Cleveland, cities, United States
Cleveland is the seat of Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland State Univ., John Carroll Univ.,
Notre Dame College, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute
of Music, and several other colleges and seminaries. Visitors are drawn to
the Mall (civic center); the Terminal Tower and Public Square; the
Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame; the Western Reserve Historical Society Museum;
the museum of natural history, with a planetarium; Wade Park, with the
Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Garden; Rockefeller Park,
enclosing the Shakespeare and Cultural Gardens; Severance Hall, where
concerts of the internationally famous Cleveland Orchestra are performed; the
Cleveland zoo; and an aquarium. The city also has a notable public library.
Cleveland grew rapidly after the opening of the first section of the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1827 and the arrival of the railroad in 1851. With its factories it attracted large numbers of 19th-century immigrants, including Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and many others. Its location midway between the coal and oil fields of Pennsylvania and (via the Great Lakes) the Minnesota iron mines spurred industrialization; it was here that John D. Rockefeller began his oil dynasty. Cleveland's African-American community was formed largely by migration from the South after World War I.
The city was plagued during the 1960s by racial disorders, especially in the Hough and Glenville sections. In 1967, Cleveland became the first major U.S. city to elect a black mayor, Carl B. Stokes. As industry rapidly declined from the 1960s, the city went through a period of Rust Belt decay; numerous factories shut down and people and businesses moved to the suburbs. Cleveland's population has declined from its highest point in 1950 (914,808) to 2020 (372, 674), or 59.3%. In 1979, the city declared bankruptcy after defaulting on $15.5 million in municipal loans. In the 1980s, however, Cleveland attracted investment downtown and revitalized some sections, and the 1990s saw the opening of Jacobs Field (for baseball's Indians), Gund Arena (for basketball's Cavaliers), Browns Stadium (for football's Browns), the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame as well as the restoration of three historic downtown shopping arcades. However, its poverty rate (30.8%, 2020) is the highest of any major U.S. city.
See E. J. Benton,
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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