Sports

Tour curated by: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Sports have played a key role in Cleveland's history, confirming its status as a "major league town," and uniting a diverse population passionate about their city's teams. Venues where Cleveland's teams play have changed. Some have been torn down to make way for new stadiums, while others remain as relics of past glory. You may know the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians, but the city also was home to the namesake for the Heisman Trophy, an amateur baseball game that purportedly drew 115,000 spectators (in 1915!), and a boxing champion with a neighborhood named for him. From Cleveland’s storied Czech Sokol gymnasts to its 1948 World Series, Cleveland sports truly are major.


Locations for Tour

The construction of the massive, 70,000 seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 1930s spelled the end for a much older stadium: League Park. Constructed in 1891 east of downtown in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood, League Park – despite…

On October 3, 1869, one of football's most iconic figures was born in Ohio City. Today he is best known as the namesake of the most prestigious award in college football, the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the…

The Cleveland Leader dubbed the west side neighborhood near Herman Avenue and West 74th Street "Kilbane Town," in honor of world featherweight boxing champion Johnny Kilbane. In March 1912, Kilbane Town was the end point of one of the…

In the early 1940s, before he was even old enough to cross the street, young Joe Bachna gazed at Ceska Sin Sokol Hall from his father's photography studio at 4203 Clark Avenue. The three and one-half story building located down and across the…

On October 10, 1915, the Brookside Park natural amphitheater hosted possibly the largest crowd to ever assemble for an amateur sporting event. Attendance of the baseball game was estimated at between 80,000 and 115,000 by newspapers, park staff and…

The National Air Races finally came to Cleveland Municipal (now Hopkins) Airport in 1929. Local businessmen Louis W. Greve and Frederick C. Crawford played a big role in bringing the event to Cleveland. Both men were involved in the aviation…

The demolition of Cleveland Municipal Stadium officially began in November 1996 and was complete by the following spring. In the fall of 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to move the city's football team to Baltimore. Angry fans…

As you look at the vast asphalt parking lot stretching from the Winking Lizard to Giant Eagle, it is hard to believe that the area in front of you was once one of the most exciting places in Lakewood. National tennis tournaments, softball world…

The Arena at 3717 Euclid Avenue was built in 1937 by sports promoter Albert C. Stuphin. Originally designed to be the home ice for Stuphin's Cleveland Barons hockey team (which until that point had played further up Euclid Avenue at the…

In the early 1990s, William Barrow, director of Cleveland State University's Cleveland Memory Project, discovered something interesting about his great uncle Thomas Cooper Barrow. Not only had Tom owned a driving range during the Great…

Art Modell. The very mention of his name in Cleveland still stirs up vitriol. In 1963 he angered many by firing legendary Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown, only two years after Art assumed principal ownership of the team. Most was forgiven in 1964…
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