Monday, August 7, 2017

Serendipity. As I was about to conclude my research on the Union-Miles Park neighborhood, I discover this. After three weeks of searching.

It doesn't look like much, but by god it sure is.

I don't sit around on my butt all day watching TV. I write. Forty-seven Cleveland-related articles and 91 non-Cleveland-related articles in two and a half years on Wikipedia. Some of these articles existed before I touched them, but they were pieces of crap (poorly written, incomplete, uncited). I "claim" them only insofar as I say I worked heavily on them, and many have had edits and changes made to them since by others. (That's what the "History" tab is for.)

I'm trying to write about the Cermak Building, at E. 93rd and Union Avenue. It's on the National Register of Historic Places, and has no Wikipedia article. As I started in on it, I realized I knew nothing about the neighborhood. And no article about the Union-Miles Park neighborhood existed.

So "if not me, who? if not now, when?" I started writing about Union-Miles. That was July 18. It's taken me this long to get a handle on the history of the neighborhood -- about which nothing has been written. Every mention of it out there is piecemeal. A sentence here, a claim there, a paragraph in some book, a note in a government publication.

There are moderately good histories of Cleveland and even Cuyahoga County (to a degree) that cover the city's history about to 1910. After that, it's sketchy. I've been able to piece together much of the area's history up to about the 1960s. After that, I've run out of facts. Hardly anything has been written about the area. Not even the city publishes much about Union-Miles. Most of the focus in the academic literature and popular press is on Slavic Village, Corlett, Buckeye, Kinsman, Lee-Miles. It's like a vast black hole where Union-Miles is concerned.

I was about ready to close off the article and post it, and get back to the Cermak Building. Then I lucked out: Google's "we want to help you find what you are looking for" search algorithms often block me from seeing the stuff I want, since I am looking for such a vast amoung of material under all sorts of topics. So I have to play around with my search terms to find the stuff Google isn't letting me see.

This came up. Stuart Mendel is the director of the Center for Nonprofit Policy & Practice and the director of The Urban Center at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State. His case study is of three community development corporations (the "private government" of the title) in Cleveland, one of which is Union-Miles. From what little Google Books is showing me, it's chock-a-block with the facts I'm seeking, as well as inside dope, interviews, and hidden history. (Wikipedia forbids all contributors from doing original research. The site relies solely on published, reliable, unbiased sources. Voila! Mendel's study!)

I'll have this study in my hands in four working days. One, if I take the trouble to go downtown myself and pick it up.

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