City Of Cleveland
( Originally Published 1900 )
Thus we come to Cleveland, the second city in Ohio, having four hundred thousand people, and extensive manufacturing industries. It is the capital of the " Western Reserve" and the chief city of Northern Ohio, its commanding position upon a high bluff, falling off precipitously to the edge of the water, giving it the most attractive situation on the shore of Lake Erie. Shade trees embower it, including many elms planted by the early settlers, who learned to love them in New England, and hence it delights in the popular title of the " Forest City." Were not the streets so wide, the profusion of foliage might make Cleveland seem like a town in the woods. The little Cuyahoga River, its name meaning " the crooked stream," flows with wayward course down a deeply washed and winding ravine, making a valley in the centre of the city, known as "the Flats" and this, with the tributary ravines of some smaller streams, is packed with factories and foundries, oil re-fineries and lumber mills, their chimneys keeping the business section constantly under a cloud of smoke. Railways run in all directions over these flats and through the ravines, while, high above, the city has built a stone viaduct nearly a half-mile long, crossing the valley. Here are the great works of the Standard Oil Company, controlling that trade, and several of the petroleum magnates have their palaces in the city.
Old Moses Cleaveland, a shrewd but unsatisfied Puritan of the town of Windham, Connecticut, became the agent of the Connecticut Lead Company, who brought out the first colony in 1796 that landed at Conneaut. They explored the lake shore, and selecting as a good location the mouth of Cuyahoga River, Moses wrote back to his former home that they had found a spot "on the bank of Lake Erie which was called by my name, and I believe the child is now born that may live to see that place as large as old Windham." In little over a century the town has grown far beyond his wildest dreams, al-though it did not begin to expand until the era of canals and railways, and it was not so long ago that the people in grateful memory erected a bronze statue of the founder. One of the local antiquaries, delving into the records, has found why various original, settlers made their homes at Cleveland. He learned that " one man, on his way farther West, was laid up with the ague and had to stop ; another ran out of money and could get no farther ; another had been to St. Louis and wanted to get back home, but saw a chance to make money in ferrying people across the river; another had $200 over, and started a bank; while yet another thought he could make a living by manufacturing ox-yokes, and he stayed." This earnest investigator continues : "A man with an agricultural eye would look at the soil and kick his toe into it, and then would shake his head and deClare that it would not grow white beansóbut he knew not what this soil would bring forth; his hope and trust was in beans, he wanted to know them more, and wanted potatoes, corn, oats and cabbage, and he knew not the future of Euclid Avenue."
On either side of the deep valley of " the Flats" stretch upon the plateau the long avenues of Cleve-land, with miles of pleasant residences, surrounded by lawns and gardens, each house isolated in green, and the whole appearing like a vast rural village more than a city. This pleasant plan of construction had its origin in the New England ideas of the people. Yet the city also has a numerous population of Germans, and it is recorded that one of the early landowners wrote, in explaining his project of settlement : " If I make the contract for thirty thousand acres, I expect with all speed to send you fifteen or twenty families of prancing Dutchmen." These Teutons came and multiplied, for the original Puritan stock can hardly be responsible for the vineyards of the neighborhood, the music and dancing, and the public gardens along the pleasant lake shore, where the crowds go, when work is over, to enjoy recreation and watch the gorgeous summer sunsets across the bosom of the lake which are the glory of Cleveland. Upon the plateau, the centre of the city, is the Monumental Park, where stand the statue of Moses Cleave-land, the founder, who died in 1806, and a fine Soldiers' Monument, with also a statue of Commodore Perry. This Park is an attractive enclosure of about ten acres, having fountains, gardens, monuments and a little lake, and it is intersected at right angles by two broad streets, and surrounded by important buildings. One of the streets is the chief business highway, Superior Street, and the other leads down to the edge of the bluff on the lake shore, where the steep slope is made into a pleasure-ground, with more flower-beds and fountains and a pleasant outlook over the water, although at its immediate base is a labyrinth of railroads and an ample supply of smoke from the numerous locomotives. A long breakwater protects the harbor entrance, and out under the lake is bored the water-works tunnel.
There extends far to the eastward, from a corner of the Monumental Park, Cleveland's famous streetóEuclid Avenue. The people regard it as the handsomest highway in America, in the combined magnificence of houses and grounds. It is a level avenue of about one hundred and fifty feet width, with a central roadway and stone footwalks on either hand, shaded by rows of grand overarching elms, and bordered on both sides by well-kept lawns. This is the public highway, every part being kept scrupulously neat, while a light railing marks the boundary between the street and the private grounds. For a long distance this noble avenue is bordered by stately residences, each surrounded by ample gardens, the stretch of grass, flowers and foliage extending back from one hundred to four hundred feet between the street and the buildings. Embowered in trees, and with all the delights of garden and lawn seen in every direction, this grand avenue makes a delightful drive-way and promenade. Upon it live the multi-millionaires of Cleveland, the finest residences being upon the northern side, where they have invested part of the profits of their railways, mills, mines, oil wells and refineries in adorning their homes and ornamenting their-city. This splendid boulevard, in one way, is a reproduction of the Parisian Avenue of the Champs Elysees and its gardens, but with more at-tractions in the surroundings of its bordering rows of palaces. Here live the men who vie with those of Chicago in controlling the commerce of the lakes and the affairs of the Northwest. Plenty of room and an abundance of income are necessary to provide each man, in the heart of the city, with two to ten acres of lawns and gardens around his house, but it is done here with eminent success. About four miles out is the beautiful Wade Park, opposite which are the handsome buildings of the Western Reserve University, having, with its adjunct institutions, a thou-sand students. Beyond this, the avenue ends at the attractive Lake View Cemetery, where, on the highest part of the elevated plateau, with a grand outlook over Lake Erie, is the grave of the assassinated President Garfield. His imposing memorial rises to a height of one hundred and sixty-five feet.