1901! We begin our wonderful and newest exclusive transition from the pages of the fabulous Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář today for you!
To introduce this newest translation we first brought you our History Primer for the year 1901, which you can read here! Second we brought you our exclusive translation of the Table of Contents (Obsah) from the 1901 edition of the incredible Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, which you can also read simply by clicking this link!
There are several intriguing aspects to our current translation. My favorite might well be it was penned by the wonderful Czech-American newspaperman and author, Hugo Chotek. Then there is the fact this has never been published in English before and add the fact it is from a relatively unknown Czech immigrant community and you have a trifecta of interest!
So here we go! Enjoy this wonderful first installment!
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®
“I have always enjoyed going through the old chronicles and so I had the lucky chance to find an interesting document on the history of the Cleveland City, namely about the first great “people’s rebellion”. It ended happily though, and I am bringing it here because it supplements the “History of the Czechs in Cleveland”, which I wrote for the Amerikán Calendar in 1894. It might also be interesting for the old Czech settlers who dwelled here between the years 1850 and 1860, and who are aware of the situation of that time, at least in part.
In spring of 1852, the Ontario and Prospect Streets and their surroundings became a scene of the great people’s rebellion. This vivid commercial place and today’s center of the city used to be a quiet periphery then. The area where today the great “Frankort Hotel” is standing was then occupied by a building called “Mechanics Block”, or “Königs block”, as the Germans called it. It was a half-ruined house, old and rotten, built as a small tenement house with several stores and workshops on the first floor; everything as cheap and modest as could be. Several poor families occupied the rooms on the second and third floors, while saddlers, tailors and shoemakers had their stores in both wings. On the fourth floor, a kind of medical institution was established called “Medical College”, which the neighborhood people regarded with a mixture of distrust and fear.
On the corner across the street, where today the “Prospect House” is standing, there was a similar building called “Farmers Block”. Both buildings were very much the same in height and width and both resembled two weathered strongholds surrounded with old and low, shaky wooden stores and cottages. The two buildings, designed for both housing and commercial purposes, were built many years ago out of speculation, in the times of an artificial “boom”; the population was expected to grow ten times in one year and therefore the property prices were driven up tremendously. However, these exaggerated expectations did not come true, causing that the income from both buildings could not even amount to the current rental of any shop on the corner. Right across the street, there was a town marketplace at the head of Michigan Street, and where today we see the large hardware store of Davis, Hunt & Co., there used to be the “Stillman House” tavern. It was a two-floor building located further back from the sidewalk, its front shaded with a few old and spreading elms and willow trees, which faced Ontario Street (or Avenue, both exist in Cleveland today) and served to both farmers and “townsmen” to picket their horses.
This was the image of the city, so full of life today, 47 years ago. The principal store was under the hill on Mervin Street, and the commercial district with banks, clothes and yard goods stores were located below the today’s “Square”. The delivery of goods was provided by heavy handcarts, and whatever you bought in the stores, you had to carry or take home by yourself.”
Tomorrow we continue this interesting and detailed account from the pen of Czech-American newspaperman and author, Hugo Chotek, and the pages of the 1901 edition of Amerikan Národní Kalendar!
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