Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Barneyboy

Downtown Cleveland in the early 80's

Recommended Posts

blinker thx for the article. jeezus. did anyone catch this line in it? "He said he could not accept an offer from Nick Kostis - owner of Hilarities, a downtown comedy club - who was anxious to rent the Standard Theater." are we surprized that he was the one who tried to talk sense into that &%$# old man krenzler? i swear they should take down the cheeseball orange torch and put up a statue of kostis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could this be earlier than 1980?  I say that because National City Center was built in 1980, but looking down Euclid in the shot that has Kresges, Woolworths....etc it's not there....right?  And the buildings on the left side of the street would soon be gone for BP in the early 80's? 

 

Most of Downtown did look kinda run down, but the Euclid pic doesn't look so bad.  I mean, Woolworths and such were staples in all downtowns....and you can't really see the other stores in between which may have still been other mid range national and local retailers of the time like Thom McAn, Bakers, Stride Rite...etc.  The shot just misses the May Company store too which was still open.  I see Burrows, which I think was an office supply store and Richman Bros. 

 

We also have to remember, national casual clothing specialty stores were not as prevalent as they are today....THE "High End" stores were department stores like Higbee's and Halle's and that was it....and Downtown had them.  Most malls through the 70's had pretty much the same mix of stores as downtown (minus the riff raff shops mixed in)....A dept store or 2, Woolworths, Gray Drug, lots of shoe stores and jewelery stores, womens dress stores, men's suit stores, a JoAnn Fabric, A Radio Shack, a Camelot Music, rather large sit down restaurants, and usually a grocery store tacked on the outside.  The explosion for fashion retailers like Gap, Limited....etc was more of an early to mid 80's phenomena that eroded the department stores stronghold.

 

All in all, i'd say that the Euclid Ave mix of stores was pretty standard for the time period.  I doubt any of those newer fashion stores were interested in locating in most Downtowns until projects like Galleria got underway later in the 80's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I don't think that the NCB building would be visible at street level from that angle being it sits back from the road. I'm pretty sure that is it rising in the background to the left center. Also construction didn't start on the SOHIO building until 1982. I'm guessing these are 80-81.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^Metrocity, I agree with you that downtown as a whole didn't look that bad in those shots.  And the street traffic looks pretty good- much better than anything you would see today during non-event days.  There was only one pic of it, but pretty sure the retail near PH Square was still pretty upscale then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^Metrocity, I agree with you that downtown as a whole didn't look that bad in those shots.  And the street traffic looks pretty good- much better than anything you would see today during non-event days.  There was only one pic of it, but pretty sure the retail near PH Square was still pretty upscale then.

 

On the other hand, wasn't the warehouse district pretty much all boarded up and devoid of stree life in the 80s?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I don't think anyone can argue that the city was in RAPID decline at this point.  Yes, there was foot traffic because there was still more people living in the area and more jobs downtown.  But look at the businesses in the pictures.  I doubt many were frequented. Most of the buildings have broken / boarded up windows.  There may be "feet on the street" but these pictures look like they were mainly taken at about 1pm on a wednesday.  if they were taken at 7pm I'm not sure you'd see a soul.  I took a tour of the playhouse square theatres the other weekend and the red coat tour guide was telling us in the very early 80's when they began restoring the theatres that people didn't come downtown at night because they were afraid they were going to get shot... He wasn't joking.  And again we can't argue that withing a couple years of these pictures about ZERO of these places were still in business, so let's not romanticize it too much.

 

Regardless, this is one of the coolest picture threads I've ever seen on this site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"On the other hand, wasn't the warehouse district pretty much all boarded up and devoid of stree life in the 80s?"

 

Not completely - I remember serving food to the homeless in the City Mission (now Grand Arcade condos) in 1988. ;-)

 

An to add, just accross the street west sixth and ninth housed several seedy bookstores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I don't think anyone can argue that the city was in RAPID decline at this point.  Yes, there was foot traffic because there was still more people living in the area and more jobs downtown.  But look at the businesses in the pictures.  I doubt many were frequented. Most of the buildings have broken / boarded up windows.  There may be "feet on the street" but these pictures look like they were mainly taken at about 1pm on a wednesday.  if they were taken at 7pm I'm not sure you'd see a soul.  I took a tour of the playhouse square theatres the other weekend and the red coat tour guide was telling us in the very early 80's when they began restoring the theatres that people didn't come downtown at night because they were afraid they were going to get shot... He wasn't joking.  And again we can't argue that withing a couple years of these pictures about ZERO of these places were still in business, so let's not romanticize it too much.

 

Regardless, this is one of the coolest picture threads I've ever seen on this site.

 

Moriarty's and the playhouse square theaters are the only apparent buisnesses that have continued to chug along in these photos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Moriarty's and the playhouse square theaters are the only apparent businesses that have continued to chug along in these photos.

 

I think that is inaccurate portrayal, the economy changed; the way consumers shopped changed; downtown was just starting to change from business only to retail and living, and comments like that can often be translated in to "downtown is dead and has been dead for years......"

 

jpop(tart)....now you can put your cheerleader uniform on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, there was foot traffic because there was still more people living in the area and more jobs downtown.  But look at the businesses in the pictures.  I doubt many were frequented. Most of the buildings have broken / boarded up windows.

 

I was only referring to Euclid Ave, which doesn't look that bad and was probably shopped by the general population.  The secondary street pics do look bad and boarded up.  My main point is that the mix of stores on Euclid was pretty healthy and standard for the time compared to a typical suburban mall or any other US downtown.  Not to romanticize, but to put it into context of the day.  I think people can't judge it by today's standards because there weren't a lot of mid and higher end specialty stores around to fill in the gaps unless they were local(Although I think I do actually remember a Gap down there).  Department stores were king and there were 3 still open.  If you were middle or upper class you bought your clothes, housewares, appliances, TV, furniture, toys, wedding dress, got your hair done...etc at a department store, they carried almost everything back then.

 

One question I have though is, where and when where Penny's and Sears Downtown?  They had to be down there at some point, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One question I have though is, where and when where Penny's and Sears Downtown?  They had to be down there at some point, right?

 

As far as I know, there was never a (God it hurts to even type this) JCPenny's or Sears in downtown Cleveland.  Only Halles, Higbee's, Sterling Linder and May Co. 

 

Sears did have a store on the near westside on Lorain (?) and on Carneige in Fairfax which now part of the Cleveland Playhouse "campus" (I thought I would throw that in to piss everyone off - I'm evil today)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ thats not really true. small retail businesses in old stock rundown buildings can remain indefinately as long as the population is stable and the gentrifying forces ignore the area. east 4th st is a typical example. it's lively in those pics, but after a 175k drop in the city population since 1980 or so the street was gradually all but abandoned. thankfully the stock was still around to be revived.

 

Without getting too obtuse here, I have to say that nothing can remain indefinitely the same.  Entropy rules all.  Building stock that isn't continually maintained won't be perpetually habitable.  It looks pretty obvious that deferred maintenance was the rule of the day when these pictures were taken.  I know that changing economic and social patterns play a part, but so does building stock condition (the two are intertwined really).  If the owners had given their buildings a steady dose of maintenance and capital improvement the buildings and businesses wouldn't have undergone the dramatic swings we've seen. But would the businesses there have been able to afford the rent to support that?  Or do the economics of the slide allow the funky retail?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not to take the focus off of lovely Cleveland, but I was just reading an article on how many NYC neighborhoods are upset with "transformation" of their neighborhoods and losing older buildings and "fading history" for new developments

 

amny.com/endangered

 

Hell, they are trying to rezone 125 street for hi-rise which will piss me off.  This is the one time I was a NYC resident so I could voice my opinion and have it count.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for finding this and bumping it up! I missed this thread when it was posted as I was in England for a couple of weeks in March 2008. I'm definitely digging the streetlife, the "busy look" of all the facades and signs, yes I remember all of this including the departure board in Cleveland Union Terminal. It was on the wall below where the Hard Rock Cafe is today. And I remember the TV and radio commercials ending with the jingle: "<<fast rising female voice>> Sol Bergman Jewelers.... <<slowly descending female voice>> Fourth and Prospect downtown!" That's in reference to the first photo in this awesome thread.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the positive comments. i've since moved to Houston, but I still have more photos that I haven't posted, but most of those are of parts of town that really haven't changed much if at all. Which is why these pix are of interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the positive comments. i've since moved to Houston, but I still have more photos that I haven't posted, but most of those are of parts of town that really haven't changed much if at all. Which is why these pix are of interest.

 

Im sure we would all love to see more, if you have the time. Thanks for uploading these!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Came across this thread and was sad to see the photos missing. Any chance of a reload to get us through these difficult times?! 😄

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JSC216 said:

Came across this thread and was sad to see the photos missing. Any chance of a reload to get us through these difficult times?! 😄

I was thinking of doing that ever since the great UO website crash that eliminated so many great photo posts. I suppose that since you asked (and I'm touched that you did) I'll do that today.

Stay tuned......

  • Like 1
  • Love 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that’s PNC in the foreground, but I’m struggling to envisage what’s being pulled down here. 

3AC185F0-0B2B-4BAA-BB60-35AEE7F4F336.jpeg


And they reckon that the last thing she saw in her life was
Sting, singing on the roof of the Barbican

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, roman totale XVII said:

I know that’s PNC in the foreground, but I’m struggling to envisage what’s being pulled down here. 

 

Hippodrome 😢

  • Sad 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Thanks. That’s what I was thinking, but what are those buildings to the left then? That isn’t the City Club, so did they come down too?


And they reckon that the last thing she saw in her life was
Sting, singing on the roof of the Barbican

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, roman totale XVII said:

That’s what I was thinking, but what are those buildings to the left then? That isn’t the City Club, so did they come down too?

 

These: (Looks like one on left became Richman's at some point)

hippodromejpg-bfa7f130505a6329.thumb.jpg.2f5bfd3bc1940dee5c524b45a9b929d7.jpg 

 

The two story next to the Hipp I cant figure out though. Here, it's 5 stores but the building along E8th is different

257c1140433a9cfaee54e8c943126cbd.thumb.jpg.995394f9f3c2d0a0ac2398a3bc4a0f49.jpg

 

And then  significantly different here again

embassyjpeg-75babca93e7a7152.thumb.jpeg.a1675f7a17047ac1b8f4faedde6b0727.jpeg

 

 

idk. I'm sure someone else here will know more

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Northwest Orient" Airlines billboard, wow! These pics are great, glad they are back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2020 at 1:46 PM, Barneyboy said:

I was thinking of doing that ever since the great UO website crash that eliminated so many great photo posts. I suppose that since you asked (and I'm touched that you did) I'll do that today.

Stay tuned......

Thanks for sharing! It is always great being able to see what the city once was again and being able to see how far the city has progressed since its lowest points. It is so easy to find photos of Cleveland at its peak but there really is a lack of public photos of the city during the decline of the 1960s-1990s. For the younger crowd they have no reference to what it once looked like. Most would be shocked to see what Downtown, the Warehouse District, West 25th, and Tremont used to look like. Again thanks for the contribution to an area where overall we are drastically lacking. This is a great resource!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally got a look at the man photos from @Barneyboy -- thanks for the memories. Felt like a bigger city then despite there being fewer skyscrapers. Hmmm, also more parking garages, more parking lots, more sprawl, fewer pedestrians.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like there was still quite a bit of retail downtown then, including a couple department stores.

Edited by skiwest
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL:  Given the coronavirus pandemic, this thread topic reminds me of a Star Trek episode, where to escape planetwide destruction, all of the members of the civilization transported into the past. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, skiwest said:

Looks like there was still quite a bit of retail downtown then, including a couple department stores.

 

Three department stores were in operation downtown until early 1982 when the Halle's store closed a decade after Marshall Fields acquired it. Higbee's/Dillard's and May/Kaufmann's closed in the early 1990s.

 

The department stores, like many of Cleveland's "home companies" all saw reduced employment/closure through the consolidation wave of that started in the 1970s. Cleveland lost and the coasts won.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, KJP said:

 

Three department stores were in operation downtown until early 1982 when the Halle's store closed a decade after Marshall Fields acquired it. Higbee's/Dillard's and May/Kaufmann's closed in the early 1990s.

 

The department stores, like many of Cleveland's "home companies" all saw reduced employment/closure through the consolidation wave of that started in the 1970s. Cleveland lost and the coasts won.

Higbee/Dillard's was open untile the late 90's/early 00's IIRC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, freefourur said:

Higbee/Dillard's was open untile the late 90's/early 00's IIRC

 

Ah, you're right. The store closed in 2002. It ceased being Higbee's in 1992.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, KJP said:

 

Three department stores were in operation downtown until early 1982 when the Halle's store closed a decade after Marshall Fields acquired it. Higbee's/Dillard's and May/Kaufmann's closed in the early 1990s.

 

The department stores, like many of Cleveland's "home companies" all saw reduced employment/closure through the consolidation wave of that started in the 1970s. Cleveland lost and the coasts won.

 

Fisher Foods 'excuse' for not going much beyond Cleveland was that they couldn't afford a satellite warehouse operation. The answer other chains developed was vendor-stocking of shelves, eliminating a lot of warehousing.  Fisher's little thinkers got left in the dust of history. 

 

Incidental intelligence: the first thing Giant Eagle did after buying Rini/Rego/Fazio (whatever Fisher's was called by then) was mark up every price by 15%; they mostly paid for the acquisition just by marking up the inventory.


There's nothing wrong with optimism, as long as you don't get your hopes up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found some additional pictures of downtown from the 80s from an odd source. Anyone know if higher quality versions exist?


https://ubir.buffalo.edu/xmlui/handle/10477/24558

 

spacer.png

spacer.png

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...