Archive for March 27th, 2007

The South Side

“The South Side, the Tremont area, is a hillcrest neighborhood five minutes south of downtown Cleveland.  North, south and east of it is The Flats, the industrial valley of the city.

The South Side was home.  It was immediate family.  It was aunts, uncles and cousins.  It was schoolmates whose parents were Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Slovak, German, Irish, Greek and Syrian.  It proved to be a stage deep and wide enough for any dream.

The South Side was St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Church, Pilgrim Congregational Church—and fourteen others.  It was Tremont Elementary School and Lincoln High.  It was the Merrick House, one of the oldest settlement houses in the city.  It was the Dinky, a yellow trolley pretty in memory as a toy.  It was Lincoln Park, a square block of grass, trees, playgrounds and benches.  A man named Dominic used to sit on a bench, smoke his pipe and talk about the old country, dream about it, as he must have talked and dreamed about the new.  It was Fairfield Hill with three and sometimes four layers of children on a sled whistling down the January dark.  It was the Jennings Theatre with nickel movie matinees every Saturday and Sunday afternoon; with love and innocence conquering all in double features every night; with dishes on Wednesday; with Banko and cash prizes on Saturday.

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History of Our Lady of Mercy Church

church1922.jpg2425 W. 11th St.  What you see is the original church.  For several years previous to the year 1917, Slovak Catholics residing on the South Side, or “Heights”, as it was called, clamored for a parish independent of the Mother Parish, St. Wendelin, located on Columbus Road.  The reasons alleged were, that it was too distant to send children to St. Wendelin School, also too dangerous, since the children had to cross three street car lines and one railroad track.  To avoid crossing the railroad track, the children would have to cross over the Abbey Street Bridge, which worked quite a hardship on the children, especially in winter.  Therefore, the Slovak residents of the South Side petitioned Rt. Rev. John P. Farrelly, then Bishop of Cleveland, to grant them a new parish on the South Side.  This parish was to be a division of the parish on Columbus Rd., St. Wendelin. Read more …

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