Shop for real NEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 12/02/2007 - 15:12.

One environmental fundamental is NOT consuming the wrong things wrongly or unnecessarily - when you must consume then do so as smartly, locally and close to good sources as possible. In that sense, buying from artists and crafts people can't be beat, and there are many opportunities these days to buy local arts and crafts for gifts for the "holiday" season (when all are encouraged to over-consume at all levels). One very cool such shoppening, that brought a huge crowd together at E4th and Prospect, this weekend, was the Bazaar Bizarre... featured on today's header (full size here).

As a challenge for all who are real and NEO, make every attempt this holiday season and in 2008+ to shop as responsibly as possible, including giving gifts of local arts and culture. Please post your suggestions and related events and links here on REALNEO!


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local author, local history, good winter reading

One of those people on your holiday gift list is interested in local history...
Here's a story for them: A Place Apart
by Diana Tittle. Photographs by Jennie Jones. Bratenahl Historical Society, 192 pp., $50.

An up-close look at remote Bratenahl


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Carol Poh

Special to The Plain Dealer

In "A Place Apart: The History of Bratenahl, Ohio," Diana Tittle tells the story of a suburb conceived as a domestic sanctuary for Cleveland's industrial and professional elite.

The book is aptly titled. From its inception in 1904, Bratenahl has always been "a place apart." Its residents have worked hard and skillfully to keep it that way.

As part of East Cleveland Township and, later, the villages of Glenville and Collinwood, the area was settled by New England farmers. Later, German immigrants operated truck farms here, including Charles G. Bratenahl, from whom the suburb took its name. In the Gilded Age, "Glenville on the Lake," sandwiched between Lake Erie and the New York Central's main line, began to attract well-to-do Clevelanders looking to build summer homes.

The estate era began in earnest with The Country Club, established in 1889. Its founders began purchasing land and erected handsome mansions on Lake Shore Boulevard. The first of these was the 25-room retreat of Samuel and Flora Stone Mather, known as Shoreby, completed in 1890. A succession of mansion builders followed - bluebloods who socialized together, intermarried and gave their magnificently landscaped compounds names like Gwinn, Katewood and Loch Hame.

South of the railroad tracks, meanwhile, immigrants spilled into Glenville and Collinwood. The nabobs to the north eyed these urbanizing neighbors - with their closely built houses, crime, insobriety and demand for costly government services - with increasing alarm.

In 1902, when two factories rose uncomfortably close, Plain Dealer publisher Liberty Holden and attorney Frederick Goff persuaded more than 100 of their neighbors to convey their properties to a third party, which inserted deed restrictions and promptly deeded the instruments back. Railroads and manufacturing enterprises were prohibited, as were apartment houses, resorts, hotels, saloons and picnic grounds-"in short," Tittle writes, "any attraction that might be patronized by the general public."

In 1904, with annexation to Cleveland looming, Glenville's First Ward seceded and incorporated as the Village of Bratenahl. Three years later, Collinwood residents living on the lakefront between Nine Mile Creek and East 140th Street asked to come into Bratenahl's protective fold. This was accomplished quietly, by ordinance, on March 6, 1908; "no outside attention was paid," Tittle writes.

Understandably so. Just two days earlier, 172 students and two teachers perished in the Collinwood school fire. The horrific event - a stone's throw from Bratenahl - is not mentioned in the book. Cleveland annexed what was left of Glenville in 1905, Collinwood in 1910.

"Between 1910 and 1920 the village's population increased from 690 to 1,000," Tittle writes, "while some 90 Euclid Avenue mansions were razed during roughly the same period."

As a veteran journalist, Tittle's metier is contemporary social and cultural issues, and she deftly relates the village's efforts, beginning in the late 1950s, to accommodate itself to change - to meet head-on plunging real estate values and a dwindling tax base. The high-rise towers of Bratenahl Place I and II (a project considered so risky that no Cleveland bank would finance it) would lead, decades later, to other residential developments that saved Bratenahl from threatened decline, kept annexation at bay and remade its physical landscape.

The village was less lucky on other fronts. Its prized canopy over Lake Shore Boulevard succumbed to Dutch elm disease. In 1982, it lost its protracted fight to keep its schools segregated from Cleveland's. Traffic headaches ended in a draw: the construction of an eight-lane freeway that both isolates and protects it from residents of one of the most impoverished cities in America.

Jennie Jones' luscious color photography pairs well with Tittle's smartly written text. Donors entirely underwrote the production of this lavish book, commissioned to mark the village's centennial.

Poh is a historical consultant in Cleveland.


I have read Diana Tittle's books

Welcome to Heights High: The Crippling Politics of Restructuring America's Public Schools

and Walk in the Park Greater Cleveland's New and Reclaimed Green Spaces

Haven't read this one, Rebuilding Cleveland The Cleveland Foundation and Its Evolving Urban Strategy

Because I can vouch for Diana's clear prose, her ability to discover and deliver a thorough coverage of the issues and because I am interested in the topic, I'll have my eye out for this one as I prepare my wish list...

Thanks for the heads up Carol!

Diana Tittle and Jenny Jones powerful combo

I was talking to Jenny Jones about this time last year and she told me about this project, and I'm glad to hear it has hit the presses... I can think of a few folks who will appreciate this.

Also good to see some insightful people creating more records of the history and people of this region, as there will be lots of questions in the future. The official record to date is not complete... I think that is one of the most important values of realneo.

Disrupt IT

A present for Shaw High School

  I would like to see Shaw's Marching Band reach Beijing.
Annie-can you write more about the agency organizing this trip.  Kingsway International?
Has a fund been set up for the trip?  It's all too vague right now. 

Oh, I think I have answered my own question--but still would like to know who controls this account : )

Fifth Third Bank: Take your donation to any Fifth Third location for the account of Music Through the Streets. 

(Above--another chance to visit the great photography of Jeff Buster!)

Glass Bubble Project and Bookstore on West 25th

Here's an unusual experience--have your kids come away with an understanding of how something we use and take for granted every day--is made.  The Glass Bubble Project is open most everyday of the week, except Sundays.  Saturdays, 12-3 are the best times to drop by for public demonstrations.

Afterwards, grab a coffee or hot cocoa at Lelolai Bakery and head over to visit Michael and the cats at the Bookstore on West 25th St.  A perfect way to while away the day!

2007 book picks

  Here is a link to my favorite readings from 2007.

 Try it yourself at  I know Tim loves but for me, a librarian, I want to stick with what I know. 


You will find that these books entertain and provoke civic thought. 

Peace and joy to everyone worldwide in 2008.