Traffic Unit: The Corner Men, Part 2

In 1921 the Cleveland Plain Dealer introduced to their readers the Cleveland Police Officers assigned the difficult task of directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the city each day.  They featured a photograph and brief personal information of 76 Officers who were referred to as “Corner Men,” working in the rain, snow and sunshine to keep people safe. 

The Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection staff researched their archives and were able to locate 35 of the original photographs from this series.  We present a few of those Officers:

“The Plain Dealer, through the medium of the Picture Page, is going to introduce its readers to members of Cleveland’ traffic force.  The have real jobs.  Swinging the semaphore, of course, isn’t so hard.  But that is a small part of the job.  Answering questions is the task.  A semaphore sentinel has to be a human city directory.”

For more information on police semaphores, visit:

For more information on Cleveland Public Library’s photograph collection, visit:

John Neiberlein # 911 Appointed 11/16/1919and pensioned on 08/01/1953. End of Watch 05/09/1964.

William J. Zepp, Badge Number 237; Appointed 03/07/1903; Pension 03/16/1928; End of Watch 08/05/1945.
Patrick F. Brennan #140 Appointed 09/28/1903and pensioned on 12/01/1938. End of Watch 12/19/1944.
Joseph K. Kadlec # 685 Appointed 01/20/1915 and pensioned on 03/16/1953. End of Watch 12/14/1954.

Thomas Pokrant # 490 Appointed 03/15/1919 and dismissed on 07/22/1925. End of Watch 12/26/1947.

Frank C. VonLehnden # 303 Appointed 10/22/1917. End of Watch 07/31/1942.
Roy F. Wagner # 128 Appointed 02/01/1917and pensioned on 01/21/1943. End of Watch 02/01/1973.
John J. “Butch” Graham #558 Appointed 06/15/1912. End of Watch 08/06/1942.

Frank B. Field # 230 Appointed 06/20/1915 and pensioned as a Lieutenant on 08/20/1956. End of Watch 01/02/1960.

Written by Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum volunteer Commander Robert Cermak, Ret.

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