A walk down Cleveland Street

A walk down Cleveland Street

The former Brooklyn Post Office, originally built in 1914, is thought to be the only surviving example of an Edwardian era post office building in the greater Wellington region. PHOTO: ARCHIVES NEW ZEALAND SUPPLIED.

The former Brooklyn Post Office, originally built in 1914, is thought to be the only surviving example of an Edwardian era post office building in the greater Wellington region. PHOTO: ARCHIVES NEW ZEALAND SUPPLIED.

The former Brooklyn Post Office, originally built in 1914, is thought to be the only surviving example of an Edwardian era post office building in the greater Wellington region. PHOTO: ARCHIVES NEW ZEALAND SUPPLIED.

Cleveland Street as it was in 1908, already the heart of Brooklyn's shopping centre. PHOTO: JOSEPH ZACHARIAH.

Cleveland Street as it was in 1908, already the heart of Brooklyn’s shopping centre. PHOTO: JOSEPH ZACHARIAH.

A modern view of the commercial end of Cleveland Street, including the Caribe Coffee Roastery. PHOTO: AMBER ALLOTT.

A modern view of the commercial end of Cleveland Street, including the Caribe Coffee Roastery. PHOTO: AMBER ALLOTT.

Nestled in the heart of Brooklyn, itself named for the borough in New York City, Cleveland Street is named after a man often called the most honest president the United States ever had.

Grover Cleveland is best know for being the only man to ever serve two non-consecutive terms as president – but he was famed in his day for his dedication to leading with integrity and conscience.

The area was first settled in the 1840s, but the streets of the suburb took many decades and subdivisions to form, eventually ending up with a total of 10 streets named after American presidents.

Despite its picturesque facade, some of the earliest recorded news coverage of the street was a grisly suicide that took place in 1917. Edwin Thomas Beavis, a 45-year-old butcher who lived on Cleveland Street, was found by his sister with his throat cut in a shed, alongside a razor.

Today, Cleveland Street is the suburb’s main commercial centre, with most of Brooklyn’s shops situated on its lower half.

Cleveland Street local Sandie Lepper has been in the area for 17 years, and lives in the former post office.  Built in 1914, the building served as the post office until 1989, and had living quarters for the postmaster upstairs. We’ve had visits from people who used to live here,” she said.

Lepper said  mostly the street had remained the same. Perhaps the biggest change was a shopping centre that was yellow-stickered and torn down after an earthquake several years ago, It used to house a book shop and two dressmakers. These days, the Brooklyn Kids childcare centre stands in its place, with the local fire station next door.

The street is also home to cafes and restaurants, a deli, a pie shop, grocer’s, the library, and the local watering-hole, affectionately referred to as ‘the Brooky.’

[It’s a] very convenient place to live – it’s got everything you need. My pantry’s right across the road,” said Lepper.

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Article by Amber Allott

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