CLEVELAND — Have you ever stopped and taken a moment to appreciate the city we live in? Taken a detour down a street you otherwise may have never traveled? Or visited a neighborhood you’ve never been to?
There’s plenty of rich history in Cleveland and you can find it around every corner. But sometimes it takes an outsider to give you a fresh perspective.
Phil Kidd moved to Cleveland in 2019. He’s a recreational runner but his traditional route started to become stale and like any runner he began looking for a new challenge.
“I was really interested in getting to know the city on a more granular level,” Kidd said.
That’s when he decided he would attempt to run every street in Cleveland. Even at first blush, it sounds like a daunting challenge. But the opportunity to delve deep into the fabric of Cleveland was one he couldn’t pass up.
“To my knowledge, there’s about 3,000 street miles in Cleveland,” Kidd said. “I started in my own neighborhood and it just kind of expanded beyond that.”
So, Kidd set off on his journey through Cleveland’s streets, and began documenting every run with a blog post on his website EveryStreetCleveland.com.
“It’s basically an accumulation of everything that I experienced on that run,” Kidd said. “The night before a run, I’ll research the area, all the notable landmarks.”
His posts feature that research as well as any photos he snapped along the way and a map of his route. His mission was not to just mark off the miles but to take readers on an adventure of their own, helping them live vicariously through his runs and explore the streets of Cleveland.
“It’s just been an incredible experience as far as learning the history of each one of these neighborhood blocks,” Kidd said. “There’s a lot preserved here but you can also see the future of the city.”
From the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, through Irishtown Bend, Kidd has been slowing checking each one off the list.
“This [Irishtown bend] is where the first Irish immigrants settled. They helped build the Canalway systems,” Kidd said. “
But his favorite spot? The Flats.
“To me, [the Flats are] one of, if not the coolest places in Cleveland,” Kidd said. “This is basically where Moses Cleveland pulled the boat in and said, ‘This looks like the spot.’”
While the history is rich, the scenery is breathtaking.
“Look at the vista you see of the skyline of downtown. The old infrastructure, with the old drop bridges. The old trains themselves that are still on the tracks.”
A run through any neighborhood peels back layers of the city you might not otherwise see and gives you a more intimate view of Cleveland.
“There’s a lot of art that’s on little alleyways, on the backs of garages or on fences,” Kidd said. “It was really cool to stop at some of the iconic locations that are kind of forgotten.”
What stands out most for Kidd during his runs are just how much history is still preserved and the amount of information he’s learned about the city so far.
“Cleveland Fire Station No. 24 which the firefighters refer to as the wild wild West,” Kidd said.”
By getting a deep look into Cleveland’s past, he can also see that there’s a bright future for the city that lies ahead. Which is why the Flats, a spot that’s literally defined by its east and west banks, is a favorite location to reflect and look ahead.
“It’s really kind of like ground zero for what Cleveland once was,” Kidd said. "That’s what’s beautiful about a place like Cleveland is it has the ability to reinvent itself all the time.”
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