Irish Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles About the Old Neighborhood

Old Angle Still Retains a Touch of Irish

by Murry Frymer
Cleveland Press, December 8, 1958

There aren't many of the O'Rourkes, the Flynns, and the Shaughnessys left on the near West Side, the part of town they used to call "the Angle."

But in the old days, dating back to 1860, the W. 25th St., area was a transplanted bit of old Erin, with an Irish tenor on every block and a future featherweight in every family.

There's an O'Malley still left in the old neighborhood, and although he's one of the last of the old "Angle" crowd, the folks who've moved away still return to his meat market at 2624 Detroit Ave. for their corned beef and cabbage.

Frank O'Malley will be 65 in April and he has been serving the Irish at his store for 38 years.

"It was the grandest neighborhood you ever saw with the finest people who ever lived," syas O'Malley. "Nobody had a lock on the door in the old days."

Across from Whisky Island

The actual "Angle" was a triangle formed by W. 28th St., Division Ave. and the River bed, where the small, modest homes across from Whisky Island were neatly arranged on Os Court, Bentley Alley and Elm St.

St. Malachi Parish, founded in 1867, was the center of the old neighborhood and at one time its books listed 2000 Irish families in the area.

The Detroit-Superior bridge construction in 1917 and later the Lakeview Terrace housing project broke up the Irish neighborhood. However many from the old community still return each Sunday for services at St. Malachi's.

Frank O'Malley still provides the corned beef of the old Irish population here, although most of the settlers of the "Angle" on the near West Side have left the neighborhood.

"And most of my business now comes from Avon Lake, and Sheffield and Rocky River," says O'Malley.

O'Malley traces his "Angle" heritage back to his grandparents who settled in the area when it was just being formed.

Willie Perry Used to Sing

And he watched Johnny Kilbane, the featherweight champ, go a few rounds up at the LaSalle Club where the boxing and sports crowd used to hang out.

"We were a tough little neighborhood." He says with a laugh, "A lot of outsiders would think their own spot was tough. But we softened 'em up."

O'Malley married an "Angle" girl by the fine name of Cora Corrigan. Their son, Bill, is now a Westlake attorney.

Now many of the O'Malley's customers are children and even grandchildren of the people he served many years ago.

"But I'm scared to quit." Says O'Malley. "All the ones I've seen retire are gone now."

And so there's still a little green in the old Angle yet.