Village of Euclid v. Amber Realty (1926)

                                 Village of Euclid v. Amber Realty (1926).

Case decided:

November 22, 1926

by the United States Supreme Court

6-3 in favor of the palintiff

The desire to cryogenically keep the community as it is at a point in time

The popular panacea for preceived problems:

Pass a law

                  And so

communities across the country,

worshipping the god of property values,

passed what were known as zoning laws,

regulating land use


the village of Euclid was not left out of the mania,

dividing the community into use, area, and height districts

in an overlapping map,


from classification U-1

(mostly single-family homes)

to classification U-6

(anything goes)

The amber Realty Company owned sixty-eight acres

between (what is now) East 196 and East 204 Streets

(west and east)

and Euclid Avenue and a railroad

(north and south),

                           mostly zoned anything goes


a part of it was zoned more restrictively

                                                            And so

then came that other popular panacea for problems:

the lawsuit


the case made its way through the scrutiny

of the watchdogs of the god of property values,

the courts,

                 all the way

to the ultimate arbiter

(here on earth),

the United States Supreme Court

(Myth of Impartial Judiciary:

A man from Cincinnati files a friend of the court brief

on behalf of the village of Euclid

The man is a friend of Chief Justice Taft

Taft finds in favor of his friend’s position

and brings the Court with him

Impartial justice or improper influence?

You make the call)

The decision:


is a proper use of the police power of the state



has a presumption of validity

“In some fields,

the bad fades into the good

by such insensible degrees

that the two are not capable

of being readily distinguished”


the land was eventually used mostly for industry,

as Amber Realty had wanted —

Michael Ceraolo is a fortysomething civil servant/poet trying to overcome a middle-class upbringing. “Village of Euclid v. Amber Realty (1926)” is an excerpt from his long poem

Euclid Creek: A Journey, which will be published by Deep Cleveland later this summer.