An Annotated Definitive History of Cleveland


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You just turned 216, Cleveland. Happy Birthday. How does it feel?

Slightly boozy? Like you're driving the struggle bus? Like you should have heeded the life advice of the wizened Berenstain Bears when they laid out the dangers of having too much birthday? We've all been there.

But you're here now, alive and conveniently numbering the same digits as your area code. Bet all those 440ers are jealous, as they always are. How did you get here? And do you remember any of it?

Below, a definitive annotated history of our delightful Forest City, in case you need a refresher.

July 22, 1796: Moses Cleaveland arrives on the banks of the Cuyahoga and is tired of traveling west. "This will do, I guess," he famously says. "Bring me someone named Russo or Murphy to look after things when I leave."

1800: Cleveland gets its first distillery. Population at the time: 7 people. Population with a constant 0.150 BAC: 7 people.

1835: Cleveland is graced by its first dentist, a young chap named Benjamin Strickland. Which begs the question: what was everyone doing before that?

1836: The Bridge War is fought between Ohio City and Cleveland. General Sam McNulty seen wielding broken bottles as weapons and putting Post-It notes reading "MINE" on empty storefronts.

1847: Cleveland's first telegraph line is laid to Pittsburgh. First communication: "Go fuck yourself."

1902: Linndale is incorporated. First ticket issued for going 5 mph in a 2mph zone.

1916: Cleveland Play House puts on its first production and the Cleveland Museum of Art opens. Men of Cleveland seen grudgingly holding their wives' hands and sighing.

1920: Cleveland is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mayor holds off on celebrating the feat because there's only room to grow from there!

1959: Innerbelt Bridge is completed. Clevelanders heard exclaiming: "This shit's gonna last forever!"

1978: Dennis! Kucinich allows Cleveland to default on federal loans, which hadn't happened to any city since the Depression, after losing a complicated bet involving a game of tic-tac-toe with a 12-year-old.

1986: Cleveland selected as home of the forthcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tourism bureau celebrates the imminent arrival of three to five more visitors a year, none of whom are musicians.

2008: Every resident of Cuyahoga County indicted on corruption, though only half ever fucked Jimmy Dimora.

2012: Cleveland wakes up hungover in a booth at The Big Egg early in the morning of July 23 covered in hashbrowns.

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