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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COLLINWOOD - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The COLLINWOOD neighborhood of Cleveland is located about 7 mi. northeast of PUBLIC SQUARE. Originally part of E. Cleveland Twp., initially called COLLAMER, Collinwood was a village separate from Cleveland until 1910. By 1860 an omnibus line operated between Cleveland and Collamer via St. Clair Ave. The main axis of the village was Collamer (E. 152nd) St. By 1890 Collinwood was a major switching point of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (later New York Central) Railroad and the location of its vast freightyards. The COLLINWOOD RAILROAD YARDS eventually included over 120 mi. of track and extensive repair shops, providing the basis for the area's early growth. In the late 1800s Collinwood was also the site of lakefront vineyards, whose grapes were used in wine production. Disaster struck the Collinwood community on 4 Mar. 1908, when the COLLINWOOD SCHOOL FIRE claimed 174 lives. Collinwood was annexed to Cleveland on 21 Jan. 1910. The neighborhood became home to large Irish, Italian, and Slovenian populations. FIVE POINTS--the intersection of E. 152nd St. and St. Clair and Ivanhoe avenues--was the commercial hub of the neighborhood. Collinwood was also home to EUCLID BEACH PARK.

During World War II, Collinwood encompassed one of the heaviest industrial areas in the world. Within its boundaries, in addition to the New York Central yards, were FISHER BODY DIVISION OF GENERAL MOTORS CORP., Thompson Prods. (see TRW, INC.), GENERAL ELECTRIC CO., LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO., Eaton Axle (see EATON CORP.), Natl. Acme (see ACME-CLEVELAND CORP.), Bailey Meter (see BABCOCK & WILCOX), and a dozen other firms. During the 1950s Collinwood experienced the beginning of social problems, including high delinquency and crime rates, followed by racial turbulence in the 1960s and 1970s as AFRICAN AMERICANS moved into the formerly white neighborhood. The neighborhood was further buffeted by the departure of such industries as Fisher Body and Eaton and the closing of the Collinwood shops by CONRAIL in 1981. In the face of such reverses, organizations such as the Collinwood Village Development Corp. (est. 1987) have been working to upgrade the neighborhood's residential and commercial property.

Since the late 1990s, Collinwood experienced revitalization through the arts, particularly along the neighborhood's Waterloo Road. Arts Collinwood formed in 2003; within the next few years eleven new arts-related businesses opened in the neighborhood. Collinwood gained national and international recognition for its arts-centered rehabilitation efforts. In 2009 the Wall Street Journal featured the neighborhood in a story about the use of the arts to fight blight. The, arts initiative in Collinwood was also featured on German National Television.

Last Modified: 22 Feb 2010 12:59:39 AM

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