CLEVELAND (AP) — Good or bad, Cleveland — all but certain to host the Republican Party’s presidential nominating convention in 2016 — is hard to ignore. It’s a city with a rich history and bragging rights to things both quirky and considerable. Here are five things to know about Cleveland:
It’s the Cleveland Clinic, a sprawling complex that covers 167 acres in University Circle and has about 20,000 employees at its main campus. It is considered one of the world’s premier medical and research facilities. It’s not uncommon for royalty, especially from the Middle East, to fly to Cleveland and the clinic for their medical care. With about 41,000 employees statewide, it is Ohio’s second-largest employer.
WORLD’S LARGEST RUBBER STAMP
The Free Stamps sits in Willard Park at the corner of Lakeside Avenue and East 9th Street near City Hall. It is 49 feet long and 29 feet high. The sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen was originally commissioned to sit in front of the newly constructed Standard Oil of Ohio Building at Public Square. Halfway through the building of the stamp, the commission was canceled when SOHIO was bought by British Petroleum. Work continued on the sculpture and BP donated it to the city of Cleveland. It was installed in 1991.
ROCK AND ROLL CITY
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is Cleveland’s biggest international tourist attraction. Legendary Cleveland deejay Alan Freed, host of a concert called the “Moondog Coronation Ball,” is widely credited with coining the term “rock and roll” and the city was chosen over Memphis, Tennessee, based on a USA Today poll. There were complaints the vote was rigged, but Cleveland finally raised $65 million to build the hall and commissioned architect I.M. Pei to design the distinctive glass and steel structure along Lake Erie.
BIRTHPLACE OF THE TRAFFIC LIGHT
The world’s first traffic light was installed at the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in 1914 and was invented by Garrett Morgan, a black man born in Paris, Kentucky, in 1877. His other inventions include the gas mask and a hair-straightening chemical. The hair straightener was originally supposed to be used to polish needles on sewing machines to prevent them from overheating.
BABE RUTH’S 500TH HOME RUN
The Sultan of Swat became the first player in major league baseball history to hit 500 home runs, and he did it at Cleveland’s quirky League Park on Aug. 11, 1929. The left-handed hitting Ruth hit the first pitch of his first at-bat that game off Willis Hudlin over the right field wall and onto Lexington Avenue. Ruth must have liked hitting at League Park. It was just 317 feet to the right centerfield fence and 290 feet to the right field foul pole.
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