Developed in the late 19th century, Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, on the city’s east side, was peopled with Italian artisans and craftsmen, many of whom were drawn to jobs carving monuments for the nearby Lake View Cemetery. The compact area relied on the local parish, Holy Rosary; charitable institutions, such as Alta House; and the cohesiveness of the neighborhood to sustain itself. It also produced a number of interesting favorite sons, including Angelo Vitantonio, the inventor of the pasta machine; championship boxer Tony Brush; and Anthony Celebrezze, Cleveland mayor, federal judge, and secretary of health, education, and welfare under Pres. John F. Kennedy and Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. The area continued to grow until after World War II, when residents graduated from the old neighborhood to Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. During the last 20 years, however, Little Italy has experienced a rebirth, and today the area combines Old World charm with a vibrant art scene, new housing, and a host of popular restaurants.
Author Bio: Sandy Mitchell is a full-time writer and lifelong Clevelander. Among other projects, she writes and edits the Cleveland pages for About.com. Using photographs from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Press Collection and a number of other public and private sources, Mitchell shares with readers one of her favorite Cleveland neighborhoods, an area that is filled with history, culture, and fun.
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