CLEVELAND: AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW from Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (1987)

From Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (1987)


Editor’s Note: This text comprises the preface to the first printed edition (1987) of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and as such its history of the city ends in 1987.   It was written by several historians who had extensive expertise in the city’s history for different time periods.  Robert Wheeler of Cleveland State University (1796 to 1860 section);  Robert Weiner of Cuyahoga Community College (1861-1929 section); and Carol Poh (Miller) (1931 to 1980s section).   

The link is here


Timeline of Cleveland/NE Ohio

Cleveland Timeline

1796 – July 22. U.S. General Moses Cleaveland from the Connecticut Land Company surveys the Western Reserve. 3.3 million-acre piece of land on the shores of Lake Erie is called the “Western Reserve.”

1797 – May 2. Lorenzo Carter arrives at original town site as the city’s first permanent settler. Built a log cabin on the East Bank of the Cuyahoga River that also served as the village’s jail and inn.

1802 – First census of Cleaveland Township shows 76 males over the age of 21.

1814 – December 23. Cleaveland receives its charter as a village.

1820 – Population of Cleaveland is 606 people. The population of Cuyahoga County is 6,328.

1831 – January 6. The Cleveland Advertiser changes the spelling of the village’s name to Cleveland, dropping the first “a” in order to fit the General’s name upon the newspaper masthead.

1832 – Ohio and Erie Canal completed to the Ohio River.

1836 – Cleveland incorporated as an official city.

1850 – Population of Cleveland is 17,034 people. The population of Cuyahoga County is 48,099.

1866 – Sherwin Williams Company established.

1868 – September 6. First “blow” of Bessemer steel made at the Cleveland Rolling Mills.

1869 – First professional baseball game in Cleveland played by the Forest City team. Cleveland Public Library established. Lake View Cemetery opens.

1870 – January 10. Standard Oil Company established by John D. Rockefeller. February 3. Cleveland’s population – 92,829 (15th largest city in nation).

1879 – April 29. Arc light (forerunner to electric streetlight) installed on Public Square by Charles F. Brush. Forest City, Cleveland’s professional baseball team, joins the National League.

1888 – First electric streetcar runs in the city.

1890 – Cleveland is the 10th largest city in the nation with a population of 261,353 people. The Arcade, one of the nation’s first indoor shopping center, opens.

1901 – The Cleveland Blues, predecessor to the Cleveland Indians, are established as a charter member of the new American League.

1915 – Playhouse Settlement, forerunner to Karamu House, is found by Russell and Rowena Jelliffe.

1916 – Cleveland Museum of Art opens. First production by the Cleveland Play House.

1917 – Cleveland Metroparks created.

1918 – The world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra performs its first concert.

1920 – Cleveland is the 5th largest city in the nation with a population of 796, 841 people. The Cleveland Indians win their first World Series.

1921 – Cleveland Clinic founded.

1925 – Cleveland Municipal Airport (now Cleveland Hopkins International Airport) opens. University Hospitals established.

1931 – Cleveland Municipal Stadium opens with the Schmeling-Stribling boxing match. Severance Hall dedicated.

1933 – Clevelanders Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster create the comic book character Superman.

1935 – Eliot Ness becomes Safety Director of Cleveland.

1936 – Clevelander Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at Berlin Olympics. Cleveland Barons hockey team established.

1937 – Cleveland Rams begin play in the National Football League (NFL).

1945 – Cleveland Rams win NFL championship then move to Los Angeles.

1946 – Cleveland Browns begin play in new All-American Football Conference (AAFC). Win all four championship titles in conference history. (1946-1949).

1948 – Cleveland Indians win their second World Series.

1950 – Cleveland Browns join the NFL and win the NFL championship. Browns also win titles in 1954-1955 and 1964 (their last NFL title). Cleveland’s population reaches 914,808 (highest ever).

1952 – Alan Freed, Cleveland radio deejay, coins the term “Rock n’ Roll.” First rock n’ roll concert, The Moondog Coronation Ball, is held in Cleveland.

1967 – Carl B. Stokes elected mayor of Cleveland. He is the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city.

1970 – Cleveland Cavaliers enter the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an expansion team.

Late 1970s – PlayhouseSquare renovation project complete.

1986 – Cleveland selected as site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

1990 – March 29. The Avenue at Tower City Center opens.

1991 – Key Tower is completed on Public Square. At 948 feet, it is the tallest building between New York City and Chicago.

1993 – Cleveland named All-American City for fifth time. All-American City in 1949, 1982, 1984, 1986.

1994 – Gateway Sports Entertainment Complex (Jacobs Field and Gund Arena) opens.

1995 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens. Cleveland Indians win their first American League pennant in 41 years and make their 4th World Series appearance.

1996 – Cleveland celebrates its Bicentennial. Great Lakes Science Center opens.

1997 – Cleveland Indians win the American League pennant and return to the World Series. Cleveland hosts the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

1999 – August 21. The new Cleveland Browns Stadium opens with the historic return of the Cleveland Browns.

Timeline adapted from


Timeline below is from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The link is here

The History of Cleveland History Timeline

1796 Moses Cleaveland and survey party arrive 22 July.
1797 First wedding held in the settlement of Cleaveland (as the village was known until 1831).
First white baby born to Tabitha Stiles.
Lorenzo Carter, prominent early settler, arrives.
1798 Nathaniel Doan settles what will become “Doan’s Corners.”
1800 Cleveland population–7.
David and Gilman Bryant open the community’s first distillery.
Trumbull County created, with Cleveland located in that county.
1801 A grand ball is held 4 July.
1802 First census of Cleveland Township shows 76 free male inhabitants over the age of 21.
1803 Ohio admitted to the Union.
Mail service extended to Cleveland.
1805 The community’s first postmaster, Elisha Norton, appointed.
Indian claims are cleared to the lands west of the Cuyahoga River.
Geauga County created, with Cleveland located in that county.
1806 Moses Cleaveland dies in Connecticut.
1807 First Presbyterian Church in what is now East Cleveland is founded; it is the second church in the entire Western Reserve.
1808 Lorenzo Carter builds the Zephyr, first ship to be launched in Cleveland.
Samuel Huntington elected governor of Ohio.
1809 George Peake arrives in what is now Lakewood/Rocky River, the area’s first African-American settler.
Euclid Township created.
1810 Cleveland population–57 (approximate).
Cuyahoga County organized; Cleveland selected as county seat.
David Long, the community’s first doctor, arrives.
1812 John O’Mic, a native American implicated in a murder, is first person to be executed in Cleveland.
1813 Oliver Hazard Perry wins the Battle of Lake Erie at Put-in-Bay.
Cleveland’s first courthouse completed.
1814 Cleveland receives its charter as a village 23 December.
Lorenzo Carter dies.
Newburgh Township created.
1815 Alfred Kelley elected first president of the village of Cleveland.
Euclid Avenue laid out.
1816 Commercial Bank of Lake Erie opens in Cleveland.
Trinity Episcopal Parish organized.
First divorce in the community granted.
1818 Walk-in-the-Water, first steamship on Lake Erie, serves Cleveland.
First newspaper, the Cleaveland Gazette and Commercial Register, published 31 July.
Royalton Township created.
1819 The Cleveland Herald and Gazette publishes its first issue 19 October.
1820 Cleveland population–606.
Cuyahoga County population–6,328.
First Presbyterian Church (Old Stone) organized.
The first theatrical performance held 23 May.
1822 North Union Shaker colony established in what is now Shaker Heights.
A free bridge is opened across the Cuyahoga River.
1825 Construction of Ohio and Erie Canal 
Federal funds received for river improvement.
1826 St. Mary’s, the community’s first Catholic church, is organized.
Land is purchased for Erie Street Cemetery.
1827 Ohio and Erie Canal opens between Akron and Cleveland 4 July.
Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Co. organized.
1828 Cleveland’s second courthouse opened.
1829 First public market opens on Ontario Street.
First lighthouse begins operation.
1830 Cleveland population–1,075.
Cuyahoga County population–10,373.
First temperance society, Cuyahoga County Temperance Society, organized.
Western Seaman’s Friend Society, an ancestor of today’s Center for Human Services, organized.
St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church organized.
1831 The Cleveland Advertiser “officially” changes the spelling of the community’s name to Cleveland.
James A. Garfield born in Orange Township.
1832 Ohio and Erie Canal completed to the Ohio River.
A free school for blacks organized.
Major cholera epidemic takes fifty lives.
Dunham Tavern opens.
1833 First Baptist Society organized.
1835 Benjamin Strickland, the community’s first dentist, arrives.
1836 Cleveland and City of Ohio (Ohio City) incorporated as official cities.
John Willey elected first mayor of Cleveland.
Josiah Barber elected first mayor of Ohio City.
“Bridge War” between Cleveland and Ohio City takes place.
1837 Cleveland Female Orphan Asylum opens.
Cleveland Grays organized.
Bedford Village incorporated.
Cuyahoga County Anti-Slavery Society organized.
1838 St. John’s Episcopal Church completed in Ohio City.
1839 First group of Jewish settlers comes to Cleveland under the leadership of Moses Alsbacher.
1840 Cleveland population–6,071 (45th largest city in nation).
Ohio City population–1,577.
Cuyahoga County population–26,506.
Globe Theater opens.
1842 Plain Dealer begins publication 7 January.
1843 Cleveland Medical College established.
1844 Steamship Empire built in Cleveland.
Village of Chagrin Falls incorporated.
1845 City Bank of Cleveland (forerunner of National City Corp.) founded.
Chagrin Falls Township created.
Cleveland Academy of Natural Science established.
1846 Anshe Chesed Congregation (today’s Fairmount Temple) erects city’s first synagogue.
Germania, the community’s first German language newspaper, published.
Central High School established 13 July.
1847 Catholic Diocese created in Cleveland 23 April.
The city’s most notable hotel, the Weddell House, opens 25 June.
First telegraph line–from Cleveland to Pittsburgh–completed.
1848 Cornerstone for St. John Cathedral laid 22 October.
Board of Trade, forerunner of the Growth Association, established.
Cleveland Library Association chartered.
1849 Society for Savings (forerunner of Society Corp.) founded.
Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad runs first train in the city.
First street light installed.
National Meeting of the Free Soil party held in Cleveland 13 July.
1850 Cleveland population–17,034.
Ohio City population–6,375.
Cuyahoga County population–48,099.
Organized harness racing begins.
Cleveland Ladies Temperance Union founded.
Berea incorporated as a village.
Cleveland Iron Mining Co. established.
1851 In Zion Lutheran Church, first Christmas tree displayed.
Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad completed.
1852 Louis Kossuth visits Cleveland.
1853 First African American newspaper, The Aliened-American, published 9 April.
The Cleveland Theater opens.
Federal District Court of the Northern District of Ohio established.
1854 Cleveland and Ohio City merge 5 June.
First formal opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, performed 25 July.
Cleveland Leader begins publication 16 March.
Cuyahoga County People’s (Republican) Party formed in September.
1855 Sault Canal opens.
Baldwin University founded in Berea.
1856 Water system begins operation.
1857 Omnibus service begins in the city.
Village of Olmsted Falls incorporated.
Public Square enclosed by fences.
1858 First sewer constructed.
Cleveland (Bank) Clearinghouse established.
1859 Oberlin-Wellington Rescuers’ trial held in Cleveland.
1860 Cleveland population–43,417.
Cuyahoga County population–178,033.
Horsecar service inaugurated.
Perry Monument on Public Square dedicated 10 September.
Typographical Workers Union, Local 53 (Cleveland’s oldest existing trade union in 1996) receives its charter.
1861 Bagby Fugitive Slave case heard in Cleveland Federal Court.
Abraham Lincoln visits Cleveland 15 February.
1863 German Wallace College established in Berea.
First home delivery of mail takes place in Cleveland 1 July.
Cleveland Republican John Brough elected governor of Ohio.
1865 Lincoln’s body lies in state on Public Square.
Charity Hospital opens.
Forest City amateur baseball club established.
1866 Union Depot opens on lakefront.
Cleveland Police Department established.
1867 Western Reserve Historical Society formed.
First history of Cleveland published, that of Charles Whittlesey.
Case Hall opens.
1868 First “blow” of Bessemer Steel made at the Cleveland Rolling Mills 6 September.
Jewish Orphan Asylum (predecessor of Bellefaire) opens.
1869 First professional baseball game played by the Forest City team.
Cleveland Public Library established.
Lake View Cemetery opens.
1870 Cleveland population–92,829 (15th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–132,010.
Standard Oil Co. created 10 January.
Sherwin-Williams Co. created 3 February.
Northern Ohio Fair Association established.
1871 Board of Park Commissioners created.
Cleveland Sunday Times, first successful Sunday paper, published 15 October.
1872 Horse epidemic, the Epizootic, takes place.
Union Club formed.
1873 Cleveland Bar Association established.
Newburgh annexed to Cleveland.
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers moves its national offices to Cleveland.
John P. Green installed as Justice of the Peace, first African-American to hold elective office in Cleveland.
1874 Woman’s Christian Temperance League established.
1875 Euclid Avenue Opera House opens.
The Greenback Party holds its organizing convention in Cleveland.
1876 Archibald Willard exhibits the “Spirit of 76.”
1877 General railroad strikes take place.
Troop A (“First Cleveland Cavalry”) formed to protect the city against strikers.
Cleveland branch of Socialist Labor Party organized.
1878 Superior Street Viaduct opens 28 December.
Penny Press, predecessor to the Cleveland Press, begins publication 2 November.
Women’s and Children’s Dispensary opens.
1879 Brush arc light installed on Public Square 29 April.
Early Settlers Association formed 19 November.
Cleveland’s professional baseball team joins the National League.
1880 Cleveland population–160,146 (12th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–196,943.
Cleveland Telephone Co. begins service.
Case School of Applied Sciences established.
Civil Engineers Club (later the Cleveland Engineering Society) formed.
The west breakwall completed.
1881 James Garfield lies in state on Public Square after being assassinated.
Cleveland stockyards open.
Hungarian Benevolent and Social Union (HBSU) formed.
1882 Western Reserve College moves to Cleveland.
Cleveland School of Art established, 13 November.
First Cleveland Rolling Mill strike takes place.
1884 First electric streetcar run in the city, 26 July.
Cleveland Electric Light Co. formed.
1885 Second Cleveland Rolling Mill strike takes place.
Hollenden Hotel opens 7 June.
Mary P. Spargo becomes first female lawyer in Cleveland.
1886 St. Ignatius College opens 6 September.
Board of Elections organized.
Altenheim opens.
Cleveland Athletic Club formed 6 February.
1887 American Institute of Architects, Cleveland Chapter, formed.
Cleveland Press Club established.
1888 Central Viaduct opens.
Statue of Moses Cleaveland dedicated on Public Square.
1889 First edition of Hebrew Observer published 5 July.
Cleveland World begins publication 29 August.
South Brooklyn (Brooklyn) Village incorporated.
1890 Cleveland population–261,353 (10th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–309,970.
Society for Savings Building opens 23 June.
The Arcade opens.
Garfield Monument dedicated in Lake View Cemetery.
First cable cars run in Cleveland.
Beeman’s Pepsin Gum introduced.
1891 National League Park (League Park) opens 1 May.
Hungarian-language newspaper, Szabadsag, published.
Halles Department Store opens.
Cleveland adopts the Federal Plan of municipal government.
The Cleveland Citizen, “American’s oldest labor paper” begins publishing 31 January.
Winton Bicycle Co. established.
1892 Central breakwall completed.
Rowfant Club established.
Tavern Club established.
1893 Cleveland and Buffalo line starts lake steamer service.
Grays Armory opens.
1894 Soldiers and Sailors Monument dedicated.
Polish Roman Catholic Union of the Sacred Heart of the Blessed Virgin (predecessor to Union of Poles) established.
1895 Alta House Kindergarten opens.
Euclid Beach opens.
First interurban, Akron, Bedford, and Cleveland, begins service.
Alliance of Transylvanian Saxons founded.
East Cleveland incorporated as a village.
Cleveland Spiders win Temple Cup in baseball.
1896 Cleveland celebrates its centennial.
Hiram House established.
1897 Winton Motor Carriage Co. started.
Bohemian National Hall opens.
1898 University Club opens 8 June.
1899 Streetcar strike.
1900 Cleveland population–381,768 (7th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–439,120.
Cleveland Automobile Club established.
First White steam car produced.
1901 The Cleveland Blues (predecessor to the Cleveland Indians) are established as one of the first teams in the new American League.
Tom Johnson elected mayor of Cleveland.
Cleveland resident Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley.
1902 First local Parent Teachers Association established.
Village of Linndale incorporated.
Date of municipal and county elections changed from first Tuesday in April to first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
1903 Group Plan unveiled.
Hanna-McCormick wedding takes place in Cleveland, President Theodore Roosevelt attends.
The Village of Bay (Bay Village) achieves village status.
Bratenahl Village incorporated.
Brooklyn Heights Village incorporated.
Cleveland Heights Village incorporated.
Euclid Village incorporated.
Lakewood Village incorporated.
Rocky River Village incorporated.
1904 Marcus A. Hanna dies.
First Italian-language newspaper, L’Italiano, established.
First official “nest” (No. 23) of the Sokol Polski formed in Cleveland.
Workmens Circle organization established.
A. M. McGregor Home established.
Newburgh Heights incorporated as a village.
Cleveland’s first building code written.
1905 First issue of the Cleveland News published 12 June.
Glenville City annexed to Cleveland.
South Brooklyn annexed to Cleveland.
1906 George Crile performs first successful human blood transfusion.
Cleveland street names and house numbers changed and standardized 1 December.
1907 Trinity Cathedral consecrated 24 September.
Hippodrome Theater opens.
Cleveland Zoo begins move from Wade Park to Brookside Park (completed 1914).
1908 Collinwood School Fire.
Village of North Olmsted incorporated.
North Randall Village incorporated.
Idlewood Village (University Heights) incorporated.
1909 Workers Gymnastic Union (a Czech organization) formed.
Tom L. Johnson loses mayoral race to Hermann Baehr.
Corlett Village annexed to Cleveland.
1910 Cleveland population–560,663 (6th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–637,425.
Cleveland annexes Collinwood.
Tayler Grant for the operation of Cleveland’s street railways goes into effect.
Village of Fairview (Fairview Park) incorporated.
Thomas W. Fleming becomes first African-American member of City Council.
Federal Building opens on Public Square as first Group Plan structure.
1911 Cleveland Music School Settlement opens.
Tom L. Johnson dies, 11 April.
Phillis Wheatley Association founded.
East Cleveland becomes a city.
Lakewood achieves city status.
Shaker Heights Village incorporated.
Dover Village (Westlake) incorporated.
1912 Cleveland City Club formed.
Junior League established.
Village of Nottingham annexed to Cleveland.
1913 Home Rule City Charter approved by Cleveland voters.
1914 Cleveland Foundation established.
Cleveland chosen as the Fourth District headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Brook Park Village incorporated.
Independence Village incorporated.
Cleveland Municipal Light Plant goes into operation.
1915 Russell and Rowena Jelliffe found the “Playhouse Settlement,” forerunner of today’s Karamu House.
Beachwood Village incorporated.
Maple Heights Village incorporated.
1916 First production by the Cleveland Play House.
Cleveland Museum of Art opens.
Women’s City Club established.
Cleveland City Hall dedicated.
1917 Detroit-Superior (Veterans Memorial) High Level Bridge opens.
Cleveland Metroparks organized.
Euclidville (Lyndhurst) incorporated as a village.
Claribel (Richmond Heights) incorporated as a village.
Solon Village incorporated.
South Euclid Village incorporated.
Negro Welfare Association (forerunner of the Urban League) founded in December.
1918 First concert of the Cleveland Orchestra held 11 December.
Federal Court trial of Eugene Debs in Cleveland.
Cuyahoga Heights incorporated as a village.
1919 May Day Riots in Cleveland.
Voters approve placement of a new railroad terminal on Public Square.
Community Fund campaign inaugurated.
Women’s Advertising Club founded.
Valley View Village created.
1920 Cleveland population–796,841 (5th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–943,495.
Cleveland Indians win the World Series.
The Cleveland Call, forerunner of the Call & Post, established.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History established.
League of Women Voters founded 26 April.
Gates Mills Village incorporated.
Highland Heights Village incorporated.
1921 Mayfield Village incorporated.
State, Ohio, Allen, and Hanna theaters open.
Cleveland Clinic established.
Cleveland Heights becomes a city.
1922 WHK begins radio broadcasting in Cleveland.
Public Auditorium dedicated 15 April.
Palace Theater opens 6 November.
Brecksville Village incorporated.
Cleveland’s first sewage treatment plant built.
1923 Federal Reserve bank building completed.
WTAM (forerunner of WWWE) established.
1924 City Manager System of government goes into effect.
Republican National Convention held in Cleveland; nominates Calvin Coolidge as its presidential candidate.
Union Trust (Huntington Building) opens.
Metropolitan Opera of New York begins its annual series of visits to Cleveland.
Hunting Valley incorporated as a village.
Parma incorporated as a village.
Pepper Pike incorporated as a village.
1925 New Public Library building opens.
Cleveland airport (now Hopkins International) opens.
University Hospitals incorporated.
First buses used in Cleveland.
1926 Allen Memorial Medical Library opens.
Broadview Heights Village incorporated.
Riveredge Township created.
Constitutionality of local zoning laws upheld in the case of Village of Euclid vs. Ambler Realty.
1927 Ohio Bell Telephone Building opens on Huron Road.
Drury Theater opens.
North Royalton Village incorporated.
Seven Hills Village incorporated.
Strongsville Village incorporated.
Warrensville Heights Village incorporated.
1928 Brush Foundation established.
Maternal Health Association (now Planned Parenthood of Cleveland) established.
Village of Orange incorporated.
1929 Cleveland Clinic disaster occurs 15 May.
National Air Races first held in Cleveland.
Bentleyville Village incorporated.
Moreland Hills Village incorporated.
1930 Cleveland population–900,429 (5th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–1,201,455.
Cleveland Union Terminal dedicated.
WGAR starts broadcasting 15 December.
Bedford incorporated as a city.
Berea incorporated as a city.
Euclid achieves city status.
Garfield Heights achieves city status.
Rocky River achieves city status.
1931 Cleveland Municipal Stadium opens with the Schmeling-Stribling fight.
Severance Hall dedicated.
Samuel Mather dies.
Parma achieves city status.
Shaker Heights achieves city status.
1932 Real Property Inventory of Metropolitan Cleveland begun by Howard Whipple Green.
Maple Heights achieves city status.
City Manager plan replaced by Mayor/Council form of government.
Cosmopolitan Democratic League of Cuyahoga County formed in November.
1933 Depression-era unemployment peaks in Cleveland: nearly one-third of the city’s workers jobless.
Cleveland (now Cuyahoga) Metropolitan Housing Authority established.
1935 Shostakovich opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk receives its American premiere at Severance Hall.
Eliot Ness becomes Safety Director of Cleveland.
Women’s Federal Savings and Loan established.
Future Outlook League established by John Holly.
Cleveland Torso Murder mystery begins.
1936 Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at Berlin Olympic Games.
Cleveland Barons hockey team established.
Great Lakes Exposition opens.
Republican National Convention nominates Alf Landon as its presidential candidate in Cleveland.
Fluorescent lighting introduced at NELA Park.
UAW Local 45 organized at General Motors’s Fisher Body Plant.
1937 Cleveland Arena opens.
Cleveland Rams begin to play professional football.
John D. Rockefeller dies.
Public housing projects open at Outhwaite, Cedar-Central, and Lakeview Terrace.
1938 Last interurban train (Lakeshore Electric) runs from Cleveland.
Shoreway opens between East 9th Street and Gordon Park.
WBOE, school radio station, begins broadcasting.
1939 Main Avenue Bridge opens 6 October.
First night baseball game played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
First Festival of Freedom held.
35,000 attend mass dedication of Cultural Gardens (begun in 1916).
1940 Cleveland population–878,366 (6th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–1,217,250.
NACA, forerunner of NASA, established at the Cleveland airport.
Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigns in Cleveland 2 November.
University Heights achieves city status.
1941 Knights of Columbus Track Meet held in Cleveland for first time.
South Euclid achieves city status.
1942 Cleveland Transit System begins era of municipal operation of Cleveland’s public transit system 28 April.
Cleveland Bomber Plant (now the I-X Center) opens at Municipal Airport 2 November.
1944 East Ohio Gas Explosion claims 130 lives 20 October.
Woodmere Village incorporated.
1945 Cleveland Rams win NFL football title then move to Los Angeles.
Cleveland Community Relations Board formed to promote racial harmony.
1946 Cleveland Browns begin play in All-American Football Conference.
1947 Operations begin at the lakefront airport.
First successful defibrillation of a human heart by Dr. Claude S. Beck and colleagues at University Hospitals.
First telecast by WEWS, Ohio’s first television station.
Cuyahoga County Regional Planning Commission formed.
1948 Cleveland Indians win World Series.
1949 Cleveland named an All-America City for first time.
1950 Cleveland population–914,808 (highest ever, 7th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–1,389,532.
Browns enter the NFL and win the title.
Village of Bay (Bay Village) incorporated as a city.
Mayfield Heights incorporated as a city.
Cleveland City Council passes a Fair Employment Practices law, the first such city law in the United States.
1951 Bedford Heights incorporated as a village.
Fairview Park achieves city status.
Lyndhurst achieves city status.
Oakwood Village incorporated.
Walton Hills Village incorporated.
1953 Development of Southgate Shopping Center begins.
1954 Last streetcars run 24 January.
Marilyn Sheppard murdered in her Bay Village home.
1955 Rapid Transit begins operation.
1957 Westlake achieves city status.
1959 Parma Heights incorporated as a city.
St. Lawrence Seaway opens.
1960 Cleveland population–876,050 (8th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–1,647,895.
Erieview urban renewal plan unveiled 22 November.
Final issue of the Cleveland News published 23 January.
Brecksville achieves city status.
Broadview Heights achieves city status.
Independence achieves city status.
North Olmsted achieves city status.
Richmond Heights achieves city status.
Strongsville achieves city status.
Warrensville Heights achieves city status.
1961 William Taylor Son & Co. first major downtown department store to close.
Bedford Heights achieves city status.
Brook Park achieves city status.
Middleburg Heights incorporated as city.
North Royalton achieves city status.
Olmsted Falls achieves city status.
Seven Hills achieves city status.
Solon achieves city status.
1962 Innerbelt Freeway opens for its full length.
1963 Severance Center Mall opens.
1964 Cleveland State University established 18 December.
1965 WVIZ, educational television station, begins operation 7 February.
1966 Cuyahoga Community College opens its Metro Campus.
Hough Riots occur 18-24 July.
1967 First successful coronary artery bypass operation performed at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Rene Favaloro.
Carl B. Stokes elected as first black mayor of a major American city.
Highland Heights becomes a city.
1968 Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency formed.
Glenville Shootout, 23-28 July.
1969 The Palace Theater, last operating movie house on Playhouse Square, closes 20 July.
A burning oil slick on the Cuyahoga River attracts national attention, 22 June.
Euclid Beach closes 28 September.
Cleveland American Indian Center founded.
1970 Cleveland population–750,879 (12th largest city in nation).
Cuyahoga County population–1,720,835.
Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball team organized.
Pepper Pike achieves city status.
Twenty-First District Caucus organized.
1971 Cleveland Landmarks Commission established.
1972 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District formed from Cleveland’s sewer system and those of neighboring suburbs.
First issue of Cleveland Magazine published in April.
1973 Cleveland Barons play their last hockey game at the Arena 4 February.
1974 Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority established 30 December.
1976 Desegregation of the Cleveland Public Schools ordered by U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti.
First public performance by Cleveland Ballet.
1978 On 15 December Cleveland becomes first major American city to default on its obligations since the Depression.
1980  Cleveland population–573,822 (19th largest city in nation).
 Cuyahoga County population–1,498,400.
 Nationally televised Presidential Debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan held in Cleveland 28 October.
1981  City Council reduced from 33 to 21 members.
 Term of office for mayor and council members increased from 2 to 4 years.
1982   Ground broken for the Sohio (BP) Building on Public Square.
Last issue of Cleveland Press published 17 June.
 Cleveland named an All-America City for second time.
1983   United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 formed through the merger of three locals.
1984  Cleveland named an All-America City for third time. 
 Cuyahoga Works of United States Steel closes.
1986  Cleveland named an All-America City for fourth time. 
 Cleveland selected as site for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1987  Cleveland emerges from default.
1990  Cleveland population–505,616 (23rd largest city in the nation).
 Cuyahoga County population–1,412,140.
 Tower City Center formally opens 29 March.
1991  Society Center Building “topped off” at 948.7 feet.
1993  Cleveland Indians play their last game at Municipal Stadium 3 October.
 Church Square Shopping Center, centerpiece for inner-city revitalization, dedicated in April.
 Cleveland named an All-America City for fifth time.
1994  Gateway Sports Complex opens.
 Frederick C. Crawford dies 9 December.
1995  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens.
 Indians win American League championship.
 Browns owner Art Modell announces he will move the team to Baltimore.
1996  Cleveland celebrates its Bicentennial.
1997  Cleveland Indians win American League pennant, but lose the World Series in seven games to the Florida Marlins.
1999  Expansion Cleveland Browns play their first game
2000  Cleveland population–478,403 (33rd largest city in the nation). 
 Cuyahoga County population–1,393,848 
 Cleveland murder total hits lowest mark in forty years.
2001  Jane Campbell is elected as Cleveland’s first female mayor.
2004  Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry holds election eve rally in Cleveland highlighting its importance to the 2004 election.
2006  State law is passed which prohibits cities like Cleveland from enforcing a residency requirement for municpal jobs.
2007  Cleveland Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals for the first time.
2010  Cleveland population–396,815 45th largest city in the nation)
 Cuyahoga County population–1,280,122
2011  Anthony Sowell convicted of murdering eleven women.
 Construction begins on downtown medical mart.

The History of Cleveland History Timeline

Teaching Cleveland Digital