You don’t have to look very far to unearth the treasures of our past. In Laura DeMarco’s new book Lost Cleveland (Pavilion Books, $19.95), The Plain Dealer arts and entertainment reporter shares photos and stories of the rise and fall of 65 forgotten Cleveland landmarks. Before the launch party at Prosperity Social Club Sept. 16, we talk to the third-generation Clevelander about what she’s learned digging into our history.
Why capture Cleveland’s historic landmarks now?
“Psychologically, we’ve finally lost a lot of our inferiority complex that we’ve had as Clevelanders. I think there are a few cities that have such a glorious past and really dramatic fall. We were once one of the fifth-largest cities. We lost so much of the population and industry that we once had, but we still have the infrastructure and remnants of a bigger city.”
What was the significance of Luna Park?
“It was an urban park right in the city. Now there’s not a trace of it at all. It was designed by Frederick Ingersoll, who built several parks across the world. He brought so much joy to people around the world by building these parks. He ended up committing suicide years later, so it has this kind of grim fate for something that was so ethereal and dreamy looking.”
What surprised you in your research?
“I thought I knew Cleveland history really well, but I did not know about [the City of Cleveland], a glamorous, luxurious passenger ship that carried people back and forth between Detroit and Cleveland on an almost daily basis up until the ‘50s. It’s something so foreign to our era.”