Cleveland Heights celebrates Preservation Month with launch of new historical app

On May 1, The Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University (CSU), in partnership with the City of Cleveland Heights, rolled out a series of Cleveland Heights sites on the Cleveland Historical mobile "app." Cleveland Historical is a free mobile software application for iPhone and Android devices that curates the history of the Cleveland metropolitan area through historic and current photographs, oral history audio clips, archival film footage and short documentary films. It is available at

Created by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities (CPHDH) in CSU’s history department, Cleveland Historical features over 150 location-based stories, each with brief narrative text that helps to frame each story.

The new Cleveland Heights app highlights the history of some of the city’s notable attractions. In addition to the app for smartphone users, selected content will appear on the city’s cable channel and website. Posters will be popping up in the coming months, highlighting important Cleveland Heights sites, such as Cain Park, Cumberland Pool, the Cedar Lee Theatre and Cleveland Heights High School, which have already been added to the app.

The staff of the city’s Department of Planning and Development worked with members of the Landmark Commission and CSU professor, Mark Souther, to select the Cleveland Heights sites to be highlighted. These include commercial districts, parks, neighborhoods, schools and other city landmarks.

Cleveland Historical is the result of a decade-long process through which professors Mark Tebeau and Mark Souther explored ways in which urban public historians could interpret place in the digital age, specifically how they could "curate" a city. Professor Souther, also a member of the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, has worked closely with city planner Kara Hamley O’Donnell to gather the information needed to complete the site-specific apps. Hamley O’Donnell coordinated the Cleveland Heights Oral History Project in 2000–03 and currently manages the Cleveland Heights Historical Center at Superior Schoolhouse, where over 1,000 historic images were catalogued, digitized and made available online through collaboration with CSU’s Cleveland Memory Project (see images at 

CSU students mined these collections to create the fascinating histories of the Cleveland Heights places in the app. The prevalence of mobile devices and software apps presents exciting new opportunities for urban historians, cultural institutions, educators, as well as nonprofessional history buffs. The collaboration between the City of Cleveland Heights the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities provides a unique opportunity to share Cleveland Heights’s history with a broad audience.

To learn more about the project, to download or view it on the Web, go to clevelandhistorical. To review student-created multimedia stories on CPHDH’s YouTube Channel, go to www .. By mid-May, sample videos and information will be at Find the latest information and updates at the CPHDH’s homepage, csudigitalhumanities. Contact CPHDH with comments and questions at csudigitalhumanitiesor on Twitter at @cphdh.


Kara Hamley O'Donnell

Kara Hamley O'Donnell is historic preservation planner for the City of Cleveland Heights.

Read More on Heights History
Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 12:18 PM, 05.09.2011