The man of steel doesn’t hail from Krypton but rather the rust belt, specifically the homes of Jerry Siegel, who dreamt up the hero, and Joe Schuster, who drew him. Siegel’s house is easily identifiable by the sign out front that reads, “this is the house where Superman was born.” While Schuster’s house is now a vacant lot, visitors can still pay tribute to this graphic legend via a large metal partial reproduction of Action Comics #1 hanging on the fence around the perimeter.
No one had to double dog dare Brian Jones into purchasing the iconic set from one of his favorite childhood films, A Christmas Story. Jones purchased the Cleveland home made famous as by the film on eBay in 2004 and restored the property to its original filming condition. A tour of both the home and the museum gift shop across the street will complete the movie experience, allowing visitors to walk away with their very own major award: a leg lamp.
In Cleveland, the search for “things you don’t need but gotta have” always leads to Big Fun, which also happens to be the name of one of the most unique retailers in Cleveland. Fun facts: Big Fun was honored as one of America’s 20 Coolest Stores by Playboy.com and the shop prides itself on being one stop shopping for customers in search of the coolest toys, gifts and tchotchkes.
Many have tried, but few have succeeded in the Melt Challenge, a quest to consume 5 lbs of grilled cheese perfection. Opening its doors in 2006, Melt Bar & Grilled continually offers patrons the finest in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and an awe-inspiring beer menu. Melt visionary Matt Fish opened the restaurant with the concept of serving “comfort food all dressed up” while maintaining a friendly atmosphere; customers are encouraged to join the Big Cheese club.
Home to the world’s largest indoor Ferris wheel at 125 feet high, Cleveland’s I-X center is located one mile from the city’s international airport. Created in 1985 out of a former air defense hanger, the center is the 9th largest convention hall in the world. The center maintains a certain mystique given its history as an assembly site for bombers and tanks; it’s also rumored that there are top-secret subterranean levels.
Known for sculpting giant versions of everyday objects, Claes Oldenburg is credited with creating the world’s largest rubber stamp. Originally commissioned by the Standard Oil Company, the massive “Free” stamp now resides in Cleveland’s Willard Park; however, the sculpture has a rather tumultuous history. Despite initiating the project, the stamp quickly fell out of favor with company officials who boxed up the massive components. It wasn’t until a new regime took over that Oldenburg’s sculpture was saved and given a permanent home in the public park.
A rookie lead on a sled team, wonder dog Balto, heroically battled the Alaskan snow to save the citizens of Nome, Alaska. However, even with his hero status, the brave canine and his team were left in poor care until 1927, when a Cleveland businessman brought the dogs to the city where they could be properly maintained and celebrated. After his death, Balto was preserved and put on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame owes more to Cleveland than simply providing a nice lakefront location, as it was legendary DJ Alan Freed who coined the term “rock and roll.” A successful Akron DJ, Freed moved to Cleveland in the early 1950s and began using the term to describe the collection of music played on his daily show. It seemed only fitting that the Hall of Fame be located in Cleveland, given the city’s status as the place where rock and roll was created.
Very few American waterways have ever caught fire, yet the Cuyahoga River has multiple times with the earliest blaze happening in 1868. Ironically, it was the final and least significant river fire in 1969 that saw Cleveland declare war on river pollution and also prompted Congress to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972. Now, roughly four decades since the final blaze, the 100 mile Cuyahoga River has become a playground for Northeast Ohio residents, a far cry from its polluted past.
In 2008, a team of doctors at the renowned Cleveland Clinic succeeded in doing what the medical community had long thought impossible: they gave a severely scarred woman a new face. The groundbreaking operation involved transplanting 80 percent of the patient’s face—everything but her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin. Long known for innovation, the Cleveland Clinic continues to be one of the top medical facilities in the country whose staff remains determined to test the limits of medical science.
Did you already know some of these Cleveland fun facts? Check out our Louisville round up.