Cleveland: A City of Firsts and Surprises

Cleveland is a city in northeastern Ohio, located on the southern shore of Lake Erie. It is the second-largest city in the state, and the 53rd-largest in the United States. Cleveland is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant attractions. But how much do you really know about this city? Here are some interesting facts that will surprise and delight you.

Cleveland is where rock and roll got its name

Rock music was not invented in Cleveland, but the term was. Alan Freed was a local disc jockey who coined this term in the 1950s on his show, the Moondog Rock and Roll Radio Hour. He also organized the first rock concert in history, the Moondog Coronation Ball, at the Cleveland Arena in 1952. Because of its rock history, Cleveland was chosen as the home for the renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in 1995. The museum showcases the history and impact of rock music, and honors the artists, producers, and influencers who shaped the genre.

Cleveland was once one of the largest cities in the United States

Cleveland experienced a rapid growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thanks to its strategic location on the Great Lakes and its booming industries, such as oil, steel, and transportation. In 1920, Cleveland reached its peak population of 796,841, making it the fifth-largest city in the nation. It also became a magnet for the wealthy, who built lavish mansions along Euclid Avenue, nicknamed Millionaire’s Row. Some of the most famous residents of Cleveland during this era were John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, and Mark Hanna, the political kingmaker who helped elect William McKinley as president.

Cleveland borders the most biologically productive Great Lake

Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, is also the most biologically productive. It supports a diverse ecosystem of fish, birds, plants, and other wildlife. Lake Erie provides drinking water for 11 million people, and is a major source of recreation and tourism for the region. Cleveland has a 17-mile shoreline along the lake, which offers scenic views, sandy beaches, and waterfront parks. One of the most popular attractions is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which features the Rain Forest, a two-acre indoor habitat that replicates a tropical rainforest with more than 600 animals and 10,000 plants.

Cleveland is the birthplace of many famous figures and inventions

Cleveland has produced many notable people and innovations that have influenced the world. Here are some examples:

  • Superman, the iconic superhero, was created by two Clevelanders, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, in 1933. They based the character’s appearance on actor Clark Gable, and his hometown, Metropolis, on Cleveland.
  • Chef Boyardee, the brand of canned pasta products, was founded by Ettore Boiardi, an Italian immigrant who opened a restaurant in Cleveland in 1924. He started selling his spaghetti sauce in jars, and later expanded to other varieties, such as ravioli and lasagna.
  • Lifesavers, the ring-shaped hard candies, were invented by Clarence Crane, a Cleveland candy maker, in 1912. He wanted to make a summer candy that would not melt like chocolate. He named them Lifesavers because they looked like miniature life preservers.
  • Golf balls, as we know them today, were developed by Coburn Haskell, a Cleveland golfer, in 1898. He created a ball with a rubber core and a dimpled cover, which improved the distance and accuracy of the shots.

Cleveland has some weird laws and traditions

Like any city, Cleveland has its own quirks and customs. Some of them are amusing, some are bizarre, and some are downright illegal. Here are some examples:

  • In Cleveland, it is illegal for women to wear patent leather shoes, because men could see up their skirts in the shiny reflection. This law is not enforced, but it still exists on the books.
  • In Cleveland, you need a hunting license to kill mice, according to an old ordinance that was meant to protect wildlife. Again, this law is not followed, but it is still amusing to think about.
  • In Cleveland, there is a tradition of setting a large wooden barrel on fire and rolling it down a hill on the night before Halloween. This is called Devil’s Night, and it originated as a prank by teenagers in the 1930s. It is now a festive event that attracts thousands of spectators.


Cleveland is a city that has a lot to offer, from its history and culture, to its nature and attractions. It is a city that has been a pioneer and a leader in many fields, and a city that has a unique and colorful personality. Whether you are a visitor or a resident, you will always find something new and exciting to discover in Cleveland.

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