Welcome to the city that rocks! Full of history, adventure, and of course, music! Have you ever been to Cleveland, OH for vacation, business, or simply a pass-through? If you answered yes to any of these scenarios, then you know just how fun and interesting Cleveland can be. So how did this lakeside settlement become the Midwestern city we know and love today? Here are a few interesting facts about the city that you probably didn’t know. Feel free to share them with your friends, and test their knowledge of The Land.
Cleveland was named after General Moses Cleaveland.
General Moses was a lawyer, politician, and soldier originally from Connecticut. Moses was a part of The Connecticut Land Company, which purchased roughly three million acres of the Western Reserve. This Land company sent out one of their major investors, General Moses, to Ohio. On July 22, 1796 Moses and his surveying party of 52 people laid out ground for a town along the Cuyahoga River and named this town Cleaveland. The original map included a spelling error which is how Cleveland became the city we know and love today!
Euclid Avenue used to be called Millionaires’ Row.
Euclid Ave. use to be home to some of the most luxurious and elaborate mansions in the nation, including John D. Rockefeller’s house. This street was filled with some of the most over-the-top mansions and came to be dubbed the “Showplace of America.” The extravagant landscaping accompanied each mansion and was as beautiful as the homes themselves. Not only did these millionaires invest in their mansions, but also constructed churches, museums, universities, and so many other great causes. With Cleveland once being the 6th largest city in the country, taxes and land costs increased dramatically, causing the defeat of Millionaires’ Row.
Eliot Ness was a Public Safety Director in Cleveland.
Eliot Ness was born in Chicago, IL and known for his law enforcement efforts to enforce Prohibition as head of ‘The Untouchables’ to battle the activities of gangster Al Capone. After the Al Capone fiasco had been resolved, Ness moved and was responsible for cleaning up Cleveland in the 30s. One of his greatest achievements in the area was traffic control. During this time, Cleveland was known for being the second worst city in for traffic related deaths, with an average of 250 per year. Ness established a court system specifically for handling traffic violations, as well as a process of examining drunk drivers. After just a few years, the average of traffic related deaths dropped to 115 per year. Due to Ness’s efforts, Cleveland was dubbed the “safest city in the US.”
The Cleveland Orchestra ranks as one of the top 10 in the world.
Founded in 1918, by Adella Prentiss Hughes, the Cleveland Orchestra is referred to as one of the “Big Five.” Severance Hall is what the Orchestra calls their home, built specifically for them in 1931. This is where you can catch one of their performances or even a rehearsal. But, during the summer, the orchestra is known for putting on their annual concerts; Blossom Festival at the Blossom Music Center. Plan your visit to see the Cleveland Orchestra today and witness some amazing music!
Potato chips were first mass-produced in Cleveland.
Potato chips were first discovered in 1853, when an unsatisfied customer at Moon’s Lake House located in New York sent back his thick-cut French fries because he believed they were not cooked correctly. The very angry and upset Chef, George Crum, was going to show this customer a lesson by cutting his potato paper-thin, dropping them in a fryer, and then over salting them. Little did Chef George know that these thin sliced potatoes would be such a hit! After this discovery, potato chips were served solely in restaurants. Then, in 1885, William Tappendon started selling these chips to the local grocers in Cleveland. Once Tappendon started doing this, sales went through the roof! With so many orders to fill, he turned is barn into a production center and formed the first potato chip factory.
Cleveland disk jockey, Alan Freed, coined the term rock and roll.
A true Cleveland legend, DJ Alan Freed is one of many responsible for putting on the Moondog Coronation Ball, which is considered the first rock and roll concert! Growing up, Freed was always interested in music and production, and he even studied broadcasting while living in Ohio. Freed enjoyed all music and often frequented Cleveland’s largest record stores. While browsing one day, the owner of the store approached him and asked him to program the music on a late-night show called “Moondog Rock ‘n’ Roll Party.” This is where Freed got his reputation as the first white DJ on the North Coast to play these specific records. After time spent on the late-night show, Freed started calling his music rock and roll based on the way DJs “roll” their music!
The Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz was born in Cleveland. “There’s no place like home.”
In the classic film, The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is one of the most important characters in the story line and is played by Margaret Brainard Hamilton (1902-1985). Born and raised in Cleveland, Oh, Hamilton was the youngest of four children and attended a school located on East 93rd Street back in 1945. In her early days, Hamilton worked as a school teacher, as well as a children’s theater director. As her interest in theater grew, Hamilton made a career as a film actress in various productions before landing her most famous role in 1939 as one of history’s greatest villains.
The Cuyahoga River has caught fire 13 times.
Located in the Northeast part of Ohio, the Cuyahoga River feeds into Lake Erie and is known for being one of the most polluted rivers in history, helping to encourage the environmental movement in the United States. Since the river was so polluted, this sparked 13 spontaneous fires, dating back to 1868. The most forceful fire was recorded in 1952 causing over $1.3 million in destruction. The most tragic fire was recorded in 1912, causing five deaths and destruction along this Ohio river. The most covered incident of these river fires was recorded in 1969, with the cause being a lack of sewer and waste management system. After this fire was under control, Congress was ready to resolve not only Cleveland’s pollution problem but the pollution problem throughout the U.S, passing the National Environment Protection Act (NEPA) in 1970.
A home in Cleveland was the setting for the movie “A Christmas Story.”
The classic Christmas time movie, A Christmas Story, is well-known by most people and can easily be recited with the drop of a hat. Cleveland offers A Christmas Story experience, because the family’s famous house is located right in town! Open year around, you can walk through the house and experience the movie in real life. Located across the street is the official A Christmas Story House Museum. Here you will find the classic props such as the famous leg lamp, different costumes used throughout the movie, and much more. Visit this house at any time of the year because, in Cleveland, it’s always Christmas time with the Parker family.
West Side Market is the oldest publicly owned market in Cleveland.
West Side Market started its career in 1840, opening first as an open-air marketplace (aka, a farmer’s market). The West Side Market, a significant landmark in Cleveland, is recognized by the yellow brick interior architecture and the 137-foot-tall clock tower. To this day, the marketplace now holds 100 plus vendors, providing meats vegetables, seafood, baked goods, cheese products, and so much more. Tourist and locals alike travel from all over just to experience one of the world’s greatest market destinations!
Now that you know some of the most interesting facts about Cleveland, you are ready to take on this amazing city. As you can see, it has something to offer everyone and will always keep you on your toes! Make sure you check out Hard Rock Rocksino while staying in the city that rocks to complete your visit in Cleveland, OH.