CLEVELAND ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS have been held regularly to commemorate the landing of MOSES CLEAVELAND on 22 July 1796. Observances have often been modest, consisting mainly of ceremonies on PUBLIC SQUARE sponsored by the EARLY SETTLERS ASSN. OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, but two major anniversary celebrations have been the observances of the city's centennial in 1896 and sesquicentennial in 1946. The Cleveland Centennial was marked with a 3-month celebration from July-Sept. 1896. The Early Settlers Assn. began planning for the event in 1893, but the official Centennial Commission was not appointed until May 1895. The celebration began with a salute from the CLEVELAND LIGHT ARTILLERY at midnight to begin Founder's Day, 22 July. That day featured public meetings and addresses, a parade, the illumination of the Centennial Arch spanning Superior Ave. at Public Sq. by Pres. Grover Cleveland (via telegraphic connection), a procession of 24 floats, and a ball. Founder's Day was followed by New England Day (23 July), Wheelmen's Day (24 July, featuring a bicycle parade), Women's Day (28 July), Early Settlers' Day (29 July), and Western Reserve Day (30 July); August brought the Centennial Yacht Regatta, the Centennial Floral Exhibition, and the Knights of Pythias Encampment. Perry's Victory Day (11 Sept.) closed the official celebration, but on 18 Dec. the Women's Dept. of the Centennial Commission presented to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY an aluminum time capsule that was to remain sealed until opened in 1996 by a lineal descendant of a member of the department's executive board.
The Cleveland Sesquicentennial Commission was established by Mayor THOS. A. BURKE in mid-Aug. 1945 to plan for the 150th anniversary of Cleaveland's landing. The commission planned a series of events throughout the year, such as the Sesquicentennial Regatta, and used the celebration to attract national events to the city, such as industrial shows and the broadcasts of national radio programs. Founder's Day was again the center of the special festivities; the historic landing was reenacted, and some 200,000 people gathered at the Mall for what the commission's report described as "a spirited Mardi Gras." In anticipation of Cleveland's 200th birthday in 1996, Mayor Michael R. White appointed a 29-member Bicentennial Commission to begin planning in Oct. 1992.
Official Programme of the Centennial Celebration of the Founding of the City of Cleveland and the Settlement of the Western Reserve, WRHS.
Roberts, Edward A., comp. Official Report of the Centennial Celebration (1896).
The Year of Celebration, 1946. A Report of the Cleveland Sesquicentennial (1946).
See also CLEVELAND BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION.