Early Settlers

Township of East Cleveland 1847 to 1870

The township of East Cleveland was organized in 1847, embracing all of the one-hundred-acre lots of the original surveyed township No. 7 north of the Newburgh line.  Boundaries were fixed at Wilson Avenue (East 55th Street) on the west, the Windermere car barns (140th Street) on the east, and the Newburgh line on the south. In 1848, the western part of Euclid and a small part of Warrensville were annexed, extending the eastern limit.

The population of the township was 2,313, with most of the people settled in the northern portion of the township.

The 1850s opened an era of great economic prosperity.

Henry and Elizabeth Clark were the first to build a country place at the foot of Doan Street (now Bratenahl Road) in 1862. The main home was on the south side of Public Square where the May Company eventually stood

Sheldon Parks, Sr., a prosperous farmer and master carpenter, purchased a 155-acre homestead from Henry Coit for $10 an acre. Parks ended up selling a one-acre right-of-way for future railroad construction. He promised to maintain his fence on both sides of the tracks to prevent collisions with his livestock.

William Gordon’s 122-acre estate formed the northwestern border. A southern neighbor, Robert Foster, had 20 acres, and his son William Foster had 56 acres to the west. William built a brick home near a turn in the railroad tracks that was named Brick House Bend.

James and Elizabeth Fitch developed a 54-lot allotment in 1852 south of Brookwood Avenue (Now the entrance to Lakehurst) and both sides of Lakeshore Boulevard from Clark Avenue (Now Bratenahl Road) east to Dugway Brook. They also owned 34 acres to the lake west of Dugway Brook.

The business began to develop in the area. Philip Winter, a landscape gardener and proprietor of greenhouses, sold hothouse plants and flowering shrubs.

James Patton owned greenhouses and orchards north of the Burton Moses Development and sold products at the Cleveland Central Market. The family sold fruit at a stand on the southwest corner of Doan (Bratenahl Road) and Burton, near his home and orchards.

Gamble Greenhouse on Burton Avenue supplied the leading Cleveland florists who were known for their beautiful pansy beds.

The Martin Commercial Fish House was located on Dugway Brook near the railroad tracks.

The Christian Gottschalt family also owned a fish house and sold fish from door to door from a horse-drawn wagon.

New England farmers began to settle in 1861. Truck farms operated by Germans hauled their produce to the city and returned with loads of manure from the Central Market horse barns.

The days of stagecoach travel was coming to an end as the rail line was extending westward along the lakeshore. It was difficult to maintain schedules, particularly in bad weather. Cars often jumped the tracks, and stray animals, delayed trains, fallen trees, and obstructions. Despite the hardships, the area along the lake developed rapidly.