September 30, 2014 11:48 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

  • UN General Assembly Vietnam

    Audio Vietnam Calling for End to US Arms Ban

    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke last week in New York City during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly. | As It Is More

  • Riot police use pepper spray against protesters after thousands of people block a main road to the financial central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sept. 28, 2014.

    Audio Chinese Media React to Hong Kong Protests

    Protesters are demanding that China permit public nominations for the territory’s chief executive. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to force protesters off the streets. But many protesters refused to leave. More

  • Pro-democracy protesters flood the central financial district in Hong Kong, Sept. 29, 2014.

    Audio Pro-Democracy Protest Grows in Hong Kong

    Thousands of Hong Kong protesters have ignored government calls to leave the streets to permit the return of public transport services. Police clashed with the protestors overnight when they tried to end the unrest that had spread over the weekend. | In the News More

  • Bathing Cop

    Photogallery Great Photographs from the US Library of Congress

    iBook pictures come from “world’s greatest collection of photographs.” We talk with the editor who spent months looking at tens of thousands of photographs from which she had to choose just 730 to include in the book. | As It Is More

  • Artist conception of ISEE-3 in space.  (ISEE-3 Reboot Project)

    Video Citizen-Scientists Take Control of Old Satellite

    Former NASA engineer helps group get information from a satellite that was launched in the 1970s and had been silent for years; giving an old satellite a new mission. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs