Cleveland to move historical marker to correct location of John Heisman’s birthplace


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Clevelanders have pointed with pride to a home in the 2800 block of Bridge Avenue in Ohio City, as the birthplace of John Heisman, the legendary football coach for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

In 1978, a historic marker was placed in front of the so-called Heisman House. But over the years, a number of local historians uncovered evidence that suggested it was the wrong house.

“One of the things that I love about Cuyahoga County and living here is all of the property transfers going back to like 1810 are online for anyone to search,” said Cleveland librarian Christopher Busta-Peck.

According to Busta-Peck, he discovered records that indicated Heisman’s family actually lived in a home in the 3900 block of Bridge.

“Because the records specify a person’s number and person’s allotment, and you see that the Heisman family purchased this particular lot in 1868, which is a year before John Heisman was born,” Busta-Peck said.

Cleveland City Council is now recognizing the home at 3928 Bridge Ave. as the official birthplace of Heisman and the current owners are thrilled to learn about the historical significance of their home.

“It’s good that they’re correcting it. It’s good that we had dumb luck that we bought the house, that now is the Heisman, so that’s pretty fun,” said the owner, who asked that we not use her name.

The city of Cleveland is now planning a ceremony during which a new historical marker will be placed in front of the real Heisman house. When the new marker is made, another error will be corrected. The actual date of John Heisman’s birth, according to his mother’s Bible was Oct. 23, 1869, not Oct. 3, as indicated on the original historic marker.

According to Busta-Peck, it’s always good to correct inaccurate history.

“It’s great because this is part of the story about the place where we live. These are the things that make Cleveland special and that make this place great,” he said.

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