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The Streets of Cleveland Heights [ Street Stories Index ]

For several years beginning in 1995, most issues of "Focus on the Heights" — published quarterly by the City of  Cleveland Heights— included a short look into the etymologies, oddities and personalities of our city's highways and byways. Written by Ken Goldberg, our community's most eminent (and energetic) historian, they represent an unusual, historical tour through “The Streets of Cleveland Heights.” Following below is the inaugural article, published in the summer of 1995. We hope you'll enjoy it, as well as all the other articles that can be accessed from this page.

Have you ever wondered how your street got its name? Perhaps Cleveland Heights' bright new street signs will heighten awareness of your street names. Actually, our streets are primarily roads, with some boulevards (sometimes divided and always platted), some avenues (usually straight), a few drives, streets and lanes, one parkway and a path.

What can be said of the Cleveland Heights naming style? For starters, our developers did not go in for "cute" names, like Strongsville's "Bear's Paw Lane" or Brecksville's "Crinkleroot Clearing." For the most part, our city's street names are typical of other Midwestern neighborhoods and suburbs developed between the 1890s and 1930, by which time almost all of our streets were laid out. Several of our oldest streets come up the hill from Cleveland and continue the Cleveland names. We have quite a few streets which have East versions, but also a West, some Norths and a few Souths.

We have pairs and triplets which have confused visitors, delivery people and repairmen for generations, such as Englewood/Inglewood (and Idlewood), Delmore/Dellwood, Pennfield/Renfield, Nordway/Northcliffe, Essex/Exeter, Woodridge/Woodview, Middlefield/Middlehurst/Middleton, and Oakdale/Oakridge/Oakwood!

We also have streets, or segments thereof, which have changed names. And, of course, we have a number of streets named after early settlers and developers and their family members.

Not quite to the extent of Shaker Heights, but definitely a strong British influence pervades. A few street names are from the Scots, there is a small section with German names, and a few names are borrowed from American Indian tribes. Also, the romanticized image of Florida and California is represented, with streets of the 1910s and '20s sporting the fashionable place names of those alluring vacationlands. Other names were taken from the booming, influential metropolis of Chicago. Many street names are identical to the names of plans found in the house catalogs of the era.

We have streets named after trees (with some of these streets still lined with same), the "royal" streets, and our streets with names related to their geographic settings (Ravine Drive, Shaker Road), or proximity to a certain main street (Cedarbrook or Nobleshire Roads). Then there is the street with the name that is another street spelled backwards (Elbon/Noble).

Did you know that so admired were our early developers' choices of street names, or the Heights in general, that a whole neighborhood in Vermilion sports street names from Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights? And is it a fact or merely legend that one developer built a "Cleveland Heights" subdivision in Florida, also graced with street names copying ours?

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For easy access, the following list of stories will appear at the end of each story page.
  • A City Of Few Streets
    Have you ever wondered how your street got its name? Perhaps Cleveland Heights' bright new street signs will heighten awareness of your street names.
  • Hollywood Boulevard?
    How many readers know of streets in Cleveland Heights that actually are called "Street?"
  • National Origins
    That most Cleveland Heights streets sport the name of English towns or London streets or are derived from words in the English language is well agreed, but we have many street names originating from other nationalities gracing our community.
  • Neighbor Names
    Some of our Cleveland Heights streets take their names from thoroughfares they are near.
  • North Suburb
    Some hear the word “north” and start to shiver. Some label “northern Cleveland Heights” what is north of Mayfield, which for many years was lucky to be closer to Euclid Beach amusement park.
  • On The Avenue
    Jan Cigliano's The Grand Avenue: 1850-1920, of 1994, describes the history of selective prestigious thoroughfares in large American cities, including Cleveland.
  • On The Boulevard
    Officially naming a street 'Boulevard' was popular in the Cleveland of 1900-30.
  • Our London Connection
    Images of England were important to early Cleveland Heights developers, residents and would-be residents.
  • Our Wood Streets
    Our Cleveland Heights streets can boast no fewer than 16 streets with names ending in 'wood.'
  • Quirky Street Spellings
    The quirky spellings of some of our street names have long perplexed even excellent spellers.
  • Rocky Roads
    Cleveland Heights has several streets which honor the area's 19th-century quarries, including Quarry Road itself.
  • Royalty Among Us
    Cleveland Heights' 'royal streets'-Queenston, Kingston, Princeton and Canterbury Roads-were named with the English aristocratic imagery generally favored in the time of their development, about 1910.
  • Shorties
    Cleveland Heights has its turn-of-the-century 'country lanes,' but also has its very short streets-cut-throughs not found in the newer suburban areas of highways, winding drives and cul-de-sacs. Most of our short streets are by-ways connecting two to four streets.
  • Take A Drive
    What image does 'Drive' in a street name evoke to you?
  • Threes And Twos
    Our community is flush with streets grouped in trios and pairs.
  • The Name's (Almost) The Same
    Cleveland Heights, with most of its streets named within a 25-year period many years ago, has a number of street names so similar that they have confounded the public since first platted.
  • We're Flattered!
    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Cleveland Heights must be appealing to residents elsewhere because some of our street names have been conscientiously copied in other communities.
  • What's In A Name?
    Sometimes the name of a street is influenced by that of a more major street nearby.

Cleveland Heights and The National Register of Historic Places

Lost Cleveland Heights

Researching Your House

Temple on the Heights Versus the Rockefellers

The Euclid Avenue of the Heights
(Separate browser window)

Household Names from the Heights

The Streets of Cleveland Heights

When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Suburbs

Sears Catalog Homes: The Cleveland Heights Connection

Drive By History:  Dean's Dairy

National Art Treasures in Cleveland Heights

The Firemen's "Clubhouses" of Cleveland Heights

The Kelvin Home: Cleveland Heights Leads the Way to "A New And Better Way of Living"

Local People and Local Memories: The Cleveland Heights Oral History Project

Cleveland Heights and the National Preservation Movement

Obscene History in the Heights: The Case of Nico Jacobellis and Les Amants

Cleveland Heights: A Restful Place to "Take the Cure"

The Struggle for Fair Housing in Cleveland Heights: The St. Ann Audit

Discovering Change: Cleveland Heights Congregations

Remembering Cumberland Park

Get Comfortable with the Bungalows of Cleveland Heights

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