Aug. 9 Cedar Fairmount festival features talk by Cleveland historian Alan Dutka
Alan Dutka, author of Misfortune on Cleveland's Millionaires’ Row, will give a free historical lecture on the stories of those who built Cleveland mansions. He will speak at 1 p.m. in the Alcazar Music Room during the Aug. 9 Cedar Fairmount Summer Festival.
Since retiring from a business career, native Clevelander Alan Dutka has published five books on Cleveland’s history: Misfortune on Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row; AsiaTown Cleveland: From Tong Wars to Dim Sum; Cleveland Calamities: A History of Storm, Fire and Pestilence; East Fourth Street: The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of an Urban Cleveland Street; and Cleveland’s Short Vincent: The Theatrical Grill and its Notorious Neighbors.
Misfortune on Cleveland's Millionaires’ Row describes the extreme wealth that was needed to purchase a mansion on Millionaires’ Row, but which provided no immunity from unsavory business dealings or shameful behavior. May Hanna gave the slip to her millionaire ex-husband’s hired Pinkerton detectives, to sneak out of the country. To escape financial embarrassment, James Potter, manager of a prominent Euclid Avenue apartment building, gave his family cough medicine laced with poison, killing his entire family and himself. Married to a Millionaires’ Row doctor, the infamous con woman Cassie Chadwick posed as Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter and forged a fake $5 million check.
Dutka's book delves into 16 tales of anguish and deceit to offer a startling perspective on Cleveland’s super-rich, and the author will share many of these stories in his Aug. 9 lecture.
Dutka is a popular speaker at historical societies, libraries and community centers. He has appeared on the Feagler & Friends, Applause and Seven Minutes with Russ Mitchell television programs, and on radio programs, including Dee Perry’s Around Noon and Jacqueline Gerber’s morning program
Dutka’s lecture and the 14th annual Cedar Fairmount Summer Festival and Arts & Craft Show are sponsored by donations from Cedar Fairmount building owners, businesses, neighbors, Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, and by a grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Kaye Lowe is the executive director of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District.