Hickox Alley, Now East 3rd 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!

Hickox Alley, Now E. 3rd, SE

Abram Hickox (1764-1845), via Cleveland Historical

Abram Hickox (also spelled Heacox in some records) holds the distinction of being Cleveland’s first blacksmith. Born in 1770 in Connecticut, Hickox arrived and established his workshop in Cleveland around 1810, an era when the city was just beginning to take shape.

By 1815, with the layout of Euclid Street, Hickox made a strategic move, relocating his business from its initial spot at the corner of Superior and Bank (West 6th) to what would later be dubbed Millionaires’ Row. For the next 15 to 20 years or so, he ran his shop there, gradually gaining fame as one of the city’s early legendary figures thanks to stories about his hard work and no-nonsense attitude.

When exactly Hickox Alley (today, East 3rd Street between Euclid and Prospect avenues) first came into existence is unclear. However, it is said that Hickox would traverse a path there each day between his residence on Prospect and workshop on Euclid. Between 1837 and 1838, Hickox and fellow residents petitioned the Cleveland council to recognize the footpath as an official village street. In response, the council passed an ordinance in 1838 designating the pathway as Hickox Alley, extending from Euclid Street to Prospect Street.

East 3rd St today.

Over the decades following Hickox’ death in 1845 and the sale of his land to developers, Hickox Alley became a vibrant working-class neighborhood street until lower Euclid Avenue began its transformation from a residential neighborhood to a commercial district. Today, Hickox Alley is a place few people venture – because it’s only an alley surrounded on both sides by imposing brick walls – but still holds the memory of Hickox and his contributions to early Cleveland life.

Learn more from Cleveland Historical here.



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