When residents of Cleveland meet for the first time at a party or event, one of the first questions is often “So do you live on the east side or west side?” People relocating to Cleveland and searching for an apartment or home quickly find out that the decision can have far ranging effects about their daily routines and even the friends they will make. Where does this geographical division arise and how long has it defined who we are as “Clevelanders?” Of course the dividing line is the Cuyahoga River, but why the Cuyahoga? When did it take on the power to define people and their lives?
Drawing on a rich collection of maps at WRHS, this exhibit follows the history of how the area in which we live came to be mapped, divided up, separated into political areas of settlement, and maybe shed some light on how east versus west became so important in Cleveland.
Interactive maps showing the earliest settlement of the area are superimposed with 2012 images of Google maps. Visitors can look at the changing downtown area by placing images of buildings on a large plat map, viewing mid-19th century through mid-20th century Cleveland. Also included are early survey tools called “Gunters Chains”, the use of maps in politics, and geographic changes through developments in transportation.
Learn more about the exhibit on a tour with Dr. Ed Pershey. Click here
Exhibit opens August 3 at the WRHS History Center in University Circle. Click here for hours and admission.