The Grand Avenue: 1850-1920, of 1994, describes the history of selective
prestigious thoroughfares in large American cities, including Cleveland.
Ah . . . Paris' Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the grand avenues of other
major capitals: Fifth, Michigan and Pennsylvania Avenues . . . The term
'Avenue' may bring to mind a wide street of cosmopolitan, stylish architecture.
In our mother city, Cleveland, virtually all east-west streets
- no matter how minor - have been named 'Avenue' since 1906. Indeed, most
of Cleveland's minor streets - which happen to also radiate from its central
business district - are Avenues.
Our suburban Avenues are concentrated in inner-ring suburbs;
few streets constructed after World War II were named as such. Cleveland
Heights' older cousins, East Cleveland and Lakewood, are filled with Avenues,
while our younger neighbor, Shaker Heights, has none (the Van Sweringens
loved the 'boulevard' image instead). So how does Cleveland Heights stack
up? What sort of streets are labeled 'Avenues' here? The 'Avenue' designation
within our fair community seems to have more to do with a street's age
and in what tract the street is situated than in its physical characteristics.
The two main streets forming one of our oldest tracts, Cedar
Heights & Bellfield and Grandview-are Avenues; they are near Cleveland,
but running north-south; if in Cleveland, they would have been called
'Streets' and numbered. Cadwell Avenue is another pre-1900 street in a
pre-1900 tract-'Mayfield Heights' Preyer Avenue is still another old street
in an early tract, and the original name of Somerton Road.
Woodward is an Avenue cutting through a series of east-west
Roads in what was originally Rockefeller land. Cottage Grove is another
cut-through Avenue, at times labeled 'Drive.' (Cottage Grove Avenue is
a major street in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.)
Our largest concentration of Avenues lies in the Lee Road/South
Taylor Road neighborhoods. The section west of Taylor, basically developed
first, includes stand-alone Hyde Park Avenue and the series of Beechwood,
Altamont, DeSota and Berkeley Avenues. Blanche, to the south, is a slightly
newer Avenue and features tree lawns and setbacks.
Blanche continues east of Taylor - officially still an Avenue,
but often called 'Road' like the streets to its north. Anchored by Blanche
Avenue and Antisdale Avenue (sometimes called 'Road') are Powell and Janette
There is, finally, our one Avenue north of Mayfield &
Caledonia. But then, it's partially in East Cleveland, a suburb of primarily
Avenues. So concludes our parade of Avenues-all residential and graciously
platted in only a few cases. But surely all serve as addresses to at least
some of us with grand pretensions.