the road

When industry in Cleveland started prospering in the 19th Century, and the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati railroad began being built, excessive pollution became a very real problem.

Back then, Train Avenue wasn’t called Train Avenue. It wasn’t even a road. It was a tributary that ran into the Cuyahoga River called Walworth Run. Walworth Run in the mid-1800’s was lined with stockyards and breweries, who – unintentionally or otherwise, discharged their waste into the stream, heavily tainting it making it undrinkable and unusable.

A headline from a Cleveland Plain Dealer article in May 1885.

The area residents who lived nearby were oftentimes lower-income families and blue-collar workers employed by the local steel mills, slaughterhouses and breweries, began attending council meetings to complain about the contamination and foul odor, which fell on deaf ears for decades before the city finally agreed to bury Walworth Run and convert into a sewer. By 1900, the two mile stretch of road called Train Avenue was born.

Over the next 100+ years to our present day, Train Avenue became known as an illegal dumping ground, due to being tucked away and the road less traveled. This has also brought other unwanted crime – from robbery, assaults to even murder. It’s also a place where dead animals are regularly found.

An article from the Cleveland Press in November 1980.