I've always been fascinated by urban enclaves; a few blocks of homes are are surrounded by heavy industry, affluent neighborhoods encircled by slums, slums encircled by wealthy neighborhoods, a cluster of ethnic holdouts that circle the wagons in a rapidly changing community, and so on.
Hessler Place is one of those enclaves.
University Circle is as close as Cleveland got to an "uptown". if it weren't for the Depression, it might have emerged as a challenger to downtown Cleveland. Today, University Circle remains the cultural heart of Cleveland; it hosts most of the city's major museums, Case Western Reserve University, and the massive Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals complexes. Tens of thousands of high-paid workers commute to University Circle every day.
University Circle also used to have a thriving residential community. Since World War II, however, residential areas have been eroded by encroachment from the area's institutional uses. Two violent riots took place in adjacent neighborhoods in the 1960s, which didn't help. Today, University Circle is surrounded on three sides by distressed communities, all of which used to be quite affluent; the Hough and Glenville neighborhoods, and the City of East Cleveland .
There are still people living in University Circle, though, in high-rise apartment buildings that are scattered like islands in an institutional sea, dormitories at CWRU, once-grand mansions that now house fraternities, sororities and non-profit organizations, and Hessler Road.
Hessler Road is a one-block brick and wood block street that is completely surrounded by Case Western Reserve University and other institutional uses. It's an enclave and a street that is among the last of its kind on Cleveland's East Side, a narrow, tree-lined way lined with a combination of large frame houses and three-and-four story brick apartment buildings, many of which have street-facing porches.
(Click to enlarge)
Hessler Road was a preferred place of residence for Cleveland's counter-cultural crowd (enough alliterations for you?) during the 1960s and 1970s, and much of that character remains today. A street fair draws about 10,000 people to the block every year. Its residential makeup seems divided between college students and older established residents, many of which are the kind that you'll see in the bulk food aisle at the local co-op, holding forth on social justice with a fellow congregant of their Unitarian Universalist church. Basically, crunchy retirees.
Anyhow, here's Hessler Road. Larger images are in the Gallery.
A sure sign of student housing
I wish I had a porch like this.
Neighborhood message board
Hesslerites for Peace
Identity crisis. The bottom sign is probably a minority opinion among Hesselerites.
Hessler Court, the only remaining wood block street in Cleveland.
Dead end. I heard classical music out of one of the windows in this building.