On July 22, 1796, a party of surveyors commissioned by General Moses Cleaveland arrived at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, believing that an ideal location for a new town—Cleaveland, Ohio. The Connecticut Land Company had sent General Cleaveland to the Western Reserve—the northeastern region of Ohio—to speed the sale of the 3.5 million acres that the land company had reserved when Ohio was opened for settlement ten years earlier. In 1831, the Cleveland Advertiser dropped the first “a” in the city’s name to reduce the length of the newspaper’s masthead. From then on, the community was known as Cleveland.
Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, the town did not grow substantially until the Erie Canal was completed in 1825. The canal opened a passage to the Atlantic Ocean, making the city a major St. Lawrence Seaway port. Soon, the city became a center for commercial and industrial activity. This activity increased further in the 1840s when the railroad arrived.
Today, Cleveland External continues to have a highly diversified manufacturing base although the economy has shifted towards health care and financial services. With the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and other attractions—including various museums, boating on Lake Erie, and a wide variety of entertainment options, Cleveland also has become a tourist destination.
- To find other images of the city, search on the keyword Cleveland in these collections:
- The African-American Experience in Ohio: Selections from the Ohio Historical Society, 1850-1920 External illuminates the history of Black Americans in Ohio. Search the collection on the term Cleveland to learn more about news from that city. Read, for example, the 1904 Cleveland Journal article “Hospitality in Cleveland External” which stated, “Cleveland is the most progressive city in America for all people.” The Cleveland Journal was one of many newspapers External read by and written for Ohio’s black communities during the years 1850 to 1920.
- Search on Cleveland, Ohio, in the Photos, Prints and Drawings Collections to view a wide variety of images of the city.
- Search on the keyword Cleveland, Ohio, in Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 External to find sheet music published in that city. See, for example, Me-ow One Step External, Nola External, and Mandy’s Ragtime Waltz External all published in Cleveland by Sam Fox.