May 03, 2015 19:59 UTC

Words and Their Stories: Nicknames for Cleveland and Detroit

Cleveland is sometimes called the Best Location in the Nation | WORDS AND THEIR STORIES

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Words and Their Stories: City Nicknames for Clevand and Detroit

Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Many American cities have interesting nicknames. Nicknames can help establish the identity of a city. They can also spread pride among its citizens. But nicknames sometimes can make fun of something.

Cleveland, Ohio is a city in America’s Midwest. One of its earliest nicknames was Forest City. No one knows for sure who gave it this name in the eighteen thirties. But Cleveland probably had a lot of trees. This nickname became popular among local businesses in the eighteen fifties. Today, some businesses in the Cleveland area still use Forest City in their names.

A view of Lake Erie with the Cleveland skyline in the background at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland
A view of Lake Erie with the Cleveland skyline in the background at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland

Cleveland sits next to Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes. It was once a major manufacturing city. Ships used the lake for transporting goods. In the nineteen fifties, businesses called Cleveland, the Best Location in the Nation.

However, many factories closed or moved away. Cleveland had severe financial problems in the nineteen sixties and seventies. In nineteen sixty-nine, the city became famous, but not in a good way. Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught on fire because of industrial wastes on the surface of the river. So in the nineteen seventies, the national media began calling the city The Mistake on the Lake.

Since then, Cleveland has sought to improve its image. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland in nineteen ninety-five. So the city is proud of its latest nickname, The Rock and Roll Capital of the World.

Another city in the Midwest is Detroit, Michigan. Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in Detroit in nineteen hundred three. Five years later, he made the first “Model T” automobile. Within ten years, Detroit was being called The Motor City. It is still the center of the automobile industry in America.

Another popular nickname for Detroit is Motown. Berry Gordy, Junior started the Motown Record Corporation in Detroit in nineteen fifty-nine. African-American singers recording for the company were extremely popular in the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies. Their records were so successful that Detroit was also called Hitsville, USA.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Video Bad News for Press Freedom Around the World

    A new report says working conditions for reporters have fallen severely in the last 10 years. The study says reporters face increasing restrictions and threats. At the same time, press freedom around the world is extremely low. Many countries have only a partly free press, or no free press at all. More

  • Video S.O.S. – In Other Words, Help!

    Language, as we know, is always changing. New words are often created, officially and unofficially, without anyone knowing about them. Read on to learn a word that many Americans do not know. Here is a clue: S.O.S. is one. More

  • Hippo bathing in the Serengeti National Park, west of Arusha, northern Tanzania.

    Audio Hippos: The Life Force of African Rivers

    The hippopotamus is an animal very important to the health of Africa's rivers and lakes. Tons of hippo dung -- or solid waste -- enter Africa's aquatic ecosystem every year. A new study says the waste produced by hippos serve a very important ecological function to many rivers and lakes in Africa. More

  • Audio Experts See Closer Link Between Earthquakes and Oil Drilling

    Since 2009, earthquake activity has greatly increased in the central and eastern United States. A new report from U.S. earthquake experts links drilling for oil and gas with the rise in the number of earthquakes in those areas. The US has expanded its oil and gas production in recent years. More

  • Video Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Death of Black Man

    The chief prosecutor in the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland has announced charges against six police officers in the case of the death of a 25-year-old black man. Freddie Gray died in the hospital April 19th, a week after he was arrested. Mr. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide. More

Featured Stories

  • Video S.O.S. – In Other Words, Help!

    Language, as we know, is always changing. New words are often created, officially and unofficially, without anyone knowing about them. Read on to learn a word that many Americans do not know. Here is a clue: S.O.S. is one. More

  • Everyday Grammar - Double Negatives

    Audio Everyday Grammar: Double Negatives - Can't Get None?

    In this week’s episode of Everyday Grammar, we’re going to talk about two common types of double negatives. A double negative is when you use two negative words in the same clause of a sentence. Sometimes two negatives make a statement positive; sometimes two negatives form a stronger negative. More

  • Kate Chopin

    Video Athenaise by Kate Chopin

    Our story today is called "Athenaise" by Kate Chopin. Women in the United States long wanted to be independent. This classic American Story tells about a young married woman in the Bayou of Louisiana who questions her role as a wife. Can she have her personal liberty and stay married to Mr. Cazeau? More

  • Audio Change in Work Schedule Could Cure 'Social Jet Lag'

    If you sometimes feel as if you are sleep-walking through your day, it could be possible that your work and body clocks are fighting each other. Read on to learn great words like metabolism and circadian rhythm. These words will help you to talk about your body’s sleeping and waking cycles. More

  • French gendarmes, seen in this picture made available to the press by the French Interior Ministry April 1, 2015, work near debris from wreckage showing a German flag at the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes.

    Audio Are We Safer Without Pilots in the Cockpit?

    Officials say the co-pilot of a Germanwings flight crashed into a mountain on purpose. Now, experts wonder if removing pilots from planes would improve safety. Some suggest letting officials on the ground take control if the pilot is acting strangely. But some warn that the technology has problems. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs