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There’s nothing quite so American as Rock ‘n Roll. In 1983, prominent members of the music industry decided to forever memorialize our musical gift to the world by creating the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Among them were Jann Wenner, co-founder of “Rolling Stone” magazine, and Ahmet Ertugan, the father of iconic Atlantic Records. When it came time for the foundation to build the museum, many great cities were considered. The Windy City was one option, being immortalized in 12 bars in “Sweet Home Chicago” by Robert Johnson in 1936, and subsequently covered by everyone from Clapton to the Blues Brothers. New York City was also considered, home to the legendary Café Wha, where Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimi Hendrix all got their starts. What about San Francisco, home of The Grateful Dead, whose Haight-Asbury district was the epicenter of the counterculture movement? But in the end, Cleveland emerged victorious. Cleveland, home to local disc jockey Alan Freed’s WJW program “The Moondog House,” on which, in the early 50’s, rock ‘n roll was first played and popularized. Cleveland, the city where Alan Freed invented the very term rock ‘n roll, and where he organized the Moondog Coronation Ball, a five-act concert now recognized as the first ever rock ‘n roll show, where the old Cleveland Arena attracted so many fans it had to be shut down. From its infancy as a genre, Cleveland has been the rock ‘n roll town. The choice was clear. Out of a nation of locations from which to choose, the museum was to be proudly built on the shores of Lake Erie. A petition with over 600,000 signatures to put it here also didn’t hurt, showing once again that, as a city, we’ve always been representing our home as a true contender, worthy of whatever prize was to be won. Today, having a 199 million dollar impact on the city, with nearly 568,000 annual visitors, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a proud staple of our hometown. 

Image by Lance Anderson


Originally the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, so-called for the two avenues it spans over the Cuyahoga River, the beloved roadway known as the Hope Memorial Bridge has claim to some of the coolest sights of the city, including Progressive Field. The bridge features the famous Guardians of Traffic, standing at 43 feet tall. Carved out of stone in art-deco style, each Guardian holds a different method of transportation in its hand, from the train to the automobile. In 1976, the bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On September 1, 1983, after renovation, it was renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge, after Cleveland native Bob Hope, and his father, Harry Hope, a local stonemason. The bridge’s engineer said the Guardians “typify the spirit of progress in transportation.” As Cleveland continues to progress today, we are reminded that we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and under the watchful eye of the guardians.


Cleveland has always been an important port town. The East Entrance Lighthouse, standing on the south shores of Erie, where it meets the Cuyahoga, played an integral role in facilitating waterway transportation, which is partly responsible for the growth of the city. Because Erie is a shallow lake and thus capable of producing problematic storms, breakwaters were constructed in the late 1800s to protect the harbors. This proved successful. So much so that the 1901 annual report of the Army Corps of Engineers stated, “Cleveland leads all the cities of the Union in the diversity of manufactures, as is doubtless the case. The most important single element contributing to this result is cheap water transportation.” As the breakwater expanded, the demand grew for a lighthouse, and by 1918, we erected a 45 feet tall steel tower, complete with a then-revolutionary electric light at the top. Today, this lighthouse is still standing. 

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