A history of Tremont symbolizes the typical urban American neighborhood with its mish-mash of cultures. It offers
eclectic sites and adaptive locations for filmmaking. I will look at the history of Tremont as a cultural center of the
Midwest before the filming of The Deer Hunter (Figure 3). In addition, I will examine the history of Saint
Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the history of Lemko Hall to illustrate the eclecticism and adaptability
that director, Michael Cimino, tapped in his film. Director Michael Cimino’s most powerful, and controversial film
work The Deer Hunter examines the uniqueness of this area by focusing its setting on Saint Theodosius Russian
Orthodox Church and Lemko Hall.
The original developers of Tremont (Figure 4) were Mrs. Thirza Pelton and John Jennings. They planned to develop
the Tremont area into the cultural center of the Midwest. Purchasing 275 acres for the development of Cleveland
University, incorporated in 1851, was their start. The building on the corner of College and University Avenue
would be the first and only building constructed for the University. Part of its campus would be Pelton Park, which
was surrounded by streets named after the college like Professor, College, University, Literary, and so on. This
conglomerate would make up “University Heights”. This venture would end two years later, in 1852, when Mrs.
Pelton died along with the loss of her financial support. Tremont still remained and continued to develop into an
exclusive area as Pelton and Jennings had intended. “University Heights” continued to progress as an eclectic
residential area of Cleveland up until the time of the Civil War. Jennings Avenue, currently !
West Fourteenth Street, was called the Gold Coast of Cleveland. Around the time of this prosperity, the area had
become a main stay for the Union Troops. This area became a major participant for the Union in the Civil War. This
area was affected by the war, which changed its name “University Heights” into “Lincoln Heights” and Pelton Park
to Lincoln Park. The Union Troops had set up the area for their northern operations. The current Ukrainian Labor
Temple, which lies on Auborn Avenue and West Eleventh Street, was used as a hospital for the Union Soldiers that
were sick or wounded. The troops did their recruiting from Auburn Avenue, and the troops camped at the foot of
Professor Street, which overlooks the Cuyahoga River, and also in Lincoln Park.
After the civil war, many developers were interested in creating an industry in Tremont. Its access to the Cuyahoga
River and its flat surrounding region made it an ideal place for steelworking. This created a need for a work force.
Eager Irish and Slavic immigrants came into the area in hopes to make a new home for themselves. Between the
nineteen-thirties to the late sixties Tremont become home to a multitude of cultures. The Irish and the Slavic people
were followed by Germans, Southern Europeans, Syrians, Greeks, Italians and a few Blacks. The largest group at
that time was the Lemkos. Lemkos were originally from Lemkovina, which was situated in the slopes of the
Carpathian Mountains. Lemkovina, controlled by Austria-Hungry, is still considered to this day the most neglected
in cultural progress and the most oppressed of all the Russian peoples. With The Slavs that immigrated into the
United States and Canada they not only brought their eastern orthodox religion, but also !
brought their styles of architecture. Before World War 1, 6,000 Slavic immigrants inhabited the Cleveland area.
Their heritage and artistry is notable in Tremont’s Architecture. The Eastern Orthodox belief of the Slavic people
was and is still worshiped at Saint Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Saint Theodosius is the oldest Russian
Orthodox Church in Cleveland. In September 1974 for its seventy eighth anniversary the church was put on the
National Registry of Historical Places. It was coined “one of the most outstanding examples of Russian church
architecture in the United States”. (Cleveland Press Collection 1974). The architect’s, Fredrick C. Baird, design was
based on the pastor’s, Father Basil S. Lisenkovsky, photographs of the Church of Our Savior Jesus Christ in
Moscow. Baird used certain features of the Muscovite Church resulting in Saint Theodosius having 13
distinguishing crosses and cupolas. It is located on 733 Starkweather Avenue overlooking the Cuyahoga Riv!