Did you know that the area that is now Cleveland was once owned by the state of Connecticut? Or, how about that the city was originally named "Cleaveland," (after founder Moses Cleaveland) but later dropped the “a” so the name could fit in a newspaper headline? That’s what the Cleveland History Center is for — they connect the dots from that missing “a” all the way up through the present day.
Scope historic rides, century-old threads, architectural wonders and even LeBron James' size 16 shoes. All of these serve as living reminders of how we got here and what we’ve managed to see and do over the last two centuries.
What You’ll See:
- The museum is part of the Western Reserve Historical Society and is partially housed in a pair of early 20th century mansions. You can trace the city’s history through its collection of maps, furniture, clothes, art, documents and photos that have been obtained from various collections over the years. Remember the DeLorean from "Back to the Future?" There's one of those, too. But you have to visit to find out the connection.
- A restored carousel rescued from the old Euclid Beach Park on Cleveland’s lakefront opened to riders in 2014, 45 years after the park closed. To ride on the original hand-carved, wooden horses, you’ll need a token — and the Cleveland History Center designs a new one every year.
- Like planes? How about trains and automobiles? Good thing, because the Cleveland History Center is also the home of the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection, a permanent exhibit that features more than 140 antique cars, 10 aircraft and an array of alternative transportation vehicles including motorcycles, bikes, boats and carriages. Perhaps surprisingly, the DeLorean is not part of this collection.
What Else to Do?
- One of the more popular recurring events put on by the museum is its Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties, a weekly series that combines a prix fixe three-course dinner and fascinating stories about the city set to a different theme each week.
- The museum is located in University Circle, within walking distance to the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. It’s also just a quick jaunt over to the city’s historic Little Italy.