Friday, March 27, 2009

The Freeways of Cleveland

Clevelanders sure love their freeways, well, until they get into a traffic jam. And I have a special, not-so-nice place in my heart for I-7I, considering that our family had to be relocated in 1964 so they could put the freeway right through our house.

Despite those days when something causes a horrific backup on the freeway, the city is lucky to have such an extensive freeway system. Here is a primer on the freeways of Cleveland and the metropolitan area:

I-90 – This is the longest interstate highway of the United States, going from one end of the country to another. As it travels through the Cleveland area, I-90 skirts downtown Cleveland on the eastern side before it moves westward. It provides a great view of the city when approaching from the southern end of the innerbelt and I-71. It also contains theInnerbelt Bridge, which crosses the Cuyahoga River. The innerbelt stretch of I-90 provides connections to both I-71 and I-77. I-90 is also the home of Cleveland’s famous Deadman’s Curve.

I-490 – This runs from just east of the city (East 55th street) and connects with I-77 and I-90/I-71. It is only about 2.5 miles long.

I-480 - This is officially named the Outerbelt South Freeway, but no one in town refers to it by that name. It provides access for many of the Cleveland’s suburbs, from Streetsboro (in Portage County) to North Ridgeville (Lorain County). I-480 crosses the Cuyahoga River over a large valley on a pair of bridges (one for each direction) called the Valley View Bridge. According to Wikipedia, the Valley View Bridge pair are steel multi-stringer highway girder bridges that are 212 feet (65 m) high and 4,150 feet (1,260 m) long. It’s a long way down, and frankly the concrete barriers and wire fencing on the sides never look very reassuring to me.

Ohio Route 176 – This is specifically the stretch that is unofficially called the “Jennings Freeway”, which connects to I-71 on the north, and connects with I-480/Brookpark Road on the south end. It provides speedy access to the city for west-siders.

I-77 – Cleveland has the distinction of being the starting point of I-77 in the US (it terminates in Columbia, South Carolina). It begins at a split off from I-90 on the innerbelt. While it does travel through residential areas, it also travels through the heart of Cleveland’s industrial area.

I-71 – Like I-77, I-71 also begins its trek in Cleveland, starting at the I-90 innerbelt. As it travels through my old neighborhood – and former home - it connects the western suburbs to Cleveland before it heads south to Columbus, Ohio, and later terminates in Louisville, KY.

I-271 – This freeway connects those living east and south of Cleveland, all the way from western Lake County, through eastern Cuyahoga County, through Summit County. It is also officially named Cleveland Outerbelt East – but I call it the local Autobahn because no matter how fast you are going, there will always be a caravan of cars speeding by you at warp speed. I-271 connects with I-90, I-480, I-77, and of course, I-71. And for those speed demons, it has express lanes, which, despite the normal speed limits, seems to make drivers think they have the license to exceed as much as possible.

Ohio Rt 2 – This state freeway connects the northern suburbs from the east and west side of the city. It runs concurrent with I-90 on the east side of the city, and it splits away from I-90 at Deadman’s Curve. It is also referred to as The Shoreway, as the freeway runs close to the shore of Lake Erie

I-80 – This is part of the Ohio Turnpike, which is officially the James W. Shocknessy Ohio Turnpike. (Shocknessy was the first chairman of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.) It is the only toll road of the bunch that services the area. This freeway sits far south and west of the city, but connects with I-480, I-71, and I-77 that feed into the city.

If you want to take a quick drive on some of Cleveland’s freeways without even leaving your computer, check out the videos below.

The Innerbelt (Cleveland skyline in view)

I-90 to I-71 to I480

I-271 North to I-90

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information,
All Things Cleveland, here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cleveland's Submarine, The USS Cod (SS-224)

The USS Cod in Action Photo by US Navy

When I was in high school in the 1970s, our class took a trip to see the USS Cod (SS-224), a submarine which is docked on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, between Burke Lakefront Airport and the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame . I was hesitant to go inside the sub for a two reasons: one, I was claustrophobic and I was terrified of going down into a closed in area, and two, like all the girls in my class, I was wearing my school uniform, and girls just didn’t climb up and down ladders in a skirt, especially with boys/men around. (At least they didn’t in those days.)

You may ask how a submarine managed to find a home on the shores of Lake Erie, not a place one would normally think to find submarines. A brief history lesson will provide the answer.

According to the The USS Cod website, the sub was named after the (cod) fish. It is a World War II era GATO class fleet submarine and is a 312-ft, (95-m) 1,525-ton vessel. The USS Cod was first launched on March 21, 1943 and placed in commission on June 21, 1943, under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN.

The USS Cod faced several battles. In one battle in 1944, under Dempsey’s command, the USS Cod destroyed the Japanese destroyer Karukaya plus other ships in that same convoy. Afterwards, the Cod had to stay submerged for 12 hours as it moved away from the attack area, finally surfacing 25 miles away from the area and into a heavy night thunderstorm.

The USS Cod has a very full history of service to the United States during and after World War II, which can be found on the USS Cod’s web site.

The USS Cod was decommissioned in 1954, and in 1959 she was towed to Cleveland to serve as a naval reserve training vessel, and was also opened for school field trips. Eventually the USS Cod was no longer needed as a training ship, and it was taken off the register of Navy ships in 1971. Later, a group of Clevelanders created the Cleveland Coordinating Committee to Save Cod, Inc., and their intent was to preserve The USS Cod as a memorial to be maintained on Cleveland’s lakefront. The group was given guardianship of the submarine by the Navy in 1976. In 1986, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the USS Cod a National Historic Landmark.

Also according to the USS Cod’s web site:

Today, Cod is one of the finest restored submarines on display and is the only U.S. submarine that has not had stairways and doors cut into her pressure hull for public access. Visitors to this proud ship use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew. Cleveland can claim partial credit as Cod's birthplace, since the submarine's five massive diesel engines were built by General Motors' Cleveland Diesel plant on Cleveland's west side…Cod is now docked in Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio and is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.

The USS Cod’s web site provides a virtual tour which allows for 360 degree views of various locations on the submarine. (That is good news for claustrophobics!) But if you want to visit it in person, it is open from May 1 through the end of September (check the web site for hours of operation).

By the way, the USS Cod is reported to be haunted. It has been included in the Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours. Maybe there is another reason I didn’t want to go in there…

Clevelanders should be proud to serve as the home for the USS Cod, and also be thankful for its service to the country.

Update June 11, 2009 - New Video on The USS Cod

Further reference and reading

The USS Cod (SS-224) Web Site

USS Cod, Historic Naval Ships Association has some nice pictures.

Wikipedia entry for USS Cod

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland, here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

RIP Cleveland Catholic Diocese – An Editorial

Yesterday, the parishoners of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese learned if their churches were staying open or closing. It is a very sad day for Cleveland Catholics, and even non-Catholics who benefited from the support of local church support programs, such as caring for the homeless, feeding the hungry, helping those with chemical dependencies, etc. Many of the poor and the inner city people will be greatly affected by this reorganization, but it will also affect thousands of other parishioners who have supported their local churches for decades, especially the elderly.

Let me say right up front that I am a lapsed Catholic. I only attend church when I absolutely have to – weddings and funerals. The church ceased to be relevant to me years ago, especially in the 1970s going forward when it seemed clear to me that the Catholic Church completely devalues women and refuses to allow them to have key roles in the Church, such as allowing them to become priests. I have always felt that the Church could still uphold its main tenets and that the same time loosen their tight collars and bring some of the practices into the modern area, continuing the work that Pope John XXIII began in the 1960s.

But it saddens me to see that the church in which all my grandparent attended, my parents were married in, and I was baptized in, located in Cleveland, is closing, and the church my husband and I were married in, located in Bedford, is also closing. The church that all my husband’s grandparents attended, his parents were married in, and he was baptized in, also located in Cleveland, is closing. It is as if someone has just taken a giant eraser and wiped away the complete history of two families.

There is also a huge concern about maintaining the structures, especially those historic buildings within the city of Cleveland. Many of these churches have become stabilizing factors in neighborhoods that are in serious decline. Without the people and supporting social programs - and the structures - the look of a city in decay could be even more devastating to neighborhoods already on the bubble.

In a press release from the Cleveland Catholic Diocese,the reasons for the closings and consolidations were listed as follows:

The reconfiguration plan reflects a proactive strategy to address three major challenges the Diocese and its parishes face as they work to create a more vibrant Church:

• Population shifts in the region. With movement away from urban areas, approximately two-thirds of Catholics are currently served by one-third of its parishes.

• Financial hardship for many parishes. Forty-two percent of parishes are currently operating in the red, with operating expenses greater than revenues.

• Fewer priests available for ministry throughout the United States and other parts of the world. The Diocese has less than half as many priests as it did in 1970.

I do understand that the Church – like any business - needs to close those facilities that are a drain on their finances. But, the truth is that there are several churches being closed that were not losing money and were not having financial hardship. As far as not having enough priests, the Church may have itself to blame for not allowing women to join the clergy, or even by not allowing priests to marry. I can understand the church not bending on the latter because of the celibacy issue, but not allowing women to become priests has cut off a huge number of potential priests.

There has also been much dispute of the creation of the “clusters” from which decisions had to be made to close a certain number of churches within each cluster. When the clusters were first established, there were complaints that some of the groupings made no sense, and some seemed to be assigned with the purpose to force the closure of specific churches.

One may say that the fact that I have not attended church in many years gives me no right to gripe. I disagree. While I do not attend church, that does not mean that I have not donated money to my church in order to keep them running or supported them in other ways. I also think that if the church were to listen a little more to dissenters, and also make changes that show that it truly lives up to its teachings by having more respect for women, maybe it wouldn’t be in such dire straights. There is also the simmering outrage of some current and lapsed Catholics (not to mention non-Catholics) regarding the large sums of money that have been paid out to settle lawsuits for claims of abuse at the hands of its clergy. Maybe if the Church had been more diligent in its management of its clergy, it wouldn’t be losing a large amount of its money to these kinds of lawsuits.

I truly feel badly for all the members of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese that learned that their Churches are closing. These people will feel even worse if some churches that are not currently protected by historic status are lost to the wrecking ball. I understand to some degree why the diocese had to do this, but I found the methods by which they decided who stays and who goes to be flawed. And unless the Catholic Church makes some changes to bring itself to show respect to all of its members, and to remain relevant to the changing times and advances of science and technology, I fear that they will continue to lose membership at a rapid pace.
This is the status of the Catholic Churches in Cuyahoga County, as of Saturday night March 14, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

1. Annunciation, 4697 W. 130th St.: Merging with Ascension and St. Patrick on Rocky River Drive.

2. Ascension, 14040 Puritas Ave.: Merging with Anunciation and St. Patrick on Rocky River Drive.

3. Blessed Sacrament, 3381 Fulton Road: Closing.

4. Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, East Ninth Street and Superior: Remaining open.

5. Corpus Christi, 4850 Pearl Road: Closing and merging with Our Lady of Good Counsel.

6. Holy Cross, 19951 Lake Shore Blvd., Euclid: Merging with St. Christine at Holy Cross.

7. Holy Name, 8329 Broadway SE: Remaining open.

8. Holy Redeemer, 15172 Kipling Ave., SE: Remaining open.

9. Holy Rosary, 12021 Mayfield Road: Remaining open.

10. Holy Trinity, 24821 Columbus Road., Bedford Heights: Closing and merging with St. Pius X.

11. Immaculate Conception, 4129 Superior Ave.: Remaining open.

12. Immaculate Heart of Mary, 6700 Lansing Ave.: Remaining open.

13. La Sagrada Familia, 7719 Detroit Ave.: Remaining open.

14. Our Lady of Angels, 3644 Rocky River Drive: Remaining open.

15. Our Lady of Good Counsel, 4423 Pearl Road: Merging with Corpus Christi.

16. Our Lady of Mercy, 2425 West 11th St.: Closing.

17. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel West, 6928 Detroit Ave.: Remaining open.

18. Our Lady of Peace, Shaker Boulevard and East 126th Street: Remaining open.

19. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 18022 Neff Road: Merging with St. George at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

20. Sacred Heart of Jesus, 6916 Krakow Ave.: Closing.

21. Saints Cyril and Methodius, 12608 Madison Ave.: Remaining open and merging with St. Rose of Lima at Saints Cyril and Methodius.

22. Saints Philip and James, 3727 Bosworth Road: Closing.

23. St. Ann, 2175 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights: Merging with St. Philomena, Christ the King and St. Louis.

24. St. Augustine, 2486 West 14th St.: Remaining open.

25. St. Barbara, 1505 Denison Ave.: Closing.

26. St. Boniface, 3545 West 54th St.: Remaining open.

27. St. Casimir, 8223 Sowinski Ave.: Closing.

28. St. Cecilia, Kinsman Road and East 152nd Street: Closing, as will Epiphany.

29. St. Charles Borromeo, 5891 Ridge Road, Parma: Remaining open.

30. St. Christine, 840 East 222nd St.: Closing and merging with Holy Cross.

31. St. Clement, 14401 Madison Ave., Lakewood: Remaining open.

32. St. Colman, 2027 West 65th St.: Closing.

33. St. Emeric, 1890 West 22nd St.: Closing.

34. St. Felicitas, 140 Richmond Road, Euclid: Merging with St. Paul in Euclid.

35. St. George, 6527 Superior Ave.: Merging with Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

36. St. Gregory the Great, 1545 S. Green Road, South Euclid: Merging with St. Margaret Mary. Worship site to be determined.

37. St. Hedwig, 12905 Madison Ave., Lakewood: Closing.

38. St. Hyacinth, 6114 Francis Ave.: Closing.

39. St. Ignatius of Antioch, 10205 Lorain Ave.: Closing, but school remaining open.

40. St. James, 17514 Detroit Ave., Lakewood: Closing.

41. St. Jerome, 1500 Lake Shore Blvd.: Remaining open.

42. St. John Cantius, 906 College Ave.: Remaining open.

43. St. John Nepomucene, Fleet Avenue and East 50th St.: Remaining open.

44. St. Leo the Great, 4940 Broadview Road: Remaining open.

45. St. Louis, 2463 N. Taylor Road: Closing and merging with St. Philomena, St. Ann and Christ the King.

46. St. Luke, Clifton Boulevard and Bunts Road, Lakewood: Remaining open.

47. St. Malachi, West 25th St.: Remaining open.

48. St. Margaret Mary, 4217 Bluestone Road, South Euclid: merging with St. Gregory the Great. Worship site to be determined.

49. St. Margaret of Hungary, 4680 Lander Road, Orange: Closing.

50. St. Mark, 15800 Montrose Ave.: Remaining open.

51. St. Mary, 15519 Holmes Ave.: Remaining open.

52. St. Mary, 340 Union St., Bedford: Closing and merging with St. Pius X.

53. St. Mel, 14436 Triskett Road: Remaining open, but school is closing.

54. St. Michael the Archangel, 3114 Scranton: Remaining open.

55. St. Patrick, 4427 Rocky River Drive: Merging with Anunciation and Ascension.

56. St. Patrick, 3602 Bridge Ave.: Remaining open.

57. St. Paul, 1360 East 40th St.: Remaining open.

58. St. Paul, 1231 Chardon Road, Euclid: Closing and merging with St. Felicitas.

59. St. Philomena, 13824 Euclid Ave., East Cleveland: Merging with St. Ann's, Christ the King and St. Louis. Worship sites at St. Philomena and St. Ann's.

60. St. Pius X, 400 Center Road, Bedford: Remaining open but merging with Holy Trinity in Bedford Heights and St. Mary in Bedford.

61. St. Procop, 3181 West 41st St.: Closing.

62. St. Robert Bellarmine, 23802 Lake Shore Blvd., Euclid: Merging with St. William at St. William.

63. St. Rocco, 3205 Fulton Road: Remaining open.

64. St. Rose of Lima, 11401 Detroit Ave.: Closing and merging with Saints Cyril and Methodius at Saints Cyril and Methodius.

65. St. Stanislaus, 3649 East 65th St.: Remaining open.

66. St. Stephen, 1930 West 54th St.: Remaining open.

67. St. Thomas More, 4170 N. Amber Drive, Brooklyn: Remaining open.

68. St. Vincent de Paul, 13400 Lorain Ave.: Remaining open.

69. St. Vitus, 6019 Lausche Ave.: Remaining open.

70. St. Wendelin, 2281 Columbus Road: Closing.

71. St. William, 367 East 260th St., Euclid: Merging with St. Robert at St. William

A complete, updated list of all Cleveland Catholic Diocese Church closings can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland, here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Cleveland Ohio Skyline

For those of us who live in or near Cleveland Ohio, we sometimes take the city's beautiful skyline for granted. Here is a short video that I created which highlights some of my favorite views of the city. Hopefully it will not only remind Cleveland metropolitan area residents of how great this city looks, but will also serve to help "out of towners" see what they are missing. Enjoy!

The Cleveland Ohio Skyline

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland, here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Promotional Video

To keep everyone charged up about the upcoming Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum’s Cleveland induction ceremonies coming up on April 4, 2009. Here is a promotional video created by Glazen Creative Studios It was produced for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s New York Annex experience.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information,
All Things Cleveland, here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Cleveland Induction Ceremony

In December 2007 I did a feature here on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. At the time of that writing, I bemoaned the lack of respect that the R&RHOF received, complaining that the induction ceremonies are held in New York City. Just four days after I aired my complaint, it was announced that the induction ceremonies would be held in Cleveland in 2009. Of course I had nothing to do with that, but it still felt like someone heard me.

It’s hard to believe, but the date for the Cleveland, Ohio induction ceremony is upon us. The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on April 4, 2009, the first time it’s been held in Cleveland since 1997. And, so everyone across the United States can enjoy the event, it will be broadcast live on Fuse TV.

Rock Hall induction week, which begins on March 26, includes many added events such as educational programs, concerts, parties, The Moondog Coronation Ball, and much more. There will also be a “Free Day” giving free admission to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum for the public.

To get everyone charged up, here are a few videos from the Rock Hall that explains its history, how it helps the city, and provides a view into the facility itself. For further information about the R&RHOF and the upcoming induction ceremony, visit Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum web site.

About the R&RHOF

Economic Impact of the R&RHOF

R&RHOF Exhibits

R&RHOF Education Programs

R&RHOF Capital Campaign

How Cleveland Built the R&RHOF

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland, here.