"FOREST CITY" Cleveland's long-time nickname, has murky origins. An obituary of TIMOTHY SMEAD claims that "while in an editorial capacity Mr. Smead gave to Cleveland the name of Forest City" (PLAIN DEALER, 4 Jan. 1890). Credit for inspiring the name, however, is generally given to WM. CASE, secretary of the Cleveland Horticultural Society in the 1840s and mayor (1850-51), who encouraged the planting of shade and fruit trees. The Forest City Race Track, opened in 1850, is the earliest-known business use of the name. It was followed in 1851 by the Forest City Agricultural Warehouse, Bank, Bath House, Cricket Club, and Lyceum. A hotel using the name, the Forest City House, was incorporated in Mar. 1851. A city Dept. of Forestry & Nurseries was established in 1897, as the city launched a new effort to save trees. In the late 1930s, with Works Progress (later Work Projects) Admin. aid, the city's Bureau of Horticulture planted more than 13,000 trees in city parks. A count in 1940 found 221,198 trees in the city in addition to 100,000 others in the parks. "Forest City" was still the name of some 30 large and small firms in Greater Cleveland in 2020.

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