Since its founding, Cleveland has grown and changed. The city has, however, maintained its friendly feel and unshakable charms. This is especially notable when we explore the past through photos and see exactly how Cleveland has changed… and also how it hasn’t. Let’s travel back in time to the turn of the century and explore Cleveland’s historic landscape:
1. Cleveland's Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument has mesmerized visitors to Public Square.
This photo, which was taken in 1900, shows the gorgeous landscape that past Clevelanders once knew. Public Square is hardly recognizable without the bustling hordes of commuters and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see (which is, admittedly, not very far with all the skyscrapers blocking the view).
2. This photo from 1901 demonstrates the dramatic changes Cleveland's most iconic structures have undergone.
We're being sarcastic, of course. Cleveland has restored and maintained its most iconic structures so they appear as they did decades ago. In the case of the glamorous Old Arcade, which was built in 1888, the timeless elegance of its architecture has remained a perfect example of the wonders that Cleveland hides.
3. The Cleveland Blues are hardly even recognizable as a baseball team today, though they were obvious athletes in 1902.
Those high-collared uniforms are completely different than baseball uniforms today, but in 1902, fans of American League Baseball would have recognized the iconic C on their chests. The man in the center vignette is manager Bill Armour. In the 1880s, the Cleveland National League team had been known as the Cleveland Blues. They merged with the St. Louis Maroons in 1885. In 1887, Cleveland created their first league in the National League and named them the Cleveland Spiders. Their nickname? "The Blues." By the time the team was named Cleveland Bluebirds, the team's nickname had already become familiar to Clevelanders.
4. Horses were once a common sight in Downtown Cleveland, as evidenced by this photo from 1903.
The Hollenden Hotel, which opened in 1885, was a glamorous hotel that hosted many celebrities and politicians. Purportedly, it was adorned with redwood and mahogany fittings and chandeliers cascading with crystals. When this photo was snapped, Theodore Roosevelt was in office. He, alongside Harding, McKinley, Taft, and Wilson, was among the most notable politicians to visit the Hollenden.
5. In January of 1904, headlines would have looked similar to this one.
On January 19, the frigid winter was suddenly broken by a pleasant, sunny day. As temperatures soared to 42 degrees, local rejoiced, but the temperature kept rising. Within three days, parts of Greater Cleveland approached 60 degrees. The ground had not yet thawed, however, so little melting snow and rainwater was absorbed. The city flooded, and buildings sustained minor damages. This ship, lodged under a viaduct, was among the few seriously damaged properties. The entirety of the damage cost the city $60,000 in repairs at the time.
6. Euclid Beach was as popular in 1905 as it is today.
In fact, it was even
more popular. While this stunning beachfront park is a gem in the Emerald Necklace today, this Cleveland Metropark was once an amusement park.
7. By 1910, Cleveland was already overflowing with industry.
Today, our Rust Belt chic vibe contributes to the culture of the city, but in the early 1900s, things were different. Cleveland had industrialized within its first six decades of existence, but in 1910, it lost leadership of the automobile industry. We still produced a multitude of cars and hundreds of different models through the 1930s.
8. In 1914, Cleveland made history when it installed its first traffic lights.
See the scribbles on this photo? Look closely. Green and red both make several appearances, and that's because they were the only two colors on our earliest traffic signals! On August 5, Cleveland made history when it installed the world’s first electric traffic signal at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street.
9. As Cleveland entered the Roaring Twenties, the entertainment industry took off.
In 1920, construction was underway to create the first theaters in what would later become Playhouse Square. The Family House, which was once a theater space, was refitted to show movies in 1909. In 1913, it changed its name to the Orpheum Theater. By 1920, the year that this photo was taken, movies were a beloved pastime in Cleveland.
Cleveland is stunning, and it always has been. Though the city has changed over the years, it has maintained a friendly atmosphere. Now that Cleveland is undergoing a revitalization and is watching its own culture blossom, this fact is especially notable.