Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Cleveland Heights
42 total

Rob Pryor interview, 22 August 2018

Rob Pryor, co-owner of Record Revolution in Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights, provides a history of the legendary Coventry store and describes Coventry's youth culture in the 1980s and 1990s. Pryor grew up in Cleveland Heights in the 1970s and moved to the Coventry area in the mid-1980s. An avid skateboarder, Pryor started working at Record Revolution, which also sold skateboards. He discusses the diverse and often eccentric "characters" of Coventry's scene in the 1980s-90s. He provides an…

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George Fitzpatrick interview, 15 August 2018

George Fitzpatrick, artist and former manager of Heights Art Theater, describes some of the Coventry characters that he ran into over the years working on and patronizing the commercial strip in Cleveland Heights. He discusses Coventry's older era as a Jewish business district and its transformation into a countercultural hub for the region, police efforts to crack down on drug use in the area, the district's popularity with the Hell's Angels, his interactions with Harvey Pekar, and the various…

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Rebecca and Christina Attenson interview, 10 August 2018

Sisters Rebecca and Christina Attenson share their memories of growing up in the Coventry area of Cleveland Heights and owning the store Attenson's Antiques and Books on Coventry Road. Although the self-described hippies have grown up, their legacy lingers in Coventry's commercial district where the bizarre is never surprising.

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Alan Rapoport interview, 14 August 2018

Alan Rapoport, former Mayor of Cleveland Heights and active community member, discusses how Cleveland Heights and, more particularly, Coventry changed from the 1960s through to the present. From his tenure on City Council and heavy involvement in the local community organization Coventry Neighbors Inc., he describes key initiatives, events, and innovative improvements that helped ensure that the city remained a vibrant, tolerant part of Greater Cleveland.

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David Woldman interview, 03 July 2018

Dave Woldman recalls his experiences in the Heights during the 1960s through the 1970s. He grew up in a conservative Jewish home, but later embraced the counterculture movement and the alternative lifestyles particular to Coventry Village.

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Frank Gerlak interview, 17 August 2018

Frank Gerlak, architect and urban planner, discusses the history of Coventry and, more generally, Cleveland Heights. Throughout this discussion he touches on the topics of streetcars, planned suburbs, public transportation, and the nation's obsession with the automobile, which concludes with thoughts on Cleveland's development, growth, and missed chances.

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Bruce Hennes interview, 29 August 2018

Bruce Hennes first heard about Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights as a teenager living in Canton, Ohio. Soon after high school he moved to Coventry, planted his roots, and became heavily involved in the community. He shares his experiences with and perspectives on Coventry Neighbors Inc., Coventry Community Development Organization, Coventry Village Special Improvement District, and the Coventry Street Fair.

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Richard Turbow interview, 18 June 2011

Richard Turbow, resident of Coventry for 40 years, discusses the many changes that the area has gone through. Turbow paints a picture that chronicles Coventry's shift from Hippies to Punks to College Students. He mentions many restaurants, shops, and hangout places including Irv's, Tommy's, and Seesaw. He also makes mention of the Coventry Street fair. He points out that the changes in housing in University Circle caused more and more students to move to Coventry, which accounts for the…

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Susan Prendergast interview, 18 June 2011

Susan Predergast discusses being a teenager in University Circle and Coventry during the 1960s. She says that there was a general distrust and fear of youths on the eve and after the Glenville Riots. She says that this contributed to the shift from the University Circle area to Coventry Village.

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Timothy Damon interview, 18 June 2011

Timothy Damon, University Circle Resident, describes his memories of Coventry. His first memories begin in the 1980s and center around the Arabica Coffeehouse. He mentions two other Arabicas in the area and the various stereotypes that went along with each one. He then talks about various restaurants and shops on Coventry. Damon speaks to the uniqueness of Coventry before comparing it to University Circle. He concludes by bringing up a story about the caring people who lived on Coventry.

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Violet Frayne interview, 18 June 2011

Violet Frayne discusses the Hippie Era of Coventry Road. She shares that she and her husband moved into the neighborhood in 1966, and almost immediately she began working for Bill Jones selling dresses. She discusses many of the businesses there and how they came together to form the Coventry Merchants Association. They realized that they needed the help of the residents to be effective so they later created the Coventry Homeowners Association, which became Coventry Neighbors. Throughout the…

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Martin Friedman interview, 18 June 2011

In this short interview, Martin Friedman discusses Coventry Village. He says he grew up in Coventry until his parents moved them to University Heights. Martin, however, eventually made his way back to Coventry, much to the chagrin of his parents. They always thought that Coventry reminded them of the troubles they had when they "were moving on up." Martin also describes his favorite events on Coventry and what he was involved with on Coventry. He was made famous by Harvey Pekar and ornithopters,…

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Steve Presser interview, 2012

Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, describes his life in Cleveland Heights, being owner of a toy store, and his love for Coventry. He begins by giving a brief history of the path he took to owning Big Fun. He also talks about the renovations and construction he did to open the original store and then the current store. After that, Steve discusses his affinity for locally owned business and his affiliation with the "Cash Mob," which is a group of people who go to locally owned stores and spend…

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Diana Wellman interview, 30 July 2012

Diana Wellman worked as a preservationist in Cleveland for 12 years and was asked to work on a project to get Inglewood on the National Register for Historic Neighborhoods. She talks about the highs and the lows, as well as, the surprises that she found along the way. She first gives a brief history and an overview of the landscape of the neighborhood. She discusses various architectural cues and where she got her information from. She used Sanborn Insurance maps to chart out the neighborhood,…

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Lisa Hunt Interview, 10 September 2012

Lisa Hunt describes what it was like growing up in Cleveland Heights. She recalls her experiences in the Taylor Hill neighborhood from going to a neighbor's house for Bible Study to the memorable teachers she had. She also touches upon the shopping she did at Severance Mall and Lerner's Fashion Store. In this interview, she also discusses the cultural diversity of the neighborhood, and how everyone seemed to get along in Cleveland Heights.

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Barbara Wherley Interview, 6 October 2012

Barbara Wherley grew up in Cleveland Heights and in this interview she describes that experience. She discusses what it was like going to Nela Park with her father, an employee of General Electric. She also describes her growth through the schools of Cleveland Heights, and how those experiences shaped her future thinking. She recalls how her church, Noble Road Presbyterian, was very involved in the civil rights movement. Additionally, she describes the attendance and the Sunday Schooling that…

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Peggy Spaeth Interview, 21 June 2012

In this brief interview, Peggy Spaeth is asked about her involvement as the director of Heights Arts. She is asked how she got the position and about some of the projects that she is involved in. She describes in detail the Coventry Village neighborhood. She details what inspired the street signs, benches, and fences in that neighborhood. She concludes by touching upon some of the other projects that Heights Arts is involved in like "Fencepiration."

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Kathy Blackman Interview, 6 October 2012

Kathy Blackman, owner of the Grog Shop, describes her business. She talks about the founding of the venue, and how her and her two partners set off without a plan. She also mentions that their growth into the music scene was entirely organic. She says that at one point she considered moving away from Cleveland Heights because a new landlord had kicked her out. Finally, she says that she cannot pick a favorite act but she can talk about a fiasco that she will never forget.

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Larry Beam Interview, 18 June 2011

Larry Beam reflects on his eight years as president of the Coventry Neighbors Incorporated, particularly the ending of the Coventry street fair. He also recalls the Jewish organized crime in the area around the 1970s.

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Roseana Bass Interview, 30 April 2012

Roseana Bass, owner of Diamond's Flowers, talks about her experiences in Coventry Village. She talks about the previous owners of the store, and how she came to acquire the business. She also discusses the Coventry Street Fair and her involvement. She concludes by talking about how much Coventry Road has changed over the years.

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Tommy Fello Interview, 11 April 2012

Tommy Fello, owner of Tommy's in Coventry, discusses growing up in Cleveland Heights and starting his drug store/restaurant. Fello discusses the supportive community in Coventry, the history of the neighborhood, and his move to solely selling food at the Tommy's that exists today.

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Melvin Blackwell Interview, 18 September 2013

Melvin Blackwell is the pastor of Christ the Redeemer AME Church in Cleveland Heights. In this interview he recounts his journey through the Church- starting in the Baptist tradition, going to the Episcopalian Church, and his eventual move to Christ the Redeemer. He also discusses the changes within the Cleveland Heights neighborhood as well as changing perspectives about the church.

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Brendan Ring Interview, 24 July 2012

Brendan Ring describes being the owner of Nighttown in Cleveland Heights. He begins with a discription of his history, the history of the building, and a history of the establisment. He also discusses previous owner John Barr. He talks about his favorite acts that passed through Nighttown, which included big names like Wynton Marsalis and Stevie Wonder. He also talks about the challenges of running a restaurant in a building not made for restaurants. He recalls how the restaurant was and still…

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John Barr Interview, 3 August 2012

John Barr, first owner of Nighttown, speaks of his experiences there. He describes the difficult beginnings that the bar had, but that they persevered and eventually made it to where they are now. Barr describes the building and how its changed over the years. He also talks about how the neighborhood went from near collapse to bustling and thriving. He concludes the piece by talking about the various articles, trinkets, and knick-knacks that he has accrued over the years.

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Dennis Coughlin Interview, 7 September 2012

Dennis Coughlin, a life-long resident of Cleveland Heights, describes what he has seen growing up in Cleveland Heights. He discusses living in the Cedar-Fairmount Neighborhood. He recalls the various shops and stores that he would go into. He also remembers his elementary school, Roxboro School, and the various events that surrounded that school such as the Davis Cup. He then describes the Coventry Neighborhood and how it has changed over the years. After Coventry, Coughlin describes St. Paul's…

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Clara Rankin Interview, 12 April 2011

Clara Rankin describes growing up on Fairmount Boulevard and recalls events from her childhood in Cleveland Heights.

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John C. Lentz Interview, 11 June 2012

Reverend John Lentz, pastor at Forest Hill Church, talks about the history of the church and its place in the community. He begins by giving his background and the path he took to get to the church. He then goes into the early history of the church and how it began on Radnor Road in Cleveland Heights. He also talks about previous pastors and their legacies. His discussion of Reverend Ned Edwards leads into a conversation about the activist postions the church took throughout the 1960s into the…

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Lorence Hyler Interview, 18 June 2011

Lorence Hyler recalls what Coventry Village was like in the 1970s and 80s. He particularly remembers his work with the Food Project and Coventry Books and what remained of the Jewish community in the area.

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Bill Mitchell Interview, 11 June 2012

Bill Mitchell, owner of Mitchell's Fine Chocolates, discusses growing up in Cleveland Heights and running his father's business. He says that he has many fond memories of growing up in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. He recalls several of the businesses that used to be there and several businesses that are still there. He then moves into a discussion of Greek Immigration and how many concession stands were owned by Greeks throughout Cleveland. He concludes by talking about how he…

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Suzanne DeGaetano Interview, 18 August 2012

In this interview with Suzanne DeGaetano, the owner of Mac's Backs Books on Coventry, she discusses how Coventry has changed around her. She describes her personal journey and how she ended up co-owning a bookstore. She then describes her experiences as an owner and shopkeeper. She also discusses how embracing the neighborhood has been and that is the reason why they have remained even though many other bookstores have closed down.

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Karen Bauman Interview, 18 June 2011

Karen Bauman recalls the vibrancy of Coventry in the 1970s, especially her time at Irv's Restaurant and the good times that were had there.

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Donalene Poduska Interview, 18 July 2012

Donalene Poduska discusses Works Progress Administration (WPA) Art. She talks about her personal experiences in dealing with WPA art at Oxford Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. She begins by saying that she had stumbled upon the pieces and later on identified them as WPA art. She mentions names like Edris Eckhardt and Viktor Schreckengost and their contributions to WPA art. She also discusses the struggle to preserve the pieces at Oxford Elementary School.

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Andy Gathy Interview, 9 May 2012

In this brief clip, Andy Gathy, current owner of Heights Hardware, talks about his father and how he came to acquire Heights Hardware. He talks about how they used to offer a sleugh of services, and are thinking about going back to them. He mentions the benefits of joining ACE Hardware as an affiliate. He also talks about how Heights Hardware used to offer a sleugh of services, including plumbing and electrical work. He concludes with a discussion of three men and how they are part of the…

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Regis Garrity Interview, 18 June 2011

Regis Garrity recounts his contribution to Coventry Village by gathering support of 18 area businesses in 1976 to buy a two-page spread in Key Magazine.

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Carole Close Interview, 18 June 2011

Carole Close describes the political scene of Coventry in the 1960s and 1970s. She was a political activist in the area and describes the neighborhood not only as a accepting place for hippies, but as an area that experienced a significant amount of political activism.

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Pete Scriven Interview, 2 October 2012

Pete Scriven, a lifelong resident of Cleveland Heights, gives an overview of what it was like growing up in the Cedar Lee Neighborhood. He describes his childhood and the various stores and shops he would frequent, and gives a detailed account of what changes the neighborhood has gone through. He recalls a time when hamburgers were less than 25 cents and ice cream cones were only 7 cents.

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