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Cleveland's Rusty Flats: Columbus Peninsula

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Cleveland's Flats are a spectacular confluence of topography, water, infrastructure and buildings.  The buildings part has been eroding quite a lot for many decades though, which bums me out, because this is the cradle of industrial Cleveland and many of the old buildings are pretty awesome.  Some serious Old Cleveland flavor here.

 

One of my favorite stretches (and one of my favorite streets in all of Cleveland) is Columbus Road between Center Street and Lorain Avenue.  This stretch essentially connects downtown to Ohio City.  It's the perfectly north-south road in the middle of the map here:

 

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=41.491285,-81.699529&spn=0.021859,0.052314&t=h&z=15&vpsrc=6

 

Here are some photos from a walk on a beautiful early November day from 2009:

 

1. Starting on Center street, near the northern end of Columbus Road:

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2. The left most building from the first photo, but a different facade; this one is pretty awesome.

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3. The first building on the west side of Columbus.  It's actually a great flat iron (there are several in this neighborhood) but I somehow didn't get a corner shot.  Here's the google streetview though: http://tinyurl.com/6g46rma

6153529945_6244954429_z.jpg

 

4. West side of Columbus, looking south

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5. Better light, looking back north

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6. On the east side of this part of the street is a long parking lot between the road and the river that was home to a B&O freight house till only 10 years ago or so.  I think it may have only been build in the 1950s, so not a huge loss, but it was kind of cool, so I was sad to see it go.  Still, it opened up some nice views:

6153531297_f6e789384a_z.jpg

 

7. Looking on the west side again at some of the grittier structures in the northern block.

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8. The end of the northern block on the west side, which is also a cool flatiron that I didn't photograph well (http://tinyurl.com/6age7kz).  Notice the Red Line viaduct in the background, which parallels Columbus Road.

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9. Looking back across the parking lot on the east side, again for the view of downtown.

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10. This part of the road is then crossed by the Flats Industrial Railroad, a seriously short shortline service.

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11.  Looking east at this point, you can see some Ohio City on top of the river bluff, framed by the rapid viaduct

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12. Looking south along the west side of the road, just south of where the tracks cross.

6153535749_7cc3fd40ca_z.jpg

 

13.  Another look in better light.

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14. Across the street is a concrete plant or something not so pretty.

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15. Looking back north to take it all in.

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16. There's some junky stuff on the east side down here, including this random Cleveland Museum of Art facility.

6154082962_0cde1fcd8b_z.jpg

 

17. But there's also this beauty (referring to the building).

6154083510_089c4db0cd_z.jpg

 

18. And a mysteriously cool little Cleveland Museum of Art building with this great gate and alley:

6153540449_c32cd78b3a_z.jpg

 

19.

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20. And the entry to some gritty maritime stuff.

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21. Meanwhile, back on the west side of the road, it's pretty blah for a bit. And a sad weekend one-car rapid passes by.

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22.  But the west side block ends with this nice old building, now with a somewhat strangely located pizza place in it.

6153542053_cef5c947fe_z.jpg

 

23. ...followed by this awesome cobbled roadway that provides access to the new Cleveland Rowing Foundation facility.

6153542667_32a5b93be1_z.jpg

 

24. ...and finally Hart Crane Park right on the river, which offers some awesome views.

6154087228_c169cf5912_z.jpg

 

25. From one of the local businesses.

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26.  Now, I cross the bridge to the west side of the river.

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27.

6153545367_e24c2af039_z.jpg

 

28. So, so brown, thanks to clay soil.  Or so we tell ourselves ;)

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29. Looking back at the bridge.

6153548329_d19a744c27_z.jpg

 

30. Columbus Road continues south now to Duck Island.  It's got a great blend of old and new housing.

6154091578_a6a5195308_z.jpg

 

31.  One the west side of the street, the viaduct still runs behind the buildings, though not so high off the ground now as the elevation rises around it.

6154092844_7c1f8fde10_z.jpg

 

32.  I believe this building was quite recently unpainted and completely ivy covered.  A pretty different look now.  The higher elevations of Duck Island are visible in the background.

6153549627_2dea981911_z.jpg

 

33. The west side of the street.

6154095438_7a15887ef6_z.jpg

 

34. New and old on the east side of the street.

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35.  Another look back down the hill toward Major Hooples (a longtime bar), the bridge and downtown.

6154094080_ba97882e04_z.jpg

 

36. Looking up the hill towards Lorain Avenue overhead.

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37. OK, one more look back.

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38.  But it was then time cross under Lorain, avoid trolls, and continue to the West Side Market that day.

6154097966_b17d95ab14_z.jpg

 

 

 

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"You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of collagenous Cleveland!!" 

 

Definitely an old Flats street. Was just on it today, the Sunoco at the top of the street rules when it comes to downtown gas stations.

Too bad you missed some of the flat irons and tall brick chimneys.

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"You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of collagenous Cleveland!!" 

 

 

A cool collection of concealed Cleveland.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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