Our 1901 exclusive translation continues and this is an awesome one!  We continue to bring you the work of Czech-American newspaperman and penman, Hugo Chotek!

This story is from, of course, the pages of the fabulous Czech-American annual Amerikan Národní Kalendar!


Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXIV, Year 1901, Pages 184-187

“An interesting chapter from the history of Cleveland.”

Selected from old jottings for the “Amerikán” Calendar by Hugo Chotek.

Translated by Katka Tomkova

©Onward To Our Past®

1901 Cover ANK

“It was the time when the first sewing machines appeared on the market, so expensive that buying one hardly ever crossed peoples’ minds. Clothes, underwear and shoes were made by hand. Tailors and shoemakers formed a large army of men and women who usually worked for 15 hours a day for quite a small wage.

This was the state of affairs in Cleveland and the district of Cuyahoga in those days. Although people were way behind our “enlightened” time in many ways, they still could bring about a true rebellion and uprising by modern standards. It happened on a beautiful day in the first week of May. The usual peace and order reigned all around and everybody was minding their own business. Suddenly, the alarm bell started to ring powerfully announcing that the town, lying on the picturesque bank of the lazy Cuayahoga River, was affected by something appalling and fearful. People listened to the bell, asking questions and trying to understand the reason. Workers and artisans put their instruments aside, ran out of their workshops and stores and dashed along with the others. Unlike today, there was not a gaggle of newsboys or young bootblacks on every corner, but flock of boys and scamps swarmed the streets right on time to do their devastating job. They rushed out of schools, streets and lanes, and like locust moved towards Ontario Street. Yes, they even gathered from the distant Jerusalem (which was then the name for the area in the lower part of old Broadway Av. from Perry Ct. up to the current old market, the adjoining parts of Orange and Woodland Avenues, in Cherry Street and, in general, one half of the current “Jewish” 16th ward). People came from “Bethlehem” (the current Commercial, Haymarket and Hill, Cross, Berg Streets and Andess Alley), from Whiskey Island, from Docks, from Ohio City, and from Brooklyn. They also gathered from as far as the distant gulch called Kingsbury Run (today “our” Czech Broadway and Kinsman Rd.) and from Doan Brook . Some arrived on horseback, others in farmers’ wagons or carts (bogeys), but most of them came running, one striving to pass the other just to be the first in the place where the crowds seemed to gather: their destination was Ontario Street and the building we were describing above, called “Mechanic’s Block”.

No wonder that shortly after the bell started ringing, the building was surrounded by raging crowd of men, women and children who shouted furiously for revenge and produced all kinds of monkey business. Many were armed with sticks and clubs but no one sought a rope, tar or feathers, or even a handgun, which is so popular today. Some shouted, others screamed, some cursed and railed, others laughed and whistled; in general, every one contributed their best to make as much noise as possible in their own ways, intending to outrage the whole town and around. And they absolutely succeeded.

1950 Mayor Brownell image

The city authorities and Mayor Abner Brownell were startled by such horrible behavior of the gathered crowd. The mayor promptly summoned all the city council members to his house in Lake Street to discuss the situation. Later, the whole assembly moved to the Town Hall in Watson Square to continue the meeting, and to arrange for the means necessary to suppress the disorder, which became more threatening every minute.”

Tomorrow join us as we continue our wonderful and exclusive story!  Enjoy this amazing work by Czech-American penman, Hugo Chotek!

Onward To Our Past®

A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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