Friday, October 9, 2015


One of the most extraordinary follies of Ohio City does not even pertain to a structure.  It pertains to an organization.  The community development agency that services this part of the city seems to be trying to suggest that it is among the oldest corporate entities in all the Cleveland area.  Having recently changed their name, accompanying their new logo is the line “Est. 1836”, which would mean that they were established almost 180 years ago.  

This is the epitome of nonsense.  This organization, even if considering any group that might be legitimately considered its predecessor, was established in 1968.  It is true, of course, on the other hand, that the historic municipality of Ohio City, prior to its annexation to Cleveland in 1854, had incorporated as a city in 1836 – but certainly there is no connection between the city that ceased to exist over 160 years ago and this modern-day community development agency.  The inclusion of “Est. 1836” as part of its corporate identity is not only extremely false historically, it is misleading, particularly to tourists and even local residents, who would be unfamiliar with local historic facts.  Its use should be ended.

Of course the irony is that the agency's newest name change uses the historic year "1836" (none of the earlier titles of that same organization had any historic reference other than “Ohio City”), yet the present agency no longer has any real interest in preservation.  Under past names, the agency promoted Ohio City as "Cleveland's Premiere Historic Neighborhood."  The agency's current goal is not to promote the neighborhood's rich historic heritage, but to "brand" the area as the land of the trendy artisan.  (This, by the way, is pretty much the same branding used in Tremont, Detroit-Shoreway, Northeast Shores, and Little Italy – in other words, nothing distinctive here.)

-- C. B. & Tim Barrett

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