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 at 2175 Cornell Rd. by Henry J. LoConti and partners as a college dance club.

The ALLEN THEATRE, 1501 Euclid Ave., opened on 1 Apr. 1921. It joined the Ohio, State, and Hanna theaters, which had debuted only weeks before. The Allen was constructed in conjunction with the Bulkley Bldg., an 8-story office building on Euclid Ave., just east of E. 14th St. Designed by architect C. Howard Crane, the $1 million showplace was developed by 2 Canadian theater impresarios, Jules and Jay Allen of Toronto.

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 Depression. Commonly referred to as the Sportman's Show, it resumed in 1937 and has taken place every year since then. The original event was the idea of Clevelanders Aaron W.

AMUSEMENT PARKS. The amusement park, a concept that originated in Europe, debuted in the U.S. at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. The island began as a summer resort for the wealthy of New York City; gradually the middle and working classes expropriated it and its expanding attractions for their use and entertainment. It became the prototype for amusement parks throughout the U.S.

ANDERSON, ERNIE (12 November 1923 - 6 February 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 until 1966.

The ANVIL REVUE is a satirical production presented annually by the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND, in which members and others poke 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.


BACKUS, JAMES, GILMORE "JIM" (25 February, 1913 - July 3, 1989), was a prolific actor and writer who made a name in television, film, and radio, and later authored books bringing awareness to Parkinson’s disease.

The BALDWIN BIRD RESEARCH LABORATORY, a pioneering ornithological research facility, was established in 1914 by SAMUEL PRENTISS BALDWIN at his estate in GATES MILLS.

BALL, ERNEST R. (22 July 1878-3 May 1927), composed many popular songs from 1904-27. Born in Cleveland to Anna (Kocker) and Ernest Adelbert Ball, he studied at the Cleveland Conservatory before moving to New York where he became a vaudeville pianist and traveled throughout the U.S. Later, Litmark Music Publishing House hired him as a demonstrator and staff composer.

"BALLOONFEST ‘86" was held on September 27, 1986 as a fundraiser for UNITED WAY.  Its intent was to break the world record for the simultaneous release of small helium filled balloons.

BALTO was the sled dog who became a national hero, symbolizing rescue efforts to get supplies of diphtheria antitoxin serum to Nome, Alaska. When diphtheria threatened Nome in Jan. 1925, the city found itself without a supply of antitoxin and, almost completely isolated by the arctic winter, the only means of travel being by dog-sled over the frozen tundra.

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.

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.

The CHESHIRE CHEESE CLUB OF CLEVELAND, 3443 Euclid Ave., an invitational club of men, meets weekly to hear guest speakers, review books, and discuss "the topics of the day." The club began in 1917, when a group of businessmen who were meeting informally for luncheon at Chandler & Rudd (next to the MAY CO. on PUBLIC SQUARE)

The CIRCLE THEATER was long a fixture in the once-thriving business and entertainment district around DOAN'S CORNERS. It was originally known as the Hoffman, after Clara A.