Ohio History Journal

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In any discussion of the social, political, religious, and eco-

nomic problems of the United States as related to its immigrant

population, the cities of New York, Chicago, and Detroit are

usually the principal cities mentioned. "Little Italy," "The

Ghetto," or "Chinatown" are more apt to provoke visions of the

settlements in New York and Chicago than those of any other

city. The foreign districts of New York are generally familiar

through the medium of the movies and our current literature.

Surprisingly little consideration is given the city of Cleveland in

the literature of the subject, although its population is very

cosmopolitan. Cleveland might wear the title "The Foreign

City" as well as that of "The Forest City" which it proudly ad-


New York receives its foreign born as the terminus of steam-

ship lines and retains them on account of its advantages as the

largest city in the country. Cleveland has obtained and retained

its foreign born because it has been a growing center of industry.

Certain geographic factors have combined to make it a great in-

dustrial center. It is close to the coal fields, and affords a con-

venient meeting point for the iron from the head of the Lakes and

the coal of southern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Early in

the present century, Andrew Carnegie pointed out that the south-

ern shore of Lake Erie was the place for the cheapest iron and

steel production in the United States, if not in the world. A

center of industry with cheap raw materials was the attraction

for a large number of immigrants who furnished the cheap labor

for its plants and factories.1

The importance of the foreign element in Cleveland's popu-

lation will be shown by an examination of Table I. The per-


1 Frederick C. Howe, "A City Finding Itself," in World's Work (New York,

1900-), VI (1908), 3988.