As “CBS This Morning” kicks off a week of convention coverage from Cleveland, correspondent Mo Rocca shows us the area’s unique sights and sounds, starting off in the “Ohio City” district, one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods.
This city was originally called the Forest City. Then it was known as the Best Location in the Nation. Then for a time it became known as the Mistake on the Lake. [Clevelanders don’t like to hear that, but it’s a fact.]
But Cleveland is now enjoying a renaissance. Cleveland is back!
It’s a very big summer for Cleveland. Before the Quicken Loans Arena was transformed to host the Republican National Convention, it was the site of a long-awaited sports championship. So congratulations to the Lake Erie Monsters, winners of this year’s American Hockey League Championship.
[Oh, right … the Cleveland Cavaliers had a strong season, too, but their victory came a week later, in Oakland, California.]
Cleveland rocks — probably why it’s home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but perhaps even more importantly, it’s home to the national Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame. Ladies and gentlemen, the Chardon Polka Band!
Polka — this really is “America’s good-time music.” [That’s the motto for Cleveland-style polka.]
And just upstairs is, yep, you guessed it — the Greater Cleveland Area Slo-pitch Softball Hall of Fame, where Rocca met all-time home run hitter Mike Macenko, the “Babe Ruth of softball.”
“I don’t think you want me to hit this. I’ll blow it throw the wall,” Macenko said.
Of course, Cleveland is more than just a town full of sports heroes; it’s home to the original superhero. Superman was created by Cleveland teenager Jerry Siegel along with his buddy, Joe Shuster, in 1933.
And if back then Superman were to leap over the city’s tallest building in a single bound, he’d have to jump a scoatch over 708 feet — the height of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, which incidentally is used as a set piece in “The Avengers.”
Of course, one of the most famous movies to come out of Cleveland is “A Christmas Story,” filmed on 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. “A Christmas Story” House & Museum
Hungry? Pretty much anything you can ever think of eating can be found at Cleveland’s century-old West Side Market. Potato perogie, jalenpaneo cheddar scheese perogie, mmmm!
Well, look at that: It’s the world’s largest rubber stamp.
And look over here: It’s second-largest indoor ferris wheel. Want to ride the world’s largest indoor ferris wheel? Good luck — it’s in Turkmenistan!
You could argue it’s thanks to Cleveland that we have the Clean Water Act. Today the Cuyahoga River is picturesque and teeming with more than 40 species of fish, but at one time it was so dirty that the river actually set on fire!
These days if you want your fish cooked, you can go to a restaurant, and Cleveland’s got a lot of great ones, including the James Beard Award-winning Sokolowski’s University Inn, the city’s oldest family-owned restaurant.
So if you find yourself strolling through Cleveland and admiring its current renaissance, keep in mind this has always been a city of innovation.
Cleveland is home to America’s first street light, it’s first traffic light and it’s first indoor shopping mall; the second-largest performing arts district in the country; and the largest outdoor chandelier in America. Now that’s keeping it classy, Cleveland!
You want more? Mo Rocca will have more of what this city (and the delegates who’ve come to Cleveland) have to offer throughout the week on “CBS This Morning.”