Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately 60 miles (97 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. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As of the 2000 Census, the city proper had a total population of 478,403, and was the 33rd largest city in the United States, (now estimated as the 43rd largest due to declines in population) and the second largest city in Ohio. The city's population has been shrinking since it peaked at 914,808 in 1950.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.
Suburbanization changed 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, and the city was ranked as the best city for business meetings in the continental U.S. 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.
Residents of Cleveland are called Clevelanders. Nicknames for the city include "The Forest City", "Metropolis of the Western Reserve", "Sixth City", and 'The Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World'. Due to Lake Erie's northern border with the city, the Cleveland area is also referred to by residents and local businesses as "The North Coast".
Main article: History of Cleveland
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. 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. Cleveland incorporated as a city in 1836.
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. Ohio City remained an independent municipality until it was annexed by
Cleveland in 1854.
1870s-1960's: Industrial Prominence
The city's situation on the lakefront helped it flourish as a center for heavy industry. As a halfway point for iron ore from Minnesota being shipped across the Great Lakes, as well as coal and being carried by rail from the south, Cleveland. Standard Oil was founded in Cleveland in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller, although the headquarters moved to New York City in 1885. Cleveland emerged in the early 20th Century as a leading American manufacturing center, home to numerous major steel producers, and automobile manufacturers, including those producing the increasingly popular gasoline-powered cars, such as those made by Peerless, People's, Jordan, and Winton, the first car driven across the U.S. Other auto manufacturers located in Cleveland produced steam-powered cars , which included White and Gaeth, as well as the electric car company Baker. By 1920, the city's economic prosperity had been catalytic in Cleveland's becoming the nation's fifth largest city. The city also served as a center for the national progressive movement, headed locally by populist Mayor Tom L. Johnson. Many prominent Clevelanders from this era are buried in the historic Lake View Cemetery, including with James A. Garfield, the twentieth U.S. President.
|The Cuyahoga River winds through the Flats in a December|
1937 aerial view ofdowntown 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.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. 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". The city's population reached its peak of 914,808, and in 1949 Cleveland was named an All-America City for the first time. 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 suburban sprawl.
1960's-1980's: Social and Economic Decline
Like other major American cities during the era of the Civil Rights Movement, Cleveland witnessed racial unrest, culminating in the Hough Riots from July 18, 1966 – July 23, 1966 and the Glenville Shootout from July 23, 1968 – July 25, 1968. The city's historical low point is widely considered to be its defaulting on federal loans when, under Mayor Dennis Kucinich, on December 15, 1978 Cleveland became the first major American city to enter default since the Great Depression. This, along with the notorious 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River (caused by the ignition of industrial waste on the river's surface), and the city's struggling professional sports teams, drew much negative national press. By the beginning of the 1980s, several factors, including changes in international free trade policies, inflation and the Savings and Loans Crisis contributed to the recession that hit heavy-manufacturing cities like Cleveland particularly hard. While unemployment during the period peaked in 1983, Cleveland's rate of 13.8% was higher than the national average due to the closure of several steel and auto production centers, which included the GM Fisher Body plant in Collinwood, US Steel and Republic Steel. Cleveland emerged from the recession with the dubious distinction of being a prime example of the Rust Belt city.
1990's: The Comeback City
|Cleveland's current skyline as seen from the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge|
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," 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. In 1999, Cleveland was identified as an emerging global city.
|Panorama of Public Square in 1912|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 82.4 square miles (213.4 km2), of which, 77.6 square miles (201.0 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.4 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 5 miles (8 km) inland from the lake, is at an elevation of 791 feet (241 m).
Cleveland possesses a humid continental climate (Köppen 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 on the city's East Side) from mid-November until the surface of Lake Erie freezes, usually in late January or early February. All of these contribute to Cleveland being the second snowiest major city in North America (behind Denver). The lake effect also causes a relative differential in geographical snowfall totals across the city: while Hopkins Airport, on the city's far West Side, has only reached 100 inches (254 cm) of snowfall in a season three times since 1968,seasonal totals approaching or exceeding 100 inches (254 cm) are not uncommon as the city ascends into the Heights on the east, where the region known as the 'Snow Belt' begins. Extending from the city's East Side and its suburbs, the Snow Belt up the Lake Erie shore as far as Buffalo.
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. 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 (983 mm). 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.
Occasionally, Severe Thunderstorms strike Cleveland bringing with them the threat of large Hail, damaging winds and Tornadoes. The threat is greatest during Spring and early summer.