America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.

– Tennessee Williams


I spent a few days in Cleveland in June. It really liked it, and into the bargain found the ten-hour drive each way positively restorative. That’s lockdown for you.

To my additional surprise, I found Cleveland quite beautiful. The parks, the buildings, the houses. At least where I was staying, in the University District. It’s a pretty big city. Then again, I have the Bostonian provincialism of being forever surprised at how big other cities are.

And yes, I did go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was… fine. I was both underwhelmed and glad I went. It was neat seeing James Jamerson’s upright bass, the receipt Elvis signed for his Army rifle, and #8 below. (“Well done, lads! You’ll go far!”)


Now then. I was wondering why it was called Cleveland, and Wikipedia informs me it’s because its proper name wouldn’t fit on a newspaper masthead in the 1830s. Talk about path dependence.

Also, among its nicknames is “The Prodigy of the Western Reserve.” I was like: one, that has too many syllables to be a nickname, and two, huh? Turns out Connecticut once claimed the region. That state, man.