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Thread: Hessler Road: another Cleveland enclave (56K just get broadband already, okay?)

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    Hessler Road: another Cleveland enclave (56K just get broadband already, okay?)

    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.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Interesting photos. I assume you saw my post on Marktown in NW Indiana that I posted back in April. Definitely worth visiting the next time your in the area.

  3. #3
    Nov 2004
    Toledo, Ohio
    i've had many a good time on hessler, especially at 1961 ford (the 2nd bldg photographed)

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    Great little photo tour. It seems that there is always nice little enclaves like this in most, if not all, of the sizable Great Lakes cities.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

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