WELCOME TO GLENVILLE
By Ambrosia Luzius
Locally famous for its high school football teams and internationally notable for being the birth place of Superman and the
childhood home of Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, the Glenville neighborhood is on Cleveland’s east side with St. Clair Avenue being the main thoroughfare into the area.
Nearly 27,000 residents live within the 2.5-mile neighborhood with uneven borders, which is adjacent to Hough, East Cleveland and Bratenahl.
The first settlers were English, Irish and Scottish who found welcome in the thick shady glens and small streams that gave the neighborhood its name.
Incorporated as a village on Oct 4, 1870, Glenville became part of Cleveland when the city annexed it in 1905.
Jewish residents who settled in the area during the 1930s built grand houses to accommodate their large families. Major civic restoration projects began on those homes at the turn of the century.
By the 1960s, African Americans were the predominant residents as other ethnic groups moved to nearby suburbs. During the height of the civil rights movement, Glenville received negative national attention following the Hough Riots of 1966, which spilled over into the Glenville and Kinsman neighborhoods.
Two years later riots followed a shootout in Glenville, after a clash between a black militant group and Cleveland police forces. After days of rioting, arson and looting, officials called in the National Guard to help police officers and firefighters restore order.
Following the riots, the area’s grand homes, then vacant, continued to decline. Today some of these properties have become part of the catalytic transformation occurring along East 105th Street. This north/south thoroughfare connects the neighborhood to University Circle. Other homes now qualify for grant money to revitalize them to accommodate smaller families.
Centered near many attractions, including Coventry and University Circle with its world class museums and hospitals, Glenville has the historic Coit Road and East Side Farmers’ Markets, making it a hub for locally grown meats, spices, produce and other products.
When you ask the residents of Glenville what they like best about their neighborhood, be prepared for a long conversation about football, soul food, families and community.
Restoring Glenville homes
By Ambrosia Luzius
John Anoliefo heard his children’s voices echo off the walls as they explored the halls of their future Glenville home, claiming bedrooms. The large three-story colonial home on East 98th Street sported peeling paint and boarded-up windows.
But with its wide, open porch and gracious lines, it was still the one that his friends in the neighborhood convinced him to buy.
Everyone nearby knew the previous owner, an elderly lady who took good care of the home, as it had been part of her family’s history. After she died, the house became a Housing and Urban Development foreclosure in 2001.
Two years and thousands of dollars later, the Anoliefo family moved in in 2003. They are one of many families working to restore the grandeur of Glenville neighborhood homes.
According to Anoliefo, executive director of Famicos Foundation, the community development corporation (CDC) of Glenville, the neighborhood was once called the “Gold Coast of the east side” because of the commerce that took place there and the people who lived in the area.
The 2008 housing market crash hit Glenville hard because these houses, averaging over 3,000 square feet, are difficult for families to maintain, as repairs are expensive. For example, it cost Anoliefo $10,000 to paint the outside of the house, which he did with a grant from the Cleveland Restoration Society.
Since then, the Famicos organization handles grants for repairs and assists residents in acquiring homes. State Rep. Bill Payton of District 10, who lives on East Boulevard, helped Famicos obtain two grants totaling $2 million so the group can begin to acquire vacant homes to renovate, logging and assessing the cost associated with renovation.
This process has helped Famicos develop a market for higher-end homes in Glenville. Heritage Lane, for example, has 13 houses in Glenville’s federal historic district. These former duplexes have been converted into single family homes.
Restoring these homes enabled Famicos to sell them for a higher market value, and has influenced new residents to further renovate homes.
The cost of the renovation of the homes on Heritage Lane was $8 million, according to Jacory Stone, marketing director of Famicos.
Stone grew up in Glenville and returned to the community after college. His mother still lives on Parkgate Avenue. “When I was growing up it wasn’t just your mom, it was the community that raised you,” he says.
“Glenville is a place to consider to raise your family,” he adds, noting he and his wife chose to move to Glenville after they got married.
Famicos has also developed a master plan to begin in 2017 that will revitalize the community by bringing in business and undertaking several educational initiatives.
Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens
By Ambrosia Luzius
The 254 acres of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens — second only in size to New York’s Central Park — strives to teach visitors
about the cultures and experiences of those around them through individual displays of nations’ plants, art and sculptures.
“When you walk around the gardens and look at the Italian garden, the Hebrew garden, the Indian, the Chinese — they are all unique by themselves and each one of them has a story to tell about the nation that they represent,” explains John Anoliefo, executive director of Famicos Foundation, a community development organization in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.
The gardens belong to the City of Cleveland and bring visitors from all over the region to the Glenville neighborhood.
Located on land bequeathed by John D. Rockefeller 100 years ago, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens have been inviting people to Glenville to learn about their own culture and those of others since 1916, when the Shakespeare Garden opened in Rockefeller Park.
Ten years later, site developers undertook a long-range plan that would create a chain of gardens representing the people of the world and their cultures. These gardens would also be a symbol of international unity. The Hebrew Garden was the first built in the chain, and the Shakespeare Garden became the British Garden.
“When you look at what is happening in the world today, one would say that the only way for us to put our fingers on it, is to understand the people that we are dealing with, and find out why they are doing what they are doing, and be able to get them to see things our way and promote coexistence with each other,” Anoliefo explains.
Members of represented ethnic groups throughout Ohio raised funds through their embassies or private fundraising to construct each garden. Visitors to the park now can visit 29 gardens, each individually adorned to preserve the history and traditions of the cultures they represent.
Visiting the gardens created by different ethnicities can also spark interest in learning more about their experiences and heritage. “When you look at the others, you may want to go back to your office or home and learn a little bit about that nationality,” Anoliefo adds.
New construction is ongoing, including development plans for Ethiopian, Korean, Lebanese, Native American, Scottish, Turkish and Vietnamese gardens.
One garden currently under construction is the African American garden, which broke ground in May 2015. Originally dedicated in 1977, construction stalled because of a lack of funding, but plans are in place to complete the project.
“It is not complete,” explains Anoliefo. “What you see up there on the hill by Willard (Park) is the door of no return. It is a door that once (slaves are) put through, (they) cannot come back. You are gone. The next place you are going to is the ship.”
In its finished form, the African American garden will also represent past, present and future experiences of African Americans. The first stage and section represents the history through the depiction of the door of no return.
The second stage and section, representing the present, will feature a granite stage rising from the ground to depict the emergence of a people and the challenges they face. This section will have an open meeting space with options for area groups to use it for discussions and presentations.
The final stage of the garden will be a water feature carrying water from the beginning of the garden to a reflection pool that sends water into the air, giving visitors a moment to reflect on the past and future.