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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WHISKEY ISLAND - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WHISKEY ISLAND is a triangular piece of land 1 mi. long and one-third mi. at its widest. On the near west side of Cleveland, the peninsula is bounded by Lake Erie to the north, (approx.) W. 54th St. on the west, and the CUYAHOGA RIVER to the south and east. The first piece of solid land amid the swamps lining the river, it was located nearly one-quarter mi. down the Cuyahoga when MOSES CLEAVELAND† visited the area in 1796. LORENZO CARTER† built his family farm on Whiskey Island (so named when a distillery was built on the land in the 1830s). With the construction of the Ohio Canal in 1825 and the rechanneling of the Cuyahoga River in 1827, the area was settled, largely by Irish immigrants. In 1831 the Buffalo Co. and the New Harbor Co., representing investors from Buffalo and Brooklyn, purchased the Carter farm and divided the 80 acres into small allotments with 22 streets. Docks were built, and some manufacturing plants were constructed, including the Lake Erie Iron Works, makers of steamboat shafts and railroad axles. Thirteen saloons were located in the area. Cleveland's second hospital, the "pest house," was built on Whiskey Island following the CHOLERA EPIDEMIC OF 1832. The Cleveland & Toledo Railroad (later the New York Central), chartered in 1853, ran its northern division through Whiskey Island, stopping at the river to ferry its passengers across the Cuyahoga because the city refused permission for the railroad to connect to the eastbound line. The Irish moved from Whiskey Island when better employment and housing opportunities became available. Except for a Depression-era "Hooverville," Whiskey Island in the 20th century was left largely to the railroads, a salt mine (see AKZO NOBEL SALT, INC.), and the last HULETT ORE UNLOADERS on the Great Lakes (see GEO. H. HULETT†). By the 1990s developers were laying plans to revitalize part of the peninsula as a marina and entertainment complex.

Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 01:36:40 PM

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