This year, as Executive Arrangements celebrates its 40th Anniversary, we asked each of our staff members to share a few of their favorite places in NE Ohio and why. Office Administrator, Sabrina Gulyas, brings us to Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights to look at how Cleveland’s answer to Haight Ashbury has changed since EA incorporated in 1979.
Located on Coventry Road between Euclid Heights Boulevard and Mayfield Road, this shopping and entertainment district was first developed in the 1890s as a residential area for wealthy people looking to escape the industrial city. The area quickly diversified and attracted a large Jewish population in the mid-1920s before becoming Cleveland’s hub of the 1960s counter-culture attracting record stores and hippies. Since then, Coventry has held strong to its neighborhood feel and independent stores, now one of the central business districts in Cleveland Heights, a common hangout for CWRU students, and an arts and music hub.
Some highlights of how the neighborhood has changed (and stayed the same) since 1979:
- Coventry has regularly had street fairs since the 70s – you can find a picture of my grandmother and well-known folk singer, Gusti on one of the pages of this Coventry Street Fair flyer – so my history here is generational. This summer, there are also lots of summer events including Final Fridays with music and events as well as discounts at a variety of the shops, and family-friendly Movie Nights every Thursday.
- What was once the the neighborhood movie theater (now home to City Church and City and East Hookah Bar) has an interesting and racy history! When it opened in 1919 as Heights Theater it battled with the law for playing movies on Sunday, breaking Ohio’s ‘blue law’ in 1922. In 1959 the Theater was once more stormed by police officers for showing an ‘obscene’ movie. The charges were later dropped, but not before the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with Justice Potter uttering his now famous “I know it when I see it” line.
- Coventry Elementary School may no longer be a part of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, but the building now is home to numerous area arts organizations as the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus. Organizations include ARTFUL, Ensemble Theater, Family Connections, Future Heights, Lake Erie Ink, Reaching Heights. The building is also home to The Urban Oak School which is based in the Waldorf philosophy.