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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOHN, ERNEST J. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOHN, ERNEST J. (1901-15 Dec. 1975), was a nationally known expert on PUBLIC HOUSING. Born in Hungary, the son of Frank J. and Juliana (Kiry) Bohn, he came to Cleveland with his father in 1911, graduating from Adelbert College in 1924 and Western Reserve Law School in 1926. In 1929 he was elected to the Ohio House as a Republican, then served as city councilman until 1940. Active in housing reform, he authored the first state housing legislation, passed in 1933. As president and organizer of the Natl. Assoc. for Housing & Redevelopment Officials, Bohn helped pass the U.S. Housing Act of 1937.

Bohn directed the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CUYAHOGA METROPOLITAN HOUSING AUTHORITY) from its founding in 1933 until 1968, and chaired the City Planning Commission from its founding in 1942 until 1966. His work included slum clearance and redevelopment. Following WORLD WAR II he focused on housing for the elderly, building the Golden Age Ctr. at E. 30th St. and Central Ave., the first such housing development in the U.S. Deterioration of central-city housing in the mid-1960s led to charges that Bohn neglected meeting the needs of poorer people and promoted racial discrimination in filling CMHA units.

Following his retirement, Bohn lectured at CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY and was on the board of directors of the Natl. Housing Conference and the Ohio Commission on Aging. Bohn Tower and the Ernest J. Bohn Golden Age Ctr. were named in recognition of his contributions to Cleveland. Bohn never married. He died in Cleveland and was buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.

Ernest J. Bohn Collection, Freiberger Library, CWRU.

Last Modified: 14 Jul 1997 02:30:43 PM

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