"" Writer's Wanderings: Flat Stanley's Cleveland Welcome

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flat Stanley's Cleveland Welcome

The sun greeted Stanley the first morning of his stay in the Cleveland area. Actually, Stanley was staying with us in Independence which is a suburb on the south side of Cleveland. We always say we live on the south side because it saves arguing with the east and west-siders over which side is best to settle in. You can't live on the north side unless you live in a houseboat. Cleveland is right on the shore of Lake Erie. People jokingly say we are the North Coast of the USA.

Temperatures were still nippy--a frigid 10 F high but sunshine always helps the mood when you are shivering. You can always count on it being cold in Cleveland in the winter although it has it's ups and downs and can warm up to the 50s F once in a while. Average winter temps are mid-30 F. The real challenge however is the snow in winter. Because the area is bordered by Lake Erie, we can get a crippling amount of snow from what is called the Lake Effect. When the lake is not frozen, the moisture rises and is cooled to the form of snow and when the wind pushes it onto land, it dumps the snow. Mostly that happens on the east side of Cleveland called the Snow Belt.

Cleveland was built as a shipping port and was especially busy when the steel plants were functioning fully. It  was quite an industrial area but that has changed over the years. We are becoming known the world over for our medical facilities and technologies. While there are still ships that stop and unload during the summer, most of the steel is now made somewhere else. The freighter, the William G. Mather, pictured here in the cold of winter, is now a museum that can be explored during the summer months.

While it was still awfully cold, we bundled up and went to see a musical at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. Playhouse Square is the world's largest theater renovation project and is the second largest theater arts district in the USA next to New York City. Five theaters were built here in the 1920s but by the 1960s, with the popularity of other entertainment venues like TV, the theaters lost business and of the five (Ohio, State, Palace, Hanna, and Allen) only the Hanna remained open. In 1970, with destruction a possibility, a group of dedicated folks formed a movement to save the theaters and by 1982, the first, the Ohio, was reopened. The others followed and while there is still work to be done, it has provided a cultural center for the performing arts of which we are quite proud.

So much to see and do in the Cleveland area. What else shall we show to Stanley?

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