Tuesday December 10, 2013
Did you know that Northeast Ohio's Nela Park
, located on Noble Road at the edge of East Cleveland, was America's first industrial park? Or that the facility, the world headquarters for GE Lighting, has made and donated the lights and ornaments for the National Christmas Tree
in Washington DC for over 80 years?
Nela Park, best known to Cleveland residents for its spectacular holiday lighting display, was built in 1911 on a former abandoned vineyard in what was then rural Ohio. The campus includes more than 40, mostly Georgian Revival-style, buildings, all but two of which were designed in the early 1910s by the New York architectural firm of Wallis and Goodwillie. Nela Park was made a National Historic Site in 1975.
The location is proud of its connection to the National Christmas Tree. Each year, since 1922, the Nela Park has designed, produced, and donated the decorations for the tree.(photo of Nela Park is a public domain photo)
Monday December 9, 2013
Did you know that the first decorated Christmas tree was erected in Cleveland, in front of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church on Prospect and E. 30th St.? The church's German-born pastor, Dr. Henry Schwan
, chose to adorn the parish with a traditional German tree and decorated it with nuts, berries, fruit and ribbon.
The year was 1851 and the congregation was aghast. The tree came down quickly, but a tradition was born and the tree was erected again the next year. Today, Clevelanders celebrate Dr. Schwan's contribution to Christmas each year at his gravesite in Lake View Cemetery
by decorating a small tree on the site.
For More on Christmas in Cleveland:(photo © istockphoto; licensed to About, Inc.)
Thursday December 5, 2013
Talk with anyone over the age of ten about Christmas in Cleveland and you'll hear stories of cherished memories about shopping with family, that perfect holiday tree or icons of days past. Gail Ghetia Bellamy shares some of those memories in her book, "Cleveland Christmas Memories," reissued by Gray and Co. for the holiday season. We thought we'd put together a Cleveland Christmas memory list
of our own.
Over the past years, readers of About.com Cleveland have shared their holiday memories
, particularly about the Sterling-Lindner Christmas tree
. Feel free to add you memory to the lists.(photo of Mr. Jingeling: CSU Archives/Cleveland Press Collection)
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Ohio, and Northeast Ohio in particular, played a major role in the "Underground Railroad," that secret route to freedom in Canada for many black slaves who escaped from the southern states in the 19th century. Many of the homes that hid this precious human cargo still stand today. The Follett House Museum in Sandusky, the Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum in Ashtabula, and Rider's Inn in Painesville (pictured at left) were all stops along the route. Extreme Northeast Ohio was a logical escape route as it was just under 100 miles from the south (northwestern Virginia, now West Virginia).
You can learn more about these brave Ohioans at the Western Reserve Historical Society in University Circle as well as on one of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's narrated rail tours, where costumed docents tell stories from the abolitionist era.
(Photo courtesy of Rider's Inn)