Residents of Ohio City are more different than they are similar. They span all social, ethnic, cultural and political strata. Together they form one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the area. That in itself is something to celebrate. At last month’s Evening in Ohio City, six generous residents opened their historic homes to a parade of visitors who arrived every 30 minutes via Lolly the Trolley. A fundraiser for Ohio City Inc., Evening in Ohio City brought together well over 200 supporters of the parent organization that unites the treasure of Cleveland that is Ohio City.
Guests began at the Transformer Station, a multimillion-dollar transformation of a streetcar power station into a classy and committed art museum. Managed by a private foundation, Transformer Station enjoys a close relationship with the Cleveland Museum of Art, which will eventually take over management of the gem. Guests sampled wine and hors d’oeuvres while waiting for a convenient trolley. The guests were equal parts local residents and area supporters.
“In a way, this is a huge neighborhood block party” is how one resident described it. Others, including quite a few supporters from our area, love the historic neighborhood and were excited about visiting six homes for an extended visit. Guests also came from “the mysterious east” and a few from out of state. More diversity!
In a miracle of logistics, only two trolleys shuttled guests efficiently from one home to another, every 30 minutes. Homeowners and other volunteers were on hand to answer questions about homes, including information on their historic significance, and the often extensive, always expensive renovations that preserved the homes’ histories while improving their functionality in the 21st century. In one home, sections of flooring were ripped out to create high, vaulted ceilings, where once two rooms stood atop each other. In another, extensive skylights enhanced the owners’ love of art and photography to display works in a bright environment.
Each of the homes also featured a different beer from Great Lakes Brewing Co., and red and white wines. Area restaurants provided small samplings. As the evening progressed, the groups of 45 or so formed bonds, and were kept on track by well-trained, gregarious guides. Mine was a local Realtor in a bow tie who was equally at home in his role as a stand-up comedian guiding noisy adults on a delightful field trip. The evening concluded where it began, at the Transformer Station with coffee and dessert.