It’s fascinating to reflect on what various Cleveland neighborhoods were like back in the day — back when our immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents settled in ethnic enclaves such as Collinwood, Superior-St. Clair and Tremont. And with Cleveland careless and erratic about preserving its built history, in many cases memories are all we have.
Certainly that’s true in Tremont, once home to multiple ethnic cultures whose vestiges can be seen in its array of spectacular churches. It was torn apart with the construction of freeways in the mid 20th century and severed from downtown, which led to its rapid decline. In the 90s, artists began to move into the struggling, crime-ridden area, followed by galleries, restaurants and upscale bars and lounges. Today it’s a mix of vestiges of its past and often bland new construction (those LEGO row houses!).
But you can get a glimpse of what Tremont once was at the new outdoor Tremont Art + History Museum, which debuted at the monthly Walkabout Tremont event Fri 7/12. Installed at the high-profile southeast corner of Professor and College avenues, the display includes more than forty weatherproof digital reproductions of images of the neighborhood: oils, watercolors, collages, drawings and old postcards, all from 1862-1950. The pieces are bolted to a wood fence, and intended for viewing in all weather.
Tremont West Development Corporation’s Arts Committee, which oversaw the creation of the “museum,” has plans to expand it with a section devoted to modern Tremont by contemporary artists.