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Cleveland is a port city and the second largest city in the state of Ohio in
the United States. The city has 383,793 residents (U.S. Census, 2018) and
Greater Cleveland (Cleveland-Elyria) forms a larger metropolitan area with
approximately 2.06 million residents.
The city is located in northeastern Ohio, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River
on the southern shore of Lake Erie, south of the Canada border and about 100
miles west of the state of Pennsylvania. Most of the city lies on a plain on
Lake Erie and is divided by The Flats, a few hundred meters wide
valley. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is located 18 miles southwest of
The name is after the city's founder Moses Cleaveland (1754-1806).
After World War II, the population has declined sharply in the city itself,
and since 1970 there has also been a decline in the entire city region. The city
currently has 383,793 residents, compared to 506,600 in 1990. 50.4 percent of
residents are of African-American origin, 39.8 percent are white, 11.2 percent
are of Hispanic or Latin American origin, and 2.1 percent are of Asian origin.
Economics and culture
The Ohio and Erie Canal and several rail links helped make Cleveland a hub of
transportation and an important industrial and business center. The city was
previously a much more significant center for steel industry and export. The
decline has been partially offset by a rise for service industries, including
research and development of high-tech infrastructure (fuel cells, biotechnology)
and telecommunications. The city and state's largest employer is the Cleveland
Clinic with about 50,000 employees. The major health sector also includes
University Hospitals of Cleveland and MetroHealth Medical Center. Cleveland is
an important center for technical and medical research. There are more than 400
research institutes in the Cleveland region.
Cleveland has three universities and a technical college. Case Western
Reserve University is the premier university in the University Circle research
and teaching area about 8 kilometers east of downtown.
The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the world's leading symphony
orchestras. Other well-known orchestras include the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and
the Cleveland Youth Orchestra. Jazz and polka have long traditions in the city.
The 1915 Karamu House is America's oldest African-American theater. Several
other theaters are located in Playhouse Square.
Many museums are located close to each other in the University Circle area
eight miles east of downtown. The city has two major art museums, the Cleveland
Museum of Art (opened 1916) and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Other well-known
museums include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, the world's largest of
its kind, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, founded in 1920, and the
Cleveland Aquarium, opened in 1954. The Great Lakes Science Center was founded
in 1966. In Cleveland there are a number of parks, including the Cleveland Zoo
and a large botanical garden.
The 235-foot-tall Terminal Tower from 1930 was North America's tallest
building outside New York City until 1964 and the largest in Cleveland until
1992. Then, the Key Tower, which at 289 feet, is the city's tallest building.
Historic churches include Old Stone Church and St. Theodosius Russian
Among the annual festivals are the Cleveland International Film Festival
since 1977, Fashion Week Cleveland's first week in May since 2002, the Cleveland
National Air Show since 1964, and One World Day for all ethnic communities in
the city since 1946.
Before the English came to the area, French and Indigenous people had trading
posts in the lower part of the Cuyahoga Valley. In 1796, when the Ohio area
opened for permanent settlement, Connecticut reserved large areas (Western
Reserve) in northeastern Ohio. Moses Cleaveland of the Connecticut Land Company
bought the land from the indigenous people and came with surveyors to speed up
the sale of plots.
1796 is considered Cleveland's founding year. Then a city plan was made for
Cleaveland, which changed its name to Cleveland in 1831. The city's growth was
slow until the Ohio-Erie Canal was completed in 1832. Through the canal and the
Hudson River, the city gained waterway connection with the Atlantic Ocean. In
1836, Cleveland gained city status. About a decade later, railroads increased
the city's commercial and industrial activity. When the St. Mary's Faults Canal
(Soo Canal), a canal linking Lake Superior and Huron, opened in 1855, Cleveland
became the shipping port for timber, copper, iron
ore. Coal and agricultural products were transported by rail.
Cleveland had a strong growth in the post- Civil War era. The city's central
location as a transport hub between the East Coast and the Midwest increased in
importance. In 1870, John Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in
Cleveland, which became a leading oil center. In the early 1900s, suburban
trains and cars were produced in the city. All the main streets ended at Public
Square. The city's economic growth was driven, among other things, by large
immigration from Ireland, southern and eastern Europe as well as by many
African-Americans. In 1920, Cleveland reached a population peak with 796,841
residents and was then the United States' fifth largest city. 30 per cent of the
residents were foreign born. After World War II, the population declined
As the first American metropolis, Cleveland elected an African-American
mayor, Carl B. Stokes, in 1967. This happened after several serious riots, most
recently the year before. In the 1960s and 1970s and later, urban renewal took
place in large parts of the downtown area as well as in the residential
areas. In 1978, Cleveland became the first major American city after
the Depression to become bankrupt during the oil crisis. The city was also hit
hard by the recession in the early 1980s, but was saved by federal aid. In
recent years, the city's economy has improved and become more diverse, including
a more versatile industry.