Why the Host of the Republican Convention Sees Its Future in the Rear View Mirror


Cleveland’s “Millionaire’s Row” Still Glitters With the Gilded Age’s Unanticipated Legacy

City Founders Expected an Outpost of New England, What They Created Was a Paragon of Immigrant Civic Engagement

The Republicans are convening in Cleveland, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the NBA championship after a half-century long drought for Cleveland sports teams, putting intense focus on the city’s past and present. And so I, as a historian, keep getting asked to describe the “essence” of the city in which I live and which I have studied for a number of years.

Most inquiries ask what makes Cleveland special. Too often, the responses that are given to the media are civic booster-speak. Once the fifth-largest city in the nation, John D. Rockefeller did create Standard Oil while in Cleveland. But one must be be wary about firsts, subjective rankings of contributions, …


The Double Rise of an Iconic Cleveland Bakery

The Return of Hough’s Sweet Treats Adds a Dash of Magic to the City

Cleveland is all too famous for a depressing kind of magic: the place can make businesses disappear.

But there are stories of renewal here, too. In 1992, the bakery chain that defined Northeastern Ohio became the latest business to close its doors. As it turned out, that wasn’t the end of the story, but the beginning of mine.

At its height, Hough (pronounced “Huff’s”) Bakery was a $25 million business with 1,000 employees and some 81,000 square feet in operating space spread over 30 locations across our region. Hough’s bakeries were beloved for their cakes, butter cookies, coconut chocolate bars, and “daffodil” cakes, all of them made from scratch and with top-quality ingredients, not mixes.

The business began with Lionel Archibald “Archie” Pile, who was born on August 29, 1879 in Barbados and immigrated to New York City, where his brothers …


Cleveland Rocks, Even in the Dead of Winter

The City’s Unpretentious Music Scene Thrives Year Round, Under Bridges, on Porches, and Outside of the Country’s Most Famous Music Hall

In the middle of February, when the temperatures dip below freezing, Clevelanders are frequently found huddled together for warmth in one place: outside—yes, outside—under the crisp night sky, watching local bands.

Tens of thousands of people flock to Brite Winter, an annual festival featuring six stages of music, DJs, artists, ice carving, and food trucks. The event takes place outside—snow, sleet, or sunshine—in a different Cleveland neighborhood each year, often near some signature piece of Cleveland’s infrastructure. In 2016, Brite Winter popped up underneath the city’s majestic steel bridges on the Flats adjacent to the Cuyahoga River, a once-decaying entertainment destination that’s been revitalized by restaurants, bars, …

*Lead photo by John Patterson.

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