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
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
Cleveland Heights Index
For easy access, the following list of stories will
appear at the end of each story page.
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.
Boulevard? How many readers know of streets in Cleveland
Heights that actually are called "Street?"
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
Names Some of our Cleveland Heights streets take
their names from thoroughfares they are near.
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.
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.
The Boulevard Officially naming a street 'Boulevard' was
popular in the Cleveland of 1900-30.
London Connection Images of England were important to early
Cleveland Heights developers, residents and would-be residents.
Wood Streets Our Cleveland Heights streets can boast
no fewer than 16 streets with names ending in 'wood.'
Street Spellings The quirky spellings of some of our street
names have long perplexed even excellent spellers.
Roads Cleveland Heights has several streets which
honor the area's 19th-century quarries, including Quarry Road
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,
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.
A Drive What image does 'Drive' in a street name
evoke to you?
And Twos Our community is flush with streets grouped
in trios and pairs.
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
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
In A Name? Sometimes the name of a street is influenced
by that of a more major street nearby.