Glenville as a Jewish neighborhood
Cleveland's Jewish community, from its beginnings downtown in the 1830's, has
been on the east side of the Cuyahoga River and has been steadily moving east. In the
period 1870-1910 most of the Jewish community
lived on Woodland and Central Avenues and
nearby streets, from near downtown to the East 40s, then
farther east, past East 55th where many Jewish
institutions would be built.
World War I Jews and our communal institutions
moved eastward again. The exodus from the Woodland area was
very rapid. In ten years its Jewish population fell from 35,000 to
only 1,400. Some affluent families bought homes in the
Heights or Bratenahl, but most Jews moved northeast to Glenville
and the rest moved east to Mount Pleasant - Kinsman.
In the 1930s the Glenville neighborhood was home to more
than half of Jewish Cleveland.
In the 40's the great migration from city to
suburbs began. It was accelerated by a growing black population, drawn to
Cleveland for jobs and greater freedom. With their
choices limited by the real estate and rental practices
of the time, they surged into Glenville. The African
American proportion of Glenville residents soared from
only eight percent in 1930 to 90 percent in 1950. The pattern in
Glenville was being repeated in almost every major
American city. This was the time
when words such as "blockbusting"
flight" were first used.
1960, Glenville High School, whose Jewish enrollment had
once been as high as 90 percent, had no Jewish students. Glenville's
years as a vibrant Jewish neighborhood had ended.
Note: most of this section was drawn from the
Jews & Judaism
pages in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.