Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Cleveland Plain Dealer was founded as a weekly newspaper on January 7, 1842 by Joseph Gray. By 1845 it had transitioned to an evening daily. Joseph Gray died in 1862, and his paper was controlled by a series of editors until Liberty Holden purchased the paper in 1885. Holden introduced a number of changes to the paper, such as adding a morning and Sunday edition, and by 1905 had abandoned the evening edition. He also took the paper in a completely different editorial direction, ignoring Gray's politically slanted coverage (the paper had been an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party) and instead assuring readers that "We shall at all times be watchful of the right man, holding that man is superior to party and that all government should be for the good of the governed."

Liberty Holden was born in Maine and began his career as a teacher at the age of 16. In 1856, Holden began attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After completing his education he became a professor of literature at Kalamazoo College where he met his wife, Delia, and married in 1860. He moved to Cleveland in 1862 to study law and also began investing in mining interests around the country. Holden purchased the Plain Dealer in 1885, and his heirs owned the paper until the late 1960s.

Holden also owned the Hollenden Hotel, one of the most glamorous hotels in Cleveland. The 8-story hotel at Superior and East 6th Street opened in 1885 and featured electric lights, 100 private baths, fireproof construction, and a lavish interior with crystal chandeliers. Holden, as president of Cleveland's building committee, also played an important role in the construction of Wade Park, Rockefeller Park and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He served as Mayor of Bratenahl for a time, too. Liberty Holden died in 1913.

Upon Holden's death in 1913 the Plain Dealer was transferred to his heirs. In 1933, the Plain Dealer purchased the Cleveland News and became the largest newspaper in Cleveland, although it continued to operate the two papers independently. In 1960 the Cleveland News was sold to the Cleveland Press, and The Plain Dealer moved to its present location, the Cleveland News building, at E. 18th and Superior.

Following the demise of the Cleveland Press in 1982, the Plain Dealer became Cleveland's only major daily newspaper.

Images

"No breakfast complete without one"
"No breakfast complete without one" This postcard, ca. 1910, is advertising the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It shows a little girl in her pajamas reading the newspaper. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection
Holding the Paper, 1914
Holding the Paper, 1914 A man holding the Cleveland Plain Dealer in October, 1914. The headline reads "Boston Braves Score First Blood in Series with Athletics." The paper is discussing the first game of baseball's World Series between the Boston Braves and the Philadelphia Athletics, played on October 9th. The man is sitting in front of a chicken coop. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections
Liberty Holden
Liberty Holden Liberty Holden (1833-1913) was one of the most influential men in Cleveland, involved in the construction of the Hollenden Hotel, Wade Park, Rockefeller Park, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He also served as mayor of Bratenahl. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery. Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Hollennden Hotel
Hollennden Hotel The original Hollenden Hotel, built by Liberty Holden at East 6th Street and Superior Avenue in 1885, was torn down in 1962. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Hollenden Hotel
Hollenden Hotel Opened in 1885, the Hollenden Hotel was once the most glamorous of all of Cleveland's hotels. In 1926, a $5 million annex was added to the east side of the hotel. After Liberty Holden's death the hotel rotated through a series of owners until its demolition in 1962. Image Courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society
Burning of Plain Dealer Building, 1908
Burning of Plain Dealer Building, 1908 This postcard shows the burning of the Plain Dealer Building at E. 6th and Superior. The 1908 fire damaged the structure. Editor Elbert Baker used the fire to rebuild and enlarge the facility to harmonize with the surrounding buildings. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections
View of Fine Arts Garden from Holden Terrace
View of Fine Arts Garden from Holden Terrace The Fine Arts Garden of the Cleveland Museum of Art is visible in this view from the Holden Terrace, named in honor of Liberty Holden. Holden, president of Cleveland's building committee, played a role in the construction of the museum. Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections
Home of Liberty Holden
Home of Liberty Holden This 1876 print, created from a wood engraving, shows the residence and grounds of Liberty E. Holden on Euclid Avenue's Millionaire's Row. Pedestrians and a horse & buggy are shown in the streets. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections

Location

1801 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

Metadata

Jason Fritsch, “Cleveland Plain Dealer,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 15, 2024, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/315.