Cleveland, cities, United States

Cleveland. 1 City (2020 pop. 372,674), seat of Cuyahoga co., NE Ohio, on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River; laid out (1796) by Moses Cleaveland, chartered as a city 1836. Ohio's second largest city and the center of the state's largest metropolitan area, it is an ore port and a Great Lakes shipping point. In spite of a dramatic decline in manufacturing, Cleveland remains to some extent dependent on heavy industry, including steel milling and the manufacture of engines, guided missiles, and space vehicles. There are numerous research firms; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has a large center here, and the headquarters of the lighting division and the Lighting and Electrical Institute of the General Electric Company is in nearby Nela Park. Cleveland also houses some of the nation's largest law firms. The biomedical industry is the fastest growing segment of Cleveland's economy, in large part because of the presence of the Cleveland Clinic, a world-famous research and treatment facility and the city's largest employer.

Cleveland is the seat of Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland State Univ., John Carroll Univ., Notre Dame College, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and several other colleges and seminaries. Visitors are drawn to the Mall (civic center); the Terminal Tower and Public Square; the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame; the Western Reserve Historical Society Museum; the museum of natural history, with a planetarium; Wade Park, with the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Garden; Rockefeller Park, enclosing the Shakespeare and Cultural Gardens; Severance Hall, where concerts of the internationally famous Cleveland Orchestra are performed; the Cleveland zoo; and an aquarium. The city also has a notable public library. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is a nationally known newspaper. In Lake View Cemetery are the graves of James A. Garfield, Mark Hanna (who made his fortune in Cleveland), John Hay, and John D. Rockefeller.

Cleveland grew rapidly after the opening of the first section of the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1827 and the arrival of the railroad in 1851. With its factories it attracted large numbers of 19th-century immigrants, including Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and many others. Its location midway between the coal and oil fields of Pennsylvania and (via the Great Lakes) the Minnesota iron mines spurred industrialization; it was here that John D. Rockefeller began his oil dynasty. Cleveland's African-American community was formed largely by migration from the South after World War I.

The city was plagued during the 1960s by racial disorders, especially in the Hough and Glenville sections. In 1967, Cleveland became the first major U.S. city to elect a black mayor, Carl B. Stokes. As industry rapidly declined from the 1960s, the city went through a period of Rust Belt decay; numerous factories shut down and people and businesses moved to the suburbs. Cleveland's population has declined from its highest point in 1950 (914,808) to 2020 (372, 674), or 59.3%. In 1979, the city declared bankruptcy after defaulting on $15.5 million in municipal loans. In the 1980s, however, Cleveland attracted investment downtown and revitalized some sections, and the 1990s saw the opening of Jacobs Field (for baseball's Indians), Gund Arena (for basketball's Cavaliers), Browns Stadium (for football's Browns), the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame as well as the restoration of three historic downtown shopping arcades. However, its poverty rate (30.8%, 2020) is the highest of any major U.S. city.

See E. J. Benton, Cultural Story of an American City: Cleveland (3 vol., 1943–46); G. E. Condon, Yesterday's Cleveland (1976); F. Thompson, The Workers Who Built Cleveland (1987).

2 City (2020 pop. 47,356), seat of Bradley co., SE Tenn.; inc. 1838. Agriculture (fruits, vegetables, wheat) is the economic mainstay, but a variety of products, including furniture, chemicals, and textiles, are manufactured. Lee College is there. Cleveland is headquarters of the Cherokee National Forest.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography