The Great Depression
By the time Ellen O’Malley was 13 years old, the Great Depression changed Cleveland from a booming and prosperous industrial town into a metropolis that couldn’t provide sufficient jobs or food. As a result of Black Tuesday--October 29, 1929 when the stock market crashed--a widespread panic flooded throughout the nation as people flocked to the banks and attempted to close out their accounts and withdraw all their funds. Without federally insured funds, banks soon ran out of money forcing them to close their doors and the Great Depression was born.
In the picture below, on February 18, 1930 Clevelanders are served rolls and coffee by Mrs. Albert Schmidt (far right), a famous chef.
As unemployment rates ballooned to 25%, people flocked to Cleveland’s City Hall desperately looking for jobs and food.
Some restaurants donated food to the needy on Thanksgiving in 1930.
With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Cleveland Pilsner Brewing Company re-opened and provided much-needed jobs. World War II would supply additional employment from 1939 to 1945 (relief efforts sent to Great Britain before 1941) which ended the nation’s depression.