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Back From The Dead: Historic Haunts Walking Tours!

Posted July 15, 2021 in Press Releases

The West Clinton Block Club & Near West Theatre Present Tours October 8 & 9

CLEVELAND – The popular Historic Haunts Walking Tours returns to the Gordon Square Arts District thanks to the residents of the West Clinton Block Club and under the direction of Near West Theatre.

The Gordon Square Arts District will come alive in October with the relaunch of the annual Historic Haunts Walking Tour in the historic Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Produced by the West Clinton Block Club in cooperation with Near West Theatre and the Northwest Neighborhoods CDC, visitors will experience a unique lantern-lit, guided walking tour through the charming residential areas surrounding GSAD.

Many of us might be thinking what life might look like after a year of immense challenges and uncertainty. The Historic Haunts will take a look back one hundred years ago and feature the famous and infamous characters from a post-influenza-pandemic of Cleveland during the 1920s decade.

This era brought Cleveland some of its most beloved landmarks in Tower City and the theatres of Playhouse Square. It marked an end to the women’s suffrage movement, the beginning of prohibition, and the rise of organized crime. The Cleveland Indians even won a World Series. The Historic Haunts will create an experience to scare and celebrate the unique stories of our region and those specific to the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and near west side.

“This event fuses all of the things we love about our district. It is neighborhood-driven with some 80 residents volunteering their time and creative energy. It is art-driven with actors in full costume and makeup. And it’s incredibly entertaining, while at the same time, educating visitors about our neighborhood’s rich history and showcasing our architectural landmarks,” says Mike Obertacz, Executive Director of Near West Theatre.

Tickets are $8 for adults and free for youth 15 and under with all proceeds supporting future annual haunts. Walking tours begin at 6:00pm each night and leave every 15 minutes from Near West Theatre’s location at 6702 Detroit Ave. Free parking is available in the Capitol Theatre lot, accessed from W. 65thand 67thStreets. Tours will last approximately an hour and end back at the Near West Theatre.

Amanda Wunzin, a member of the West Clinton Block Club, spoke to the perfect timing of the event’s revival, saying, “our neighborhood has always believed the Historic Haunts were an excellent way to bring our community together creatively to share the rich history and lurid stories of our past, all while highlighting our charming historic houses and vibrant street. We are thrilled to resurrect this event, and bring some energy back into the neighborhood with a safe, outdoor event. Especially considering how badly we all need to have a little fun after this last year.”

Historic Haunts is made possible by our sponsors, Northwest Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation, and Councilmember Jenny Spencer. It is also supported by generous donations from local businesses and residents. It is a grassroots neighborhood collaboration tapping the immense potential of the Gordon Square Arts District and all its creative forces.

Auditions for Historic Haunts are open to youth and adults from 6pm to 9pm on July 29 and 30 at Near West Theatre. Prospective auditioners should check Near West Theatre’s website for more information on casting.

Guests are encouraged to visit Near West Theatre’s website to purchase advance tickets for specific times in 15-minute increments to avoid any potential long waits. Tickets will become available in September. www.nearwesttheatre.org.

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About the West Clinton Block Club

Steps from the Gordon Square Arts District, West Clinton Avenue is a residential street in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood featuring turn-of-the-century historic homes. As one of the oldest active block clubs in Cleveland, the West Clinton Block Club is passionate about community building, improving quality of life for residents, and finding ways to strengthen and improve the area we call home. The Block Club is proud of its myriad contributions to the neighborhood, including the West Clinton Labyrinth pocket park, its designation as both a nationally and locally recognized Historic District, and--of course--Historic Haunts.

About Near West Theatre

Near West Theatre builds loving relationships and engages diverse people in strengthening their sense of identity, passion, and purpose, individually and in community, through accessible, affordable and transformational theatre arts experiences. Since 1978, Near West Theatre has been shaping, changing, even saving the lives of children, teens and adults. The community theater hosts a variety of free community events and free after school programs to underline its commitment to accessibility for all people. The organization serves people of all ages, but a focus on youth goes back to its founding and continues to this day.

Historic Haunts Walking Tours

October 8 & 9, 2021

Family Friendly 6:00 – 9:00pm

Adults $8, Children 15 and under FREE

Run time: Approximately 1 hour

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