ClevelandPeople.Com
Johnny Kilbane Town

Johnny Kilbane House and Street Dedication
March 16, 2012


John "Johnny" Patrick Kilbane (April 9, 1889 May 31, 1957) was a featherweight boxer who held the world featherweight title from 1912 to 1923, the longest period in the division's history. He was the second longest world title holder in boxing history, behind only Joe Louis.

Johnny Kilbane

Kilbane was born to John and Mary (Gallagher) Kilbane in Cleveland, Ohio on April 9th, 1889. His mother died when he was 3 years old and his father went blind when he was 6. He attended school until the sixth grade when he dropped out to help support his family.

A crowd of almost 100 family and friends gathered at Kilbane's former house at 7413 Herman on Cleveland's West Side for a special ceremony.

Johnny Kilbane house in Cleveland

Johnny Kilbane family and friends

Judge Brendan Sheehan, Councilmen Martin Cain and Matt Zone, Judge Ray Pianka and Council President Martin Sweeney

Judge Brendan Sheehan, Councilmen Martin Cain and Matt Zone,
Judge Ray Pianka and Council President Martin Sweeney


Cleveland Ward 15 City Councilman Matt Zone served as MC for the ceremony.

Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone

Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone


He introduced Judge Raymond Pianka who gave some historical perspective about Johnny Kilbane and Cleveland. 100 years ago, 200,000 people greeted Kilbane's arrival back in Cleveland after he won the world the championship.

Judge Raymond Pianka

Judge Raymond Pianka

In the short clip below from the above video, Judge Pianka told how the Cleveland Leader from 100 years ago said that 90% of the crime in Cleveland was committed by the Irish.

Next, Councilman Matt Zone introduced Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald



Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald


Cleveland Council President Martin Sweeney gave a proclamation from the City of Cleveland for Kilbane-O'Toole Day. He joked that Councilman Zone would be boxing Sporty Kilbane to end the ceremony.

Cleveland Council President Martin Sweeney

Cleveland Council President Martin Sweeney



Cleveland Council President Martin Sweeney


Then Councilman Zone presented a Cleveland Landmark Certificate to the current owner, Eric Hrbek, of the Johnny Kilbane house. Hrbek and a relative of Johnny Kilbane, Kevin O'Toole, unveiled the sign in front of the house.

Johnny Kilbane house in Cleveland - sign unveiling

Johnny Kilbane house in Cleveland - sign unveiling

Johnny Kilbane house in Cleveland - sign unveiling



Johnny Kilbane house in Cleveland sign

Kevin O'Toole, a relative of Johnny Kilbane

Kevin O'Toole, a relative of Johnny Kilbane said a few words

Councilman Matt Zone gives certificate to current owner of the Johnny Kilbane house

Councilman Zone gives certificate to the Hrbek family, the current owners of the Johnny Kilbane house



Father Bob Begin, Pastor of St Colman Parish, spoke about boxing and led a prayer for the families and the neighborhood.

Father Bob Begin, Pastor of St Colman Parish

Father Bob Begin, Pastor of St Colman Parish

The crowd then walked a few houses down to the end of th street where a street sign was covered up. Some young relatives of the boxing champion helped unveil the sign which gives an alternate name to Herman Ave. - Kilbane Town.

Street sign covered

Johnny Kilbane relatives unveil street sign

Johnny Kilbane relatives unveil street sign



Kilbane Town sign

Everyone wanted to take pictures with the new Kilbane Town sign.

Johnny Kilbane relative pointing at Kilbane Town street sign

They also enjoyed special cookies made by Cathy Sabolik in honor of the great champion Johnny Kilbane.

Cathy Sabolik with cookies

Cathy Sabolik with cookies

Johnny Kilbane cookies



Learn more about Johnny Kilbane at the official Johnny Kilbane website.


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