Saturday, January 15, 2011

Anthony J. Celebrezze

Anthony Joseph Celebrezze Sr. (September 4, 1910 – October 29, 1998) was the 49th Mayor of Cleveland, elected to office in 1953 and remaining there until 1962. He served an unprecedented five two-year terms (Cleveland mayors have been elected to four-year terms since 1979.)

Cleveland was at that time run by a tightly-organized Democratic party, and the Italian-American Celebrezze was not their candidate. Credit is often given to the endorsement of Louis B. Seltzer, editor of the Cleveland Press, for the victory. However, Seltzer may have simply been aware of the strong popularity Celebreeze had among the citizens of Cleveland and threw his support behind the apparent victor. He was also supported by Ohio Governor (and former Cleveland mayor) Frank Lausche.

During his tenure over $140 million was spent on urban renewal projects, including the construction of the Red Line, connecting the East and West Side. In addition, much attention was paid to construction of the freeway system to bring those who were moving to the suburbs easier transit into the city. However, he was also the champion of Erieview, a plan to revitalize the vanishing downtown population by razing old buildings close to the lake and creating vast high-rises and lots of parking. The razing of old housing stock took place, but the rebuilding never materialized, with the exception of the big, ugly, vacant Erieview Tower.

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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