Welcome to a unique American landscape of the twentieth century: The Cleveland Cultural Gardens. This site is a virtual monument to that living, organic landscape.
Like the Gardens, this website is largely a community endeavor and a living entity, undergoing change alongside the Gardens. Toward that end, we accept contributions of materials from our readers, which undergo light editorial review before publication. Much of the material presented here was created by scholars, undergraduates, graduate students, and regional teachers, working in collaboration. We judge our work to have been a smashing success; over the past 2 years, we have had over 15,000 unique visitors from over 100 nations.
Created by students and scholars at Cleveland State University, this site has grown in collaboration with the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. It applies the best community-based history methods and thinking in the digital humanities; it germinated in Professor Mark Tebeau's Local History Seminar as an outgrowth of his scholarly research. This site is maintained by the History Department's Center for Public History and Digital Humanities.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation has emerged as a significant partner, regularly updating the site with news, events and other materials -- follow along in the News section!
Why did we build this site about the Cleveland Cultural Gardens? Perhaps the world's first peace garden, the Gardens embody the history of twentieth-century America. They reveal the history of immigration to, and migration within, the United States. They comment on how we have built communities and constructed our identities as individuals and collectives. The gardens reveal the stories of the major conflicts that gave shape to the century: World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. They also provide insight into the large social, economic, political, and cultural upheavals that roiled through the nation during the last century: the Great Depression, suburbanization, the Civil Rights Movement, and the deindustrialization of America's industrial heartland.
This is a story of hope and despair, joy and sadness, conflict and cooperation, growth and decline. The stones, paths, and memories of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens tell us what it has meant to be an American.
Dr. Mark Tebeau, Department of History, Cleveland State University