The Best of Teaching Cleveland

Teaching Cleveland Stories

Tom L. Johnson, America’s Best Mayor video

“Cleveland: The City on the Hill 1901-1909” by Hoyt Landon Warner*****

Cleveland in the 1960s by Mike Roberts

Rockefeller in Cleveland by George Condon*

Confession of a Reformer by Frederick Howe (Tom Johnson chapter)**

Regional Government vs Home Rule by Joe Frolik

Cleveland: Economics, Images and Expectations by Dr. John J. Grabowski

Survival – Man and Boy. A story about Lorrenzo Carter from “The Cuyahoga” by William Donohue Ellis*

Making of a Mayor – The Election of Carl Stokes***

Mark Hanna Vs. Tom Johnson by George Condon*

Water by Brent Larkin

Success By Design: The Schreckengost Legacy (video)

Biography of Newton D. Baker by Prof. C. H. Cramer****

African-American Heritage Trail in Cleveland***

Cleveland’s Johnson: The Cabinet by Eugene C. Murdock*****

The Ohio Canal Movement by Harry N. Scheiber*****

The Power Brokers – Glory Days of the Political Bosses by Brent Larkin***

*from Cleveland Memory/CSU Special Collections

**from Kent State Press

***from the Plain Dealer


*****from the Ohio Historical Society

*****Ohio State University Press

Teaching Cleveland Stories

Cleveland 1912: Civitas Triumphant By Dr. John Grabowski

Mark Hanna: The Clevelander Who Made a President By Joe Frolik

Rockefeller’s Right-Hand Man: Henry Flagler By Michael D. Roberts

Cleveland’s Original Black Leader: John O. Holly By Mansfield Frazier

The Heart of Amasa Stone By John Vacha

Frederic C. Howe:  Making Cleveland the City Beautiful (Or At Least Trying) by Marian Morton

Bill Veeck: The Man Who Conquered Cleveland and Changed Baseball Forever By Bill Lubinger

When Cleveland Saw Red By John Vacha

Maurice Maschke: The Gentleman Boss of Cleveland by Brent Larkin

Inventor Garrett Morgan, Cleveland’s Fierce Bootstrapper  by Margaret Bernstein

How Cleveland Women Got the Vote and What They Did With It  by Marian Morton

One Man Can Make a Difference by Roldo Bartimole

The Election That Changed Cleveland Forever by Michael D. Roberts

Deferring Dreams: Racial and Religious Covenants in Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, 1925 to 1970 By Marian Morton

Cyrus Eaton: Khruschev’s Favorite Capitalist By Jay Miller

Ray Shepardson: The Man Who Relit Playhouse Square By John Vacha

Bertha Josephine Blue By Debbi Snook

The Scourge of Corrupt and Inefficient Politicians: The Citizens League of Greater Cleveland By Marian Morton

The Man Who Saved Cleveland By Michael D. Roberts and Margaret Gulley

cover image by Moses Pearl. Use thanks to Stuart Allen Pearl.

Cleveland History Self Study: A 5 Week Syllabus of Recommended Essays

Cleveland Stories: An Informal Look at the City’s Past

A 5 Week essay-based syllabus suggested by Dr. Marian Morton, professor emerita at John Carroll University with expertise in Cleveland area history.

Overview: A discussion of some of Cleveland’s most interesting and important people, places, and events
Objective: To link the city’s past with its present policies, politics, and practices

Week 1. Introduction. Read Teaching Cleveland Stories (TCS)John J. Grabowski, “Cleveland: Economics, Images, and Expectations”

Week 2. TCS: Mike Roberts and Margaret Gulley, “The Man Who Saved Cleveland.” Elizabeth Sullivan, “Immigration”  John Vacha, “The Heart of Amasa Stone”; Joe Frolik, “Mark Hanna: The Clevelander Who Made a President”

Supplemental: Timeline of Cleveland/NE Ohio; The Western Reserve, 1796-1820, and Pre-Industrial (Erie and Ohio Canals), 1820-1865 and The Industrial Revolution/ John D. Rockefeller/ Mark Hanna, 1865-1900

Week 3. TCS: John J. Grabowski, “Cleveland 1912 – Civitas Triumphant”; Joe Frolik, “Regional Government versus Home Rule”  John Vacha, “When Cleveland Saw Red”  Margaret Bernstein, ‘’Inventor Garrett Morgan, Cleveland’s Fierce Bootstrapper”  Marian Morton, “How Cleveland Women Got the Vote and What They Did With It”

Supplemental: Progressive Era/Tom L. Johnson/ Newton D. Baker, 1900-1915 and Fred Kohler/City Managers/Political Bosses, 1920s and The Van Sweringens/ Depression … 1930s

Week 4. TCS: Thomas Suddes, “The Adult Education Tradition in Greater Cleveland”  Bill Lubinger, “Bill Veeck: The Man Who Conquered Cleveland and Changed Baseball Forever”  Jay Miller, “Cyrus Eaton: Khruschev’s Favorite Capitalist” Roldo Bartimole, “One Man Can Make a Difference”  Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 1960s” and “Cleveland in the 1970s”

Supplemental: World War 2- Post War, 1940s; Carl Stokes- Civil Rights, 1960s and Ralph Perk-Dennis Kucinich, 1970s

Week 5TCS: Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 1980s” and “Cleveland in the 1990s” Supplemental: “10 Greatest Clevelanders”; “12 Most Significant Events”; Cleveland Politician Interview Series (George Forbes, Jim Rokakis, Louis Stokes, George Voinovich, Michael R. White); Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 2000s

General questions: what is the main point of each article? Did you agree or disagree? What did you find most interesting? What would you add? Or subtract? 


12 Most Significant Events in Cleveland History

12 Most Significant Events in
Cleveland History

by Joe Frolik

Any list of the 12 top events in Cleveland history is obviously a series of judgments calls that probably reveals more about the person doing the compiling than it does the city. Certainly as I ran down some of the milestones I was considering, my wife’s reaction was immediate and, as usual, probably correct: “Money and politics, money and politics. Is that all you think about?”

I don’t think so, but then again as an editorial writer for Ohio’s largest newspaper, I do spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how Greater Cleveland became the place – politically, economically and socially – that it is today. And much of that evolution involves the interplay of powerful economic, demographic and political forces. Sowith that caveat about the blinders I bring to the task at hand, here is one person’s list of the events that did the most to shape Cleveland’s history, for good and ill.

— Joe Frolik

1) The last Ice Age ends roughly 10,000 years ago, and the retreating Laurentide glacial sheet leaves behind massive basins and plenty of meltwater to fill them: Today we call this gift of nature the Great Lakes. The world’s largest concentration of freshwater made possible both Cleveland’s settlement (Moses Cleaveland) and his party from Connecticut Land Co. sailed east from Buffalo and the mouth of the Cuyahoga River) and its economic boom (without easy access to iron ore from the far end of Lake Superior and waterways to ship out the finished product cheaply, there’s no steel business here). Perhaps the greatest guarantor for Greater Cleveland’s future remains this incredible and increasingly valuable liquid asset.

2) In 1850, Henry Chisholm, a 28-year-old immigrant carpenter and contractor from Scotland arrives in Cleveland to help build a breakwall on the lakefront. Seven years and several major construction projects later, he enters Cleveland’s fledgling iron and steel business by becoming a partner in a plant that re-rolls worn out iron rails. In 1859, Chisholm builds the first blast furnace in Northeast Ohio and in 1868, the first Bessemer converters west of the Alleghenies. His Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. becomes a major integrated producer of iron and steel products and by the 1890s has more than 8,000 employees. Cleveland by then is a major center for making steel and the finished products that use it. It is a transportation center for the ships and railroads that bring in raw materials and take out finished goods. All that also makes it a magnet for tens of thousands of immigrants like Chisholm eager to make their fortune in the New World.

3) Charles Brush is barely 30 years old on April 29, 1879, when he quite literally lights up the town (sorry, LeBron): At 7:55 p.m., Public Square is illuminated by a dozen of the Euclid native’s newly refined arc lights, all mounted on poles significantly higher than traditional gas street lamps and powered by a Brush-patented generator in a building just off the square. Brush’s latest invention proves a sensation: within two years, Brush street lights are in use from Boston to San Francisco. In 1891, his Brush Electric Co. becomes a building block of the new General Electric Co. Brush is not alone in his ability to turn good ideas into useful products. A 1900 Census report ranks Cleveland fifth among U.S. cities in “important patents’’ awarded between 1870 and 1890. This fuels a highly innovative, entrepreneurial – and fast-growing— industrial economy.

4) On April 1, 1901, Cleveland voters elect a new mayor: Tom L. Johnson, the “Great American Paradox,’’ as the New York Times called him, a wealthy businessman who talks like a labor agitator. Over the next eight years, Johnson makes Cleveland a laboratory for Progressive Era civic invention and arguably the best-run city in America. He builds playgrounds, parks and grand public buildings, makes public health the city’s business and holds public meetings in huge circus tents so average citizens can observe and join the deliberations of government. But Johnson’s successes – and those of Newton D. Baker, his like-minded and exceptionally talented protégé who served as mayor from 1911 to 1916 – have one downside: They inspire many communities surrounding Cleveland to embrace the “home rule’’ he and Baker advocate, eventually limiting the city’s potential growth and leading to generations of political Balkanization in Cuyahoga County.

5) In 1917 and 1918, amid the carnage of World War I France field hospitals, four accomplished doctors from Cleveland – Frank E. Bunts, George W. Crile, William E. Lower and John Phillips – begin making plans for a new hospital they will start when they got home, one based on the cooperation across specialty lines that seems to work well in the military. In 1921, they dedicate the first Cleveland Clinic building on Euclid Avenue and East 93rd Street. From the beginning, they set aside part of their revenues and raise additional funds solely for medical research. The result, nine decades later, is not only one of the most highly regarded research hospitals in the world, but the contemporary city’s most important economic engine. With some 40,000 people on its $2 billion annual payroll, the Clinic is far and away Cleveland’s largest employer.

6) On Dec. 11, 1918, the Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of Russian-born, Yale-educated Nikolai Sokoloff, plays its first concert at Grays Armory on Bolivar Avenue downtown. The 50-plus member ensemble is the brainchild of local impresario Adella Prentiss Hughes, who in 1915 organized the Musical Arts Association and began exhorting the city’s wealthy elites to create a world-class orchestra as a symbol of Cleveland’s rising status. By 1922, Sokoloff and the orchestra are playing Carnegie Hall and establishing a global reputation for themselves and the city they represent. Thanks to a generous gift from industrialist John L. Severance — a memorial to late wife Elizabeth – the orchestra in 1931 gains a permanent and spectacular home in University Circle, an anchor for one of the nation’s premier cultural districts.

7) Cleveland voters go to the polls in a special referendum on Jan. 9, 1919, and agree to a major modification of Daniel Burnham’s Group Plan for downtown. The referendum is orchestrated by the reclusive Van Sweringen brothers, real estate developers Oris and Mantis, who want to include a new central railroad station as part of a massive office complex (Terminal Tower) that they hope to build off Public Square. Burnham’s plan put the depot on the lakefront just below City Hall and Mall C – and voters had ratified it just three years earlier. But the Vans – who want the terminal also to serve as the end point of their Shaker Rapid — mount a massive, modern campaign with heavy use of advertising and carry the day. Terminal Tower becomes a Cleveland icon, but moving the station also turns the city’s back on the lakefront. It will be decades before Cleveland begins to rethink its decision to squander an asset other cities regard as priceless.

8) African Americans, just a generation removed from slavery, begin to move north around 1910, following word that industrial jobs are available. This first Great Migration accelerates when World War I creates a labor shortage and continues until the Depression. Cleveland’s black population, estimated by the Census Bureau at 4,010 in 1900 grows to 70,755 by 1930 with more than half of them arriving during the Roaring ‘20s. Among that decades’ newcomers are Georgians Charles Stokes and Louise Stone. They marry here and by the time Charles, a laundry worker, dies in 1928 have two young sons: Louis and Carl. The Stokes brothers grow up in public housing, go on to law school and as blacks continue to pour into the city – the second wave of the Great Migration includes rabble-rousing Marine veteran from Memphis named George L. Forbes –build a political organization that challenges both white business establishment and the Democratic Party. In 1967, Carl becomes the first black mayor of a major northern city. A year later, Louis becomes Ohio’s black member of Congress.

9) On November 1, 1952, chemicals and other debris floating on Cuyahoga River catch fire and do roughly $1.5 million worth of damage. But the event draws little attention – let alone outrage. There’d been occasional fires on the river since 1868 and as far back as 1881, Mayor Rensselaer R. Herrick had called the Cuyahoga a “sewer that runs through the heart of the city.’’ But in those days, pollution was seen as little more than an unfortunate byproduct of industrial prowess. A very different story unfolds on June 22, 1969, when the Cuyahoga again blazes. Although damage this time is barely $85,000, an angry Mayor Carl Stokes leads a delegation of reporters to the banks of the Cuyahoga the following day and demands help from Washington to clean up the mess. His timing was perfect. With a Time magazine team already in town working on a cover story about pollution’s toll on Lake Erie, this fire becomes a rallying point the nascent environmental movement and leads to passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

10) After 140 years of uninterrupted growth, Cleveland’s white population begins to decline in the 1940s, in part because white GI’s can get low-cost federal home loans to move to the suburbs, while black veterans cannot. “White flight’’ continues into the 1960s, accelerating after two major riots –Hough in 1966 and Glenville in 1969. But the last straw for many whites comes on Aug. 31, 1976, when U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti signs a 203-page decision that, among other remedies, orders cross-town busing to end racial segregation. However well-meaning Battititi’s decision may have been – other northern districts had been hit with busing orders before Cleveland – the impact here is devastating.. White flight morphs into middle-class flight. In the 1970s, Cleveland’s black population falls, too, with an exodus of 30,000 people, many to suburbs perceived to have better schools. Battisti’s order remains in effect until the 1990s, when the city’s second black mayor, Michael R. White, leads the charge to end it.

11) On Dec. 15, 1978, a year-long battle between Cleveland’s populist “boy mayor,’’ Dennis Kucinich, and a combative business community, led in this case by Cleveland Trust CEO Brock Weir, comes to a head. A consortium of six local banks calls in $14 million in loans, knowing Kucinich cannot come up with the cash because he refuses to sell Cleveland Public Power as they recommend. Cleveland, its finances held together for nearly a decade by chewing gum, baling wire and accounting tricks, becomes the first U.S. city since the Depression to default. The debacle leads to Kucinich’s defeat in 1979 and effectively ices his political ambitions for another 15 years. But default also forces the business community to rethink its relationship with the city. Under Kucinich’s successor, George V. Voinovich, City Hall and the newly engaged corporate sector form a celebrated public-private partnership that produces several major downtown projects and helps burnish Cleveland’s national image as a “comeback city.’’

12) For decades, good-government groups warned that Cuyahoga County government was a relic of agrarian times with power so diffuse that no one could be held accountable for anything. Not even a poorly supervised investment fiasco in 1994 could prompt more than a study of government reform – that was shelved as soon as public angry subsided. All that changes on July 28, 2008, when nearly 200 federal agents descend on the County Administration Building, the homes of the county’s two most powerful Democratic politicians and the offices of numerous county contractors. They fill U-Haul trucks with documents and computers. After a year of stony silence from federal prosecutors, the indictments begin to flow. On Nov. 2, 2009, appalled voters overwhelming fire the entire county government and concentrate responsibility in a powerful new county executive.

Cleveland and Aviation History. What Could Have Been and Why It Didn’t By Michael D. Roberts

1) Fred Crawford (right) presents Thompson Trophy to aviator Roscoe Turner at Cleveland  National Air Races 1934(?) (WRHS)
2) National Air Race poster 1947
3) Lewis Research Center sign at entrance Brookpark Road 1962  (CSU)
The pdf is here

Cleveland and Aviation History.
What Could Have Been and Why It Didn’t
By Michael D. Roberts

           Billowy clouds,  majestically back-lite by the sun’s glow, is the sky above a Cleveland Labor Day. It  heralds the coming of fall, the best and most compelling season here.   Its arrival is accompanied by a fury of sound as demonstrating  air craft roar and roll in the heavens.

            The sky holds an important history for Cleveland which for a time was the citadel of the world’s aviation achievement and adventure.   And then, in later years, it played a key role in America’s race to the moon.

            However, the fame, glamor and prosperity  of aviation eluded  Cleveland over the years as the city lost its edge in innovation, partially because of bad politics, a loss of vision,  a crippling Depression  and  the government’s  dispersion of industry in World War II.  Some say the town never  fully recovered from these adversities.

            But as World War I drew to a close in 1918, Cleveland’s industries thrived and its development of technology continued  to be dynamic, an economy driven by steel, electrical machinery, chemicals, paints, machine tools, and automobiles. In 1920, Cuyahoga County ranked as the fourth most productive manufacturing region in the country.

            To support this diverse economic base was a financial infrastructure of 38 banks that encouraged the expansion of existing businesses and the development of new ventures.  Equally important, was the psychological dynamic that existed in that era’s political and business leadership. It embraced the future with a progressive pride that focused on achievement and wealth.

            This environment generated  opportunity and the greatest source of that ingredient was skyward.  World War I was the coming  of the airplane and the promise of a whole new industry beckoned  irresistibly  to visionary entrepreneurs.

            Ironically, the development of  American aviation had been hindered by the very inventors of the airplane.  The Wright brothers, who first few in 1903, claimed they owned patents to virtually every feature that constituted an aircraft.  The brothers were litigious in protecting their interests and succeeded in stalling the efforts of others to develop an aviation industry in the United States.

            While the air plane’s success in World War I foretold its future, not one American- made aircraft flew  in that conflict.   As a nation, the U.S. was far behind  the European countries in flight.

             When the United States declared war on Germany April 6, 1917,  Cleveland businessman Alva T. Bradley sought a way to take advantage of his avuncular  contacts in Washington.  The  U.S. Secretary of  War was Newton D. Baker, a former Cleveland mayor and a friend.   Procuring military equipment for the war was in the hands of another Cleveland businessman.

            Bradley, through  contacts in the sports world— he  was the managing partner of the Cleveland Indians— met Glenn L. Martin one day in California.

             Martin was 31 that fall in 1917, but  already was recognized as an aviation pioneer, pilot and inventor.  He had just endured an unpleasant business defeat  when he met  Bradley and was looking for a way to reconstitute his aircraft company.  Bradley was searching for ways to take advantage of the war effort and bring a new industry to Cleveland.

            Bradley convened Cleveland businessmen Charles Thompson, S. Livingston Mather,  A.S. Mather and W.G Mather to raise enough money to lure the  young aviator and his ideas to the city.  The company was originally located on 9th Street near Chester Avenue.

             The five investors raised $2.5 million for a  new factory which was relocated at East 162nd Street and St. Clair Avenue, eight miles from downtown. It employed nearly 400.  A small landing strip called Martin Field was constructed and used by the postal service as the city had yet to build an airport.  When Martin obtained a contract from the army to build bombers for the war, many of his workers from California joined him in Cleveland. The new Martin company was incorporated on September 10, 1917.

            Among those joining Martin would be Donald Douglas, Larry Bell, and Dutch Kindleberg who would go on to create such companies as McDonnell Douglas, Bell Helicopter, and Rockwell International. Martin’s company would  eventually merge into Martin Marietta.  Cleveland was poised at the cutting edge of aviation technology, but its political and business  leaders failed to realize it.

            By most accounts Martin was an odd character, and clearly one that would not fit in with Cleveland’s  Union Club crowd.   He had worked in the circus, flew in early movies,  raced automobiles, set  flight records and possessed   a quirky personality.  Even though The Cleveland Press cast him as one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, he  did not date.  He preferred the company of his mother, Mina, who was constantly at his side.

            A tall, thin man with thick black hair, circular eye glasses,  and a bit flamboyant in dress,  Martin possessed a strangely aesthetic appearance. One writer noted that he had “prissy” mannerisms and was often critical of the smallest things.  One business associate said of him that he was not the kind of man with whom you would want to spend a vacation.

            But Martin had a zest for the good life.  He drove around town with his mother in an ostentatious Stuz Biarritz automobile with snakeskin trim.  They lived in a 19-room, 2.-acre mansion on Lake Shore Boulevard in Bratenahl.

            The 61,000 square  factory at 16800 St. Clair was completed in April and the first prototype bomber flew on August 17.  In October, the  army flying service accepted the plane and ordered 50 MB-1s.

            The company built 20 bombers before the war ended in November of 1918 and with it the cancellation of the contract for  planes.  In 1919, the government continued to order a few MB-1s but the costs of production continued to rise while profits dropped and  the Cleveland investors soon lost interest.

            Only the intercession of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, head of army aviation, saved the Martin company from failure.  Mitchell was an aviation visionary who sought to prepare the nation for the next war by investing heavily in air power.  At risk to his career, he funded Martin toward those ends.

            The Martin bomber did not see action in World War I, but it did find its place in aviation history when it sunk an obsolete German battleship in a highly publicized and controversial demonstration of air power promoted by Mitchell.

             Through out his Cleveland years Martin had been active promoting the need for a sizable airport that could meet the future needs of  a major city.  Martin Field had become a liability of sorts. People complained of crashes in the neighborhood.  The bombers could not be flown from the site and had to be transported by rail to the east coast at a cost of $800 per plane at which the government balked.

            In January of 1925, William R. Hopkins, the city manager of Cleveland submitted a document to city council that proposed a study of the possibility of constructing a municipal airport. There were no such facilities  in existence in the country.

            Hopkins assembled a panel of experts with unmatched experience  in aviation including Martin along with Billy Mitchell, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, of World War I fame, and other members of the army and navy air services.  They were assembled to select a site for an airport.  Martin had hopes that the city would provide land on the site for him to build  an aircraft factory. The city dashed those hopes just as the Baltimore Industrial Bureau contacted Martin, urging he move his company to that city. In the meantime, the Navy was advising that Martin  move his plant to the East Coast where seaplanes could easily be produced.

            An account in the The Cleveland Press at the time quoted a business man as saying it was the banks that drove Martin from the town.

            “They thought he was a screwball,” quoted one businessman.

            The refusal to aid Martin was a terrible mistake, one that  proved  harmful to the future of the city’s industrial base.  Years later Frederick C. Crawford, a contemporary and himself a significant figure in aviation here , would tell the writer that it was the plain stupidity of public officials here that  resulted in Martin’s departure.

            “To think that at  one time we had  five aviation pioneers here that would go on to create the biggest aircraft companies in the world and that we lost them is stunning,” Crawford said.

            Martin would go on to flourish in Baltimore, developing remarkable technology that went into some of the best aircraft in the world.  The advancements in aviation created by World II enabled the business  to prosper in peacetime.  The company eventually grew to be known as Martin-Marietta and employed as many as 50,000 at one point.

            Meanwhile, public interest in aviation was stimulated by the airplane’s role in World War I which was coming to a close.  Surplus planes and trained pilots suddenly became  available for commercial enterprise. At first, army pilots flew six-cent air mail on scheduled flights. What is considered to be the first official commercial use of air mail  in the U.S. occurred on August 12, 1918 when the Post Office Department initiated the service.

            Cleveland was an important way point on those early air mail runs.  Located between the busy postal hubs of New York and Chicago, the city was a key link in the emerging system. Cleveland’s first flights began in December of 1918 even though the city had no real airport.

            At first a crude landing strip was established at Woodland Hills Park at East 93rd and Kinsman Avenue.  The pilots complained of  the location because of the many trees surrounding it.  Landing was particular dangerous at night.

            When the weather made the park location inoperable, Glen Martin offered  the use of his facilities at St. Clair and East 162rd Street.  Postal officials informed the city that even Martin Field was inadequate and if the city wished to remain a principle stop in the mail system it needed a real airport. The  message was a wake up call for government and business officials.

            For those who find government’s grind indecisive and slow, the history of Cleveland’s airport is refreshing and remarkable. Hopkins presented a plan to city council in January of 1925. The site committee which included Glenn Martin had identified a location on Cleveland’s west side that was deemed perfect.  The city then promoted a $1,250,000 bond issue to purchase 1,014 acres of land from the city of Brook Park. It  was located 1.6 miles from Riverside Drive to the bank of Rocky River and 1.4 miles from Brookpark Road.  The original airport used only 100 acres of land and in all some 30,000 trees were cleared for its runways.

            The early days at the airport  consisted of a cement block building and a hastily cleared field with a 1,400 foot runway in what was then a remote part of town.  On May 1, 1925 a east bound flight landed with mail destined for New York.  It marked the first takeoff from the field. The airport was officially dedicated on July 1, attracting some 100,000 persons, a testimony to the era’s romance with aviation.

            The airport was the first municipally owned anywhere and within two years it was deemed the busiest  in the world with the traffic of eight planes every 24 hours.

            In retrospect the purchase of the land with the anticipation of the growth of aviation was one of the best decisions by a Cleveland government.  By 1935 the landing space had been expanded to over a thousand acres making it by far the largest airport in the world.  The four largest airports in Europe—Croyden in England, LeBourget in France, and Templehof in Germany could all be placed within the perimeter of Cleveland Municipal Airport with room  for yet air field similar in size.

            It was not just the size of the airport that drew admiration from the aviation community, it was the technology that Cleveland Municipal  Airport brought with it.  Claude F. King, who would go on to be the manager of the airport, invented the first lighted night landing system, a blessing for all the aviators who flew the mail.  And when then airport commissioner Major Jack Berry returned from a trip to England and witnessed the use of radio in the controlling of aircraft, he found  the ubiquitous and ingenious King had already installed a  radio which was  the first  voice two-way radio communication in the world. Now pilots could be advised of weather, field conditions and nearby air traffic.

            It was King’s conception of a control  tower featuring radio communication that was the principle on which every airport in the world would henceforth adopt and adapt to give aviation the global reach we know today.  In 1927, plans for a lakefront airport east of the 9th Street pier were first introduced. It took 20 years, and considerable land fill until it was completed as Burke Lakefront Airport.

            The world war had glamorized the airplane and the American public could not get enough of it as veteran pilots with surplus planes barnstormed across the county offering rides and entertaining crowds with aerobatics.  Youths built models and the movies heightened the interest with films flavored with romance, stunts and dog fighting.

            Aviation industries  blossomed and developed technology that leap-forged flying forward at a tremendous rate.  To test and heighten this technology air races were held and the first official national event took place on Long Island and was sponsored by The New York World in 1920.

            In Cleveland two men took special interest in the idea of national air races which were circulating through various cities for nine years.  Why not host an aviation extravaganza at the biggest airport in the world every year? They reasoned.

            Louis W. Greve and Frederick C. Crawford both lead companies that manufactured aircraft parts and had a decided interest in promoting their products while at the same time doing the same for aviation in general.   Greve was the president of the Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Company which made hydraulic landing gears.   Crawford at that time was general manager of Thompson Products which later would  become TRW.  Crawford would preside over that company in later years.

            Thompson Products had developed a sodium valve for aircraft engines that was used by Charles Lindbergh on his famous 1927  trans Atlantic flight to Paris.  Years later at his 100th birthday party, Crawford told me that the night before the flight he changed the valves in the aviator’s plane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, without the Lindbergh’s knowledge.

            “Lindbergh knew about flying, but not much about engineering,” Crawford said.  “If I hadn’t changed those valves chances are he would never have made it.” The later publicity that the company received from those valves in that plane proved to be  invaluable.

            Thanks to Crawford and Greve, Cleveland was selected for the 1929 national air races.  The town was beside itself as the opening ceremonies were held downtown with a parade comprised of 200 floats, 21 bands and hundreds of marchers attended by an estimated 300,000 spectators. The spectacle  shut down Euclid Avenue on a hot day late in August.  Three Goodyear blimps patrolled the skies above the celebrants.

            The next day more than 100,000 persons attended the first flying events in a sensational display of aviation that was reported world-wide.  There were demonstrations of techniques like dead stick landings, parachuting, acrobatics and a Navy  team that flew tied together with rope.   Charles Lindbergh piloted an open cockpit plane, banking over a standing crowd. Other aviation luminaries like Amelia Earhart appeared and each day there was a set of air races including an all woman’s contest known as the “Powder Puff Derby.”

            But what seemed to seize the crowd’s attention the most was the close -course racing which would become a hallmark of the event.  The first race was a flight of five laps around a 10-mile circuit marked by pylons with the finish line ending in front of the grandstands.  The winner averaged 194.9 miles per hour.

            That first race was sponsored by the Thompson Company and its trophy would later become emblematic of aviation’s highest achievement.  Air racing proved a dangerous pursuit as  six pilots lost their lives seeking  glory that weekend.

            In many ways that August air race  was the last good time that the city would experience for years. In two months the stock market would crash and pitch America into the Great Depression followed by World War II.

            In 1930 the races were held in Chicago, but because Cleveland had produced a $90,000 profit the year before the city was awarded the races for the next five years.  The races were canceled during World War II, but resumed in 1946. (As a child, the writer witnessed the races that year. It left him with an indelible  interest in aviation.) It was a spectacle of flight featuring powerful planes developed during the war along with the first jets.  The thousands who witnessed the demonstrations and races were awe struck by the noise, beauty and force of the event.

            But it was just that—the speed and power of the whole thing—that would ultimately cause the demise of the aerial extravaganza. Tragedy struck in 1949 when one of the racers missed a pylon and crashed into a house in Berea, killing a mother and child.  That effectively ended high-power air racing at the Cleveland airport.

            The races were important beyond the entertainment they provided.  In the 1930’s, suffering from the Depression, the government had little money to spend on research and development of aircraft. The races offered an alternative with its competitive spirit and pilots willing to push the envelope in developing engines and experimenting with fuels.

            This also translated to emergence of a substantial aviation industry in and around Cleveland.  While there was no company that built an aircraft from the sum of its parts, there were, over the years, ancillary businesses that played a big role in developing those parts that went into flight.  For instance, there was the Standard Oil salesman who accidentally discovered the Wright brothers at work in Dayton and recommended the oil that went into the first flight at Kitty Hawk.  Standard Oil of Ohio would later become a major sponsor of the air races.

            When Lindbergh made his famous flight to Paris, his plane was fueled with Standard Oil gas that ran  through tubing made the Parker Appliance Company on Cleveland’s west side. Later, after the war, the company bought the Hannifin Manufacturing Company and it exists today as Parker Hannifin a manufacture of aircraft values,  hydraulic supply systems, flight controls and other aviation products.

            The company had equipment on NASA’s moon landings.

            In the late 1930s the federal government, spurred by the dark events in Europe, realized that American aviation  was lagging behind that of the major world powers. German, Japan and England were producing the best aircraft based on advanced technology.  There was alarm and a sudden need to unlimber the nation’s celestial ingenuity.

            The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) announced a national  competition for an aircraft-engine research laboratory, a  venture that would cost an estimated $40,000,000 and be the largest such facility in the world. Some 40 cities applied for the project and the search was reduced to just five finalists, Cleveland being among them.  There was plenty of land adjacent to the airport which gave the city somewhat of an edge in the matter.

            Fred Crawford, not only  a capable  engineer, but an astute politician as well, seized on the idea like a man possessed.  The laboratory  would be a perfect companion for his company which  ultimately became TRW. It would also raise Cleveland’s profile in the aviation community.

            Crawford slyly pointed out to the search committee during hearings that Cleveland was beyond the range of German bombers and the Nazis undoubtedly would soon have aircraft that could threaten any East Coast sites that were proposed for the laboratory.

            The big obstacle facing the city was electrical power.  The Cleveland Electrical Illuminating Company did not have the capacity to produce the needed power to run the gigantic wind tunnel which was the  soul of the laboratory.  But at the last minute Crawford hit on a plan that would solve the problem.

            The wind tunnel would only be employed at night when the city’s electrical grids were in moderate use and with that ingenious stroke the huge laboratory found its home.

            The laboratory was dedicated on May 20, 1943 and consisted if 12 buildings and  wind tunnels able to produce winds of five hundred miles per hour. The facility was able to test aircraft engines at 67 degrees below zero.

            It should be noted how prescient the city’s leadership was in those days.  The acquisition of an immense acreage of land in the anticipation of the future of aviation lead to the development of an aircraft industry that then attracted the NACA laboratory which would later become NASA Lewis and play an important role in the Apollo program and the landing of a man on the moon.

            In many ways the work at the laboratory was vital, but esoteric in that it did not yield itself  to interesting publicity, leaving the public uninformed as to what took place within its sprawling confines. Added to that, much of the work was cloaked in secrecy. It played a major role in developing the engines and fuel that enabled B-29 bombers to fly at heights that Japanese defenders could not reach resulting in an end to that terrible conflict.

            With the end of World War II,  aviation entered a new era with the introduction of jet engines and research on fuels that would produce  supersonic speeds.   In 1950 the Lewis laboratory began to experiment with liquid hydrogen, a light explosive fuel that was difficult to manage but offered the ingredients that would propel heavy loads at high speeds.

            As the cold war began to grip the world, a lonely black B-57 could be seen by fishermen on Lake Erie  as it scooted  across summer skies, a curious sight that was shrugged off as an aerial oddity.  What few knew was that the jet was was equipped with one engine that was fueled by liquid hydrogen.   The engineers at Lewis were in the process of taming the volatile gas.

            On October 4, 1957, the American public awoke to the stunning news that the Russians had sent a satellite into space.  A sense of palatable panic seized the nation which prompted President Dwight Eisenhower to create a civilian organization that would shepherd all projects related to space into a single entity known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  It would initially be organized and lead by the leadership of the Lewis Laboratory which was converted into a NASA installation.

            On  May 25, 1961,  President John F. Kennedy made a dramatic speech to  a joint session of Congress announcing a  plan to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.  The mission was to became known as the Apollo project and its embryonic beginnings would be found  in the Cleveland scientific community.

            T. Keith Glennan, president of Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) was NASA’s first administrator and the first leader of the Apollo program was Abe Silverstein, the director of the Lewis Research Center.

            The real story of the moon landing on July 20, 1969 was liquid hydrogen.  The Russians were never able to develop a powerful enough  fuel to duplicate the feat, a crowning achievement for the

scientific team at the laboratory which is now known  as NASA  Glenn after astronaut John Glenn, the  first American to orbit the earth.

            But the sad addendum to this story rested in the  politics  connected to the establishment of NASA.  Despite all of  Cleveland’s contributions to the success of space flight, it was overlooked when it came to the creation of the agency headquarters.

            President Kennedy had put the space program in the hands of then Vice President Lyndon Johnson of Texas who was the masterful politician of his time.  Glennan learned this early in the project.

            According to his diary, Glennan received a call from Congressman Albert Thomas, a Texas Democrat, who headed the appropriations committee reviewing the NASA budget. The call dealt with where the headquarters of the Manned  Space Center  would be established.

            “Now look here, Doctor, let’s cut the bull, Thomas says. “Your budget calls for $14 million and I am telling you that you won’t get a god-damned  cent unless that laboratory is moved to Houston.”

            Later Lyndon Johnson would quip that Houston was closer to the moon than Cleveland.  It was a cruel demonstration of the lack of political clout that Ohio possessed in Washington.

Teaching Cleveland Welcome Page

Teaching Cleveland Welcome Page

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The 10 Greatest Clevelanders Since 1796

This article ran in the Plain Dealer during the Cleveland Bicentennial Year celebration. If you disagree with elements of the list or wish to offer additions, please email us at and we can start the discussion.

Courtesy of The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH) – Sunday, July 21, 1996

To borrow from Shakespeare, some are born with greatness. Others achieve it. Some have it thrust upon them.
Greatness is highly subjective. It’s elusive to define and difficult to measure.

And it also can go unnoticed. Imagine how many tens of thousands who have been a part of this area’s rich past, the deeds of their ordinary lives combining to build a great city. They and their memories are as much a part of this Cleveland’s bicentennial celebration as are the leaders who occupy our history books.

But today, on the eve of the city’s 200th birthday, I have set about the difficult task of attempting to determine and rank the 10 greatest Clevelanders – those whose deeds have had the greatest impact on this city and, in some cases, the nation.

The list that appears below is mine alone. But it was compiled after consultations with some of the foremost experts on Cleveland history: John J. Grabowski, director of planning and research at the Western Reserve Historical Society; David D. Van Tassel, professor of history at Case Western Reserve University; Thomas F. Campbell, history professor at Cleveland State University; and George Condon, retired Plain Dealer columnist and the author of several books on Cleveland’s history.

Singling out only 10 Clevelanders (actually, three of the top 10 include, for reasons that will be obvious, two names) for greatness guarantees that many historic figures be excluded, which is a major reason why the list is followed by an honorable-mention section. Ranking them in order is an invitation to second-guessing.

Nevertheless, what follows is one person’s listing of the 10 greatest Clevelanders.

1. Tom L. Johnson (1854-1911): The mayor against whom all others are measured. Elected in 1901, Johnson left a legacy that includes the mall plan, cheap trolley fares, low taxes and, probably above all, the municipal electric system. Johnson was the central figure in planning the city’s development as an industrial power. A successful businessman, he used town hall forums to bring immigrant masses into the political mainstream by instilling in them hope and inspiration. Upon his death, 200,000 people lined Euclid Ave. for the funeral procession.

2. John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937): His family moved from a farm in upstate New York to Strongsville when he was a teenager. After high school, he took a job as an assistant bookkeeper. At 24, he decided to enter the oil business.

So was born the Standard Oil Co., which made Rockefeller one of the world’s richest and most powerful men. This industrialist and philanthropist gave away millions. He built buildings and bought parks here. Criticized by some for moving to New York City in the 1880s, Rockefeller continued to spend summers at his Forest Hills Park estate.

3. Alfred Kelley (1789-1859): Not nearly as well-known as some of the more legendary Clevelanders, in 1915, Kelley became the first president of the village of Cleveland. Back then, Cleveland wasn’t much bigger than any of the other surrounding lakefront cities, like Lorain, Vermilion, Painesville, and others. But Kelley was a man with a dream – a canal that would link Cleveland with the Ohio River and make his city a major industrial port. As a member of the legislature in the 1820s, Kelley dedicated his life to making the Ohio & Erie Canal a reality. When the canal opened in 1827, it secured Cleveland’s place as Ohio’s dominant lakefront city.

4. O.P (1879-1936) and M.J (1881-1935) Van Sweringen: They developed Shaker Heights and Shaker Square, and when they envisioned a rapid-transit system linking the suburb to downtown, a railroad line stood in their way. So, the brothers bought the Nickel Plate Railroad and eventually accumulated a railroad empire consisting of 30,000 miles of tracks valued at $3 billion. Their monument to Cleveland remains today as the city’s most symbolic building – the Terminal Tower. The 1929 stock market crash almost bankrupted them and they died several years later.

5. Marcus Hanna (1837-1904): He was the nation’s first political boss, a cunning and brilliant political strategist universally credited with engineering the election of William McKinley as president in 1896. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1898, Hanna became a major advocate of an idea many scoffed at – building a canal across Panama. In Cleveland, Hanna was both a wildly successful businessman and the town’s most dominant political figure. His biggest setback in politics was the election as mayor of his longtime enemy, Tom L. Johnson.

6. Newton D. Baker (1871-1937): A protege of Tom L. Johnson, Baker made his mark as mayor of Cleveland from 1912 to 1916. He was responsible for enactment of the City Charter and for promoting passage of the Home Rule amendment to the Ohio Constitution. He made his mark upon the world a few years later. With the nation’s future threatened from abroad, President Woodrow Wilson needed someone to build and train a force of 2 million men to fight the first world war. The choice of Baker as Secretary of War proved outstanding, as Baker was widely credited with succeeding in the most difficult of tasks. Shortly after the war, Baker returned to the Cleveland law firm that still bears his name.

7. Flora Stone Mather (1852-1909) and Samuel Mather (1851-1931): The Mathers were both born into wealth, and through the formation of the iron-ore company Pikands, Mather & Co., saw their separately inherited fortunes grow to the point where they became Ohio’s richest couple. What set them apart from so many other affluent husband-and-wife teams was the vast sums they donated to worthy charities. Major beneficiaries of the Mather fortune were Old Stone Church, Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, John Carroll University and the Community Chest.

8. George Crile (1864-1943): In 1906, while practicing at St. Alexis Hospital, this surgeon and medical researcher performed the world’s first successful blood transfusion. In the Spanish-American War and World War I, he was a highly decorated war surgeon. But Crile’s major contribution to Cleveland came in 1921 when he joined with three others to form the Cleveland Clinic, which, along with the other first-rate hospitals that already existed, cemented Cleveland’s place as a world-class medical center.

9. Adella Prentiss Hughes (1869-1950): Music was her life and through her efforts she put the music made in Cleveland on the map. A philanthropist and the promotor of scores of musical presentations, Hughes formed the Musical Arts Association in 1915 to fund and promote her projects. Three years later, she was the instrumental figure in the creation of the Cleveland Orchestra.

10. Edward Morley (1838-1923) and Albert Michelson (1852-1931): Morley was a scientist at Western Reserve University, Michelson a physicist at the Case School of Applied Science. Their research on the speed of light, known as the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887), laid the foundation for Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Michelson became the first American to win a Nobel Prize in science. He finished second in the Nobel Prize balloting for chemistry.

Honorable mentions (alphabetically):

Paul Brown (1909-1991): A football genius and innovator who built one of the greatest franchises in the history of professional sports. So deep runs the loyalty Clevelanders have for the Browns that not even Art Modell could dry up this reservoir of affection.

Charles F. Brush (1849-1929): Developer of the arc light, the forerunner of Thomas Edison’s inventions.

Lorenzo Carter (1767-1814): Cleveland’s first permanent settler and easily its most prominent early citizen.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881): Because he lived in and spent so much time in Mentor, not all historians consider him a Clevelander, which explains why he was not placed in the top 10. Nevertheless, the 20th president of the United States did have some Cleveland connections.

Jane Edna Hunter (1882-1971): Daughter of a sharecropper, Hunter was a nationally known social worker and founder of the Phillis Wheatley Association.

Levi Johnson (1785-1871): A major figure in the growth of Cleveland as a large port, Johnson was a shipbuilder and real estate developer.

Garrett A. Morgan (1877-1963): Credited as the inventor of the gas mask and the traffic light, Morgan was a successful businessman and an early leader in the city’s black community.

Carl B. Stokes (1927-1996): The first black elected mayor of a major American city.

More Great Clevelanders
Florence Allen (1884-1966): Prominent suffragette; first female Chief Judge of a federal court.

Ernest Bohn (1901-1975): The father of U.S. public housing.

Linda Eastman (1867-1963): The first female head of a major library system (1918). She helped make the Cleveland Public Library into one of the nation’s best.

George Forbes (1931- ): One of the most powerful politicians in Cleveland history; as council president, he dominated government under three mayors.

Dorothy Fuldheim (1893-1989): The first female news anchorperson in the United States at WEWS.

Frederick H. Goff (1858-1923): Helped to establish the Cleveland Foundation, the oldest and one of the largest community foundations in America

Max Hayes (1866-1945): Union printer; launched the Cleveland Citizen newspaper in 1891; became a national voice of labor and socialist movements.

Martin A. Marks (1853-1916): Businessman; Developed models for philanthropic fund raising and management that ultimately became the United Way of Cleveland

Bishop Louis Amadeus Rappe (1801-1877): Cleveland’s first Catholic bishop; recruited priests and nuns from Europe and built churches, schools, orphanages and hospitals.

Bishop Joseph Schrembs (1866-1945): Cleveland’s fifth Catholic bishop; expanded charity work; used radio to evangelize.

Amasa Stone (1818-1883): Contentious man who built the first major railroad between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. He was ruined when a bridge that he built collapsed in Ashtabula. His money helped to move Western Reserve College to University Circle from Hudson. His daughters (particularly Flora) and sons in laws, (John Hay and Samuel Mather) all had highly successful careers.

George Szell (1897-1970): In 34 years as musical director, this stern taskmaster from Vienna cemented the Cleveland Orchestra’s international reputation.

George V. Voinovich (1936- ): Mayor after 1978 default; improved city’s fiscal footing, Went on to become Governor of Ohio and US Senator. A power locally and nationally for over 30 years.

William O. Walker (1986-1981): Editor and publisher of the Call and Post; central figure in the rise of black political power here.

Cyrus Eaton (1883-1979): Highly controversial capitalist who mentored with John D. Rockefeller in Cleveland and then made his mark in the utility and steel industries. He lost it all during the depression, made it back post-depression and then worked on detente with the Soviet Union during the cold war.

William Stinchcomb (1878-1959): Father of the Cleveland Metroparks, today’s Emerald Necklace and one of the nations best free public park systems in a metropolitan area.

Abba Hillel Silver (1893-1963): Influential Jewish and civic leader in Northeast Ohio for nearly 50 years. Worldwide leader in the 1940s in the effort to create the State of Israel

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The Election for Mayor: A discussion about the future of Cleveland, a forum moderated by Leila Atassi, Plain Dealer Aug 29, 2017 (Video)

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Video From the Regionalism Forum with County Executive Armond Budish, Regional Coordinator Eddy Kraus and Moderator Tom Beres (6.17.15)

“The President From Canton” by Grant Segall

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Video From The Newton D. Baker Symposium (April 19, 2015)

Remarks By Thomas F. Campbell @ Newton D. Baker’s Induction Into The City Club’s Hall of Fame (5.18.87)

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Part 1: “Getting By Together 1900-1938”

Part 2: “Neighbors Then Strangers Postwar-1970”

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Cleveland Business Hall of Fame -Inside Business (good list!)

Inside Business Cleveland Business Hall of Fame Issue: October 2006 Issue

Posthumous Inductees to Inside Business Cleveland Business Hall of Fame

Samuel Andrews arrived in Cleveland in 1857 and helped oil supplier Charles Dean’s company become the first to refine kerosene from petroleum. In 1863, he co-founded Andrews, Clark & Co., which became Standard Oil Co. Andrews went on to fund local education institutions, such as Brooks Military School.

Samuel Austin built The Austin Co. into one of the largest construction firms in the United States. In 1911, Austin constructed a research facility in East Cleveland — the core of today’s Nela Park. With help from the Ford Motor Co., Austin designed and built a $60 million, 600-acre factory in the Soviet Union.

Newton D. Baker came to Cleveland in 1899 and was eventually elected mayor in 1911, a title he held for two terms. Baker was also a confidant of President Woodrow Wilson and secretary of the war in 1916. Baker returned to Cleveland and founded the law firm known today as Baker & Hostetler LLP.

In 13 years as managing partner at Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young), Richard T. Baker pushed the firm to achieve a national presence with 135 offices. He also served on the boards of directors for companies such as Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., General Electric Co., and the National Broadcasting Co.

Louis D. Beaumont and his brother-in-law, Col. David May, bought Cleveland’s E.R. Hull & Dutton Co. in 1899. Beaumont transformed the store into the May Co. and it went on to become the nation’s largest retail department-store chain.

From 1959, Jess Bell led his father Jesse G. Bell’s company, Bonne Bell Inc., to become one of the country’s top cosmetics manufacturers. Jess Bell is also known for his healthy lifestyle, a value reflected in his company, which offers in-house fitness centers and incentives to employees who exercise regularly, lose weight or quit smoking.

In 1912, Leon A. Beeghly formed the New York-based Buffalo Slag Co. whose blast-furnace slag was widely used in highway construction. Two years later, he opened Standard Slag Co. in Youngstown, which grew rapidly and expanded to 25 plants. Despite the Depression, Standard Slag grew, acquiring sand plants and limestone quarries.

In 1928, Italian-born Hector Boiardi sold packaged takeout dinners from his restaurant, Giardino d’Italia, near East Ninth Street. Despite the Depression, Boiardi’s operation outgrew three processing plants. As a marketing strategy, he spelled his name phonetically, making Chef Boy-ar-dee a household name.

Alva “Ted” Bonda returned from the U.S. Army in the mid-1940s and accepted a request that he manage an Avis Rent-a-Car franchise. Bonda became national chairman of the rental-car giant in 1968. He left to run the Airport Parking Co. of America (APCOA). By the time APCOA was sold in the late 1980s, it was the largest such company in the world.

In 1853, Alva Bradley and Ahira Cobb founded the shipyards of Bradley & Cobb on the Vermillion River. Bradley moved to Cleveland in 1859 and bought out Cobb. The business, later known as Cleveland & Buffalo Transit Co., amassed a fleet that captured much of the early iron-ore shipping on the Great Lakes.

Joseph M. Bruening’s company, Bearings Inc., distributed antifriction bearings and power-transmission components and built its success on commitment to service. By 1977, the company’s annual sales reached $200 million and eventually went on to become the largest bearings distributor in the world.

In 1879, Charles F. Brush improved electric arc lights with his patented open-coil dynamo (a precursor to the modern generator), making Cleveland the first city in the world to illuminate its streets extensively with electric lights.

H. Peter Burg began his career at FirstEnergy Corp. (then Ohio Edison) as a financial analyst trainee in 1968 and quickly moved up the ranks, serving as treasurer, vice president, senior vice president, and president and COO in 1996. He was named president and chairman in 1999.

As Cleveland’s first permanent pioneer, Lorenzo Carter settled near the riverbank in 1797 and became the city’s first leader, innkeeper, shipbuilder and policeman. Carter bought lots from the Connecticut Land Co. and by 1802, he owned much of what is now the East Bank of the Flats.

Part banker, part real estate mogul, in the  mid-1800s, Leonard Case Sr. led efforts to move a medical college from Willoughby to Cleveland and helped launch Cleveland University. After Case’s death, his son, Leonard Jr., donated $1 million to found the Case School of Applied Science, now part of Case Western Reserve University.

Henry Chisholm helped establish Cleveland’s reputation as a steel leader. After working for the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad in the 1850s, he joined Jones & Co., which rolled iron rails. He served as an investor and later as manager and president. The firm, renamed Cleveland Rolling Mill, introduced the Bessemer furnace.

Moses Cleaveland ventured to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on July 22, 1796. As director of the Connecticut Land Co., Cleaveland led the first surveying expedition of the company’s newly acquired property. A lawyer by trade, Cleaveland served in the Connecticut legislature and was also a general in the Connecticut militia.

After working for the Cleveland Iron Co., Jacob D. Cox Sr. entered a partnership with C.C. Newton in 1876 and began manufacturing the twist drill in Dunkirk, N.Y. He moved the company to Cleveland where it become a major part of the city’s industrial economy.

Frederick C. Crawford began working at Steel Products Co. sorting scrap for only 35 cents an hour. By 1933, he was president of the company, renamed Thompson Products Inc. (now TRW Corp.). Under Crawford, Thompson expanded its aircraft-parts manufacturing and helped launch the Cleveland National Air Races.

After testing tree-care concepts in a cemetery, tree preservationist John Davey published “The Tree Doctor in 1903,” detailing a municipality’s neglect of its trees and plant life. The Davey Institute of Tree Surgery (now the Davey Institute, which is part of Davey Tree Expert Co.) was created in 1909 to provide educational resources for its employees.

James C. Davis joined Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in 1946 and initiated the firm’s national growth by opening offices in Washington, D.C., and maneuvering the merger with McAfee. Davis was active in Cleveland’s civic affairs, supporting a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and speaking against racism to the Cleveland Bar Association.

A leader in the modern mall movement, Edward J. DeBartolo established DeBartolo Realty, creating shopping centers such as Boardman Plaza, Southern Park Mall and Randall Park Mall, and developments such as a Seven-Up bottling plant and residential homes for veterans in the 1940s and ‘50s

As Cleveland’s first industrialist Nathaniel Doan was elected one of three highway supervisors during the township’s first elections. He laid out the course of what became Detroit Avenue. He also managed a tavern and operated a baking-soda plant.

In 1900, Cyrus S. Eaton was given a job acquiring electric power franchises. He went on to finance and lead businesses including Republic Steel Co., The Sherwin-Williams Co. and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. In 1960, Eaton was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for promoting understanding between the capitalist West and the communist East.

In 1952, Henry F. Eaton and graphic designer John Dix left Industrial Publishing to form Dix & Eaton. Their advertising agency metamorphosed into a public relations firm in the 1970s, gaining a reputation for serving public companies.

In 1911, Joseph O. Eaton Jr. created Torbensen Gear & Axle Co. with Viggo Torbensen in Bloomfield, N.J. In 1915, Eaton moved Torbensen Gear to Cleveland, where it became Eaton Corp., one of the world’s most important automotive parts-makers.

In 1902, Alwin C. Ernst and his brother, Theodore, opened the accounting firm Ernst & Ernst where Alwin revolutionized accounting by packaging data into reports and analyses, providing business managers with information on marketing and business efficiency.

Thomas L. Fawick built a touring sedan, believed to be the first American-made four-door automobile and in 1936, organized Fawick Clutch Co. Fawick clutches were used by major automakers and in the landing gear of naval craft during World War II.

When Harvey Firestone glued rubber to the wheels of carriages from the Columbus Buggy Co., he knew that he had something. Firestone incorporated the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. in 1900 and partnered with Henry Ford soon after, making tires for his $500 automobile.

John D. Rockefeller’s enthusiasm for the oil business infected Henry M. Flagler, who became a partner in the Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler oil company. Recognizing its potential as a winter vacation spot, Flagler built the 642-mile Florida East Coast Railroad to connect his string of hotels.

Claud H. Foster created the Gabriel Co. in 1904 to manufacture the Gabriel Horn, a car horn he’d invented that was powered by exhaust gases. Foster then created the “Snubber” shock absorber and became well known for his expertise on how cars handled road shock.

In 1929, Tom M. Girdler helped create Republic Steel Corp. and became its first president and board chairman. Under his leadership, the company became a major producer of light alloy steel.

As president of Cleveland Trust from 1908 to 1923, Frederick H. Goff instituted policies and procedures that enhanced the bank’s reputation and financial status. He developed the concepts of the living trust and the community trust and established The Cleveland Foundation in 1914.

In 1882, Caesar A. Grasselli took over his father’s sulfuric acid plant, which moved to Cleveland to be closer to the oil-refining businesses that bought its products. The company built new plants, bought competitors and expanded into other chemicals to become the country’s second-largest producer of zinc.

After living in poverty in Austria-Hungary, Anton Grdina came to Cleveland and opened Grdina & Co., a hardware store in 1904. He helped organize the Slovenian Building and Loan Association and established the North American Building & Savings Co.

George Gund II took over his father’s business in 1916, the Gund Brewing Co. During the Depression, he strengthened his wealth by purchasing high-quality stocks at bargain prices. Gund became director of Cleveland Trust Bank in 1937, its president in 1941 and served as chairman of the board from 1962 to 1966.

In 1891, brothers Salmon P. and Samuel H. Halle purchased a hat and fur business, which they named Halle Bros. By the end of 1910, sales reached $1 million and the store became known for their benevolent and generous attitude toward employees.

In 1832, Truman P. Handy came to Cleveland to oversee the revival of the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie. Handy helped put the bank into receivership during the Panic of 1837. He was also an investor for several rail lines, helped reorganize Western Reserve College and incorporate the Case School of Applied Science.

After managing Theodore Roosevelt’s and William McKinley’s presidential campaignsMarcus A. Hanna took over his father-in-law’s coal business. The renamed M.A. Hanna Co. became a mining and shipping empire. Hanna was also appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1897, 1898 and 1904.

Under the leadership of H. Stuart Harrison, Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. increased its ore production fivefold and its earnings per share eightfold, expanded into foreign mining and became the first company to lessen the impact of inflation by tying iron-ore royalties to a price index.

In 1892, Willliam A. Harshaw formed the Cleveland Commercial Co. By 1900, he acquired partners and united his enterprises under the name Harshaw, Fuller & Goodwin Co. During Harshaw’s tenure, the company offered catalysts, ceramics, synthetic crystals and metallic soaps, and was the principal source of refined manganese ore during World War I.

For 40 years, former LTC Corp. chairman and CEO David H. Hoag was influential in the company’s growth and success, and his sales and marketing skills helped save the company from bankruptcy.

Liberty E. Holden bought The Plain Dealer in 1885. Holden’s family owned the paper until 1967, when his heirs sold it to the Newhouse family of New York. Today, it is Cleveland’s only daily newspaper and Ohio’s largest.

Allen C. Holmes is credited with major advancements in corporate law. A national expert in antitrust law, Holmes began his practice in 1944 at what is now Jones Day where he was named managing partner in 1975.

The W.H. Hoover Co. had specialized in leather horse collars until William Henry Hoover developed his vacuum cleaner in response to a friend’s asthma condition. In 1908 Hoover incorporated his Electric Suction Sweeper Co. and by 1919, the vacuum business was flourishing.

George M. Humphrey gave up his $300,000 salary as chairman of Cleveland’s M.A. Hanna Co. for the job of secretary of the Department of the Treasury for $22,500 in 1953. Humphrey also pushed for the creation of National Steel Corp., which grew into the country’s sixth-largest steelmaker.

After selling Pump Engineering Service Corp., William S. Jack and Ralph M. Heintz wooed 25 Cleveland machinists to California to start a company that made airplane starters. Jack & Heintz Inc. moved back to Cleveland and sales leapt to $120 million by 1943.

Influenced by Henry George’s “Social Problems,” former businessman Tom L. Johnson ran for public office in 1885 and was elected to the U.S. Congress twice in the 1890s. He was elected mayor four times before his death in 1911.

In 1819, Alfred Kelley was a state representative and chief proponent of a canal linking Lake Erie with the Ohio River. Kelley was instrumental in reviving Cleveland’s banking business and bringing railroads to the area.

In the 1940s, billionaire Fred Lennon met Cullen Crawford, an engineer who developed a pipe fitting dubbed the Swagelock. With a $500 loan, the two founded The Crawford Fitting Co. in 1947. The company, now called Swagelok, has about 3,000 employees and more than 25 facilities on three continents.

Alfred Lerner took over Equitable Bancorp. in 1981, which was acquired by Maryland National Bank. Under Lerner, the bank’s credit card division became MBNA and, in 1991, he took Maryland National Bank public. He and Carmen Policy also brought the beloved Browns back to Cleveland in 1999.

With money he earned building an electric motor for Herbert Henry Dow’s cement mill, John Lincoln started Elliott-Lincoln Electric Co. In 1907, James Lincoln joined his brother as a salesman for the renamed Lincoln Electric. John was also instrumental in establishing Reliance Electric Co.

Under Elmer Lindseth’s 22-year presidency beginning in 1945, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. grew from serving 357,000 customers to 620,000, and from generating 4.25 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to 12.3 billion. The company accomplished this growth through an aggressive marketing campaign, including a slogan that promoted Cleveland as “The Best Location in the Nation.”

Samuel Mather began his career as an apprentice in his father’s mining firm, the Cleveland Iron Co., which became part of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. Mather pioneered the concept of steel-industry integration and bought into steel companies and shipping fleets. When he died in 1931, he was the richest man in Ohio.

Under William G. Mather’s leadership, Cleveland-Cliffs diversified into iron ore-related industries, building charcoal blast furnaces and providing electricity to mining operations. Mather made his greatest contribution to Cleveland’s metal industries in 1930 when he and Cyrus Eaton formed Republic Steel Corp. by combining several steel companies in Youngstown.

Mark H. McCormack, founder, chairman and CEO of Cleveland-based International Management Group, transformed an entire industry and created modern professional sports management in 1960. Today, with 70 offices in 30 countries, IMG is the world’s largest athletic representation firm.

As a Navy officer during World War I, C. Bert McDonald was assigned to Cleveland and fell in love with the city, where he helped build McDonald & Company Investments in 1949. Today, the company still operates under its former chairman’s high ideals: extraordinary responsiveness, reliability and superior customer service.

Ruth Ratner Miller was the first female community-development director of Cleveland’s Department of Health in 1996. She was a civic leader, community advocate and heir to Forest City Enterprises. When Forest City purchased Terminal Tower, she headed the renovation into The Avenue at Tower City.

In 1913, Garrett Morgan organized the G.A. Morgan Hair Redefining Co. to market his hair-straightening compound, which he stumbled upon while mixing a solution to better lubricate sewing-machine needles at his sewing-machine shop. He also patented products such as the gas mask and the three-color traffic light.

In 1888, Liberty Holden loaned George Myers $2,000 to open a barbershop in the Hollenden House Hotel, a hub for the rich and powerful. Myers was a well-known political player. When Marcus Hanna needed votes for a Senate seat, Myers bribed Cleveland legislator William A. Clifford and procured an illegal victory for Hanna.

Charles A. Otis Jr. was known as “Mr. Cleveland” for contributing to the city’s growth in the first half of the 20th century. A steel salesman, Otis joined Addison Hough in 1895, then created the Otis & Hough partnership, an independent sales representative for large steel companies.

After one bankruptcy, Arthur L. Parker built Parker Appliance Co. into the world’s largest manufacturer of airplane parts. Parker died in 1945 and his widow, Helen, recruited S. Blackwell Taylor and Robert W. Cornell to help rebuild the company. In 1957, Parker Appliance acquired Hannifin Manufacturing Co. and Parker Hannifin Corp. was born.

Pat Parker’s insatiable curiosity led him to innovations, ideas and opportunities that allowed him to build Parker Hannifin Corp. from a $197 million mid-level manufacturer to a $2.5 billion global industrial maker of motion and control technologies by the time he retired in 1994.

Lionel A. Pile emigrated from Barbados to the United States in 1900. When Pile’s brother-in-law, O.H. Lewis, became ill, Pile took over his bakery, Hough Bakery. By 1927, he began adding one store each year for the next 20 years.

Leonard Ratner and his brothers Charles, Harry and Max bought a lumberyard called Buckeye Lumber in the 1920s. Renamed Forest City Materials Co., the company turned the lumberyard into home-improvement stores. Max and Leonard moved into the development business on their own before turning Forest City Enterprises over to their children in the 1970s.

During John W. “Jack” Reavis’ tenure at Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, the firm grew from 50 to 173 lawyers, and established its national reputation and scope in the 1960s. Reavis founded the Interracial Business Men’s Committee to defuse violence and racial tension and earned the Cleveland Medal for Public Service and the NAACP’s Human Rights Award.

After the three Richman brothers took over their father’s factory at East 55th Street in 1893, Richman Bros. became the first garment maker to sell “direct from the factory.” Their first retail store opened in 1903 and in 1907, the brothers opened additional retail outlets selling factory-produced men’s clothing directly to the customer.

J. French Robinson headed East Ohio Gas Co. when, in 1944, an explosion caused by ruptured liquefied-gas tanks killed 131 people. Robinson and his company earned the community’s respect for their willingness to fairly settle the claims arising from the disaster. During World War II, Robinson oversaw the allocation of natural gas for the Petroleum Industry War Council.

Larry Robinson took over his father’s business, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, when he died in the late 1950s. At its height, the chain included almost 100 stores in 12 states.

John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co. was the most powerful business organization in the country in the 1890s. He also made a lasting impact on Cleveland. The Rockefeller building was the city’s first skyscraper. The Rockefeller family made numerous gifts of money and land to Greater Cleveland, including Rockefeller Park and Forest Hill Park.

Maurice Saltzman, president of Bobbie Brooks Inc., founded Ritmore Sportswear Inc. in 1939. Bobbie Brooks grew to become one of the country’s largest clothing makers in the 1950s and ’60s. Its 120-person sales force went directly to 6,000 small-town shops and sold the company’s clothing line.

Jacob Sapirstein founded the Sapirstein Greeting Card Co., in 1932. In 1952, Sapirstein took the company public as American Greetings Corp. Today, American Greetings is the largest publicly held manufacturer of greeting cards and related gift items in the world.

In 1870, Henry A. Sherwin, Alanson T. Osborn and Edward Williams opened Sherwin-Williams & Co.’s first headquarters at 126 Superior St. They developed the world’s first reliable ready-mixed paint. By 1890, the company had enjoyed its first million-dollar sales year.

Bernie Shulman bought the 41-store Standard Drug chain in Cleveland for $2 million in 1962 and converted it to a self-serve, discount concept he developed with several partners, later known as Revco drug stores. In 1975, he opened Bernie Shulman’s, possibly the nation’s first “deep-discount” drug store.

Harry C. Smith helped found The Cleveland Gazzette in 1883 before serving three terms as a state representative and becoming the first black candidate for Ohio governor in 1926. As a legislator, Smith successfully sponsored The Ohio Civil Rights Act of 1894 and the Mob Violence Act of 1896.

The Smith brothers were the children of Dr. Albert W. Smith, who helped found the Dow Chemical Corp. Kelvin, the youngest, and Francis Nason developed the first compressed-air applicator in 1928. Older brothers Kent and Vincent brought their chemical-engineering and law degrees to the ventures. The result: Graphite Oil Products, later renamed The Lubrizol Corp.

Andrew Squire formed the world-class law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in 1890. Squire incorporated Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and what would become Union Carbide Corp., among other concerns.

In 1850, state Rep. Alfred E. Kelley asked Amasa Stone to build the Cleveland-to-Columbus link of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. Stone did the building and became president of the line. He subsequently built and headed the Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula and the Chicago & Milwaukee lines.

Though his father, Jacob Sapirstein, started American Greetings Corp., it was Irving I. Stone who suggested the company could accrue more profit by printing and distributing its own line of cards. Stone helped expand the fledgling enterprise’s sales efforts and helped his family grow the company into the international greeting-card giant that by 1940 recorded sales of $1 million.

“It means a lot when a downtown is alive,” said Herbert Strawbridge, former CEO of the Higbee Co. This philosophy inspired Strawbridge’s Cleveland business ventures, including the success of Higbee’s, and what became the modern-day Flats in the 1970s.

Vernon B. Stouffer opened the first of a chain of restaurants called Stouffer’s Lunch with his father. Joined by his brother Gordon in 1925, Stouffer elevated the family lunch-counter trade into a national chain of restaurants, motor inns and food-service operations. In 1954, Stouffer’s opened a production plant in Solon.

Machinists Ambrose Swasey and Worcester R. Warner shared a fascination for telescopes and optical equipment and set up their own machine-tool business in Chicago in 1880. They came to Cleveland in 1881 and in the next 100 years, their company, Warner & Swasey Co., became known worldwide for its turret lathes and telescopes.

George Jackson “Jack” Tankersley served as chairman of East Ohio Gas Co. in 1973 and chairman of Consolidated Natural Gas, East Ohio’s parent company. Tankersley increased the company’s gas production, automated services and stepped up gas and oil exploration at CNG. During the energy crisis of the mid-1970s, he spoke out on the need for price deregulation and energy conservation.

Frank E. Taplin founded Cleveland and Western Coal Co. (later renamed North American Coal Corp.) with his brother, Charles, in 1912. As his company acquired mines, Taplin began using railroads to ship his raw materials. He purchased the Pittsburgh & West Virginia line in 1923.

In the late 1800s, Sophie Strong Taylor, widow to John Livingstone Taylor, ran the William Taylor & Son Co. Her religious convictions guided her management for 44 years. She insisted the store be closed on Sundays and carry Bibles in every language that was spoken in Cleveland’s melting pot.

The Taylor Chair Co., founded by William O. Taylor, dates back to Bedford Township chair-maker Benjamin Fitch. In 1816, Fitch started making a “splint-bottom chair.” Taylor started working with Fitch and in 1844 began the W.O. Taylor Chair Factory.

In 1905, Charles E. Thompson bought controlling interest in the company that would later be known as TRW Inc. At the time, what was then Cleveland Cap Screw Co. was a modest operation specializing in welding automobile chassis and bicycle parts. Thompson infused the company with his technological vision, making TRW a world leader in precision-engineered automotive and aerospace components.

After he entered the Ohio Bar in 1827, David Tod’s first major business investment was to build a canal connecting the Ohio and Erie Canal with the Ohio River, breathing life into Mahoning Valley. Tod was elected president of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad, became postmaster of Warren and was elected to the Ohio Senate and appointed minister to Brazil by President Polk.

Richard Tullis moved to Cleveland in 1956 to become vice president of Harris Intertype Corp. (now Harris Corp.). During his tenure as chairman, president and CEO, the company grew from $41 million to $2 billion in sales.

Creators of Shaker Heights and the Terminal Tower, brothers Oris P. and Mantis J. Van Sweringen reshaped Cleveland and started the march to the suburbs in the late 1800s. They bought lots in the Shaker area and built their own streetcar line into the new community.

In 1854, Jeptha Wade negotiated a merger that consolidated telegraph routes covering the five states north of the Ohio River into the Speed & Wade Telegraph Lines. The company became the Western Union Telegraph Co., providing the first consistent long-distance communication. Wade moved to Cleveland in 1856 to serve as the system’s general agent.

Raymond John Wean created the Wean Engineering Co. in 1929, and became an influential powerhouse in the production of steel. The mill equipment Wean Engineering developed and manufactured helped revolutionize steel production in America. His name appears on more than 25 patents, and his machines helped combine and improve mill processes.

A giant among the city’s technological wizards, Samuel T. Wellman patented his open-hearth, iron-melting furnace charging machine and launched a new era in steel making. In 1896, Wellman, along with his brother Charles and John W. Seaver, formed the Wellman-Seaver Engineering Co., later the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co.

In 1935, the Westropp sisters were the co-founders of what was to become the Women’s Federal Savings Bank, the first savings and loan association in the world to be created, managed and staffed almost entirely by women.

In 1900, Rollin White’s company, the White Motor Co., produced its first car — the White Steamer — and first truck. After his father died in 1914, White left the company. Two years later he organized Cleveland Tractor Co., designing many tractors himself, while running the company.

Thomas H. White invented a hand-operated, single-thread sewing machine and, in 1866, brought his White Manufacturing Co. to Cleveland for better access to materials and machining skills. Within 10 years, the company became known as White Sewing Machine Co. and Cleveland had become the world center of the sewing-machine industry.

Alexander Winton made Cleveland the center of the American automobile-manufacturing industry. By 1898, the Winton Motor Carriage Co. was cranking out the first standard-production cars made in America. To assuage public doubt about his vehicle’s safety and reliability, Winton drove from Cleveland to New York in 1899 and made the first coast-to-coast automobile trip.

Bart Wolstein’s imprint is all over Northeast Ohio. Through his real estate development companies, Wolstein not only built more than 100 shopping centers nationwide, but is responsible for the Renaissance office building in Cleveland, Barrington Golf Club in Aurora, Glenmoor Country Club near Canton and the Bertram Inn & Conference Center in Aurora.

In 1834, George Worthington came to Cleveland from Utica, N.Y., planning to tap the new market for hardware that Ohio Canal construction was creating. Worthington quickly became a millionaire supplying the construction workers’ needs. The company’s growth was entirely internally generated: Worthington didn’t believe in mergers.

The third African-American to receive a degree from Antioch College, J. Walter Wills Sr. became a partner in the Gee & Wills Funeral Co. in 1904. When the partnership dissolved, he opened J.W. Wills & Sons and moved to East 55th Street, calling it the House of Wills. Wills also helped organize the Cleveland Board of Trade, the city’s first organization of African-American businesses.

Cleveland settler Lorenzo Carter just one of stories included in Cleveland Heights history class Plain Dealer

By Mike Kezdi, special to Sun News 
on September 24, 2013 at 10:25 AM
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Tom L. Johnson was mayor of Cleveland from 1901-1909. He is one of many people discussed in “Cleveland Stories: An Informal Look at Cleveland’s Past” taught by Cleveland Heights resident Marian Morton using materials provided by 

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – Moses Cleaveland is credited with founding Cleveland in 1796, but he never actually settled here.

It was Lorenzo Carter, who arrived in 1797 almost a year after Cleaveland and built a log cabin on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River.

He is also credited with owning acres of land on both the east and west sides of the river, he built the first log warehouse, his family owned the first frame house in Cleveland, and he served as a major in the Ohio Militia.

Carter’s story marks the beginning of Cleveland history, in a Case Western Reserve University adult education class taught by Marian Morton, which starts Thursday, Sept. 26, in Cleveland Heights.

“I think you should know something about the place that you live,” said Morton, a Cleveland Heights resident.

One of the biggest proponents of adult education in Cleveland was the city’s 37thmayor and former U.S. Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker. After returning to Cleveland from his service to the nation, Baker took up the mantle for advancing adult education.

Mike Baron, of Beachwood, a co-founder of, says that Baker’s work in adult education is an appropriate segue into why Case Western is offering “Cleveland Stories: An Informal Look at Cleveland’s Past.”

Baker was the father of adult education in Northeast Ohio,” Baron said.

According to the article, “Newton D. Baker and the Adult Education Movement” by Rae Wahl Rohfeld from the Ohio Historical Journal, available at and also found on, Baker helped create the Cleveland College an affiliation of Western Reserve University, the YMCA and the Case Institute of Technology.

Baron says based on that alone, it’s fitting that this course is offered as an Off-Campus Studies course in The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.

The program, taught by Morton, starts at 7 p.m. and continues Thursdays through Nov. 14 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd. Cleveland Heights.

“The history of Cleveland is seldom taught in colleges and universities,” said Morton, professor emeritus of history at John Carroll University. “It’s never taught in an adult education class.”

She spent almost 40 years teaching at John Carroll. Among those courses was one about Cleveland history. This is the first time she is teaching a Cleveland history class for adults.

The class, she says will be mostly discussion, like a book club, based on a series of essays compiled by Baron from the website. A book of the compiled essays is available at the class and is included in the $75 registration fee.

“We (Teaching Cleveland) would like to see a little bit of scholarship about Cleveland,” Baron said.

He went on to say that the now three-year-old website has numbers to prove that people are interested in history of the region. The site gets an estimated 40,000 page reads a month.

Baron approached Morton about teaching the program and she is looking forward to class.

“It’s fun to have a classroom full of grown-ups. People who were born before Bill Clinton was president,” Morton said.

The bulk of the course is about important people in Cleveland history from Carter, to at least the 1980s, Baron says.

“Everyone will find what they are looking for,” he said.

When pressed, to select his favorite time period in Cleveland history, Baron pointed to the period from 1870 to the Depression. Baron referred to the Cleveland in the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era as “mind blowing.”

“Cleveland was an amazing dynamic,” he said. “The talent that was in Northeast Ohio was just terrific.”

That included the likes of Mark Hanna, John D. Rockefeller, Amasa Stone and Baker.

Also included in the course are essays about several civic issues in Cleveland history including, “How Cleveland Women Got the Vote – and What They Did with It” about women’s suffrage, which is written by Morton.

A good sample of what the class will cover can be found under the Cleveland Stories tab at Registration is still open and can be made by visiting and clicking on the Off Campus Studies link or by calling 216-216-368-5145.

As for Carter, it’s worth noting, his other accomplishments include building a 30-ton schooner named Zephyr, which helped expand regular trade to the east and he is credited with opening the first tavern in the city.

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