Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University was first established in the 1870s as the Young Men’s Christian Association better known as the YMCA. In this YMCA they taught night classes in French and German for free to anyone who wished to attend. Later in 1906 after the classes had been formalized, it took on the name,  The Cleveland YMCA of Technology. In 1929 the school was renamed as Fenn College, in honor of Sereno Peck Fenn, who was the president of the Cleveland YMCA for 25 years, before his death in 1927. Fenn College prospered throughout the years of its existence. Fenn college continued to expand as it took over Stilwell Hall and Foster Hall to add to the already present Fenn Tower.

 

Disaster struck as the college began to have financial issues in 1963 due to competition from Cuyahoga Community College. In order to overcome this adversity, Fenn College began its plans to create a new state run university in the great city of Cleveland.Their hope was to keep Fenn Towers as the center of this new university.   Fenn College proposed this plan to the state government, and later on December 18, 1964 Governor Rhodes signed the state legislation turning Fenn College into Cleveland State University.This was a wonderful opportunity for Cleveland as it was the largest city in Ohio, and had no state run university until this time.  Cleveland State opened September 1, 1965, becoming Ohio’s seventh state university.

As a university Cleveland State also grew in size, in just a few years enrollment tripled and faculty increased from 90 to 450, to help accommodate for all its new residents it went from being nine acres plus 3 buildings to 27 acres plus the addition of 4 new classroom and office buildings to the school’s campus. Cleveland State University in its expansion from nine acres to twenty seven acres had the opportunity to acquire some very old and very historical property. Euclid Avenue had been one of the most picturesque places in the country, but by 1937 only seven out of the 40 original houses still remained. Euclid Avenue was in need of restoration and Cleveland State University was the answer.

YMCA Building

The YMCA on East 22 and prospect began teaching night classes in 1881, the interest grew for years and enrollment in these classes also grew. Than in 1921 the YMCA became the Cleveland YMCA School of Technology. These courses were know as Y-Tec classes, until it became Fenn College. 

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Fenn Tower

When Fenn College transformed into Cleveland State University, and expansion took place the original site for the college wasn’t left behind. The original site was turned into Fenn Tower, which is now a dorm room for students. The 22 story skyscraper in Cleveland will always be a reminder of the schools origins.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Mather Mansion

Mather Mansion completed in 1910 was once the home to Samuel Mather, an iron-mining millionaire. It was one of the original homes on millionaire Row. It is also one of only seven surviving historical structures in the old Millionaire Row. Now it stands as part of Cleveland State Universities campus. As of 2010 it houses the history and philosophy departments. 

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Howe Mansion

This house is another one of the remaining houses on Millionaire Row. It was  originally erected in 1894 in honor of George William Howe.He was the  cousin of Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. The Howe- Vixseboxes house was originally bought to be a faculty club, alumni office, admissions office or student activities center. But as one of the original building of Millionaire Row it still stands across from the science building.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Stilwell hall

When Fenn College Expanded into Cleveland State University it had need of a few new buildings, one of these buildings is Stilwell hall. Added on as the new College of Engineering in1929. 

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

 

Millionaire’s Row

Once know as the most beautiful street in America, Millionaire Row stretched for four miles along Euclid Avenue. But by 1937 only seven out of the 40 original houses remained, and when CSU expanded it overtook the area known as millionaire’s row and refurbished a lot of the original mansions

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

Foster Hall

Fenn College expanded with the money donated by Claud Foster, a prominent Cleveland industrialist, whose money was used to build foster hall. Dedicated on Sept. 14, 1949 as The Claude Foster Engineering building. Stillwell hall and Foster hall had a combined 62 classrooms and 38 laboratories.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Special Collections Library

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4 Responses to Cleveland State University

  1. Avatar of Mark Souther Mark Souther says:

    “Fenn college continued to expand as it took over many buildings in the Cleveland area among them Fenn Tower, Stilwell Hall, and Foster Hall.” — I’d remove “many” and rephrase the sentence because actually these were the only buildings Fenn took over. It was a very compact campus due to the size of Fenn Tower.

    In the second paragraph, you could indicate that the state was also interested in expanding the state university system, and Cleveland — the largest city in the state — had no such institution.

    I think the CSU site merits a fourth paragraph that notes some of the notable expansions of the university since the 1960s.

    A number of grammatical issues need to be corrected, including capitalization of the first words of sentences, changing “Once know” to “Once known,” etc. Please check through the whole thing carefully as you revise.

  2. Avatar of luzelac luzelac says:

    It is wonderful to read about the history if CSU. There still seem to be some capitalization issues and spacing problems. The information and photos are great.

  3. Avatar of cciullafaup cciullafaup says:

    i agree with comment above. i was unaware of a lot of the information that you provided. i do feel that there could be some room for expansion…for example about refurbishing the mansions–for what exactly–weren’t they really just torn down?…or some more info on programs offered in the early years…or more specific info on how the university became more congruent…these questions you probably can answer in just a few words. you got me interested, so i got some questions!!

  4. Avatar of rjprice88 rjprice88 says:

    Wow, interesting info about our current university. I did not know it originally began out as the Cleveland YMCA and changed name so many times. It’s also great to know about the competition between TRI-C and CSU in the 1960’s. Seeing where both of the schools are now and what they mean to the community it’s great to know that they both survived. Great images, I love the image of the old millionaires row with the Victorian houses and it’s pleasing to lean that CSU took the initiative buy that area of Euclid Avenue and attempt to refurbish some of the old houses.

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