The Great Lakes Exposition
Held in the summers of 1936 and 1937, the Great Lakes Exposition was sprawled over 135 acres of land near Cleveland's lakefront from W. 3rd St. to E. 20th St.
Organized to celebrate the centennial year of the corporation of the city of Cleveland, the Great Lakes Exposition sought to highlight “the material, social and cultural progress which has been achieved in the Great Lakes Region in the past 100 year” and to “indicate the paths of progress for the future.”1
The Exposition featured hundreds of attractions, including rides, sideshows, botanical gardens, cafes, and more. In 1937, the Expo added an aquacade with water ballet shows featuring celebrities Johnny Weissmuller and Eleanor Holm.
Some of the Cleveland/Northeast Ohio industries represented at the Expo included the White Motor Company, the Standard Oil Company, Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, Sherwin Williams, not to mention appearances by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s ever-popular blimp.
The Special Collections Department of the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University makes available a variety of resources that document the history and events of the Exposition. Many of the materials, including 150+ photographs and color postcards have been digitized and are available for viewing online.
So take a step back in time and enjoy the sights of what was, without question, one of the most remarkable and beloved events in Cleveland history… line.
1Great Lakes Exposition Official Souvenir Guide, 1936.
Cleveland Memory Project
What is Cleveland Memory?
The Cleveland Memory Project is a freely searchable online collection of digital photos, texts, oral histories, videos and other local history resources, built by the Michael Schwartz Library at the Cleveland State University in collaboration with a host of community partners around Northeast Ohio.