110 Interesting Facts About Cleveland

Interesting facts about Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, is famous for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Superman, and its industrial past. Below, you’ll find out what else “The New American City” is known for with these fun and interesting facts about Cleveland. Also, read these fun facts about Ohio, the state where Cleveland is located.

General Cleveland Facts

1. Cleveland is the 2nd largest city in the US state of Ohio after the capital city, Columbus.

2. With 367,991 residents, Cleveland is the 54th largest city in the United States, putting it between New Orleans, Louisiana and Anaheim, California in terms of population.

3. The Greater Cleveland Area, which includes Elyria, has a population of 2,075,662 million, making it the 34th largest metropolitan area in the United States. But Greater Cleveland is still smaller than Greater Columbus and Greater Cincinnati, the two largest metropolitan areas in the state.

4. Around 17.7% of all Ohioans live in the Greater Cleveland Area.

5. Cleveland is also considered part of an even larger metropolitan area, called the Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area, which is the 17th largest of such areas in the country, between Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon.

6. Ohio’s three major cities run from Cleveland in the northeast, facing Lake Erie, to Columbus in the center and Cincinnati in the southwest.

7. Cleveland is the largest American city on Lake Erie (2nd spot goes to Buffalo, New York), but it is only the 3rd largest US city on any of the Great Lakes, after Chicago and Detroit.

A white sign that says Cleveland
1 of 6 Cleveland script signs around the city

8. The city sits at the same latitude as Istanbul, Turkey, and at a lower latitude than parts of northern California.

9. The highest temperature ever recorded in Cleveland was 104°F (40°C) in 1988, while the lowest was −20°F (−28.9°C) in 1994.

10. The Connecticut Land Company founded Cleveland in an area once called the Connecticut Western Reserve. The city was named after an investor in the company who led the survey of the land, General Moses Cleaveland.

11. There’s a common myth that the ‘a’ was dropped from Cleaveland in order to fit on The Cleveland Advertiser’s newspaper heading.

12. The official abbreviation for Cleveland, as well as the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport code, is CLE.

13. Some common nicknames for Cleveland are The CLE, CLE, C-town or C-land.

A bridge and downtown scene in Cleveland Ohio
Bridge leading to downtown Cleveland

14. Slogans for Cleveland have included “Cleveland: America’s North Coast”, “The New American City”, and “Prodigy of the Western Reserve”.

15. “Cleveland Rocks” is a famous song about Cleveland, released by Ian Hunter in 1979. Radio stations in the city used to play it every day at 5 PM. A cover of the song by the Presidents of the United States of America was the theme song for The Drew Carey Show, which is set in the city.

16. The official city motto of Cleveland is “Progress and Prosperity”.

17. People from Cleveland are called Clevelanders.

18. The Cleveland flag has three vertical stripes of red, white and blue. The American shield is featured in the center of the white stripe, with the word “Cleveland” in its center in blue and the year “1796”, when Cleveland first arrived and founded the city, surrounded by a laurel wreath.

A red, white and blue flag of Cleveland city
The city flag of Cleveland

19. Cleveland has 22 sister cities, including Bratislava (Slovakia), Alexandria (Egypt), Lima (Peru), and Taipei (Taiwan).  

20. Cleveland, Ohio is also sister cities with Cleveland, United Kingdom, but neither one was named after the other.

Interesting Facts about Cleveland Places

21. The Cuyahoga River, which bisects the city, used to be so polluted that it has caught on fire 14 times. One such fire in 1969 was a factor leading to the start of the American Environmental Movement.

22. The world-famous the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, or “Rock Hall”, is in Cleveland, on the shore of Lake Erie. The landmark building has a base of 150,000 ft2 (14,000 m2) and was designed by I.M. Pei, who also did the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, and Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.

The exterior of the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with the sun shining above it
Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

23. The tallest building in Cleveland is Key Tower, which has 57 floors and stands 947 ft (289 m) tall.

24. Other iconic buildings in Cleveland include the Terminal Tower, West Side Market, The Arcade, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and Tiedemann House (Franklin Castle).

25. One of the oldest buildings in Cleveland is the Romanesque-style Old Stone Church, which was built in 1855. The church is the oldest building in the city’s Public Square.

26. Some of the trendiest neighborhoods in Cleveland include Ohio City (which is a neighborhood, not to be confused with an actual village in the state called Ohio City), Downtown, Tremont, and University Circle.

27. The National Register of Historic Places lists 268 Cleveland places.

28. The list includes 3 National Historic Landmarks: The USS COD submarine, Cleveland Arcade (1890 – considered the world’s first indoor mall), and Zero Gravity Research Facility. It used to also include a Rocket Engine Test Facility that was demolished in 2003.

Inside of a long narrow Arcade in Cleveland with class windows at top
The Arcade, considered the country’s first mall

29. The Cleveland Orchestra was one of the original “Big Five”, along with those in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. They play out of the Cleveland Orchestra Building, also known as Severance Hall or Severance Music Center.

30. Playhouse Square is the largest performing arts center the country after Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

31. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the wealthiest and most visited in the country, and admission is totally free to all.

32. The famous early human skeleton “Lucy” was discovered in Ethiopia by Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She was reconstructed in the museum, then returned to Ethiopia 9 years later.

33. The Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park contain 33 themed gardens, each of which represent the different ethnic groups that have contributed to the development of the city, including Columbian, Russian, Chinese, and more.

A large decoration hanging above the street at night at Playhouse Square
Playhouse Square

34. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of the 10 oldest zoos in the US, founded in 1882. It is known for having one of the largest collections of primates in North America.

35. Cleveland Metroparks is one of the largest city park systems in the country.

36. John D. Rockefeller and James Abram Garfield (the 20th president of the USA) are buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

37. The South Park Mall in Strongsville, a suburb of Cleveland, is the largest mall in the state of Ohio, with over 1 million square feet. It has no relation to the show South Park.

Cleveland: Economy and Society

38. Greater Cleveland has the 31st largest economy in the United States, between Greater Orlando (Florida) and Greater San Antonio (Texas).

39. Cleveland is home to 3 Fortune 500 companies: Sherwin-Williams, Parker-Hannifin, and KeyCorp.

Some buildings at Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University

40. There are about 15 colleges and universities in Cleveland, with the largest being Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.

41. Cleveland has one of the top-10 highest rates of violent crime in the country, but is still surpassed by cities like St. Louis (Missouri), Detroit (Michigan), and Baltimore (Maryland).

42. A 2021 study found Cleveland to be the most stressed out city in the country.

43. Cleveland has 3 billionaires with a combined net worth of 3.3 billion USD. They are the widow and two kids of Al Lerner, CEO of MBNA bank and owner of the Cleveland Browns.

44. 32% of people in Cleveland live below the poverty line.

45. 66.36% of the residents of Cuyahoga country (where Cleveland is located) voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, although Trump won Ohio.

Market stalls inside a round roof building called West Side Market in Cleveland
West Side Market

46. Cleveland has one daily major newspaper: The Plain Dealer.

47. In addition, Cleveland has 5 weekly and 5 monthly newspapers: Call and Post, Cleveland Scene and Sun Newspapers (weekly) and Alternative Press, EHS Today and IndustryWeek (monthly).

48. Superman, golf balls, the speed nut, the electric traffic light, Life Savers (the candy), indoor shopping malls, gas masks, and thet gas-powered automobile were all invented in Cleveland.

49. Movies filmed in Cleveland include The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Draft Day, Cleveland Abduction, and Major League.

50. TV shows filmed in Cleveland include Hot in Cleveland, The Drew Carey Show, and Hope & Faith.

Cleveland Sports Facts

51. Lake Erie is thought to have a swimming creature called Bessie, similar to the Loch Ness Monster. It has inspired the name “Cleveland Monsters“, the city’s AHL (American Hockey League) team.

52. Cleveland has 3 major league professional sports teams: Cleveland Browns (NFL), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), and Cleveland Guardians (MLB).

53. The Cleveland Browns were named after their original coach and co-founder, Paul Brown (no, it’s not one of those racist sports team names…)

54. The Browns play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, on Lake Erie and on the site of the original Cleveland Stadium.

Empty chairs and field of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland
FirstEnergy Stadium panorama” by jonridinger is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

55. From 1965 to 1995, the Browns qualified a total of 14 times for the NFL playoffs, but have never won or even been in the Superbowl.

56. LeBron James rose to fame while playing for his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. With them, he has won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and has the most total points. He is considered one of the best basketball players of all time.

57. From 2010 to 2014, he moved to Miami Heat and helped them win the NBA championship twice.

58. After moving back to Cleveland, he finally led the Cavaliers to victory for their first and only time ever in 2016.

59. The Cleveland Guardians were called the Cleveland Indians until 2021, one of many sports teams to change their racist names around the time.

60. The Cleveland Guardians hold the longest championship drought in MLB, not having won the World Series since 1948 (their only other one before that was in 1920.

61. In 2017, the Guardians set an American League record of winning 22 games in a row. It is the second longest record in MLB history, after the New York Giants won 26 games in a row in 1916.

The logos of the three professional sports teams from Cleveland
Cleveland’s 3 pro sports teams

62. Other famous athletes born or who played in Cleveland include Bernie Kosar and Ozzie Newsome (football), Omar Vizquel (baseball), and Mark Price (basketball).

63. The running career of Jesse Owens first took off when he was growing up in Cleveland. By coincidence, his full name is James Cleveland Owens. In 1935, he set 3 world records and tied a 4th in less than an hour, called the “greatest 45 minutes ever in sport”.

64. Dozens of other Clevelanders have competed and won medals in the Olympics.

Other Famous Cleveland People

65. Some famous entrepreneurs who made their fortune in Cleveland in the 1800s included John D. Rockefeller, Amasa Stone, Mark Hanna, and Samuel Mather.

66. Actors Paul Newman, Drew Carey, and Alan Ruck and were born in Cleveland, while Tom Hanks rose to fame while living in the city.

67. Actresses Vanessa Bayer, Nina Blackwood, Yvette Nicole Brown, Kathryn Hahn, and Molly Shannon were born in Cleveland.

68. Other famous Clevelanders include TV show hosts Phil Donahue and Arsenio Hall and model Halle Berry.

69. The 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield, was from Cleveland.

A mosaic of famous people from Cleveland
Famous Clevelanders James A. Garfield, Drew Carey, Arsenio Hall, Halle Barry, Tracy Chapman, and NIN

70. Famous bands formed in Cleveland include Nine Inch Nails, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Filter, and the Raspberries.

71. Other famous musicians born in Cleveland are Tracy Chapman, M.C. Brains, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Kid Cudi.

72. Bill Watterson, writer of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip, lives in Greater Cleveland today.

73. Chef Ettore Boiardi, creator of Chef Boyardee, got the idea of canning his pastas while running an Italian restaurant in Cleveland.

Cleveland History Facts

74. The oldest human traces in the Cleveland area go back to 12,500 years ago.

75. The original inhabitants of the area were the Erie, who were wiped out by the Iroquois in 1656. The Lenape people from Delaware later moved into the area.

76. In 1786, Moravian missionaries founded the first European settlement on the Cuyahoga River.

Natural scene on the Cuyahoga River
The Cuyahoga River

77. A series of treaties followed in which the native inhabitants lost all of their land.

78. In 1796, General Moses Cleaveland arrived and surveyed the area that would come to be known as Cleveland.

79. In 1822, the first bridge was built across the Cuyahoga River.

80. By 1830, there were over 1000 people living there.

81. In 1832, the Ohio and Erie Canal was constructed, allowing ships to sail inland, and leading to rapid growth in Cleveland.

82. In 1836, Cleveland was incorporated as a city.

Piles of cement in front of a factory in Cleveland
Industry in Cleveland

83. The city’s first telegraph line was set up in 1847, going from Cleveland to Pittsburgh in neighboring Pennsylvania.

84. In 1851, the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad was completed.

85. During the Civil War (1861-65), Cleveland grew into an industrial giant, producing gun powder, gun cannisters, railway tracks, and more. After the war, it branched out into oil, shipping, iron mining, and more.

86. Euclid Avenue became known as “Millionaires Row”. It is where John D. Rockefeller and over a dozen other millionaire entrepreneurs and industrialists built their mansions.

87. The Cleveland Police Department was established in 1866.

88. In the early 1870s, the city’s population surpassed 100,000.

Buildings along Euclid Avenue in Cleveland
Euclid Avenue was once called “Millionaires Row”

89. In 1879, Cleveland became the first city to be lit electrically.

90. James A. Garfield of Cleveland was elected as the 20th President of the US in 1880. A year later, he was assassinated in a train station Washington D.C.

91. In 1884, the first electric streetcar began running in the city.

92. The Cleveland News began its publication in 1905.

93. The Cleveland Railway Company operated from 1910 to 1942.

94. The Cleveland Museum of Art opened in 1916, followed by Cleveland Orchestra in 1918 and Playhouse Square in 1921.

Close up of a statue of soldiers in Cleveland
The Cleveland Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was dedicated in 1894

95. The world’s first electric traffic lights were installed in Cleveland in 1912.

96. The Great Lakes Storm, or “The Big Blow”, brought 6 ft (1.8 m) of snow to the city. It was the deadliest and costliest blizzard in Great Lakes history.

97. From 1919 to 1933, alcohol was banned in Cleveland. Bootlegging gangsters such as the Lonardo and Porrello brothers thrived in the city, with much of the product being brought across Lake Erie from Canada.

98. In 1925, Cleveland Airport (now known as Cleveland Hopkins International Airport) opened.

99. In 1932, the Hope Memorial Bridge is completed, with towering guardian statues holding 1930s-era automobiles on it.

100. In 1933, half of the city’s workers were laid off during the Great Depression.

101. Also in 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster came up with the idea for Superman while at High School in Cleveland.

Stone towers with faces on Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland
Hope Memorial Bridge

102. Industry in Cleveland boomed again during WWII.

103. Cleveland reached its peak population of 914,000 in 1950, around three times more people than it has today.

104. In 1952, Cleveland hosted what is considered the world’s first major rock concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball.

105. The city’s last streetcars were replaced in 1954.

106. From the 1960s on, deindustrialization and suburbanization led to rapid decline in the city.

107. After a long search for the most suitable city, Cleveland was chosen as the site for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, with the building finally opening its doors in 1995.

Aerial view of suburbs of Cleveland with downtown in background
Outside of downtown Cleveland

108. In 2002, Cleveland citizens elected Jane L. Campbell as their first female mayor.

109. In 2014, Cleveland hosted the Gay Games, the LGBT version of the Olympics, which was first started in San Francisco. Over 8000 athletes competed in the event.

110. In 2021, the Cleveland Indians succumbed to pressure and changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians.

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