Not enough can be said for the brawny diggers who survived the poverty, pestilence and ostracism they encountered at every turn. Whatever their crude and boisterous ways, they were the ones who, through sheer grit and a laugh here and there, established the Irish beachhead on the shores of Cleveland and held on against overwhelming odds. They did more than that -- they secured the docks and inland waterways for their own kind. May all their shovels rest easily, especially those of the forgotten souls who were unable to leave traces of themselves.

       While the action of securing the docks might strike one as an achievement lacking in distinction or hardly being noteworthy, it was, in fact, an exceedingly important accomplishment. It meant the Irish who came after them would have a chance at life. The docks became the be-all and end-all of existence among West Side Irishmen. The fact that the work was grueling, low paying and often dangerous was neither here nor there, for it provided a lifeline and a hope for the future. Besides, when was an Irishman offerred any other kind of work?

Expansion Continued: Irishtown

       Within two years after the Famine struck Ireland, the Irish population of Cleveland had soared to 1,024, and more were on their way. The influx of newcomers from the Emerald Isle truly shattered the serenity of the native born. The banks of the Cuyahoga could no longer contain them and the Yankees were forced ..........(continued page 72)





Top picture: Looking
north from Irishtown
Bend in early 1870's.
(Plain Dealer)

Picture at left: Old
Main Avenue Lighthouse.
Corner of West 9th and
Lakeside about 1850.
(Plain Dealer)