Overview from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
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OHIO CITY (CITY OF OHIO), one of Cleveland’s older neighborhoods, was originally part of Brooklyn Twp., founded in 1818. Historic borders of the city were: Lake Erie on the north; the CUYAHOGA RIVER on the east; Walworth Ave. and W. 44th St. on the south; and W. 65th St. on the west. On 3 Mar. 1836, 2 days before Cleveland’s incorporation, the City of Ohio became an independent municipality; it remained so until 5 June 1854, when it was annexed to Cleveland. Although Cleveland had nearly 6,000 people to Ohio City’s 2,000, the two cities became fierce competitors, especially in the area of commerce. This rivalry was best demonstrated in 1837, when Ohio City residents sought, violently, to stop the use of Cleveland’s new COLUMBUS STREET BRIDGE, which siphoned off commercial traffic to Cleveland before it could reach Ohio City’s mercantile district. Among the independent city’s 11 mayors were JOSIAH BARBER†, NORMAN C. BALDWIN†, RICHARD LORD†, THOS. BURNHAM†, and WM. B. CASTLE†. The city’s population grew from approx. 2,400 in the 1830s to 4,253 in 1850. Upon annexation, Ohio City became wards 8, 9, 10, and 11 of Cleveland.
After annexation, Ohio City became known as the near west side. A number of ethnic groups, including GERMANS, HUNGARIANS, and IRISH, lived in the area in the late 19th century. One of its focal points has been the WEST SIDE MARKET, which was built by 1912 on the site that Josiah Barber and Richard Lord deeded to the city on the condition it be kept a marketplace. Following World War II, the area entered a period of decline. In 1968 the Ohio City Redevelopment Assn. was chartered to stem the tide of neglect in the historic neighborhood and to strengthen a nascent trend of restoration that had begun in the early 1960s. From 1963-78, over 100 structures were restored or redeveloped, including ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL and the Carnegie Branch of the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, as well as numerous private residences. As older structures were refurbished and occupied by upper-middle-class individuals and families, the resultant displacement of poorer groups led to charges of gentrification. By this time Ohio City was home to over 15 ethnic groups representing 25,000 people in a 4.5 sq. mi. area. Among the newer immigrant and migrant groups were Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. As the Ohio City Development Corp. succeeded earlier redevelopment groups in 1992, the neighborhood was further revitalized by the construction of new townhouses on Fulton Rd. and the Market Sq. Retail Ctr. opposite the West Side Market at W. 25th St. and Lorain Ave.