With 18 reservations, eight lakefront parks and hundreds of hiking trails and educational programs, Cleveland Metroparks records 18 million visits annually.
It was engineer and visionary William Stinchcomb’s idea to preserve green space in the region’s rapidly developing suburban environment. The Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was created in 1917 with just a few donated acres in the Rocky River Valley. Now, there are 23,700 acres.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo became part of the park district in 1975, helping the zoo gain stability and direction.
While the Metroparks welcomes cyclists, snowboarders, stand-up paddleboarders and other do-it-yourself sports enthusiasts, professional and spectator sports have long been a huge part of Clevelanders’ lives.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were organized in 1970 and played in Cleveland Arena, Cleveland Coliseum in Richfield and, now, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The basketball team chalked up 22 playoffs and the 2016 NBA Championship that made LeBron James an almost mythical figure.
The Cleveland Indians, formed in 1901, have been known by at least five names, and may be looking at another. The Indians won World Series titles in 1920 and 1948. In 1954, the team won the pennant. After a long hiatus, it won a Divisional Title in 1995, clinching World Series appearances that year and again in 1997. In 2016, the club lost a heartbreaking World Series to the Chicago Cubs. Owned by Larry Dolan, the Indians play at Progressive Field.
The Cleveland Browns began playing in 1946 as a part of the All-America Football Conference and became an NFL team in 1950. A perennial winner and champion since the team’s founding and through the 1950s and again in 1964 on the back of the legendary Jim Brown, the team’s history has a dark side. The worst episode was when former owner Art Modell took flight to Baltimore in 1996, taking players, but not the team’s name, colors and history. The expansion Browns started in Cleveland in 1999, thanks to new owner Al Lerner.