Cleveland history at your fingertips
By Dominique King

Cleveland history at your fingertips

I learned a lot about Cleveland history by visiting the city over the years, but the Cleveland Historical mobile app gives visitors an exciting way to bring the city’s history to life.

I discovered this free app developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities shortly after its official launch in mid-2011, and I love how it integrates stories, photos, videos and audio clips into an interactive GPS-enabled app that makes it especially useful on the road.


Detroit-Superior Bridge, historic King bridge in downtown Cleveland


The app includes content from the region’s top archival sources. The Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at the history department of Cleveland State University developed Cleveland Historical and continues to maintain and frequently update it.

The developers envisioned the app as harnessing mobile technology to create a tool to engage an increasingly tech-savvy audience with their history in a sort of living museum.



Cuyahoga Valley National Park Canal Visitor Center (aka Hell’s Half Acre)


The collaborative nature of the project where teachers, students, residents, local civic groups and historical societies developed Cleveland Historical gives the app a wider wealth of content and helps ensure timely updates (latest app update was on January 14, 2014).

As the Cleveland Historical app matures, it serves as a model for other Ohio cities and cities around the country, like New Orleans, Spokane and Baltimore. Other Ohio-based Historical apps presently in development are Geauga Historical, Medina Historical and Scioto Historical.

On the road? Open the app and touch the push-pin icon at the bottom of the screen to find a city map with sites of historic interest marked with green pins. Touch individual map pins to see how far you are from a place and learn more about it.



Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland


Want to check out a specific place? Touch the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the main screen, type the name of a place or attraction, and you’ll see a list of likely matches from which to choose. The app gives historical info and often vintage photos, videos or short oral history audio clips for each site.

The app includes more than two dozen virtual tours, allowing users to see groups of related sites about a particular area of interest.    



Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


The Music History & Venues tour, for example, allows you to learn about the original Agora rock club, check out the Euclid Tavern (which served as a filming location for “The Light of Day” starring Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox) and see The Arena (which saw rowdy hockey action for years and hosted the Moondog Coronation Ball of 1952, one of the first rock concerts ever held, with legendary radio disc jockey Alan Freed).

Cleveland Historical contains more than 460 stories, as well as more than 5,000 archival photos, 120 videos and 1,000 oral history clips.

The Cleveland Historical app is free and available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices. You can also use it as a browser-based website on your desktop or laptop (works great this way, too) or with other smart phones.

Users can also connect with Cleveland Historical via Facebook or Twitter.

In addition to historical apps for Ohio communities, there is a new app available for the iPad for the 2014 Ohio Travel Guide. You can download it for free by searching “Official Ohio Travel Guide by TourismOhio” in the Apple App Store.

41.49338 -81.70402 Detroit Superior Bridge, Cleveland, Ohio –> 41.37242 -81.61322 7104 Canal Road, Valley View, Ohio 44125 –>


41.51370 -81.59784 Lake View Cemetery, 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106 –>


41.50854 -81.69537 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard Cleveland, Ohio 44114 –>


About the Author

Dominique King is a metro Detroit writer, hockey fan and frequent visitor to Ohio. She began her writing career as a freelance writer for local newspapers, covering business, art and regional travel topics for the Mirror Newspapers, the Daily Tribune and Hour Detroit Magazine. She has a degree in Communications (M.A.) from Detroit's Wayne State University and an interest in history. You can find Dominique writing about Midwest travel at or connect with her on Twitter @midwestguest.