The Sum(mer) of its Parts



Matt MacDonald
Concluding our summer series is a look into the neighborhood of Collinwood located east of Cleveland. Unfortunately, given the state of current affairs, Collinwood seems positioned to be the underdog with respects to Urban Renewal. Despite what has happened in neighboring cities, Collinwood’s history is just as rich as its west side counterparts, Tremont and Ohio City.

From the very beginning, Collinwood has been no stranger to hardship. On March 4th, 1908, Lakeview Elementary School (in Collinwood) caught fire claiming 179 lives, most of them children. The coroner’s report stated that the children died because their panic inhibited them from leaving the building in an orderly fashion. This tragedy prompted Nation-wide school inspections resulting in stricter laws (Van Tassel, Grabowski, 1987).

Historical events aside, Collinwood High offers free recreational activities and has since 2010. Offered are aerobics, basketball, arts and crafts, instrumental music, a game room, and swimming, just to name a few. All activities are open to the public throughout the summer.

It’s no secret that Cleveland was once one of the best locations in the nation with respect to industrial production/consumption. What is an often-disregarded fact is that this reputation would have gone to some other city if it weren’t for Collinwood. Throughout the duration of WWII, Collinwood was the home of one of the heaviest industrial areas in the world. Within its boundaries… were Fisher Body, TRW, General Electric, Lincoln Electric, Eaton Corporation, National Acme, Bailey Meter and a dozen other firms (Van Tassel, Grabowski, 1987).

The unfortunate result of this reputation was a degradation in environmental standards. Hindsight is, indeed, a cruel mistress. However, with hindsight comes knowledge!

Now, through the end of Fall 2013, The Euclid Beach Adopt-a-Beach Team has one mission: to improve the quality of the water that makes up the Great Lake of Lake Erie. What does that mean and what can you expect? You can expect to find an impassioned group of men and women who are painfully aware of the water quality of Lake Erie and they have taken it upon themselves to do something about it. This doesn’t just mean getting on a soapbox and banging a drum to get everybody’s attention. This means doing something about the trash, educating people who frequent and live around the beaches as well as maintaining a healthy dialogue with state park officials.

With respect to the Arts, Cleveland (as a whole) is the home to an art scene that is getting ready to boil over the sides. Tremont, Ohio City, Cleveland (proper) and now Collinwood, all of these parts of a very large whole have been producing top rate artists in all fields of the Arts and Entertainment.

With specific respect to Collinwood, from now until August 24, 2013 the Arts Collinwood Gallery has extended their deadline for their current juried exhibition “Vacancy/No Vacancy”, an exhibition that promotes the process and benefits of Urban Renewal.
photos courtesy of google images