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Euclid Oral History


Ms. Hazel E. Smith

Mrs. Smith desribes her life in Euclid in this taping on December 14, 1982. She was born in 1893 in her home on Euclid Avenue near Chardon. Her parents ran the post office and general store on that corner. When she was 4 years old, her parents moved to a farm on Chardon Road, but only for a while when they moved to Bliss (East 222) to live with her uncle's family when her mother was sick. Around 1910, the family settled in the Noble area where her mother ran the post office. She recalled people came to spend their summers in Euclid. Grapes were the most popular business while she was growing up and she remembered the basket company on East 222 near Euclid. Her father was the first treasurer of Euclid Village and also served as the first sewer inspector. She remembered when Charlie Eli ran as mayor he promised to do away with all railroad crossings to improve traffic. (18 minutes)

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Ms. Geraldine Devoe

This history was recorded on January 11, 1975. Mrs. Devoe was one of Euclid's first settlers. Her great grandmother was a descendant of John Crosier who was a sargeant in the Revolutionary War. Mr. Crosier settled in Euclid in 1818 shortly after his wife died. Euclid Township was 6 miles square. Her family originally settled on Richmond Road then settled in the farm house on the street now called Devoe. She remembered the home having a huge oak tree in front with a wooden swing. The house was warned with a pot belly stove and the coal shed wasout back with the out house. She fondly remembered the family's Noble Church on Babbitt and St. Clair. It was the center of family activity with regular ice cream socials, bazaars and the popular oyster suppers. (43 minutes)

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Ms. Esther Kosier 

This history was recorded March 28, 1984. Mrs. Kosier was born in 1920 at East 221st and Euclid Avenue. The land from their property all the way to the tracks was grape vineyards. Her father worked for Twist Drill in Cleveland and took the Interurban train to get there. Euclid Avenue was a one lane brick road and the Interurban train ran along the south side of the road. East 221st was a dirt road with a creek passing the road about half way down. She remembers when her family moved to the street and that the moving van broke through the planks covering the creek dumping all their furniture in the water.

When her father was laid off from his job in 1921, he became Euclid's first police officer. Stop 10, at the corner of Euclid and Chardon, was the center of Euclid. City Hall and the police and fire departments were located there. In 1929 when city hall burned down, they relocated to the old hotel on Euclid Avenue where she remembered the big front porch and the rockers people enjoyed. Her dad worked for $125 per month and had to buy his own uniform and motorcycle. She recalled that during the Great Depression that many local boys "rode the rails" looking for work. They'd hop on and off the trains at about East 219. She could see the fires in their shacks where they'd cook and keep warm. Her father told her that one of the jobs of police was to take a basket and pick up body parts along the tracks in Euclid from the boys who missed the train they had hoped to catch.

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Mrs. Winifred Dempsey

Mrs. Dempsey lived her wole life within the city of Euclid. She raised 10 children here and refered to the years of 1920 to 1950 as being the most progessive time in Euclid's history. She remembered the red, street cars where a person could ride from downtown Cleveland to Willow Beach for 20 cents. Riding within Euclid cost only 5 cents. The streets of E. 236 (Idlewild) and E. 220 (Moss Point) were only cottages many years ago. There was a time when the city wanted homes to be more permanent and insisted that they each have a basement. (6 minutes - stopped abruptly)

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Mrs. W. Culver Hale (Florence)

She visited Euclid in 1916 and 1917, but her family settled here in 1919. Mrs. Hale and her family were very active in the social activities of Euclid. As a child, she attended the #10 school which was a white, frame school at the corner of E. 250 and Lakeshore Blvd. Eventually she attended Oberlin College and was graduated in 1933. Her father was on City Council during Prohibition when he had to deal with rum runners.

Their family attended the Union Church on Babbitt Road where a variety of faiths attended services. Her father played the violin and her mother the piano. After a while, in 1923, they began to help organize a Methodist church which began in the cafeteria of Shore school. In the early 1930s the church moved to a white frame building. Mrs. Hale and her husband were busy with many civic activities including the Jay Cees. She always maintained that Euclid is the greatest place to live. (20 minutes)

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Mrs Juanita Blackburn's 

Her story was recorded on August 24, 1982. Mrs. Blackburn was a teacher with the Euclid City Schools from 1929 to 1969. In this recording, she shares the contents of an old diary she found in her mother's attic. The leather-bound diary was written by her grandfather where he wrote of a  journey from St. Joseph, Missouri to Wheel's Ranch in the Sacramento Valley of California from April 7, 1849 to July 7, 1849. He listed the cost of various items that were necessary for the trip. (30 minutes)

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Mrs. Hazel Gaush

Mrs. Gaush was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" for her outstanding contributions to our city when this was recorded April 15, 1975. Primarily she was involved in the care of young children. It was in 1944 that she earned the qualifications to become the head teacher of the Lakeshore Village Child Care Center in Briardale. There were 800 living units to house post-war families and her child care facility was one of 22 in the county. She provided well planned meals, naps and education to countless children over the years. (24 minutes)

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Mrs. Clarence Swackhamer

On June 26, 1975 this recording focused on Mrs. Swackhammer's concern to bring culture to the community of Euclid. She and a few friends brought the Three Arts Cub to Euclid in 1939. This club brought art exhibits, musical performances, prize-winning plays and other significant events to Euclid. (4 minutes)

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Mr. Emerson and Mrs. Verna Bickley

October 10, 1981 the first African American family in Euclid were interviewed. Mr. & Mrs. Bickley owned a home on Tracy when there were very few homes built. They chose this area because they wanted to live near the water. Mrs. Bickley attended Western Reserve while living here. She'd leave her home and walk to St. Clair to catch a bus to go to school and work. Mr. Bickley was a postal carrier in Cleveland. Their experience as the first African American residents were shared along with their conversations with Mayors Eli and Sims. They "wouldn't trade Tracy Avenue and all their friends and neighbors with any place else." (23 minutes)

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Mayor Harry J. Knuth

Recorded July 14, 1975. Mayor Knuth recalled quite a variety of Euclid's history from early industry and neighborhoods to modern development. Up to 1975, he had spent 38 years actively involved in making Euclid a great place to live. His wife, Eleanore Harmon also grew up in Euclid. In this interview he noted that a new mall, the Euclid Square Mall, would soon open. He said that a city of 70,000 should have its own shopping mall. He was proud to say that his son Jim is a Lieutenant in the Euclid Fire Department and his second son, Bob, is the head basketball coach and an assistant principal for Orange High School. (32 minutes)

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Mr. Kenneth F. Bates (1895-1994)

Interviewed April 2, 1975. He was drawn to Euclid because his wife's family had a cottage on the lake. He taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art for over 30 years. He loved how the shoreline changes every day. He enjoyed the privacy of his street and said it feels like it is both city and country at the same time. He could get to University Circle in about 12 minutes. He said his home is rather small, but it has 5 bedrooms and lots of glass windows all around. It was built with 1930s art deco style. The web site www.clevelandartsprize.org, describes his home as "on the Lake Erie shoreline (in Euclid) for 60 years. His house was desgined by the noted architect Alfred Klaus, with input from Bates himself and his wife, Charlotte. It was the first International Style structure in Ohio, a flat-roofed gem fitted out with original art deco furnishings, appliances and even flatware." (20 minutes)

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Mr. Ralph E. Jones

Recorded April 1, 1975 he reflected on his childhood here. He could remember how small the city was and that it was only a village when he grew up with a lot of open areas of land. His mom and aunts would make lots of elderberry jam from the orchards all over Euclid. In the winter there were ponds all over that froze to become a skating rink for children. He remembered the ponds near E. 205 and one on Luikart Drive. Neighborhood rivalries were commonplace between students of Central and Shore high schools. (23 minutes)

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Euclid History