Originally founded in 1840, Cleveland's West Side Market is an indoor/outdoor farmer's market-type establishment that contains more than 175 stalls for vendors peddling various kinds of food stuff, from fruits and vegetables to meats, seafood, and baked goods.
Located in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, the market has enjoyed a long and mostly prosperous past, eventually landing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The marketplace originally sat on a plot of land across the street from the current West Side Market and consisted of several stalls inside a one-story wooden framed building. It was originally known as the Pearl Street Market.
As Cleveland continued to grow through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century, more space for the market was needed. The city hired the architectural firm of Hubbell and Benes to create a new location for the market. The result of their designs was a neo-Classical and Byzantine-style building made of brick and featuring a large interior concourse with about 100 stalls. The building, completed in 1912, also featured 85 outdoor stalls and a large clock tower that quickly became a city landmark.
That same building still stands today though it has been renovated or added to a number of times at the cost of several million dollars each time. Though West Side Market struggled throughout the 1980s and 1990s, tenants and locals rallied to keep it alive. The market has also received national attention via appearances on cable TV shows and in 2004, underwent more major architectural and structural renovations.
Today, West Side Market includes more than 100 vendors. Produce sellers still account for almost half of the market but other food is sold here are well. Many ethnic markets have long occupied spots in the market, with some stalls belonging to the same family for several generations. Greek, Italian, German, French, Cambodian, Chinese, Polish, Russian, and several other international cuisines are represented at this market and it has become the place to shop for the freshest foods in the area.
Since 1915, the marketplace has been overseen by the West Side Tenants Association, an organization that still exists at the market today. This organization and others who support the market are already planning the facility's centennial celebration, set to take place in 2012.
West Side Market is open daily except Sundays and is closed on some major holidays. Special events are held on occasion. Tours are offered on a regular basis and the market is a common field trip location for local school children. With everything on one level, the market is also totally handicapped accessible.