From Ohio History Central
Irishtown Bend was a traditionally Irish community located along the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.
People of Irish heritage were among the earliest white settlers of Ohio. Many migrated from Pennsylvania during the late 1700s and the early 1800s along Zane's Trace. Others came later to help build the numerous canals constructed during the 1820s and 1830s. Many of these people came to Ohio as a direct result of the potato famine in Ireland during the 1840s. Unable to pay mortgages for their land due to the poor potato crop, many of these people hoped to come to the United States of America to start their lives again. Many arrived with nothing more than a few pieces of clothing.
Many of Cleveland's Irish residents first settled in Irishtown Bend. The area became famous for the shacks in which residents lived. In addition, a proliferation of taverns and prostitution houses occurred. As the nineteenth century progressed, some Irish residents were able to move into better neighborhoods in Cleveland. Sometimes, former residents would try to return to Irishtown Bend, hoping to improve the neighborhood. Beginning in 1910, Cleveland officials tried to revitalize Irishtown Bend, bringing numerous warehouses and other businesses to the area. Unfortunately, the neighborhood did not prosper. At the start of the twenty-first century, it remained one of the poorest neighborhoods of Cleveland, but the community no longer remained predominantly Irish.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.