the subject is telling and to tell that story through my photography. Black-andwhite photography offers a compelling richness of detail, texture and contrast that is often obscured by the color pallet. It is particularly suited to the story of the urban landscape. My photographs generally do not include people; people define the photograph. I prefer to encourage the viewer to interpret the photograph within the context of his or her own experience. I was seven years old when I moved to Cleveland with my family in 1950. Much has changed in the ensuing years, but the neversay-die spirit of its citizens who watched the factories close, and who have not seen a baseball championship since 1948, or a football championship since 1964, leads Clevelanders to an unshakable belief in “next year.” While I am all too aware of the city’s signs of decline, I am inspired by and driven to tell another story – one of hope – of rebirth. Lauren R. Pacini

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

The City In Transition The post-industrial city is in a state of flux. Signs of death are evident throughout the urban landscape. Not as evident, but of significantly greater importance, are the signs of its rebirth. No longer dependent upon manufacturing, the city is struggling to create its new identity. This is the Midwestern industrial city today.

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Today, the urban landscape is a patchwork of contrast.

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 1. Cleveland Skyline

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Silent factories stand in varying stages of decay.

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 2. Cleveland Co-operative Stove Company, East 67th Street at Central Avenue

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Inside boarded, abandoned buildings, the clutter of wine and whiskey bottles and beer cans, combined with the stench of human waste, speak to the despair of transient occupants in search of refuge from cold winds and rain or snow.

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 3. Inside Warner & Swasey Co., Carnegie Avenue at East 55th Street

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

A Brief History The decline of the industrialized Midwest was the result of numerous factors, some of which were programs designed to make the nation stronger, but that resulted in significant unintended consequences.

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By the middle of the 20th century, the “Gilded Age” of “Millionaire’s Row,” where Cleveland’s captains of industry and philanthropy once lived in graceful mansions with sprawling lawns along Euclid Avenue, “America’s Most Beautiful Street,” in the nation’s wealthiest city, was becoming a memory. Names such as John D. Rockefeller, Marcus A. Hanna, Worcester R. Warner, Ambrose Swasey, Jeptha Wade and Samuel Mather were becoming memories as well. The names of Cyrus S. Eaton and Frederick C. Crawford would likewise become memories.

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 18. Mather Mansion, 2605 Euclid Avenue

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The Cleveland Flats, the broad, low-lying land on either side of the Cuyahoga River, once inhospitable to the city’s settlers, was a sea of steel mills and chemical plants. Day and night, flames and smoke filled the air. Homes on the bluffs above the Flats were stained with the effluence of industry. So, too, were the lungs of those who labored in those plants and inhabited the nearby homes.

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 19. Former Republic Steel Mill now part of ArcelorMittal USA

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The ravages of the Great Depression soon signaled the beginning of a long decline for a city that had held so much promise. The city that had worn the crown as the center of the automobile industry at the turn of the century – the home of the most beautiful street in America and conservative banking practices – was facing an unseen decline.

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Plate 20. Cleveland Trust Rotunda at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street

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The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

As Seen by Its Youth The city has a very different look through the eyes of youth who have only their own experiences, and no historical perspective by which to judge it. The following pages show two quite different points of view. One, that of urban young people, for whom the industrial city is an every-day reality, and the other, that of suburban youth, who only experience the core city in passing.

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Laced With Emotions

(continued)

Four rectangular pictures hung with great care on the wall, All of them straight, all of them clean, Will they be admired again?

The hardwood floor, Each panel a brilliant light, shiny brown. Will anyone, someone, walk here again?

The fan on the ceiling, So still, so quiet, Will its light ever turn back on?

The small rug under the coffee table, Simple yet pretty with its symmetrical design. Will somebody notice it again?

The tea set, Complete with a pot and two cups, Will someone drink out of these again?

The whole room, Shows great elegance, simplicity, Peace could not get any better, Yet what good is it if no one sees it?

Seven windows, All clear, with two in each set, Will anyone ever look out of these again? Two lamps, two nightstands, One on each side of the bed, Will these ever be used again? Two pillows, Each fluffed to the max, lay on the bed, Will someone lay their head on these again? One set of sheets, A crisp arctic white, Will anyone fall asleep under these again? Square, circle, square, circle, The pattern on the cushion goes, Will anyone lean their backs against these again? The couch itself, made to sit many more than two, So soft, so squishy, Will someone come in and sit down on it again? Page 66

Now the room is empty, Like a bottomless pit, It is so lonely, So lonely... Will somebody, anybody, come in, Take a look. Maybe even stay, To see what this room is worth? Or will its peace evaporate into the air, The loneliness, just suddenly vanish, The elegance, be suddenly gone? But no, for it someday, Will become a room of great worth, This room will not be lonely long. Clarissa Loh Ruffing Montessori School 7th Grade


The Death and Rebirth of the Midwest Industrial City

Plate 30. Residence in an Old Factory in Slavic Village

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Loneliness Came I’m trapped in a world, Dark and full of hatred, My God threw me in this room. This dark room you call the world, With big things, Making me feel so small. I questioned the God, Who created this harsh reality, “Why must I face these things alone in this dark place?” Sitting for days, Thinking of an answer to my question. First came depression, Next anger, After insanity. Then came loneliness. Jerrisha Cecil Entrepreneurship Preparatory School 8th Grade

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Plate 31. Inside Tyler Village, 3615 Superior Avenue

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Oasis of Space In this place the actors bare their souls like the exposed brick on the wall. The curtains pulled aside to reveal a new life for an old world. Like waves upon the sea the chairs sit, With patrons ready to be taken to new worlds. The cavernous ceiling acts like a canopy, Sheltering from the outside world. The audience breathes with the actors, One vast, yawning lung to serve all. A space returned to something like its old purpose, It can only stand tall, proud, Thankful to be given a second chance at life. Strung with lights, Shining upon something new. Celebrating a reverberating chant, This is, Not was. In a city ravaged by demise and demolition, Fighting to hold its head of steel high, this landmark stood dark and silent. Awaiting a new fate. It will not be ravaged by flames, Nor memories long past. It will be reborn and rehabilitated into something new. Something to spark life, and learning. An oasis of creativity and time. Emerging as a powerhouse to rival a factory, But instead of producing steel, Producing art. Katrina M. Walker Montessori High School 10th Grade Page 112


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Plate 54. Gordon Square Theater, 6415 Detroit Avenue

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