Cleveland History

Smoky, Sweaty, Rowdy, and Loud: Tales of Cleveland's Legendary Rock & Roll Landmarks, a book by Mike Olszewski from Gray & Company, Publishers – front cover

Swingos’ Celebrity Hotel—Rock & Roll Crash Pad in Cleveland

Hotels and rock stars have a long, twisted history. Just about every city has horror stories about rock stars, but everyone loved coming to Cleveland because of Swingos’ Celebrity Hotel. Artists came to town knowing the hotel had a top-rated restaurant, a superior wine list, exceptional security, and an owner who was very lenient as long as you paid your bills.

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At top, a photo of the Coliseum at Richfield, in winter. At bottom, a photo of a field of tall grass (where the Coliseum once stood)

Ghosts … (The Coliseum and the Arena)

Someone once said, “You know you’ve reached a certain age when you remember a sports venue being built, and then see the same building torn down.” I think of that when driving down Route 303 in Richfield, at the exit off Interstate 271. Now, there is nothing but a field bumping up against some nearby farms and barns. But once upon a time, a great arena rose up among the trees and squirrels and deer and prairie grass …

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Hot Type, Cold Beer and Bad News: A Cleveland Reporter’s Journey Through the 1960s, by Michael D. Roberts. Published by Gray & Company, Publishers. Front cover of book.

The Cop House

I wanted to get the hell off the police beat before I ever got there. There were few bylines to be had out of that shabby carbuncle of an office in Central Station on Payne Avenue, where everything smelled of urine, disinfectant and stale tobacco. You were afraid to touch anything for fear of contracting a disease. In those days the police liked to …

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Amy Mihaljevic school photo, with side-saddle ponytail

Minute by Minute — Amy Mihaljevic on October 27, 1989

The day Amy was taken, Bay Village was enjoying an Indian summer. Though it was late October, a balmy breeze cut off Lake Erie. It was the last breath of summer warmth before the world fell cold again until spring. A little after 6 a.m., Amy awoke and dressed herself. Sweats again. She picked out green pants and a pale green sweatshirt with lavender trim. She brushed her hair and slipped on her favorite earrings, silhouettes of horse heads rendered in turquoise, mounted on gold studs.

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The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio--A Memoir, a book by John Gorman and Tom Feran from Gray & Company, Publishers – front cover

Welcome to Cleveland

Fourth of July 1973. Welcome to Cleveland. There was a dead pigeon on the windowsill of my room overlooking Public Square in the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel. Despite several calls to the front desk, the pigeon remained part of the decor for three long, hot, muggy days. It matched the desolate street scene below. Sure, this was a holiday, but still—at 10 a.m. there was not a single car or person on the street.

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Cleveland orchestra musicians and conductor on stage in front of large U.S. flag

Overtures (from The Cleveland Orchestra Story)

In 1842, two of the world’s great orchestras came to life. In Austria, the Vienna Philharmonic played its first notes at the city’s Imperial Palace on March 28. In Manhattan, nine months later, the New York Philharmonic gave its first perfomance at the Apollo Rooms. In Cleveland that year, cows still grazed peacefully on downtown’s Public Square …

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