February 6th, 2007
Because of the difficult topography, Tremont was somewhat slow to develop. A few farmers came in from Connecticut between approximately 1810 and 1840. Isaac Lamson, Thomas Lamson and Samuel Sessions were New Englanders who came shortly after and were the first to build a factory.
Industry was then on the move in Cleveland and immigrants swarmed to the area because of the availability of jobs. The Irish and Germans were the first to arrive after the New Englanders. Soon the lowlands teemed with industry and the high ground teemed with laborers newly arrived from Poland, Austro-Hungarian Empire (Slovaks, Rusyns, some of whom were called Lemkos and Ruthenians, and Ukrainians).
The immigrants thought they were coming to a land of gold-paved streets, but they spent their lives working 12-hour days, six days a week in unsafe workplaces and for low wages. These newer arrivals were noticed immediately. The women wore babushkas and the men wore course woolen trousers. Despite the poor wages, many immigrants still earned more money here than they could ever have earned in their “old country.” Many came and saved their money in order to bring other family members over or to send money home. Men who came alone typically lived in boarding houses. Boarders could live well on about $8 a month in the 1890’s. Typical wages were about .10 - .20 cents an hour.
Most immigrants struggled to learn English and raise families. They chose to live in ethnic enclaves that were much like their own countries with a common foreign language, stores, churches, newspapers and social halls. It wouldn’t be until after World War II that they and/or their descendants would begin leaving Tremont for the suburbs of Parma, Lakewood, Brooklyn, and beyond.
By the 1960’s the principal influx to the Tremont area was by southern whites and Puerto Ricans.
Entry Filed under: History Tidbits