Category: Recreation and Popular Culture

The AGORA/AGORA BALLROOM has been an innovative dance club and concert hall since the 1960s. Its support of local bands, new music styles, and upcoming national recording acts helped create a strong local club scene. The Agora was opened on 6 July 1967 at 2175 Cornell Rd. by Henry J. LoConti, Sr. and several partners.

The ALLEN THEATRE, 1501 Euclid Ave., opened on 1 Apr. 1921.

ALTA HOUSE, one of the city's oldest SETTLEMENT HOUSES, was established in 1895 as a day nursery for working Italian immigrant women in LITTLE ITALY.

The AMERICAN AND CANADIAN SPORT, TRAVEL, AND OUTDOOR SHOW, an annual event in Cleveland, was first held in 1927 at the PUBLIC AUDITORIUM and ran until 1930, when it was discontinued due to the Great Depression. Commonly referred to as the Sportsman's Show, it resumed in 1937 as the American and Canadian Sportsman's Show. The original event was the idea of Clevelanders Aaron W.

The amusement park originated in Europe with venues such as Bakken and Tivoli in Denmark, Tibidabo in Spain, and Prater Park in Austria. The concept crossed the pond to Coney Island in the late 1800s. Coney had previously been a summer resort for the wealthy, with Victorian hotels, private bathhouses, and vaudeville theaters.

ANDERSON, ERNIE (12 Nov. 1923 - 6 Feb. 1997) was a nationally known television announcer, most familiar to network audiences as the voice of ABC-TV, and to Cleveland audiences as the late night horror-movie host, Ghoulardi, on WJW-TV from 1963 to 1966.

ANSON, ROBERT SAM (12 Mar. 1945 – 2 Nov. 2020) was a Cleveland-born journalist and author who penned six non-fiction books and scores of articles for magazines such as Vanity Fair, Time, Esquire, Life, and The Atlantic

The ANVIL REVUE was a satirical production presented annually by the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND, in which members and others poked fun at politics, institutions, and people in the news.

The ARAGON was Cleveland's last surviving ballroom from the big-band era. Opened by Lloyd Harry Meyers in October 1930, it was located in a former roller rink at 3139 W. 25 St., near Clark Ave. Among the entertainers who played there to crowds of up to 2,000 were Glenn Miller, the Dorseys, Freddy Martin, Harry James, Guy Lombardo, and the Andrews Sisters.

ARENA. See CLEVELAND ARENA.


BACKUS, JAMES, GILMORE "JIM" (25 February, 1913 - July 3, 1989), was a prolific actor who made a name in television, film, and radio and later authored books that profiled his lengthy struggles with Parkinson’s disease.

The BALDWIN BIRD RESEARCH LABORATORY, a pioneering ornithological research facility, was established in 1914 by SAMUEL PRENTISS BALDWIN (26 October 1898 - 31 December 1938) at his estate in GATES MILLS.

BALL, ERNEST R. (22 July 1878-3 May 1927), composed many popular songs from 1904-27.

"BALLOONFEST "86" was held on 27 Sept. 1986 as a fundraiser for UNITED WAY. The organizers' goal was to set a world record for the simultaneous release of small helium-filled balloons.

BALTO was a sled dog who became a national hero. He weighed 45 lb. at most and was probably a mix of Siberian Husky, Malamute, and wolf.

When diphtheria threatened Nome, Alaska, in January 1925, the city found itself without a supply of antitoxin. The community was almost completely isolated from outside resources by the arctic winter and the only means of travel into town was by dog sled.

BEEMAN, EDWIN E. (Mar. 1839-6 Nov. 1906), a physician, became "the Chewing Gum King" after introducing "Beeman's Pepsin Gum." Born in LaGrange, Ohio, son of Julius and Margaret Beeman, he grew up in Lorain and Erie counties. After 2 years at Oberlin College, at 18 he started reading medicine under his father and joined him in the drug business in Cleveland in 1863-64.

BRAMLEY, MATTHEW FREDERICK (4 Jan. 1868-30 May 1941) was an influential businessman who organized and was president of the CLEVELAND TRINIDAD PAVING COMPANY, Templar Motors Company, Bramley Storage Co., and was an original investor and owner of The Luna Park Amusement Company.

BROOKSIDE RESERVATION, located in the southwestern part of the city at Fulton Road and Denison Avenue, is one of Cleveland's oldest municipal parks. Purchased in 1894 by the Second Park Board, and initially named Brooklyn Park, the 81-acre site in wooded Big Creek Valley provided a natural setting for a playground.

BROWNE, CHARLES FARRAR [ARTEMUS WARD, PSEUD.] (26 Apr. 1834-6 Mar. 1867), a nationally known journalist and humorist, spent only 3 years in Cleveland but here invented his alter ego "Artemus Ward." Born in Waterford, Maine, to Levi and Caroline Farrar Brown, he moved to Ohio in 1854, working for papers in Tiffin and Toledo before JOSEPH W.

BURTON, COURTNEY, JR. (29 Oct. 1912-19 Aug. 1992), chairman of OGLEBAY NORTON CO. for 35 years and active in national Republican Party affairs, was born in Cleveland, the son of Courtney Burton, Sr. and Sarita Oglebay Burton. He attended Hawken School and from 1932-34 studied at the Michigan College of Mining and Engineering in Houghton, Michigan.

The CADILLAC LOUNGE was one of Cleveland’s first gay-friendly bars. It was opened in 1946 by Gloria Lenihan, who owned a number of other night clubs in the city with her husband, Charlie Lenihan. The bar was housed at the corner of East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue at the Schofield Building in a space that was formerly a shoe repair shop. 

CAMP ZEKE provided a place for relaxation and a medium for reminiscence for Cleveland-area veterans of the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR. The camp existed from the late 1890s until the late 1950s.

CARROLL, GENE (13 Apr. 1897-5 Mar. 1972) had one of the longest-running television shows in Cleveland. A native of Chicago, he dropped out of high school and performed in amateur shows to compete for cash prizes. He joined Jack Grady of Chicago in a successful song-and-dance act in 1924. When Grady became ill in 1929, Carroll teamed up with Glenn Rowell of Cleveland.

The CASTALIA SPORTING CLUB served as a center of social activity from 1878 through 1936 for some of Cleveland's most prominent business and civic leaders, including Lee McBride, JOHN HAY, JAMES FORD RHODES, AMASA STONE, and JEPTHA WADE

CHAMPA, FRANK A. (2 Sept. 1908-24 Mar. 1993) was an area musician and accordionist who is enshrined in the Polka Hall of Fame in EUCLID. As a tavern owner, Champa helped to promote the Slovenian Hour which has played on various radio stations around Cleveland since 1961.