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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COVENTRY VILLAGE BUSINESS DISTRICT - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The COVENTRY VILLAGE BUSINESS DISTRICT is situated on Coventry Rd. between Mayfield Rd. and Euclid Hts. Blvd. in CLEVELAND HEIGHTS Coventry Rd. was originally built as a part of Patrick Calhoun's 1890s suburb of Euclid Hts. The Coventry business district was established and grew to serve the rapidly increasing populations of Euclid Hts. and the adjacent Mayfield Hts. developments. Before the Coventry business district was developed, the nearest commercial center of any size was at DOAN'S CORNERS. Most of the buildings on Coventry were constructed between 1913-33, with the greatest growth occurring between 1921-25, when 18 commercial buildings were erected. Euclid Hts. originally was a mostly upper-income community for Protestants of Anglo-Saxon heritage. By the early 1920s, however, a large and thriving Jewish community blossomed in the newly constructed apartment districts, a change which was reflected in the adjoining commercial district. Another major change in Coventry's merchant composition began in the autumn of 1967, as Coventry became the gathering place for Cleveland's "counterculture." Over the next 10 years, the Jewish influence in Coventry gave way to businesses that served a younger and more affluent market, exemplified by such anchors as Irv's Deli, the Heights Art Theatre (now the Centrum; see JACOBELLIS V. OHIO), and the ARABICA.

Despite 3 destructive fires since 1979, the eclectic commercial strip has rebounded as "Ohio's answer to Greenwich Village." Following a major fire in 1991, the Cleveland Hts. Department of Planning and Development and the Coventry Village Development Corp. stepped up progress on a major renovation campaign. The result was the construction of a 270-car garage (completed in 1994), with the first floor occupied by an affiliate branch of the FOOD CO-OP, the rehabilitation of 21 two-family homes, 177 apartment suites and 25 commercial storefronts in the Coventry Dist., as well as the complete restoration of the former Heights Arts Theater, which was renamed the Centrum Landmark Theater and opened in late 1992. Coventry Village received an award of excellence for Program Innovation and Economic Impact from the National Assn. of Housing and Redevelopment in 1993. In 1995 Lester Groynom was president of the Coventry Village Development Corp., to which about 60% of Coventry's 53 business establishments belonged.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 01:18:37 PM

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