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City of Cleveland
—  City  —


Nickname(s): The Forest City
Motto: Progress & Prosperity
Location in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
City of Cleveland is located in Ohio
City of Cleveland
Location in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Coordinates: 41°28′56″N 81°40′11″W / 41.48222°N 81.66972°W / 41.48222; -81.66972Coordinates: 41°28′56″N 81°40′11″W / 41.48222°N 81.66972°W / 41.48222; -81.66972
Country United States
State Ohio
County Cuyahoga
Founded 1796
Incorporated 1814 (village)
  1836 (city)
 - Mayor Frank G. Jackson (D)
Area [1]
 - City 82.4 sq mi (213.4 km2)
 - Land 77.6 sq mi (200.9 km2)
 - Water 4.8 sq mi (12.5 km2)
Elevation [2] 653 ft (199 m)
Population (2008)[1][3][4]
 - City 433,748
 Density 6,166.5/sq mi (2,380.9/km2)
 Metro 2,250,871
 - Demonym Clevelander
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 216
FIPS code 39-16000[5]
GNIS feature ID 1066654

Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County,[6] the most populous county in the state. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately 60 miles (100 km) west of the Pennsylvania border. It was founded in 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location at the head of numerous canals and railroad lines. With the decline of heavy manufacturing, Cleveland's businesses have diversified into the service economy, including the financial services, insurance, legal, and healthcare sectors, though the city's population has continued to decline. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[7]

As of the 2000 Census, the city proper had a total population of 478,403, and was then the 33rd largest city in the United States, (now estimated as the 40th largest due to declines in population)[8] and the second largest city in Ohio. It is the center of Greater Cleveland, the largest metropolitan area in Ohio. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor Metropolitan Statistical Area which in 2000 ranked as the 23rd largest in the United States with 2,250,871 people. Cleveland is also part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Elyria Combined Statistical Area, which in 2000 had a population of 2,945,831, and ranked as the country's 14th largest.[9] Like many former urban manufacturing centers of the U.S. Rust Belt, Cleveland as a city has declined from a population of 914,000 in 1950 to less than half that today.[10]

Suburbanization and white flight plagued the city in the late 1960s and 1970s, when financial difficulties and a notorious 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River challenged the city. The city has worked to improve its infrastructure, diversify its economy, and invest in the arts ever since, and now Cleveland is considered an exemplar for public-private partnerships, downtown revitalization, and urban renaissance. In studies conducted by The Economist in 2005 Cleveland was ranked as one of the most livable cities in the United States,[11] and the city was ranked as the best city for business meetings in the continental U.S.[12] The city faces continuing challenges, in particular from concentrated poverty in some neighborhoods and difficulties in the funding and delivery of high-quality public education.[13]

Residents of Cleveland are usually referred to as "Clevelanders". Nicknames for the city include "The Forest City",[14] "The Cleve",[15] "Sixth City",[16][17] "The Rock n Roll Capital", "Plum City", and "C-Town".[14]



Cleveland obtained its name on July 22, 1796 when surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company laid out Connecticut's Western Reserve into townships and a capital city they named "Cleaveland" after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland. Cleaveland oversaw the plan for the modern downtown area, centered on the Public Square, before returning home, never again to visit Ohio. The first settler in Cleaveland was Lorenzo Carter, who built a cabin on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The Village of Cleaveland was incorporated on December 23, 1814.[18] In spite of the nearby swampy lowlands and harsh winters, its waterfront location proved to be an advantage. The area began rapid growth after the 1832 completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. This key link between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes connected the city to the Atlantic Ocean via the Erie Canal and later via the St. Lawrence Seaway; and the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. Growth continued with added railroad links.[19] Cleveland incorporated as a city in 1836.[18]

Map of Cleveland in 1904

In 1836, the city, then located only on the eastern banks of the Cuyahoga River, nearly erupted into open warfare with neighboring Ohio City over a bridge connecting the two.[20] Ohio City remained an independent municipality until it was annexed by Cleveland in 1854.[18] The site flourished as a halfway point for iron ore from Minnesota shipped across the Great Lakes and other raw materials (coal) carried by rail from the south. Cleveland emerged as a major American manufacturing center, home to numerous major steel producers, as well as a number of carmakers, including gasoline cars Peerless, People's,[21] Jordan, Winton (first car driven across the U.S.),[22] steam car builders White and Gaeth, and electric car company Baker. By 1920, Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller had made his fortune and Cleveland had become the fifth largest city in the country.[18] The city was a center for the national progressive movement, headed locally by Mayor Tom L. Johnson. Many Clevelanders of this era are buried in the historic Lake View Cemetery, along with James A. Garfield, the twentieth U.S. President.[23]

The Cuyahoga River winds through the Flats in a December 1937 aerial view of downtown Cleveland.

In commemoration of the centennial of Cleveland's incorporation as a city, the Great Lakes Exposition debuted in June 1936 along the Lake Erie shore north of downtown. Conceived as a way to energize a city hit hard by the Great Depression, it drew 4 million visitors in its first season, and 7 million by the end of its second and final season in September 1937.[24] The exposition was housed on grounds that are now used by the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Burke Lakefront Airport, among others.[25] Immediately after World War II, the city experienced a brief boom. In sports, the Indians won the 1948 World Series and the Browns dominated professional football in the 1950s. Businesses proclaimed that Cleveland was the "best location in the nation".[26][27][28] The city's population reached its peak of 914,808, and in 1949 Cleveland was named an All-America City for the first time.[29] By the 1960s, however, heavy industries began to slump, and residents sought new housing in the suburbs, reflecting the national trends of white flight and urban sprawl. Like other major American cities, Cleveland also began witnessing racial unrest, culminating in the Hough Riots from July 18, 1966 – July 23, 1966 and the Glenville Shootout on July 23, 1968 – July 25, 1968. The city's nadir is often considered to be its default on its loans on December 15, 1978, when under Mayor Dennis Kucinich it became the first major American city to enter default since the Great Depression.[18] National media began referring to Cleveland as "the mistake on the lake" around this time, in reference to the city's financial difficulties, a notorious 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River (where industrial waste on the river's surface caught on fire), and its struggling professional sports teams.[30] The city has worked to shed this nickname ever since, though in recent times the national media have been much kinder to the city, using it as an exemplar for public-private partnerships, downtown revitalization, and urban renaissance.[31]

The metropolitan area began recovery thereafter under Mayors George Voinovich and Michael R. White. Redevelopment within the city limits has been strongest in the downtown area near the Gateway complex—consisting of Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena, and near North Coast Harbor—including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the Great Lakes Science Center. Although Cleveland was hailed by the media as the "Comeback City,"[32] many of the inner-city residential neighborhoods remain troubled, and the public school system continues to experience serious problems. Economic development, retention of young professionals, and capitalizing upon its waterfront are current municipal priorities.[33] In 1999, Cleveland was identified as an emerging global city.[34]




Panorama of Public Square in 1912

According to the United States Census Bureau,[1] the city has a total area of 82.4 square miles (213.5 km²), of which, 77.6 square miles (201.0 km²) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²) is water. The total area is 5.87% water. The shore of Lake Erie is 569 feet (173 m) above sea level; however, the city lies on a series of irregular bluffs lying roughly parallel to the lake. In Cleveland these bluffs are cut principally by the Cuyahoga River, Big Creek, and Euclid Creek. The land rises quickly from the lakeshore. Public Square, less than a mile (2 km) inland, sits at an elevation of 650 feet (198 m), and Hopkins Airport, only five miles (8 km) inland from the lake, is at an elevation of 791 feet (241 m).[35]


Cleveland possesses a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), typical of much of the central United States, with very warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The Lake Erie shoreline is very close to due east-west from the mouth of the Cuyahoga west to Sandusky, but at the mouth of the Cuyahoga it turns sharply northeast. This feature is the principal contributor to the lake effect snow that is typical in Cleveland (especially east side) weather from mid-November until the surface of Lake Erie freezes, usually in late January or early February. The lake effect causes snowfall totals to range greatly across the city: while Hopkins Airport has only reached 100 inches (254 cm) of snowfall in a given season three times since 1968,[36] seasonal totals approaching or exceeding 100 inches (2,500 mm) are not uncommon in an area known as the "Snow Belt", extending from the east side of Cleveland proper through the eastern suburbs and up the Lake Erie shore as far as Buffalo, New York. Despite its reputation as a cold, snowy place in winter, mild spells often break winter's grip with temperatures sometimes soaring above 70 °F (21 °C). The all-time record high in Cleveland of 104 °F (40 °C) was established on June 25, 1988, and the all-time record low of −20 °F (−29 °C) was set on January 19, 1994.[37] On average, July is the warmest month with a mean temperature of 71.9 °F (22.2 °C), and January, with a mean temperature of 25.7 °F (−3.5 °C), is the coldest. Normal yearly precipitation based on the 30-year average from 1971 to 2000 is 38.7 inches (930 mm).[38] Yearly precipitation rates vary considerably in different areas of the Cleveland metropolitan area, partly due to thunrdestorm development interacting with the Lake Breeze front [39]. The least precipitation occurs on the western side and directly along the lake, and the most occurs in the eastern suburbs. Parts of Geauga county receive over 44 inches of liquid precipitation annually.[40]

Climate data for Cleveland, Ohio
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 33
Average low °F (°C) 19
Rainfall inches (mm) 2.48
Snowfall inches (mm) 12.6
Source: [41] August 2008
Source #2: The Weather Channel [42] January 2010

Government and politics

Cleveland City Hall

Cleveland's position as a center of manufacturing established it as a hotbed of union activity early in its history. This contributed to a political progressivism that has influenced Cleveland politics to the present. While other parts of Ohio, particularly Cincinnati and the southern portion of the state, have historically supported the Republican Party, Cleveland commonly breeds the strongest support in the state for the Democrats;[43] At the local level, elections are nonpartisan. However, Democrats still dominate every level of government. Cleveland is split between two congressional districts. Most of the western part of the city is in the 10th District, represented by Dennis Kucinich. Most of the eastern part of the city, as well as most of downtown, is in the 11th District, represented by Marcia Fudge. Both are Democrats. During the 2004 Presidential election, although George W. Bush carried Ohio by 2.1%, John Kerry carried Cuyahoga County 66.6%-32.9%,[44] his largest margin in any Ohio county. The city of Cleveland supported Kerry over Bush by the even larger margin of 83.3%-15.8%.[45] The city of Cleveland operates on the mayor-council (strong mayor) form of government.[46] The mayor is the chief executive of the city, and the office is held in 2008 by Frank G. Jackson. Previous mayors of Cleveland include progressive Democrat Tom L. Johnson, United States Supreme Court Justice Harold Hitz Burton, Republican Senator George V. Voinovich, two-time Democratic Ohio Governor and Senator, current Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio's 10th district, Frank J. Lausche, and Carl B. Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major American city.[47]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1820 606
1830 1,075 77.4%
1840 6,071 464.7%
1850 17,034 180.6%
1860 43,417 154.9%
1870 92,829 113.8%
1880 160,146 72.5%
1890 261,353 63.2%
1900 381,768 46.1%
1910 560,663 46.9%
1920 796,841 42.1%
1930 900,429 13.0%
1940 878,336 −2.5%
1950 914,808 4.2%
1960 876,050 −4.2%
1970 750,903 −14.3%
1980 573,822 −23.6%
1990 505,616 −11.9%
2000 478,403 −5.4%
Est. 2008 433,748 −9.3%

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 41.0% White (35.8% non-Hispanic White alone), 54.2% Black or African American, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.8% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 4.3% from some other race and 2.1% from two or more races. 8.3% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[49] As of the 2000 Census,[5] there were 478,403 people, 190,638 households, and 111,904 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,166.5 people per square mile (2,380.9/km²). There were 215,856 housing units at an average density of 2,782.4 per square mile (1,074.3/km²). Ethnic groups include Slovenes (10%),[50] Germans (9.2%), Irish (8.2% ), Poles (4.8%), Italians (4.6%), and English (2.8%). There are also substantial communities of Hungarians, Arabs, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, Ukrainians, Albanians, Macedonians, Croats, Serbs, Lithuanians, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Han Chinese. The presence of Hungarians within Cleveland proper was so great that the city once boasted the highest concentration of Hungarians in the world outside of Budapest.[51]

Built as the Second Church of Christ, Scientist, this building on Cleveland's East Side now serves a primarily African American congregation.

Cleveland has one of the largest Urban Indian (Native American) communities, about 5,000 Cuyahoga Indians (a subgroup of Miami Indians) are known to live in the west side of Central Cleveland across from the Cuyahoga river for over a century when the tribe moved closer to available jobs.[citation needed]

Out of 190,638 households, 29.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.5% were married couples living together, 24.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.3% were nonfamilies. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.19. The population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.[1] The median income for a household in the city was $25,928, and the median income for a family was $30,286. Males had a median income of $30,610 versus $24,214 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,291. 26.3% of the population and 22.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 37.6% of those under the age of 18 and 16.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.[1]


Cleveland was hit hard in the 1960s and early 1970s by white flight and suburbanization. While the city's total population declined, Cleveland Public Schools' enrollment had increased: 99,686 in 1950, and 134,765 in 1960, and 148,793 in 1963.[52] Cleveland Public Schools financially struggled with a growing student population, and a declining tax base due to regional industrial decline and depopulation of the metropolitan and urban areas in favor of the suburbs.[52][53]

After World War II, middle-class jobs and families migrated to the suburbs leaving behind predominantly low-income student enrollment in the Cleveland Public School system.[52]

On December 12, 1973, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Cleveland Chapter filed suit, Reed vs. Rhodes,[54][55] against the Cleveland Board of Education in Cleveland's United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to racially integrate Cleveland Public Schools,[56] claiming that the public schools were at least partly at fault for Cleveland's housing segregation into ethnic neighborhoods. Between August 31, 1976[55] and 1984, Chief United States District Judge Frank J. Battisti issued over 4,000 court orders including implementation of forced-busing of Cleveland Public Schools,[52] the case was appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which by 23 Aug. 1979 upheld Battisti's earlier orders,[54] and was later upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1970 to 1980, Cleveland experienced a 24% decline in population (from 751 thousand to 574 thousand),[53][57] which was part of a longer-term on-going trend from 1950 to 2000.[53]

Demographia estimates that Cleveland's 1980 population would have been 5% higher (606 thousand) without mandatory busing.[57]

Mandatory busing was one of several factors which sped up the migration from out of Cleveland by those who could afford to.[57] The administrative and operational expense of complying with mandatory busing and other federal court orders caused a dramatic increase in overhead expenditures per student, while declining tax revenues resulted in lower expenditures on actually educating public school students.[52]

In 1996, Martin Hoke, Cleveland's 10th. District United States House Representative was quoted: "Children are now bused from a predominantly black school on the east side of town to a predominantly black school on the west side of town. More than half a billion dollars[58]A[›] has been spent on desegregation activities since 1978-money that could have been used to buy textbooks, upgrade science laboratories or purchase new computers. When kids attend schools miles away from their homes, what working parent is able to attend sporting events, parent-teacher conferences, and home-room parties? Busing has contributed significantly to the decline of our urban centers."[59]

The combination of many factors resulted in declining enrollments.[52] Before mandatory busing, in 1976, minority enrollment in Cleveland Public Schools was 58%, by 1994 it was 71%. By 1996, Cleveland Public Schools total enrollment was half of what it was pre-mandatory busing.[58] In 1991, Ohio had a new proficiency test for 9th. grade students which the majority of Cleveland Public Schools students did not pass.[52] By 1994, almost 50% of the system's students were failing to graduate from high school,[52] and many graduates who did not qualify for entry-level jobs,[52] with many employers increasingly requiring secondary or post-secondary degrees [52] due to more information technology-related jobs and other changes in the overall economy.

In March 1994, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Cleveland Chapter, Reed vs. Rhodes plaintiff, challenged the fairness of the Ohio 9th. grade proficiency test as an Ohio secondary school graduation requirement for African-American students;[60] the subsequent federal court settlement agreement(s) left the 9th grade secondary school graduation requirement intact and unchanged in 1994 and subsequently.[60] Prior to mandatory busing, Cleveland Public Schools graduation rate was 75 percent, by 1996 it had dropped to 26.6 percent.[58] Although mandatory busing ended in the 1990s, Cleveland continued to slide into poverty, reaching a nadir in 2004 when it was named the poorest major city in the United States.[61] Cleveland was again rated the poorest major city in the U.S. in 2006, with a poverty rate of 32.4%.[62]

Changing demographics

Cleveland Demographics
Hispanic non white
2008Estimate[63] 433,748 216,421 53.25% 155,575 38.28% 33,038 8.13% 6,942 1.71% 1,132 0.28% 0 0%
2000 Actual[64] 467,702 243,939 52.16% 198,510 42.44% 34,728 7.43% 6,444 1.38% 1,458 0.31% 178 0.04%
1990 Actual 505,616
46.56% 250,234
49.49% 23,197
4.59% 5020
0.99% 1562
0.31% 95


Downtown Cleveland's skyline


Cleveland's downtown architecture is diverse. Many of the city's government and civic buildings, including City Hall, the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, the Cleveland Public Library, and Public Auditorium, are clustered around an open mall and share a common neoclassical architecture. Built in the early 20th century, they are the result of the 1903 Group Plan, and constitute one of the most complete examples of City Beautiful design in the United States.[67] The Terminal Tower, dedicated in 1930, was the tallest building in North America outside New York City until 1967 and the tallest in the city until 1991.[68] It is a prototypical Beaux-Arts skyscraper. The two newer skyscrapers on Public Square, Key Tower (currently the tallest building in Ohio) and the BP Building, combine elements of Art Deco architecture with postmodern designs. Another of Cleveland's architectural treasures is The Arcade (sometimes called the Old Arcade), a five-story arcade built in 1890 and renovated in 2001 as a Hyatt Regency Hotel.[69] Cleveland's landmark ecclesiastical architecture includes the historic Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland and the onion domed St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Tremont.[70]

Cleveland Downtown from Voinovich Park

Running east from Public Square through University Circle is Euclid Avenue, which was known for its prestige and elegance. In the late 1880s, writer Bayard Taylor described it as "the most beautiful street in the world."[71] Known as "Millionaire's Row", Euclid Avenue was world-renowned as the home of such internationally known names as Rockefeller, Hanna, and Hay.[72] Cleveland is home to four parks in the countywide Cleveland Metroparks system, the "Emerald Necklace" of Olmsted-inspired parks that encircles the region. In the Big Creek valley sits the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which contains one of the largest collection of primates in North America.[73] The other three parks are Brookside Park and parts of the Rocky River and Washington Reservations. Apart from the Metroparks is Cleveland Lakefront State Park, which provides public access to Lake Erie. Among its six parks are Edgewater Park, located between the Shoreway and Lake Erie just west of downtown, and Euclid Beach Park and Gordon Park on the east side. The City of Cleveland's Rockefeller Park, with its many Cultural Gardens[74] honoring the city's ethnic groups, follows Doan Brook across the city's east side.


Downtown Cleveland is centered around Public Square and includes a wide range of diversified districts. Downtown Cleveland is home to the traditional Financial district and Civic Center, as well as the distinct Theatre District, which houses Playhouse Square Center, and mixed-use neighborhoods such as the Flats and the Warehouse District, which are occupied by industrial and office buildings and also by restaurants and bars. The number of downtown housing units in the form of condominiums, lofts, and apartments has increased over the past ten years. This trend looks to continue with the recent revival of the Flats, the Euclid Corridor Project, and the success of East 4th Street.

The west bank of the Flats and the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland

Cleveland residents often define themselves in terms of whether they live on the east side or the west side of the Cuyahoga River.[75] The east side comprises the following neighborhoods: Buckeye-Shaker Square, Central, Collinwood, Corlett, Euclid-Green, Fairfax, Forest Hills, Glenville, Payne/Goodrich-Kirtland Park, Hough, Kinsman, Lee Harvard/Seville-Miles, Mount Pleasant, Nottingham, St. Clair-Superior, Union-Miles Park, University Circle, Little Italy, and Woodland Hills. The west side of the city includes the following neighborhoods: Brooklyn Centre, Clark-Fulton, Detroit-Shoreway, Cudell, Edgewater, Ohio City, Tremont, Old Brooklyn, Stockyards, West Boulevard, and the four neighborhoods colloquially known as West Park: Kamm's Corners, Jefferson, Puritas-Longmead, and Riverside. Three neighborhoods in the Cuyahoga Valley are sometimes referred to as the south side: Industrial Valley/Duck Island, Slavic Village (North and South Broadway), and Tremont.

Satellite photograph of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs

Several inner-city neighborhoods have begun to gentrify in recent years. Areas on both the west side (Ohio City, Tremont, Detroit-Shoreway, and Edgewater) and the east side (Collinwood, Hough, Fairfax, and Little Italy) have been successful in attracting increasing numbers of creative class members, which in turn is spurring new residential development.[76] Furthermore, a live-work zoning overlay for the city's near east side has facilitated the transformation of old industrial buildings into loft spaces for artists.[77]


Cleveland's older inner-ring or "first" suburbs include Bedford, Bedford Heights, Brook Park, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Linndale, Maple Heights, Newburgh Heights, Parma, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, University Heights, and Warrensville Heights. Most are members of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium.[78]


Fine arts

Fountain outside of the Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland is home to Playhouse Square Center, the second largest performing arts center in the United States behind New York's Lincoln Center.[79] Playhouse Square includes the State, Palace, Allen, Hanna, and Ohio theaters within what is known as the Theater District of Downtown Cleveland.[80] Playhouse Square's resident performing arts companies include Opera Cleveland and the Great Lakes Theater Festival.[81] The center also hosts various Broadway musicals, special concerts, speaking engagements, and other events throughout the year. One Playhouse Square, now the headquarters for Cleveland's public broadcasters, was originally used as the broadcast studios of WJW Radio, where disc jockey Alan Freed first popularized the term "rock and roll".[82] Located between Playhouse Square and University Circle are the Cleveland Play House and Karamu House, a well-known African American performing and fine arts center, both founded in the 1920s.[83] Cleveland is also home to the Cleveland Orchestra, widely considered one of the finest orchestras in the world, and often referred to as the finest in the United States.[84] It is one of the "Big Five" major orchestras in the United States. The Orchestra plays in Severance Hall during the winter and at Blossom Music Center during the summer.[85] The city is also home to the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. There are two main art museums in Cleveland. The Cleveland Museum of Art is a major American art museum,[86] with a collection that includes more than 40,000 works of art ranging over 6,000 years, from ancient masterpieces to contemporary pieces. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland showcases established and emerging artists, particularly from the Cleveland area, through hosting and producing temporary exhibitions.[87] The Gordon Square Arts District on Detroit Road, in the Near West Side, features a movie theater called the Capitol Theatre and an off-off-Broadway playhouse, the Cleveland Public Theatre.

Film and television

Cleveland has served as the setting for several major films, including The Fortune Cookie (1967) with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, Major League (1989), Major League II (1994), Antwone Fisher (2002), Welcome To Collinwood (2002) and The Rocker (2008). Cleveland is also the setting for the film American Splendor, the birthplace of writer Harvey Pekar and also the setting for most of his autobiographical comic books, upon which the film was based. The city was also the setting for the popular television sitcom The Drew Carey Show which starred Cleveland native Drew Carey. Also, the widely beloved holiday film A Christmas Story (1983), while set in Indiana, drew many of its external shots from Cleveland.[88] Because of its architecture, its proximity and its ease of access, locations in Cleveland are often used by filmmakers as a stand-in for other places. For example, a complex battle scene that was set in New York City in Spider-Man 3 was filmed in Cleveland in April 2006.[89] The popular action film Air Force One, with Harrison Ford, William H Macy, Glenn Close, Dean Stockwell and Gary Oldman had its opening shots filmed above and inside Severance Hall on University Circle, home of the Cleveland Orchestra.[90] The Video-Game to Film adaptation of Double Dragon was filmed notably in an abandoned warehouse along Cleveland's Lake Erie shoreline, the Cuyahoga River along the Flats, and Cleveland's Terminal Tower-Tower City Mall.[91]


Cleveland was the home of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, who created the comic book character Superman in 1932. Both attended Glenville High School, and their early collaborations resulted in the creation of "The Man of Steel".[92] D. A. Levy wrote : "Cleveland: The Rectal Eye Visions".


Cleveland's many immigrant groups have long played an important role in defining the regional cuisine. Polish and Eastern European foods, such as beer, pierogi, corned beef, and kielbasa are popular in and around the city, as are foods associated with Cleveland's Irish and Italian immigrants. The Polish Boy sandwich is a local favorite at many BBQ and Soul food restaurants. Residents like Hector Boiardi (Chef Boy-ar-dee) and Michael Ruhlman have been noted for their contributions in the culinary world. The West Side Market is home to vendors selling many kinds of ethnic food, as well as fresh produce, and ethnic restaurants can be found in the Little Italy, Slavic Village, and Tremont neighborhoods, among others.

Cleveland has become increasingly relevant to contemporary gourmet and haute cuisine. Chef Michael Symon (Lola, Lolita) has been one of the most vocal promoters of Cleveland area restaurants.

Culinary scene

Beginning in 2007, Cleveland's culinary scene began to receive international attention. In early 2008, the Chicago Tribune called Cleveland America's "hot new dining city".[93] The national food press—Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire and—heaped praise on several Cleveland spots this year for best new restaurant, best steakhouse, best farm-to-table programs and great new neighborhood eateries.[93] On November 11, 2007, Cleveland chef Michael Symon helped brighten the spotlight on Cleveland's culinary scene when he was named "The Next Iron Chef" on the Food Network reality TV show by the same name. Anthony Bourdain highlighted the city's food scene on a 2007 episode of his Travel Channel show "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations".


Five miles (8 km) east of downtown Cleveland is University Circle, a 550-acre (2.2 km2) concentration of cultural, educational, and medical institutions, including the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Cleveland is also home to the I. M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located on the Lake Erie waterfront at North Coast Harbor downtown. Neighboring attractions include Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Steamship Mather Museum, and the USS Cod, a World War II submarine.[94] Cleveland also has an attraction for visitors and fans of A Christmas Story, A Christmas Story House and Museum to see props, costumes, rooms, photos and everything referenced to a yuletide film classic from the mind of Jean Shepherd. Cleveland is home to many festivals throughout the year. Cultural festivals such as the annual Feast of the Assumption in the Little Italy neighborhood, the Hellenic Heritage Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in the Tremont neighborhood, and the Harvest Festival in the Slavic Village neighborhood are popular events. Vendors at the West Side Market in Ohio City offer many different ethnic foods for sale. Cleveland hosts an annual parade on Saint Patrick's Day that brings hundreds of thousands to the streets of downtown.[95]

Oldenburg and van Bruggen's Free Stamp, located in Willard Park to the east of City Hall

Fashion Week Cleveland, the city's annual fashion event, is one of the few internationally recognized fashion industry happenings in North America.[96] The show is considered by many to be the best in the Midwest—perhaps second only to New York for fashion weeks in the US. In addition to the cultural festivals, Cleveland hosted the CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest, which featured national and local acts, including both established artists and up-and-coming acts, but the festival was discontinued in 2007 due to financial and manpower costs to the Rock Hall.[97] The annual Ingenuity Festival and Notacon conference focus on the combination of art and technology. The Cleveland International Film Festival has been held annually since 1977, and it drew a record 66,476 people in March 2009.[98] Cleveland also hosts an annual holiday display lighting and celebration, dubbed Winterfest, which is held downtown at the city's historic hub, Public Square.[99]


Current sports teams

Cleveland's professional sports teams include the Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball), Cleveland Browns (National Football League), Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association), Lake Erie Monsters (American Hockey League), and beginning in 2010, the Cleveland Gladiators (Arena Football 1). The Cleveland Indians last reached the World Series in 1997, losing to the Florida Marlins, and have not won the series since 1948. Between 1995 and 2001, Progressive Field sold out 455 consecutive games and held a Major League Baseball record until it was broken in 2008.[100] The Cleveland Cavaliers are experiencing a renaissance with Cleveland fans due to LeBron James, a native of nearby Akron and the number one overall draft pick of 2003. The Cavaliers won the Eastern Conference in 2007, but were defeated in the NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. The Browns last won an NFL championship in 1964 (three years before the creation of the Super Bowl). Former Browns owner Art Modell tried to relocate the Browns to Baltimore, Maryland after the 1995 season, sparking controversy and bitter feelings toward him and to a lesser extent the city of Baltimore. Modell was eventually allowed to move his players under contract to become the Ravens. A new Browns team was then created as a replacement, making its debut in 1999. The city's recent lack of success in sports has earned it a reputation of being a cursed sports city, which ESPN validated by proclaiming Cleveland as its "most tortured sports city" in 2004.[101]

Past teams

The tradition of professional hockey in Cleveland started with the original Cleveland Barons in 1937.[102] Cleveland fielded an NHL team, also called the Cleveland Barons, from 1976 to 1978, which was later merged into the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars). The city has had other major and minor-league hockey teams in the past including a second AHL team named the Barons from 2001 through 2006, the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League and the Cleveland Crusaders of the WHA. Cleveland was also home to the Cleveland Rockers, one of the original eight teams[103] in the WNBA in 1997. However, in 2003, the team folded after owner Gordon Gund dropped the team from operation. Cleveland also fielded two indoor soccer teams, the original Cleveland Force of the NPSL. This team folded in 1988. They were replaced for the 1989-1990 season by the Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). After readopting the nickname "Force" in 2002, the team ceased operations in 2005 after having won three league championships in the 90s.

Future teams

In 2005, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced that Cleveland was one of several top areas in contention for an expansion team in 2007.[104] Delays in securing a soccer-only stadium have now prevented any such team from beginning play until at least 2012, but the Cleveland area is still a contender for expansion.

Other sports

The Mid-American Conference (MAC), an NCAA Division I athletic conference, moved its headquarters to Cleveland in 2000. In conjunction with the move, the MAC Men's Basketball Tournament was also moved to Quicken Loans Arena established itself on the Cleveland sports scene. The MAC Tournament is the biggest college sporting event that the city hosts on an annual basis. The Tournament consistently ranks among the top 10 conference basketball tournaments in average attendance, thanks in large part to the support of more than 300,000 MAC alumni that live in Northeast Ohio. Other sporting events held in Cleveland include the Cleveland Marathon, and the Ohio Classic college football game.[105] The city hosted the Gravity Games, an extreme sports series, from 2002 to 2004, and the Dew Action Sports Tour Right Guard Open in 2007. Local sporting facilities include Progressive Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena and the Wolstein Center.


Cleveland is served in print by The Plain Dealer, the city's sole remaining daily newspaper. The competing Cleveland Press ceased publication on June 17, 1982, and the Cleveland News ended its run in 1960. Cleveland is also home to Cleveland Scene, an alternative weekly paper, which absorbed its competitor, the Free Times in 2008. Cleveland, combined with nearby Akron and Canton, is ranked for 2008–2009 as the 17th largest television market by Nielsen Media Research.[106] The market is served by 10 stations affiliated with major American networks including: WKYC (channel 3, channel 17 digital NBC), WEWS (channel 5, channel 15 digital ABC), WJW-TV (channel 8 digital Fox), WOIO (channel 19, channel 10 digital CBS), WUAB (channel 43, channel 28 digital MNTV), and WBNX-TV (channel 55, channel 30 digital The CW). Cleveland is also served by WVPX (channel 23 digital ION), Spanish-language channel WQHS-TV (channel 61, channel 34 digital Univision), WDLI-TV (channel 17, channel 39 digital TBN) and WVIZ (channel 25, channel 26 digital) PBS. A national television first was The Morning Exchange on WEWS, which defined the morning show format and served as the inspiration for Good Morning America.[107] Cleveland is also served by 29 AM and FM radio stations directly, and numerous other stations are heard from elsewhere in Northeast Ohio, which serve outlying suburbs and adjoining counties.[108]


Downtown Cleveland as viewed from Edgewater State Park

Cleveland's location on the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie has been key to its growth. The Ohio and Erie Canal coupled with rail links helped establish the city as a major American manufacturing center. Steel and many other manufactured goods emerged as its industries.[109] The city has sought to diversify its economy to become less dependent on its struggling manufacturing sector. Cleveland is the corporate headquarters of many large companies such as Eaton Corporation, Forest City Enterprises, Sherwin-Williams Company and KeyCorp. NASA maintains a facility in Cleveland, the Glenn Research Center. Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in the world, traces its origins to Cleveland, and its Cleveland office remains the firm's largest.[110] However, in recent years, Cleveland has lost other corporate headquarters, including BP, National City Corporation and Oglebay Norton, mostly through acquisitions or mergers.[111] In 2005, Duke Realty Corp., one of the area's largest landlords, announced it was selling all of its property in the Cleveland area because of the stagnation of the market; however, the company continues to maintain a large office building portfolio in the southern suburbs.[112] The commercial real estate market rebounded in 2007 as office properties were purchased at a record pace.[113] From the beginning of July to the end of September, 2007, there was one residential foreclosure for every fifty-seven homes in the metropolitan area,[114] and ten percent of the city's homes are now vacant, due in part to the rise in foreclosure filings.[115] Many of the foreclosed homes are vacant and have been vandalized.[116] Cleveland's largest employer, the Cleveland Clinic,[117] ranks among America's best hospitals as tabulated by U.S. News & World Report.[118] Cleveland's healthcare industry includes University Hospitals of Cleveland, a noted competitor which ranked twenty-fifth in cancer care,[119] and MetroHealth medical center. Cleveland is an emerging area for biotechnology and fuel cell research, led by Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals of Cleveland. Cleveland is among the top recipients of investment for biotech start-ups and research.[120] Case Western Reserve, the Clinic, and University Hospitals have recently announced plans to build a large biotechnology research center and incubator on the site of the former Mt. Sinai Medical Center, creating a research campus to stimulate biotech startup companies that can be spun off from research conducted in the city.[121]

The "tech czar" and other city leaders work at City Hall.

City leaders stepped up efforts to cultivate a technology sector in its economy in the early 2000s. Former Mayor Jane L. Campbell appointed a "tech czar" whose job is to actively recruit tech companies to the downtown office market, offering connections to the high-speed fiber networks that run underneath downtown streets in several "high-tech offices" focused on the Euclid Avenue area. Cleveland State University hired a Technology Transfer Officer to work full time on cultivating technology transfers from CSU research to marketable ideas and companies in the Cleveland area, and appointed a Vice President for Economic Development to leverage the university's assets in expanding the city's economy. Case Western Reserve University participates in technology initiatives such as the OneCommunity project,[122] a high-speed fiber optic network linking the area's major research centers intended to stimulate growth. OneCommunity's work attracted the attention of Intel and in mid-2005, Cleveland was named an Intel "Worldwide Digital Community" along with Corpus Christi, Texas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Taipei, Taiwan. This distinction added about $12 million for marketing to expand regional technology partnerships, create a city-wide WiFi network, and develop a tech economy. In addition to this Intel initiative, in January 2006 a New York-based think tank, the Intelligent Community Forum, selected Cleveland as the sole American city among its seven finalists for the "Intelligent Community of the Year" award. The group announced that it nominated the city for its OneCommunity network with potential broadband applications.[123] The OneCommunity Network is collaborating with Cisco Systems to deploy a cutting-edge wireless network that could provide widespread access to the region. Cisco is testing new technologies in wireless "mesh" networking. OneCommunity and Cisco officially launched the first phase in September 2006, blanketing several square miles of University Circle with wireless connectivity.[124]


Public schools

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is the largest K-12 district in the state, with 127 schools and an enrollment of 55,567 students during the 2006–2007 academic year.[125] It is the only district in Ohio that is under direct control of the mayor, who appoints a school board.[126]

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Cleveland is home to a number of colleges and universities. Most prominent among these is Case Western Reserve University, a world-renowned research and teaching institution located in University Circle. A private university with several prominent graduate programs, Case was ranked 38th in the nation in 2007 by U.S. News & World Report.[127] University Circle also contains Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. Cleveland State University (CSU), based in downtown Cleveland, is the city's public four-year university. In addition to CSU, downtown hosts the metropolitan campus of Cuyahoga Community College, the county's two-year higher education institution, as well as Chancellor University, a private four-year school that focuses on business education.[128] Ohio Technical College is based in Cleveland.[129]


A collection of fixed and movable bridges crosses the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.


Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is the city's major airport and an international airport that serves as one of three main hubs for Continental Airlines. It holds the distinction of having the first airport-to-downtown rapid transit connection in North America, established in 1968. In 1930, the airport was the site of the first airfield lighting system and the first air traffic control tower. Originally known as Cleveland Municipal Airport, it was the first municipally owned airport in the country. Cleveland Hopkins is a significant regional air freight hub hosting FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, United States Postal Service, and major commercial freight carriers. In addition to Hopkins, Cleveland is served by Burke Lakefront Airport, on the north shore of downtown between Lake Erie and the Shoreway. Burke is primarily a commuter and business airport.[130]


1992 aerial view of the Cleveland harbor, with the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in the foreground. View is to the east.

The Port of Cleveland, located at the Cuyahoga River's mouth, is a major bulk freight terminal on Lake Erie receiving much of the raw materials used by the region's manufacturing industries.[131]


RTA train arrives at the Shaker Square station.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Cleveland, via the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited routes, which stop at Cleveland Lakefront Station. Cleveland has also been identified as a hub for the proposed Ohio Hub project, which would bring high-speed rail to Ohio.[132] Cleveland hosts several inter-modal freight railroad terminals.[133][134]

Mass transit

In 2007, the American Public Transportation Association named Cleveland's mass transit system the best in North America.[135] Cleveland currently has a bus and rail mass transit system operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). The rail portion is officially called the RTA Rapid Transit, but is referred to by local residents as The Rapid. It consists of two light rail lines, known as the Green and Blue Lines, and a heavy rail line, the Red Line. In 2008, RTA completed installing a bus rapid transit line, for which naming rights were purchased by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, called the "Health" or Silver Line, which runs along Euclid Avenue from downtown through University Circle, ending at the Stokes-Windermere Transit Station.[136]

Inter-city bus lines

National inter-city scheduled bus service is provided at a Greyhound station, located just behind Playhouse Square theater district. Lakefront Trailways provides regional inter-city bus service to popular destinations from their terminal south of Cleveland in Brookpark, Ohio.[137] Akron Metro, Brunswick Transit Alternative, Laketran, Lorain County Transit, and Medina County Transit provide connecting bus service to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Geauga County Transit and Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) also offer connecting bus service in their neighboring areas.[138]

Major highways

Three two-digit Interstate highways serve Cleveland directly.

  • Interstate 71 begins just southwest of downtown and is the major route from downtown Cleveland to the airport. I-71 runs through the southwestern suburbs and eventually connects Cleveland with Columbus and Cincinnati.
  • Interstate 77 begins in downtown Cleveland and runs almost due south through the southern suburbs. I-77 sees the least traffic of the three interstates, although it does connect Cleveland to Akron.
  • Interstate 90 connects the two sides of Cleveland, and is the northern terminus for both I-71 and I-77. Running due east–west through the west side suburbs, I-90 turns northeast at the junction with and I-490, and is known as the Innerbelt through downtown. At the junction with the Shoreway, I-90 makes a 90-degree turn known in the area as Dead Man's Curve, then continues northeast, entering Lake County near the eastern split with Ohio State Route 2.

Cleveland is also served by two three-digit interstates,

  • Interstate 480, which enters Cleveland briefly at a few points and
  • Interstate 490, which connects I-77 with the junction of I-90 and I-71 just south of downtown.[139]

Two other limited-access highways serve Cleveland.


Based on the Morgan Quitno Press 2008 national crime rankings, Cleveland ranked as the 7th most dangerous city in the nation among US cities with a population of 100,000 to 500,000 and the 11th most dangerous overall.[141] Violent crime from 2005 to 2006 was mostly unchanged nationwide, but increased more than 10% in Cleveland. The murder rate dropped 30% in Cleveland, but was still far above the national average. Property crime from 2005 to 2006 was virtually unchanged across the country and in Cleveland, with larceny-theft down by 7% but burglaries up almost 14%.[142] In 2009, a Cleveland neighborhood located near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and 55th Street ranked the 21st most dangerous neighborhood in the United States.[143]


A study in 1971–72 found that although Cleveland's crime rate was significantly lower than other large urban areas, most Cleveland residents feared crime.[144] In the 1980s, gang activity was on the rise, associated with crack cocaine. A task force was formed and was partially successful at reducing gang activity by a combination of removing gang-related graffiti and educating news sources to not name gangs in news reporting.[145]


The distribution of crime in Cleveland is highly heterogeneous. Relatively few crimes take place in downtown Cleveland's business district, but the perception of crime in the downtown has been pointed to by the Greater Cleveland Growth Association[146] as damaging to the city's economy.[147] Neighborhoods of higher socioeconomic status in Cleveland and its suburbs have lower rates of violent crime than areas of lower status, and even controlling for this factor, areas with higher populations of African Americans have higher violent crime rates.[148] A study of the relationship between employment access and crime in Cleveland found a strong inverse relationship, with the highest crime rates in areas of the city that had the lowest access to jobs. Furthermore, this relationship was found to be strongest with respect to economic crimes.[149] A study of public housing in Cleveland found that criminals tend to live in areas of higher affluence and move into areas of lower affluence to commit crimes.[150]

International relations

Sister cities

Cleveland has twenty sister cities:[151]

See also


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General references

External links


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