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May 18, 2024

The former home of Jesse Owens and his family has been unanimously approved to become a Cleveland landmark. The home at 2178 E. 100th Street was where the Owens family resided during some of the athlete’s most prominent years.

The Cleveland Restoration Society said it was working with the owner to begin external renovations to “bring back some of that history.”

The Friends of Jesse Owens, a group interested in the home becoming a museum, is working with the restoration society and the owner should the building be repurposed in that way in the future.

The family, which included his parents and nine siblings, of which Jesse was the youngest, migrated to Cleveland from a tenant farm in Alabama in 1922. The Owens lived in several homes before settling on East 100th Street in the 1930s.

They lived at the home when Owens broke three world records during the 1935 Big Ten Championship in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while attending Ohio State University.

After marrying longtime girlfriend, Minnie Ruth Solomon, in 1935, the couple and their daughter lived between her family home and the Owens home, the restoration society said. Then during the 1936 Olympics, where he won four gold medals while Adolf Hitler looked on, Owens’ family was interviewed by the press at the East 100th Street home.

The home was built in the 1890s as a two-family home before being altered into a three-family home in the 1940s, then a four-family in the 1950s, which it continues to serve as today. A plan to place a historical plaque at the site is in the works. 

Council President Blaine A. Griffin, who sponsored the legislation, said he wanted to make sure to “capture the historical heritage and culture of the Fairfax and Cedar community.

“Jesse Owens is one of the most famous Fairfaxians we have,” President Griffin said. “He turned Hitler’s race theory on its head.”