The area today known as the Hough neighborhood started as a part of the original East Cleveland Township.The geography bounded by E. 55th, 105th, Superior and Euclid was annexed to the City of Cleveland in 1872. The next year a major thoroughfare through the new neighborhood was dedicated and named for two prominent early landholders, Oliver and Eliza Hough. At the time Hough was predominantly farmland, growing fruits and vegetables that would be sold in markets of the burgeoning city just to the west.
As Cleveland’s core transformed itself into an industrial powerhouse it put pressure on Hough to change as well. By the 1890s much of the former farmland had been gridded out into tree lined streets of large homes speckled with multi-family apartment buildings, row houses and corner stores. The first street cars arrived in 1890 running on parallel tracks along Hough and Euclid Aves. But it was two smaller streetcar lines converging at the intersection of Lexington and E. 66th Street that would spur development of the neighborhoods most notable landmark, League Park.
The park opened in 1891 and was home field for the Cleveland Spiders. It was expanded in 1909 to seat 20,000 fans. Spinoff commercial development and denser multi-family projects followed the parks success.
But by as early as the 1920s newer suburbs to the east began to pull Hough’s wealthiest residents even further away from the industrial core. The area began its transition from a white to blue collar neighborhood. Hough would be a predominantly white working class neighborhood until the 1950s.
In the post WWII era redlining and urban renewal projects resulted in a dramatic changes to Hough. These practices created less incentive, and in many instances an inability, to invest in the neighborhoods housing and commercial structures. This disinvestment coupled with social unrest culminated in tragic riots during the summer of 1966. What began as a dispute at the Seventy-Niners Café at Hough and E. 79th Streets spilled over into two days of riots, arson and vandalism before the National Guard was called in on July 20th. It was another five days before worst of the chaos would subside. The events of that summer would leave lasting scars on the neighborhood for decades to come.
In the wake of the riots one resident would be spurred to action. Fannie Lewis began as a grassroots activist in Hough that summer culminating in her election to Cleveland City Council in 1979. She was the driving force for many of the neighborhood redevelopment efforts of the 80s-2000s. Lewis was a longtime advocate for the restoration of League Park and though she wasn’t able to see it, the field was renovated and rededicated in 2014.
Today the Hough neighborhood is beginning to benefit from the developments in University Circle and Midtown. For the second time in its history grassy plots of land in Hough are being looked at for new residential construction to serve the needs of growing industries around it.
What does this have to do with the project?
The Hough neighborhood is one of the first pilot areas to be coded as part of the project. Be sure to attend some of the public events during the Hough Charrette Week to be a part of the initial planning process for the neighborhood.