Beverly McClintok interview, 09 June 2007

In this 2007 interview, 74-year old Beverly McClintok, who was born in Bedford, Ohio, talks about her experiences living in Cleveland. She recalls memories of Euclid Avenue and Municipal Stadium in the 1940s. She talks about her work at Peoples Hope Church at W.65th and Bridge, where she was married in 1952. She lived in Ohio City from 1953-1963, and remembers the tornado of 1953 which killed 5 people on W. 28th St. Since 1963, she has lived on Madison. She talks about changes in the neighborhood since 1963. She also provides her opinions on a variety of social issues in her neighborhood ranging from juvenile delinquency, to drugs, to poverty, to residential blight, to gentrification, to freeways, to tax abatement.

Participants: McClintok, Beverly (interviewee) / Bell, Erin (interviewer)
Collection: Detroit Shoreway
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Erin Bell [00:00:03] This is Erin Bell. I'm here with Beverly McClintok at Detroit Shoreway, Gordon Square Arcade. And we're going to be doing an oral history today. It is June 9th, about 10 a.m. Beverly, can you just tell me, just how about when and where you wer born?

Beverly McClintok [00:00:26] I was born in Bedford, Ohio, in 1933.

Erin Bell [00:00:31] Okay, and when did you move here?

Beverly McClintok [00:00:32] We moved here in 1963.

Erin Bell [00:00:34] Tell me what the neighborhood was like in 1963.

Beverly McClintok [00:00:42] A lot better than it is now. I mean, I live on Madison Avenue, and there are factories there, but there were still more houses than there are now, and everybody that lived in the houses owned the houses. There weren't as many absentee landlords as they are now. Which creates a big problem because they tend to not take care of the property. So. And I think a lot of it had to do with the busing. The busing really screwed up the whole neighborhood because our kids were not going to our schools, you know, playing with their friends after school because they didn't get home until late. So thank God my kids were old enough that they didn't get bused, but I would never have let them go on a bus.

Erin Bell [00:01:40] And that was in the early '80s when that started?

Beverly McClintok [00:01:43] Yeah. Uh huh.

Erin Bell [00:01:45] So you live on Madison Avenue?

Beverly McClintok [00:01:49] Right.

Erin Bell [00:01:50] Tell me about that specific place... Your home, the homes nearby, the people you live with.

Beverly McClintok [00:01:57] Well, my home is a hundred years old. It is a smaller home than the ones on Franklin Boulevard, but it has three bedrooms and a kitchen and a formal dining room and a living room and a full basement. No garage because a lot isn't big enough. It's only 28 feet wide by a hundred and something deep and it's fine. You know. We raised two kids there, so.

Erin Bell [00:02:35] And you're involved with People's Church?

Beverly McClintok [00:02:39] People's Hope.

Erin Bell [00:02:40] People's Hope Church. Okay. Tell me about that. Where's it at?

Beverly McClintok [00:02:44] It's on the corner of 65th and Bridge. Right now we're having a car wash outside and a rummage sale inside, and we're waiting for the bread run to come in. So we're very, you know, involved.

Erin Bell [00:03:03] Okay. What is... Do you know anything about the history of the church?

Beverly McClintok [00:03:05] It's a hundred and forty years old. I was married in that church in 1952, so it's been there a long time, and it had a huge congregation at one time. But then as the neighborhood started to go down, the people left to go to the suburbs, which is sad. You know, I could have done that, but we didn't. I said, what's the sense of fleeing away? You know.

Erin Bell [00:03:46] I agree entirely. I'm a big fan of the city. Do you have... Did any of your family members move to the suburbs, or do you know people that left and come back in recent years?

Beverly McClintok [00:03:54] Well, the only ones I know that came back was because they came back for the tax abatement, which to me every time I chaired my block club and they bring up tax abatement, I'd say, when do we get ours? You know, we're the ones keeping this neighborhood together and we get nothing. And then they build brand-new houses. And if you didn't go to a specific meeting, you couldn't get the papers to apply for it. And it suddenly appeared that the only people that were going to the meetings were the Hispanic people. So almost every one of those houses that got built and new are owned by Hispanics.

Erin Bell [00:04:47] Okay. Is that a big part of this area?

Beverly McClintok [00:04:49] Oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. And they really... They really do not want to assimilate. They really don't. I mean, our block club had been meeting where Dudley and Eve split, Dudley and Elton, and they locked us out. And we still don't know if we're gonna be able to go back there because they just didn't want any part of us. And we've invited 'em to block club meetings and everything and nothing. So it's sad.

Erin Bell [00:05:21] Do you think that that might be similar to earlier ethnic groups in Cleveland [that] tended to stick to themselves?

Beverly McClintok [00:05:29] Well, in one respect, yeah. They stuck to themselves. But if there was a neighborhood thing, they would come together for that. These people just don't want to. They stay in their own little thing and that's it.

Erin Bell [00:05:44] Well, let's talk about some of the earlier ethnic groups that you remember in the area.

Beverly McClintok [00:05:51] Oh, my goodness. A lot of Italians, a lot of Irish. I mean, most of the houses on Madison were built by Irish people and Italians because down the street was Italian people and everybody got along wonderfully. You know, each one of us watched each other's kids. And if my kid did something wrong, the lady down the street would say, you don't do that here. Well try that today. You just can't because the mother's going to say, what are you saying to my child? And I think that's another big problem. Nobody wants to say anything to these kids. It's like, don't yell at them. It'll hurt their little psyche. Well, excuse me. I yell. So. But we've seen very little improvement on Madison Avenue. Very little. I mean, I'm forever screaming about houses that are in disrepair with absentee landlords. There's a house up on the corner of 80th and Madison, there's two in a row, and one has a condemned sign on it. And I said, I'd love to see both those houses gone because the poor lady that is the third house, her yard is gorgeous. She keeps the house up so nice. And then she has to sit next to that. Now, that's not right.

Erin Bell [00:07:31] So you moved here, I'm sorry...

Beverly McClintok [00:07:33] '63.

Erin Bell [00:07:33] '63.

Beverly McClintok [00:07:35] Before that, we lived in Ohio City. [laughs].

Erin Bell [00:07:39] Okay.

Beverly McClintok [00:07:40] I couldn't wait to get out of Ohio City.

Erin Bell [00:07:41] Well tell about Ohio City.

Beverly McClintok [00:07:44] Ohio City was... Everybody who lives there now thinks it's just fabulous. You know, with the older houses and all this. Well, there's no way I would put three hundred thousand dollars into a house in Ohio City. I'm just not going to do that. And we lived there in 1953 and we went through the tornado and I heard women screaming and there were five people killed and West 28th Street. We were very fortunate.

Erin Bell [00:08:18] I'm not familiar with that. Tell me more.

Beverly McClintok [00:08:20] Well, it came at night. It was 10:00 at night, and it was just horrible. I mean, we had a double lot, a house in front and a house and back, and we lived in the back house. And my mother-in-law and father-in-law lived in the front house. My sister-in-law lived upstairs. And my sister-in-law and brother-in-law had gone to the movies. And so my other sister-in-law was watching the kids. And my father-in-law went upstairs and told her to bring the kids downstairs. And she took them in the front house and a 20-inch fan blew out of the window between my husband and I, and that's when he threw me on the kitchen floor, because to get to the basement, she had to go out on the porch and open the trap door. I couldn't open the door. The vacuum just wouldn't let me open the door. So he threw me on the floor. And physically, the refrigerator was walking across the floor as the windows were crashing in. And I don't ever want to go through that again. And the dirt was unbelievable. It was an oily dirt, like it picked up oil from someplace. And so after that, when we were able to buy a house, that's when we moved out of there. And then there were roaches down there and... Yuck.

Erin Bell [00:09:43] Just the proximity to the river.

Beverly McClintok [00:09:46] Yeah. And dirty people who didn't care. You know how that goes.

Erin Bell [00:09:54] And of course restaurants as well. I live in Coventry... [cross talk].

Beverly McClintok [00:09:56] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Erin Bell [00:10:05] Okay. So when you moved here in '63 you are about 30.

Beverly McClintok [00:10:08] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:10:10] So about my age.

Beverly McClintok [00:10:10] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:10:11] Tell me about your lifestyle, the kind of things you did for entertainment.

Beverly McClintok [00:10:15] Not really much because we had the kids involved in stuff, school stuff. And then as they got older, my son was in DeMolay. My daughter was in Jobs and Rainbow Girls. So that kept us busy and taking kids other places, so we didn't really do too much outside and for ourselves until after the kids were grown and out of the house. And then we decided to start to travel. And so we did cruises, which was neat. And then, of course, along the line, I was block club chairman for [West End] Urbanteers [Block Club] for 16 years and we had a big, big group. Now we don't have that big a group because people just don't want to get involved and especially the younger ones. And most of us are getting too old to be cleaning alleys and stuff. You know, been there, done that. I don't want to do that anymore. So, you know, it's difficult.

Erin Bell [00:11:26] What are the goals of the block club?

Beverly McClintok [00:11:28] The goals of the block club is to get rid of all these houses that are boarded up, either bring them up to code, resell them, or something. And we would like to get rid of what we used to call Section 8 houses because, you know for a fact that landlord's just taken the money and he doesn't really care because he usually lives in a hoity toity suburb somewhere, which I've threatened to take a picket sign and go sit on his lawn because it's not fair to us who live there. You know, we're trying to maintain stuff and there's been a lot of arson. You know, if something's sitting empty. And we... And I've seen it and I'm very unprejudiced. I have dear friends who are black and I have seen our neighborhood go very, very black. In fact, we have a retired black sheriff that's lived there for years, and you ought to hear him. He is very disgusted because these people move in and they are filthy people. They throw garbage out the windows. Now, you know, what does it tell you? And the drugs are terrible. I mean, we'll clear up one spot and it appears someplace else.

Erin Bell [00:12:48] Do you think again that these are problems that started in the '80s in this area?

Beverly McClintok [00:12:49] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely. And it's just gotten progressively worse. You know, which is sad. Because you hate to see... You know, and when someone somewhere says, where do you live? And I say Madison Avenue, instinctively they say Lakewood. And I said, no. Cleveland.

Erin Bell [00:13:13] I do the same thing.

Beverly McClintok [00:13:13] You know?

Erin Bell [00:13:13] That's what I think of.

Beverly McClintok [00:13:15] You know, and I said, I'm sorry, but I live in Cleveland. In fact, if you want to be specific, everyone around us is Cleveland because it's 441. That's Cleveland. But they just... You know, it's... I don't know. It's just too... And they, the people who live in the suburbs think they're very safe. They have no drugs. They have no crime. Well, the reason being they don't report it to the FBI. And if you don't report it, you don't hear anything about it. And we're so dumb, we report everything.

Erin Bell [00:13:57] Were the streetcars still running when you moved here?

Beverly McClintok [00:13:57] Yeah, yeah, they... I saw the last one go through and that was the one that had the electric up on the top on the wires, and I saw them take the poles and everything down.

Erin Bell [00:14:10] What year was that?

Beverly McClintok [00:14:11] Oh, jeez. In the late '60. Because we have a picture, a church that was on the front lawn and it said thank you, thank you for bringing parishioners to this church. Goodbye to the streetcars. I thought that was the neatest thing, you know?

Erin Bell [00:14:38] Do you think that it affected the church? Do you think it was harder for people to get there?

Beverly McClintok [00:14:44] Well, especially when they moved away. See, most of the people that went to that church lived in the area and they could walk. When I was younger, I walked to the church. And so when they moved away, it was drive. And if the weather was lousy, they're not coming. And we've tried desperately to get more people to come. And we're sitting in a very large Catholic, Hispanic... And so, therefore, we're not going to get them to come to church. You know.

Erin Bell [00:15:21] So with the streetcars and the factories nearby, from what I understand, this was a very pedestrian area.

Beverly McClintok [00:15:31] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:15:31] People would go out to a store, they'd take a streetcar to the store, walk to work.

Beverly McClintok [00:15:36] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:15:36] Can you tell me about that?

Beverly McClintok [00:15:38] Well, the problem I have with the factories and that is when they went to resurface and do the sidewalks, they said that they talked to every homeowner. They did not. And so what happened, we we have no tree lawns because the factories didn't want tree lawns because they could park cars and trucks and stuff up there. Well, in one respect, it's easier because you could just wash everything down. But the other thing is there's no trees. You know, only the trees that are on the property. So that made it not look like I would have liked to seen it look, you know.

Erin Bell [00:16:20] It makes a big difference.

Beverly McClintok [00:16:21] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:16:23] So which factories in particular are these? What was here...

Beverly McClintok [00:16:28] There is...

Erin Bell [00:16:29] What still is here?

Beverly McClintok [00:16:30] All right. There was Harvey Movers and then it got sold to... It got sold to... The whole property went to Martin Sheet Metal, which makes cabs for tow motors, and then down from there on that side of the street is Advanced Steel, which is huge. And then down towards 65th is, I think it's called Talbert. And on my side was the diaper service, West End Diaper Service, which by the way, the whole thing is up for sale because they're just not making it because nobody uses regular diapers anymore, even though they were doing tablecloths and stuff like that for hotels, it just isn't paying. You know, so I don't know what they're going to do with that building, which is... Little by little we're seeing everything go out the window.

Erin Bell [00:17:38] I always thought it was interesting... You know, Cleveland has a very industrial cast and presence, I guess. But one of the things about having a factory is you don't necessarily want them in your neighborhood because they do things like, you know, with the tree problem.

Beverly McClintok [00:17:55] Mm hmm.

Erin Bell [00:17:57] You're always going to have problems with them, but on the other hand when they leave, you know, it can kill a neighborhood because people live where they work.

Beverly McClintok [00:18:03] Right. Plus, the fact that if you live on a main street that has, like we're zoned residential-commercial, your taxes are lower. If I moved my house onto a side street, my taxes would double. I'm sure of it. So that's one good thing. The other thing is Advance goes almost 24 hours a day. So at night you go to bed and up until 11:00 o'clock, you'll hear [bangs on the table to illustrate noises from the factory]. You know, which shakes my glassware in the windows and stuff. So I just, I just tolerate it because there's nothing else I can do about it.

Erin Bell [00:18:50] You said you were very busy with the kids when you moved to this neighborhood. And your kids were born in the early '50s?

Beverly McClintok [00:18:59] Mm hmm. '55 and '57.

Erin Bell [00:19:02] So, I mean, you can definitely talk about your daily life with the children, but I'm also interested in, before the children, what you did for entertainment.

Beverly McClintok [00:19:11] Oh, hubby and I would go to the movies because we didn't have that kind of money. You know, back then it was payday to payday because he worked for Muny Light, the whole family worked for Muny Light. And when you got that third weekend, I mean, it was like, put all the food together to eat because you didn't have that kind of money. I mean, when I stop and think I'm driving a twenty-five thousand-dollar car, when we thought it was a lot of money to pay fifteen hundred for a car. And I, you know, I know you make more money now, but to me, that makes no sense. That's a lot of money. And the housing that they're building, all these condos and stuff, which I am not thrilled with, they start at a hundred and seventy thousand dollars. Now, who's got that kind of money?

Erin Bell [00:20:07] This was Eco-Village and Battery Park?

Beverly McClintok [00:20:08] They were, well, [cross talk] they were supposed to be for low-income people who were renting in the neighborhood that wanted to buy their first house. Now, excuse me, but I don't know who could afford that. I certainly couldn't. And I think that is... To me that is inviting yuppies to come in, live. I know they want younger people to move in, but don't slap us that have kept it together in the face because that's not fair, you know? And our biggest problem is the drugs. And we just every so often our curfews sweep. And I guarantee you the majority, the kids that we pick up do not live over here. Their addresses are east side. And that tells me they're so well known on the east side, they come over here to do their dirty work. And I'd like to see 'em in the slammer, not slapped on the wrist. You know. Oh, he's just a juvenile. Excuse me. I don't want to hear that. Then they need to do something else. Oh, I remember one thing that I thought was neat. Every St. Patty's Day up at 98th and Madison was West Side Community House. And they would gather up there and they would march down Madison Avenue all the way down to St. Colman's playing the fifes and everything and then get on the buses and go downtown. But that was neat because I'd sit on the front porch and watch 'em, you know. And when they stopped that, it was kind of like, oh, poo. Another thing they took away.

Erin Bell [00:21:59] They don't meet at St. Colman's anymore?

Beverly McClintok [00:22:00] Yeah, they meet there, but they don't march down. No, no, no. Thet get on the buses down there and just go. But they don't, because West Side Irish American is out in, off of Bagley. It's way out there because it just got too small where they were originally so. Oh boy.

Erin Bell [00:22:29] How about... What are some other big events that you remember in the neighborhood? You mentioned the parade.

Beverly McClintok [00:22:35] Oh, and of course, the Air Show. I could sit on the front porch, watch the planes go over and Fourth of July fireworks, you could see that. But then once they started building more buildings, it was a little difficult to see, you know. And everybody knew everybody. Now it's... I think I know maybe four people around me.

Erin Bell [00:23:07] You mentioned that some of the buildings block your view of the Air Show?

Beverly McClintok [00:23:11] Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:23:12] One thing that struck me as I was coming down Detroit on my way here is that past about 40th, you really can't see the lake.

Beverly McClintok [00:23:23] No, no, you can't.

Erin Bell [00:23:29] Some of the bigger, the newer condos though look like they're going to have quite a nice view of the lake.

Beverly McClintok [00:23:34] Oh, yeah.

Erin Bell [00:23:35] Is it at the expense of other people?

Beverly McClintok [00:23:37] Absolutely. [cross talk].

Erin Bell [00:23:39] Was there a better place where you could see the lake beforehand? [cross talk].

Beverly McClintok [00:23:42] Absolutely. I said, I don't mind them putting new buildings, but let's put them so they look like they belong in there. You know, you put those condos. First of all, I think they're disgusting looking. I don't know who designed them, but they stink. I want to see something that looks more like the housing that is existing in there. And they just... Nobody wants to listen. Well, you know, and then they'll bring up, well, they're wonderful in Philadelphia. Well, we're not Philadelphia. I'm sorry. We're not. Now, what was the other thing? Everything seems to be gauged to younger people. And that's a little sad, you know, except we're supposed to still do the work. Because the younger ones don't want to. I can see that in the block club because we're not... we're not getting the people we should be getting.

Erin Bell [00:24:39] What you you think you need to do to get younger people involved now?

Beverly McClintok [00:24:43] You know, I have no idea. I know when we have a safety fair, I mean, they'll come out of the woodwork for the free hot dogs and the free pop, anything that's free, they'll come, but ask them to come to a block club meeting, you get nothing. You just don't. And I don't know how to solve it. I don't know whether it's they just don't care, you know. I know we've had a couple ladies that came that were younger and said, you know, we don't understand it either. And they're Hispanic. And she says, I'm sorry, but she says, I don't know where their brains are. This is where we find out what's going on and come for help. So there you are.

Erin Bell [00:25:39] Are you familiar with what goes on at, say, Parish Hall or Cleveland Play House?

Beverly McClintok [00:25:40] No.

Erin Bell [00:25:40] Music and arts things?

Beverly McClintok [00:25:43] No.

Erin Bell [00:25:44] No. Not your cup of tea.

Beverly McClintok [00:25:45] No, it's not my cup of tea. I'm too busy with the church, you know. That's been... I'm a trustee there. When they need... When there's a problem, I'm the one that gets called because I live the closest. You know, plus the fact we have what's called Nehemiah Mission. And that means people from other states and that come in to work. They'll build a ramp for a lady or a gentleman who needs a ramp, free of charge. We don't charge anybody anything. They'll paint your house, you know, all neat stuff like this. They stay with us in the church because we can sleep 40 people and we feed them or they bring their own cook with them. Depends. And this summer, we are getting a mission group from London, England, which I think is gonna be super, you know, so being involved with that takes up a lot of time, which is good. That way, I don't have to sit around and think about all my problems, because once you get my age, you have a lot of problems.

Erin Bell [00:27:07] So tell me more about the church. How about some big moments at the church, some memories that you have there?

Beverly McClintok [00:27:11] Oh, I can remember, we used to have a choir because we were bigger and we had the little choir that were in little red robes. And it was just such a treat because they would march down the aisle and you know how little kids are. And this one would be punching this one and this one'd be punching this one, you know, and all you'd have to do is go, hey, and they'd quit immediately. Well, now it's a little bit harder because you got to really grab them and say, you don't do that. You know, we don't run in the church. We don't do this in the church. Before the kids would sit with their hands in their lap. Now we almost have to teach them. It's because they started out with nobody saying this is how we do it, and that's really sad. That shows that the parents are not involved. It's like they send the kid to church and they stay in bed. We're just thrilled that the kids are there, you know.

Erin Bell [00:28:19] Anything else about the church you want to talk about?

Beverly McClintok [00:28:23] Other than right now, next week, they start doing brand-new roof, which is very expensive. And then the inside will have to be redone and that. It's just... Our stained-glass windows are gorgeous. And then we had after-school group, we kicked them out because they didn't know how to behave. Shortly thereafter, they threw two rocks through our stained-glass windows. Yeah, and cost us money to replace them. Thank God we found some man that could do it exactly. And, you know, you kind of say to yourself, where did these kids come up with this retaliation? You know, I mean, it was their fault that they got kicked up because they didn't abide by the rules. You have to have rules. And if you don't abide by them, you're out the door. I'm sorry, whether it's a church or not. We just can't put up with that. So it's it's been a little disheartening.

Erin Bell [00:29:35] This building, Gordon Square Arcade. What do you remember about Gordon Square?

Beverly McClintok [00:29:38] Not very much because I didn't walk down this way. I always went the other way to Lorain. You know, I think it's a wonderful thing. You know, sometimes I think they think more about the arts and all that and cushy, cushy places for people to live. I would like to see them more involved in the neighborhood streets. That's what I would like to see. But I don't know if that's possible or not.

Erin Bell [00:30:14] What kind of services are there around here in terms of businesses? Say, laundromats, grocery stores, things like that compared to in earlier times?

Beverly McClintok [00:30:24] Well, in earlier times we had a Pick 'n' Pay at 65th and Franklin, where Rite-Aid is. That was a big, big Pick 'n' Pay, which was super. And then a drugstore and up on Lorain was a ladies' dress shop, and a bakery, and a little restaurant. I mean, there were lots of places to go. And an ice cream place on the corner. There was an ice cream place right on Madison just before 65th. And we used to walk down there to get ice cream and then that went by the wayside. You know, it's kind of hard to make any money that way. I think that's what stops them. So.

Erin Bell [00:31:17] Do you have any memories of the lakefront? [cross talk] ... Edgewater?

Beverly McClintok [00:31:21] Oh, yeah. We would take the kids down there 4th of July and walk through the tunnel to the beach, and it was Mayor Locher at the time, and my husband was still working for Muny Light, and he had to work the whole night because one of the systems went down. And I don't know to this day how the mayor knew. But he stopped right next to us. And he said to my husband, he says, are the lights back on? And he said, Yeah. And it was neat because you could just walk down there and take a blanket and sit and watch everything. Well, now it's just mobbed. And it's not the neighborhood going down there. It's people who drive from all over the place, you know. So it's kind of like they've just come in and taken over what I considered our spot, which is not a nice thing to say.

Erin Bell [00:32:15] Well, it's understandable sometimes, right?

Beverly McClintok [00:32:17] Yeah. Yeah.

Erin Bell [00:32:22] I've never thought of it that way. Every time I've gone there I've come from the East Side or maybe further out in Lakewood. [Mhm.] I've thought of it as a neighborhood place, but it was more...

Beverly McClintok [00:32:29] It was more neighborhood. Yes. Everybody walked down there. You would go down the end of 65th and you'd go through the tunnel and you were right there. And so now, you know, most people drive and that but it was a lot more neighbor than it is now.

Erin Bell [00:32:49] Were docks always there for, I guess, a yacht club?

Beverly McClintok [00:32:53] Oh, yeah.

Erin Bell [00:32:54] That's always been there?

Beverly McClintok [00:32:54] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Erin Bell [00:32:58] What else? Any other specific memories from Edgewater?

Beverly McClintok [00:33:05] We swam there. I mean, I even swam there when I was a teenager. In fact, I fell on Perkins Beach. It was a hill and it's down from Edgewater and I was coming up and I fell backwards and went all the way down. I still have rocks in my hands, uh huh, and that was when I was like 16.

Erin Bell [00:33:28] What was it? What was it like as a teenager? Was it...

Beverly McClintok [00:33:32] A lot cleaner, a lot cleaner, a lot nicer. You felt much safer. You know, in this day and age, there would be no way I would let a 16 year old go down to Edgewater Park by herself. But we thought nothing of it because we were all safe. Nothing ever happened. But now you've got all these weird people. I think God is getting very angry with us, you know, and he's trying to tell us something and we're not listening.

Erin Bell [00:34:07] Highway development. How did that affect the neighborhood?

Beverly McClintok [00:34:08] Well, when they talked about building the Parma Freeway, our house was either going to be an off ramp or an on ramp. Well, at the other end, we were all for it. But at the other end, they stopped it dead because they did not want it going through there. In Parma, in Brooklyn in that. And they claimed it was going to go through a cemetery and it was not. So it would have been... It would have been a lot easier to get to Parma, but they just stopped it. And the problem we had was when... They don't use their brains. I mean, we had two bridges shut at the same time, which made it a little difficult to go to church because I had to go up, go backwards to go to church. Because the bridge on 65th was closed and it was down for quite a while. You know, and now they've never opened up lower Madison. That's still blocked and no idea if they're ever going to open it. You know, by the rapid. So I don't know.

Erin Bell [00:35:31] They just built a new rapid station recently?

Beverly McClintok [00:35:31] We had to fight for it. That was one of the ones they were going to shut and not redo. And we went to meeting after meeting after meeting. The other thing they were not going to do, they were not going to have an off and on on Madison. All of it was going to be on Lorain Avenue. And we fought for that, too, because we said that's not fair. You can't put everything on Lorain Avenue. And again, when they had the open house, here comes all the little kids to get the nummy nummies. You know, you say free and they're there. And I mean, we almost got pushed out the door.

Erin Bell [00:36:10] Are they just neighborhood kids, just young kids?

Beverly McClintok [00:36:12] Yeah! From everywhere. [cross talk] Oh, yeah, yeah. It's because Mommy didn't feed 'em breakfast, I think. I think most of them are hungry. You know, if you're hungry, I'll be glad to feed you. But don't act like it, don't act like an idiot and have a little bit of class. And that's what I don't see anymore.

Erin Bell [00:36:35] You're looking at your watch...

Beverly McClintok [00:36:36] Yes, I've got a rummage people waiting.

Erin Bell [00:36:40] Okay. I mean, I definitely have more questions for you. It's really up to you at this point, if you really need to go.

Beverly McClintok [00:36:49] I don't see anything else I can think of.

Erin Bell [00:36:54] Let me just take one last look at my list.

Beverly McClintok [00:36:57] If you think there's something really important.

Erin Bell [00:37:05] Let's pause it for a moment.

Beverly McClintok [00:37:05] Okay.

Erin Bell [00:37:10] Okay, so let's talk about Euclid Avenue just for a moment.

Beverly McClintok [00:37:12] All right. I worked there when I was 16 years old. I worked at Kresge's. My mother worked at Kresge's. My mother played the piano at Kresge's. You bought sheet music, she played it for you. And I worked there until I got a job at Federal Reserve Bank. And it was neat because at Christmastime, all the pretty lights were on, Higbee's windows and May's windows were all decorated. And you could smell the chestnuts. They would be cooking the chestnuts outside, you know, and it was a lovely, lovely thing. Now I think it's just gotten... overwhelming. You know, it's not... It's a very large city now, when it, to me, it wasn't a large city.

Erin Bell [00:38:06] So you're involved in politics and kind of city planning type stuff. So you're probably familiar with the Euclid Corridor Project. What do you think about that?

Beverly McClintok [00:38:18] I think it's ridiculous to spend that kind of money for people who... It's great for people who are going to come to the city for conventions and stuff to show off. But it does nothing for us who live here. Nothing. And that's a hell of a lot of money to spend. And I can understand the people that had businesses down there, they are not pleased. And nobody was consulted, I don't think. So, you know, it's a matter of spending that kind of money. If you're spending it for a really good purpose, I could understand it, but I don't think this is a good purpose.

Erin Bell [00:38:57] Well, the reason I asked is because you mentioned that Euclid just feels like a bigger city than it used to. And to me, the way I picture what the Euclid Corridor may or may not look like is making that street more intimate that dividing it up...

Beverly McClintok [00:39:16] Well, yeah, but what are you gonna do with the traffic? See, that's what bothers me. It's bad enough as it is. I would avoid going downtown driving because the traffic is ridiculous. You've got one way streets and you've got you can't turn here and you can't turn there. You know, I'm sorry. I was against it to begin with. I was against the Browns Stadium because that was money out of my pocket. We're getting nothing out of it. And they said we could use it three times a year. Well, whoopee, you know, if we're footing the bill for it we should be able to do whatever we want with it. And try taking a family to a game. Unless you've got a lot of money, you can't afford it. And that's sad. You know, years ago you could take the kids and your hubby and mommy went and he had a gay old time on 20 bucks. You can't do that anymore, costs more to park the car than that.

Erin Bell [00:40:27] Do you have any memories of Municipal Stadium or League Park?

Beverly McClintok [00:40:31] My grandmother and grandfather took me to baseball games and I can remember. Have you ever heard of the midges? OK, I can remember the midges hanging all the way around and I thought that was really cool. I was about eight years old and I thought that was pretty, pretty, pretty nice. And then we took the D&C line at night and went over to Detroit and then sailed back. That was fun. They don't do that anymore either. And I think that would be a great, great idea. You could take the boat over Detroit and watch a baseball game.

Erin Bell [00:41:14] That was an established thing?

Beverly McClintok [00:41:16] Oh, yeah.

Erin Bell [00:41:17] Really?

Beverly McClintok [00:41:17] Oh, yeah. You could just go and buy your ticket and go.

Erin Bell [00:41:26] So what about Municipal Stadium?

Beverly McClintok [00:41:29] That was the one I went to.

Erin Bell [00:41:31] Oh, I thought that was League Park.

Beverly McClintok [00:41:35] No. League Park was on the east side. We never went over there.

Erin Bell [00:41:42] So what year? What years was that?

Beverly McClintok [00:41:44] Let's say when I was eight years old, so that would have been 1941, '42, somewhere around there.

Erin Bell [00:41:54] Do you remember when the Indians won the World Series?

Beverly McClintok [00:41:58] It was 1949. I was standing downtown in front of Terminal Tower and watched them all come out of the Terminal and get in the cars and most of all were absolutely drunk as fools almost falling out of the cars and everything. And I do remember that. And at that point, I couldn't care less about baseball. I thought, oh, OK.

Erin Bell [00:42:28] I don't really follow sports myself but when Cleveland teams do well I tend to pay attention. I think a lot of people in this city are like that.

Beverly McClintok [00:42:34] Well, we've been burned so many times that we just say, oh God, here we go again. You know, Like, case in point, the Cavs. They're expected to win every game. Well, that's not plausible. You're going to lose sometime. You know, I don't want them to lose. I want them to win, but whatever.

Erin Bell [00:43:01] So you're not a big fan of the Euclid Corridor...

Beverly McClintok [00:43:03] No.

Erin Bell [00:43:05] So clearly that would not be a model for Detroit Avenue, but what do you think it would be... What would you like to see happen to Detroit Avenue if there were money?

Beverly McClintok [00:43:17] Well, I would rather... I would rather see the money go into the side streets and the neighborhoods instead of Detroit Avenue. I think they've put enough money into Detroit Avenue. I would prefer to find a way... We have so many boarded up houses. It is not funny. And you drive down a street. I went from 65th to 75th down Guthrie, and I counted boarded up houses. There were seventeen. Now that's ridiculous. And that's inviting breakins. That's inviting arson. And something's got to be done. And they say, well, the bank has the house and blah, blah, blah. Well, you know, there's such a thing as eminent domain. Grab the darn house, do something with it. And most of these houses are in very good shape. They've just moved out and that's it.

Erin Bell [00:44:15] You know in Youngstown they're just tearing down houses at an unbelievable rate in hopes that they can just turn it into a smaller city. Do you think that that's something Cleveland should do?

Beverly McClintok [00:44:23] I have no idea what they could do. I'm just... I'm just tired of looking at a street such as Guthrie that was a beautiful street. And it is just. There are several people still hanging on, but that's not a nice thing for them to see how their street has gone.

Erin Bell [00:44:49] Is there anything else you want to add?

Beverly McClintok [00:44:51] No.

Erin Bell [00:44:52] No?

Beverly McClintok [00:44:53] Nope.

Erin Bell [00:44:53] Well, it's been nice talking to you.

Beverly McClintok [00:44:54] Thank you, dear.

Erin Bell [00:44:55] I'm going to stop the interview now.

Beverly McClintok [00:44:56] Okay.

Detroit Shoreway

Interviews in this series were conducted by students and researchers in the History Department at Cleveland State University in partnership with Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO). Interviews took place at Gordon Square Arcade and in other venues in the neighborhood. Select oral histories were accessible for several years in listening stations in the Gypsy Beans coffee house at Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street.