Carabelli St., Now East 123rd St


Traveling around Cleveland, do you ever wonder what the numbered streets used to be named? Or do you ponder how some of our current streets earned their names?

In 1906, as newcomers poured into Cleveland and the city grew rapidly, the City Council adopted a numerical system for streets, changing many street names that had had decades of history and stories behind them. The council enumerated the north/south streets that emanated eastward and westward from Public Square.

Well, the Teaching Cleveland team did some research, and each month during this academic year, we’ll provide some information about Cleveland city streets that you may not have known. We’re here all year to give you some street cred!

Carabelli St., Now E. 123rd, SE

Joseph Carabelli Photo via Cleveland Historical

Joseph Carabelli, born in Porto Ceresio, Italy, in 1850, emerged as a pivotal figure in Cleveland and the Little Italy community. Arriving in the United States in 1870 after honing his skills as a stonecutter, Carabelli spent a decade in New York City, where his statues adorned the Federal Building.

In 1880, he made his way to Cleveland and established the Lake View Granite & Monumental Works near Lake View Cemetery, drawing a significant number of stonecutters from Italy to settle along Mayfield Road.

Beyond his contributions to Cleveland’s architectural landscape, Carabelli’s philanthropy and community leadership left a huge mark. In 1895, recognizing the need for childcare services for working mothers in Little Italy, he spearheaded the creation of a nursery and kindergarten. With financial backing from figures like John D. Rockefeller, he eventually established the Alta House, named after Rockefeller’s daughter Alta Rockefeller Prentice, to serve the neighborhood’s families. Additionally, Carabelli played a pivotal role in establishing the Italian Fraternal Society in 1888, the first Cleveland Italian mutual benefit society.

Alta House circa 1900, Cleveland Historical

In 1908, he entered Ohio politics, securing a seat in the state House of Representatives on the Republican ticket. During his tenure, he championed legislation that would designate Columbus Day as an official holiday.

His namesake road, Carabelli St, now East 123rd St., runs north/south and takes various turns and interruptions. It starts at Mayfield Road, in the heart of Carabelli’s home neighborhood, Little Italy, heads north along the western border of Lake View Cemetery, and stops at Euclid Avenue, only to be picked up on the north side of the East Cleveland Township Cemetery in University Circle at Wade Park Avenue. It continues north through Glenville, with many different interruptions, and eventually dead-ends near where Eddy Road crosses the I-90 freeway.

Want to learn more? Check out the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History here and Cleveland Historical here.

Alta House today, University Circle



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