Traffic Unit: The Corner Men, Part 5

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:

Frank Schimkola # 391 Appointed 04/11/1912and pensioned on 08/01/1949. End of Watch 03/24/1957.

Fred G. Richter # 381
Appointed 03/23/1904 and pensioned on 02/01/1939. End of Watch 03/10/1963.

James J. Menger Jr. # 657 Appointed 03/15/1919 and pensioned as a Sergeant o 05/16/1944. End of Watch 02/24/1974.

George Obermoser # 792 Appointed 05/16/1917 and pensioned on 08/01/1949. End of Watch 10/20/1967.

Melchior J. Koch # 395 Appointed 05/01/1918 and pensioned on 05/03/1943. End of Watch 04/23/1954.

Henry Christian # 62 Appointed 08/07/1905. End of Watch 03/08/1932.
George C. Spaller # 416 Appointed 05/08/1905 and pensioned on 06/01/1939. End of Watch 03/26/1955.
William G. Borgman #137 Appointed 04/04/1919 and Shot and Killed In the Line of Duty 04/20/1926.

Edward S. “Sam” Havel # 202 Appointed 09/01/1914 and pensioned on 05/16/1944. End of Watch 02/17/1967.

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

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