A Glimpse of ‘Big Italy,’ Cleveland’s First Italian Enclave

Nov 02, 2023 974

BY: Pamela Dorazio Dean, Italian American Museum of Cleveland

In Cleveland, Ohio, prior to the formation of the city’s present day Little Italy, Italian immigrants settled in an area called Big Italy, located to the south and west of Public Square, in what was known as the Haymarket District. Prior to 1880, the neighborhood was primarily Jewish, but as the Jewish population moved on to better neighborhoods, the Italian immigrants moved in. By 1900, the population was 93% Sicilian.

Very little physical evidence remains of this first Italian settlement of Cleveland.  Only the red Romanesque building that once housed St. Anthony’s Church, built in 1904, still stands. Currently occupying what was Big Italy are many newer developments, including Progressive Field, the Interstate highway, and Cuyahoga Community College.

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SOURCE: https://orderisda.org

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