Monday, October 17, 2011

Map of Superman’s Cleveland

Happy birthday, Jerry Siegel.

In 2008, when going down every road of promotional possibility for Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, I discovered that (speaking of roads) there is no Superman-themed tour of Cleveland, the city in which writer Jerry and artist Joe Shuster created him.

Joe (pointing) and Jerry (pointing)

In March 2008, I made a list of potential stops with the intention of finding someone interested in pursuing the idea. In fact, one of the big hotels in town, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, expressed interest in running a tour originating from their lobby, so I shared the list (since updated):


  • Jerry’s house: 10622 Kimberley Avenue. Currently a private home with a commemorative Superman fence (featuring the original Superman S emblem made from stainless steel) in front. 

courtesy of CapedWonder

  • Joe’s house: No longer standing. Now an apartment/duplex at corner of Amor Avenue and Parkwood Drive with a commemorative Superman fence (displaying a blown-up version of the first Superman story) in front.
  • Ohio Historical Plaque: corner of E. 105 Street and St. Clair Avenue. The first (and, for years, only) official acknowledgment of Siegel and Shuster in Cleveland.



And "Siegal"? Please fix.

  • The Shuster Studio: Euclid Avenue between E. 105 Street and E.101 Street. * No longer standing.
Joe's studio was in the far right building of this 1939 photo;
today, this area is a hospital complex.


  • The Bell/SBC Building. At one time alleged to be the model for the Daily Planet, though Joe dismissed this in his later years. 

  • Cleveland Public Library. Joe and Jerry took the streetcar there almost every weekend. They were both voracious readers.
  • Newspaper Enterprise Association cartoon offices in Lakeside Place, W. 3rd Street. Now mostly legal offices, this was the syndicate that published the daily Superman strip.

University Circle:

  • The Commodore Hotel: corner of Euclid Avenue and Ford Drive near Case Western Reserve University. Now an apartment building, Jerry and Joanne were married there and lived there for a time.
  • Cleveland Museum of Art. Often cited as a place Siegel and Shuster would visit. Joe took classes at the old Cleveland School of Art.

University Heights:

  • Jerry’s house with his first wife Bella and son, Michael: 2402 Glendon Avenue. Jerry is said to have had a full-size Superman costume in the front closet to show to kids who would knock on the door and ask for Superman. The house is still a private home in a residential neighborhood, and as of 2007, still contained a bathtub from when Jerry owned it.
The sites are rather scattered so a walking tour was out, and given the logistics required in organizing such a thing, it proved impractical for the hotel to take on the task.

Therefore I was thrilled to discover that Cleveland’s enterprising Carol and John’s Comic Shop took on the challenge. They didn’t go so far as to set up a tour but did create this spiffy and thorough map (designed by Matt Kuhns) to help people take a self-guided tour; they also kindly gave me permission to post it here.

My only suggestion: move the compass so it’s fully visible and use the Superman S emblem not as its center but rather as the “S” for “south.”

* 7/4/13 addendum: I was glad to receive the following correction from a gentleman named Eric Bravo, who gave me permission to post it:

My late grandfather, Sam Berkowitz, was also born in 1914 and attended Alexander Hamilton Jr. High with Joe. Im writing to point out a small mistake when listing the location of the art studio and office Jerry and Joe used on Euclid Avenue. While the location is always described as on Euclid between E. 101st and E. 105th Street, this is wrong. Brad Riccas book Super Boys notes the studios address to be 10609 Euclid, meaning that as addresses on Euclid increase go east, the studio was east of E. 105th Street, between E. 105th and E. 107th Streets. This is supported by the fact that the pictures noting the studios building, or a portion of it, all show a Euclid address at the bottom beginning with 105 or 106, followed by two digits. Finally, some of the pictures show a tall building at the extreme right, and this building, which still stands, is at the corner of Euclid and E. 107th. The mistake is common, and even appears at the map you show, created by others, which has the dot for the studio on Euclid to the left of E. 105th, when it should be just to the right of it.


Bob Buethe said...

"A villainous superhero?" That's the most oxymoronic thing I've ever read.

Matt Kuhns said...

Marc, glad you liked the map I designed, and thanks for posting it here! John (of Carol & John) and I have both been very happy with the response; apparently the original run of printed copies is all gone and he's going back to press.

I appreciate your sharing these photos here, also. That photo of the studio is great.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Matt, and glad to meet you. I added your name and a link to your site to the post above.