Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately 60 miles (100 km) west of the Pennsylvania border. It was founded in 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location at the head of numerous canals and railroad lines. With the decline of heavy manufacturing, Cleveland's businesses have diversified into the service economy, including the financial services, insurance, and healthcare sectors. Cleveland is also noted for its association with rock music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located here.
As of the 2000 Census, the city proper had a total population of 478,403, making it the 33rd largest city in the nation and the second largest city in Ohio. It is the center of Greater Cleveland, the largest metropolitan area in Ohio, which spans several counties and is defined in several different ways by the Census Bureau. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor Metropolitan Statistical Area has 2,250,871 people and is the 23rd largest in the country, according to the 2000 Census. Cleveland is also part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Elyria Combined Statistical Area, which is the 14th largest in the country with a population of 2,945,831 according to the 2000 Census.
In studies conducted by The Economist in 2005, Cleveland and Pittsburgh were ranked as the most livable cities in the United States, and the city was ranked as the best city for business meetings in the continental U.S. Nevertheless, the city faces continuing challenges, in particular from concentrated poverty in some neighborhoods and difficulties in the funding and delivery of high-quality public education.
Residents of Cleveland are usually referred to as "Clevelanders". Nicknames used for the city include "The Forest City", "Metropolis of the Western Reserve", "The New American City", "America's North Coast", "Sixth City", "The Land", and "C-Town".
Cleveland obtained its name on July 22, 1796 when surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company laid out Connecticut's Western Reserve into townships and a capital city they named "Cleaveland" after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland. Cleaveland oversaw the plan for the modern downtown area, centering on the Public Square, before returning home, never again to visit Ohio. The first settler in Cleaveland was Lorenzo Carter, who built a cabin on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The Village of Cleaveland was incorporated on December 23, 1814. The spelling of the city's name was later changed to "Cleveland" when, in 1831, an "a" was dropped so the name could fit a newspaper's masthead.
In spite of the nearby swampy lowlands and harsh winters, its waterfront location proved providential. The area began rapid growth after the 1832 completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. This key link between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes connected the city to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. Growth continued with added railroad links. Cleveland incorporated as a city in 1836.
In 1836, the city, then located only on the eastern banks of the Cuyahoga River, nearly erupted into open warfare with neighboring Ohio City over a bridge connecting the two. Ohio City remained an independent municipality until it was annexed by Cleveland in 1854. The site flourished as a halfway point for iron ore from Minnesota shipped across the Great Lakes and other raw materials (coal) carried by rail from the south. Cleveland emerged as a major American manufacturing center, home to numerous major steel producers. By 1920, Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller had made his fortune and Cleveland had become the fifth largest city in the country. The city was a center for the national progressive movement, headed locally by Mayor Tom L. Johnson. Many Clevelanders of this era are buried in the historic Lake View Cemetery, along with James A. Garfield, the twentieth U.S. President.
In commemoration of the centennial of Cleveland's incorporation as a city, the Great Lakes Exposition debuted in June 1936 along the Lake Erie shore north of downtown. Conceived as a way to energize a city hit hard by the Great Depression, it drew 4 million visitors in its first season, and 7 million by the end of its second and final season in September 1937. The exposition was housed on grounds that are now used by the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Burke Lakefront Airport, among others.
Immediately after World War II, the city experienced a brief boom. In sports, the Indians won the 1948 World Series and the Browns dominated professional football in the 1950s. Businesses proclaimed that Cleveland was the "best location in the nation". The city's population reached its peak of 914,808, and in 1949 Cleveland was named an All-America City for the first time. By the 1960s, however, heavy industries began to slump, and residents sought new housing in the suburbs, reflecting the national trends of white flight and urban sprawl. Like other major American cities, Cleveland also began witnessing racial unrest, culminating in the Hough Riots from July 18, 1966 – July 23, 1966 and the Glenville Shootout on July 23, 1968 – July 25, 1968. The city's nadir is often considered to be its default on its loans on December 15, 1978, when under Mayor Dennis Kucinich it became the first major American city to enter default since the Great Depression. National media began referring to Cleveland as "the mistake on the lake" around this time, in reference to the city's financial difficulties, a notorious 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River (where industrial waste on the river's surface caught on fire), and its struggling professional sports teams. The city has worked to shed this nickname ever since, though in recent times the national media have been much kinder to the city, using it as an exemplar for public-private partnerships, downtown revitalization, and urban renaissance.
The metropolitan area began a recovery thereafter under Mayors George Voinovich and Michael R. White. Redevelopment within the city limits has been strongest in the downtown area near the Gateway complex—consisting of Jacobs Field and Quicken Loans Arena, and near North Coast Harbor—including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the Great Lakes Science Center. Although Cleveland was hailed by the media as the "Comeback City," many of the inner-city residential neighborhoods remain troubled, and the public school system continues to experience serious problems. Economic development, retention of young professionals, and capitalizing upon its waterfront are current municipal priorities.
Cleveland's downtown architecture is diverse. Many of the city's government and civic buildings, including City Hall, the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, the Cleveland Public Library, and Public Auditorium, are clustered around an open mall and share a common neoclassical architecture. Built in the early 20th century, they are the result of the 1903 Group Plan, and constitute one of the most complete examples of City Beautiful design in the United States. The Terminal Tower, dedicated in 1930, was the tallest building in the United States outside New York City until 1967 and the tallest in the city until 1991. It is a prototypical Beaux-Arts skyscraper. The two newer skyscrapers on Public Square, Key Tower (currently the tallest building in Ohio) and the BP Building, combine elements of Art Deco architecture with postmodern designs. Another of Cleveland's architectural treasures is The Arcade (sometimes called the Old Arcade), a five-story arcade built in 1890 and renovated in 2001 as a Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Running east from Public Square through University Circle is Euclid Avenue, which was known for its prestige and elegance. In the late 1880s, writer Bayard Taylor described it as "the most beautiful street in the world." Known as "Millionaire's Row", Euclid Avenue was world-renowned as the home of such internationally-known names as Rockefeller, Hanna, and Hay.
Cleveland is home to four parks in the countywide Cleveland Metroparks system, the "Emerald Necklace" of Olmsted-inspired parks that encircles the region. In the Big Creek valley sits the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which contains the largest collection of primates of any zoo in the United States. The other three parks are Brookside Park and parts of the Rocky River and Washington Reservations. Apart from the Metroparks is Cleveland Lakefront State Park, which provides public access to Lake Erie. Among its six parks are Edgewater Park, located between the Shoreway and Lake Erie just west of downtown, and Euclid Beach Park and Gordon Park on the east side. The City of Cleveland's Rockefeller Park, with its many Cultural Gardens honoring the city's ethnic groups, follows Doan Brook across the city's east side.
Cleveland is home to Playhouse Square Center, the second largest performing arts center in the United States behind New York's Lincoln Center. Playhouse Square includes the State, Palace, Allen, Hanna, and Ohio theaters within what is known as the Theater District of Downtown Cleveland. Playhouse Square's resident performing arts companies include the Cleveland Opera, the Ohio Ballet, and the Great Lakes Theater Festival. The center also hosts various Broadway musicals, special concerts, speaking engagements, and other events throughout the year. One Playhouse Square, now the headquarters for Cleveland's public broadcasters, was originally used as the broadcast studios of WJW Radio, where disc jockey Alan Freed first popularized the term "rock and roll". Located between Playhouse Square and University Circle are the Cleveland Play House and Karamu House, a well-known African American performing and fine arts center, both founded in the 1920s.
Cleveland is also home to the Cleveland Orchestra, widely considered one of the finest orchestras in the world, and often referred to as the finest in the United States. It is one of the "Big Five" major orchestras in the United States. The Orchestra plays in Severance Hall during the winter and at Blossom Music Center during the summer.
There are two main art museums in Cleveland. The Cleveland Museum of Art is a major American art museum, and its collection is comprised of more than 40,000 works of art ranging over 6,000 years, from ancient masterpieces to contemporary pieces. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland showcases established and emerging artists, particularly from the Cleveland area, through hosting and producing temporary exhibitions.
Cleveland has served as the filming location for several noteworthy movies, including The Fortune Cookie (1967) with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, the Academy Award-winning Deer Hunter (1978), Antwone Fisher (2002), and the holiday favorite A Christmas Story (1983). Scenes for Spider-Man 3 were filmed in Cleveland in April 2006. Cleveland is the lifelong home of cartoonist Harvey Pekar and the setting for most of his autobiographical comic books. The city was also the setting for the popular sitcom, The Drew Carey Show which starred Cleveland native Drew Carey.
Cleveland was the home of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, who created the comic book character Superman in 1932. Both attended Glenville High School, and their early collaborations resulted in the creation of "The Man of Steel".
Cleveland is the home of heavy metal group Mushroomhead, rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Eric Carmen and his band, The Raspberries. R&B singer Gerald Levert also was a lifelong resident of Cleveland, and it was the hometown of R&B groups the Dazz Band and The Rude Boys, as well as R&B singer Avant. It was also home to protopunk bands Pere Ubu, Rocket From the Tombs, and Electric Eels.
Five miles (8 km) east of downtown Cleveland is University Circle, a 550-acre (220 ha) concentration of cultural, educational, and medical institutions, including Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Cleveland is also home to the I. M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located on the Lake Erie waterfront at North Coast Harbor downtown. Neighboring attractions include Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Steamship Mather Museum, and the USS Cod, a World War II submarine.
Cleveland is home to many festivals throughout the year. Cultural festivals such as the annual Feast of the Assumption in the Little Italy neighborhood, the Greek Orthodox Festival in the Tremont neighborhood, and the Harvest Festival in the Slavic Village neighborhood are popular events. Vendors at the West Side Market in Ohio City offer many different ethnic foods for sale. Cleveland hosts an annual parade on Saint Patrick's Day that brings hundreds of thousands to the streets of downtown.
In addition to the cultural festivals, Cleveland hosted the CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest, which featuring national and local acts, including both established artists and up-and-coming acts, but the festival was discontinued in 2007 due to financial and manpower costs to the Rock Hall. The city recently incorporated an annual art and technology festival, known as Ingenuity, which features a combination of art and technology in various installations and performances throughout lower Euclid Avenue. The Cleveland International Film Festival has been held annually since 1977, and its eleven day run drew a record 52,753 people in 2007. Cleveland also hosts an annual holiday display lighting and celebration, dubbed Winterfest, which is held downtown at the city's historic hub, Public Square.
A large concentration of Poles in the metropolitan Cleveland area resulted in a number of impressive churches in the Polish Cathedral style, such as the Shrine of old St. Stanislaus in Slavic Village or St. John Cantius in Tremont. Both churches are included on tour itineraries. 
Cleveland's professional sports teams include the Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball), Cleveland Browns (National Football League), Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association), Cleveland City Stars (United Soccer Leagues), and Lake Erie Monsters (American Hockey League). Annual sporting events held in Cleveland include the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, the Cleveland Marathon, the Mid-American Conference college basketball tournament and the Ohio Classic college football game. The city hosted the Gravity Games, an extreme sports series, from 2002 to 2004. Local sporting facilities include Jacobs Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena, and the CSU Wolstein Center.
The Cleveland Browns dominated the NFL from 1950 to 1955. The city's franchise is one of the most storied in football, though it last won an NFL championship in 1964 and has never appeared in the Super Bowl. The Cleveland Indians last reached the World Series in 1995 and 1997, though they lost to the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins, respectively, and have not won the series since 1948. Between 1995 and 2001, Jacobs Field sold out for 455 consecutive games, a Major League Baseball record. The Cleveland Cavaliers are experiencing a renaissance with Cleveland fans due to LeBron James, a native of nearby Akron and the number one overall draft pick of 2003. The Cavaliers won the Eastern Conference in 2007, but were defeated in the NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. The city's recent lack of success in sports has earned it a reputation of being a cursed sports city, which ESPN validated by proclaiming Cleveland as its "most tortured sports city" in 2004.
At the 2005 Major League Soccer All-Star Game in Columbus, MLS commissioner Don Garber announced that Cleveland was one of several top areas in contention for an expansion team in 2007. Delays in securing a soccer-only stadium have now prevented any such team from beginning play until the 2009 season, but the Cleveland area is still a contender for expansion. Cleveland fielded an NHL team, the Cleveland Barons, from 1976 to 1978, which was later merged into the Minnesota North Stars. The city has had other major-league hockey teams in the past. The most recent incarnation of the Barons, was an AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, that moved to Worcester, Massachusetts in 2006. The tradition of professional hockey in Cleveland started with the original Cleveland Barons in 1937. A new professional team is slated to begin play in 2007 with the Lake Erie Monsters, an AHL team purchased by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Cleveland was also home to the Cleveland Rockers, one of the original eight teams in the WNBA in 1997. However, in 2003, the team folded after owner Gordon Gund dropped the team from operation.