CLEVELAND — Coming to life after the final shots of the Civil War, it is one of Cleveland’s most historic neighborhoods. While Tremont has undoubtedly changed over the past 150 years, a new outdoor history museum will pay homage to those changes through the eyes of artists.
Flanking a First Energy substation at the corner of Professor and College avenues, a freshly painted fence serves as a blank canvas. During Walkabout Tremont on Friday, the new outdoor art and history museum will be unveiled, featuring between 40 and 50 architectural renderings, line drawings, postcards and other historical art pieces. Officials from the Tremont West Development Corporation, in addition to several volunteers, began working on the project about a year ago.
For TWDC board member Chris Roy, the display is a culmination of one of his biggest passions.
“Yeah, I’ve been a nerd for a long time,” Roy said. “It’s hard to say when it started or what It means or what the impetus of it was but I think you could narrow it down by saying I love old pictures.”
He also loves history.
Over the past year, Roy and other volunteers have scoured local historical archives for images, drawings and artwork for the project. Aided by Cleveland State University, public libraries, Case Western Reserve University archives and the Tremont History Project, Roy settled on the images, which date back to the 1860s. Around that time, one of the largest Union Army training camps occupied large swaths of what is now Tremont. Once the war had ended, many of those who lived, trained or worked at the camp didn’t leave. Instead, many of them began working at the area’s burgeoning steel and manufacturing industries.
Over the years, the neighborhood became home to several artists who had been lured into the area by cheap rent and the inexpensive cost of living.
The images Roy and his team selected, half of which still needed to be digitized, represent that transformation.
“They are artist's impressions of the city,” Roy said. “My principal hope that it attracts lots of people that it helps make Tremont even more of a destination than it already is. There’s a lot of history here.”
The images, which have been substantially enlarged thanks to high tech scanners, will be on display year-round. Thanks to a high quality composite material, the images will be protected from the elements and vandals.
“They are weather proof, water proof, snow proof, blizzard proof, stupid people proof and most importantly, graffiti proof,” Roy said.
The display will be unveiled during Walkabout Tremont on Friday July 12, beginning at 6pm.