This course explores our region’s history through
the lens of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens & Euclid Avenue. Both
exist as part of a corridor that runs from downtown Cleveland to University
Circle, into East Cleveland, one of the city’s first suburbs.
For the sake of this course, this broad swath of land will be referred
to as the Euclid Corridor. Defined more precisely, the Euclid Corridor
runs from Public Square in downtown Cleveland, past University Circle,
into East Cleveland, one of the city’s first suburbs; as an object
of study it includes the people who have lived, worked, or traversed
Euclid Avenue and its contiguous streets—those that run parallel
and perpendicular to the Avenue.
To a large degree, the Euclid Corridor embodies the
history of the region and twentieth-century America; in fact, one could
argue that the Euclid Corridor defines Cleveland as a place—currently
and historically. For this reason, studying the Euclid Corridor and
its historical residents—be they people, buildings, or institutions—will
be the focus of this course.
Because of the centrality of the Cleveland Cultural
Gardens and the Euclid Corridor more broadly to understanding historical
change in Cleveland, these landscapes make ideal research projects for
History 400, the Local History Seminar. History 400 is a research seminar
meant to introduce the basics of historical research, including the
writing of a lengthy research paper.
Better still, this course will build upon and contribute
to two major public history initiatives underway in Cleveland. The first
is my work on the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and (along with Dr. Mark
Souther) the Euclid Corridor History Project, which is a collaboration
of the CSU Department of History, Cleveland Public Art, Greater Cleveland
Regional Transit Authority, and Ideastream (WVIZ and WCPN). As part
of the public art component of the larger Euclid Corridor Transportation
Project, this project seeks to create a new sense of place along Euclid
Toward this end, student research will become an integral
part of interpretive signage, audio histories, and artwork that will
built as part of the larger transportation project. Successive history
classes are contributing historical documentation of the history of
Euclid Avenue between Public Square and East Cleveland to support this
important urban revitalization effort. Each student in this course will
contribute research to these larger projects. The best of this work
will be included in the public component of these projects. Moreover,
students completing exemplary projects may be asked to present their
findings to the RTA or other community leaders.