EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was submitted as part of the Trumbull County Historical Society’s efforts to raise awareness of local Black history as part of Black History Month.
Most Warren residents have seen photographs of downtown Warren before the 1980s.
Commercial buildings on Main Avenue lined the streets to South Street, and residential homes and commercial buildings on The Flats created a vibrant neighborhood that no longer exists.
Last year, the Trumbull County Historical Society, along with the Trumbull County Land Bank, the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and the City of Warren, documented urban renewal in Warren to better understand the demolitions that took place between 1965 and 1980. .
This work culminated in the launch of Warren Razed, an interactive searchable map of photographs that shows buildings in Warren that have been razed over time. The site also includes never-before-seen maps, plans, and plans that were created during the urban renewal period, and over 800 buildings that have been demolished by the Trumbull County Land Bank over the past 10 years.
The archives of urban renewal now accessible to the public document the government policy that financed the large-scale demolitions. It all started in 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson “War on Poverty” passed the Housing and Urban Development Act, securing private funding to plan and develop new communities in areas targeted for redevelopment.
Cities like Warren have applied for and received funds to demolish buildings along commercial corridors and industrial sites with the goal of improving those areas with future development. Between 1965 and 1980, the city of Warren demolished over 300 buildings, mostly in the historically black residential neighborhood of The Flats, as well as commercial buildings on Main Avenue, Franklin Street, and South Street.
In 2020, the City of Warren and the Trumbull County Historical Society began reviewing records compiled during Urban Renewal. In Warren, and in many cities across the country, the process of home demolitions during urban renewal has disproportionately affected minority communities. This was caused by banks’ reluctance to fund loans for homes for minority applicants in other areas of the city, or not fund loans at all based on the color of the candidate’s skin. candidate.
The Urban Renewal Collection, now housed at the Trumbull County Historical Society, is a snapshot in time. For each building, the City of Warren recorded the names of each building’s owners, whether they were racially white or non-white, whether they were a veteran, and who their employer was. Some of the photographs that were collected feature a neighborhood where people ride bikes and friends hang out on porches. Many of the people who lived in The Flats worked at Republic Steel, a few blocks away, or at another of Warren’s industrial or manufacturing facilities.
This project was built with the aim of increasing the transparency of the policies that have shaped the appearance of our city today and to create a space for current and future residents to immerse themselves in parts of history sometimes forgotten. of Warren.
To view the project site, visit www.warrenrazed.org. To make an appointment to view the Urban Renewal Collection in person, contact the Trumbull County Historical Society by calling 330-394-4653 or emailing [email protected]
Reed is the executive director of the Trumbull County Historical Society.