Traffic Unit: The Corner Men, Part 3

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:

Thomas Flanagan # 786 Appointed 05/15/1917 and pensioned on 07/12/1942. End of Watch 07/21/1973.

Alexander J. Vargo # 557 Appointed 03/02/1912 and pensioned as a Lieutenant on 01/01/1943. End of Watch 02/23/1953.
Bernhard Scharser # 51 Appointed 04/04/1919 and resigned on 08/25/1922.

Joseph J. Karl #704 Appointed 02/01/1917and pensioned on 10/22/1942. End of Watch 04/22/1961.

Robert Pulse #480 Appointed 09/07/1906 and pensioned on 06/16/1938. End of Watch 07/26/1958.

Frank J. Madigan # 776 Appointed 01/15/1919 and pensioned as a Sergeant on 07/01/1944; End of Watch 11/05/1978.

William H. Haberecht # 760 Appointed 05/15/1917 and pensioned on 2/25/1951. End of Watch 09/06/1954.

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

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