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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

EXCELSIOR - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

EXCELSIOR was a Jewish club established "for the purpose of establishing intimate friendly relations among ourselves, and to enjoy the advantages of an Association calculated to produce enlightened social and literary pleasure." Twenty-two men met on 20 Oct. 1872 in Halle Hall on Superior at the call of Solomon Austrian to form a social club partly in reaction to Jewish exclusion from such clubs as the UNION CLUB OF CLEVELAND and the Century Club. Typical of the Jewish social clubs of the emerging upper middle class founded throughout the U.S. in the late 1800s, the Excelsior included in its membership only upwardly mobile Jews with German cultural backgrounds. During its existence, the Excelsior Club met at 5 locations, including Weisgerber's Hall on Prospect and Brownell, the Corlett Bldg. on Erie (E. 9th) St., the specially designed 2nd and 3rd floors of the newly constructed Halle Bldg. at Erie and Woodland, and a large building designed by Cudell & Richardson dedicated at 38th and Woodland. In 1908 Excelsior moved into a new home on Euclid Ave. in the Wade Park district, which is today (1996) Thwing Hall of CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY. The club sponsored a variety of social events for its members and provided dining and recreational facilities. In 1931, recognizing that the OAKWOOD CLUB (1905) included many of the Excelsior members and provided similar and expanded activities, the Excelsior leadership effected a merger of the two clubs.

Oakwood Club Records, WRHS.

Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 10:52:43 AM

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