With its origins dating back to 1840 the West Side Market is Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market. Beginning as an open air marketplace on a tract of land donated by two Ohio City landowners, Josiah Barber and Richard Lord, at the corner of West 25th (Pearl) and Lorain it has undergone much growth and many improvements to arrive at its current form. The centerpiece of the market, the yellow brick markethouse with an interior concourse, was designed by the architects Benjamin Hubbel and W. Dominick Benes who also designed other famous buildings in Cleveland, such the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Wade Memorial Chapel in Lakeview Cemetery. The markethouse was dedicated in 1912 and with its 137 foot clock tower has stood as a Cleveland landmark for nearly a century. The last major renovation of the West Side Market took place in 2004 when the arcade portion of the market was enclosed and heated and major interior and architectural renovations were completed in the main building.
Today the market is home to over 100 vendors of great ethnic diversity. You can find not only fine meats and fresh vegetables, but also fresh seafood, baked goods, dairy and cheese products, and even fresh flowers. There are also booths that sell ready-to-eat foods, herbs, candy and nuts. Tourists from all over the world tour the market every year drawn by television programs produced by the Travel Channel and Food Network featuring segments on the West Side Market. Last year it is estimated that over a million people visited the market. Whether as a day-tour destination or a weekly shopping experience, the West Side Market continues to be an interesting and historical Cleveland tradition.
Are you a vendor? Were you a vendor? Are you a regular shopper?
Did your parents tell you about the market?
Do you have market photos or memorabilia?
Local foodwriters Laura Taxel and Marilou Suszko want to hear from West Side Market customers and vendors with memories, stories, photographs and/or memorabilia to share for possible inclusion in a book they are writing. The book will be published in 2012 by the University of Akron Press in conjunction with the ensuing centennial celebrations. If you or your family as a history at the Market as a vendor, employee or shopper, you can get in touch with them by clicking on the green “West Side Market Memories” button. Thank you!