January 28, 2015 16:10 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

  • Libyan security forces and emergency services surround Tripoli's central Corinthia Hotel (R) in the Libyan capital,  Jan. 27, 2015.

    Audio Libya Hotel Attack Kills Five Foreigners

    At least 5 foreigners and 3 guards were killed Tuesday in a hotel attack in Tripoli; President Obama pays respects to Saudi King; Islamic State militants threaten two hostages’ lives; Indonesia’s military halts its search for a passenger plane; and the US northeast is hit with a big snowstorm. More

  • Pakistan Charlie Hebdo Protest

    Video Sensitivity About Religious Images Is Not Unique to Islam

    Non-Muslims may have some difficulty understanding Muslim concerns about their Prophet Muhammad. But the National Museum of Women in the Arts is being criticized for its exhibit on how the Mother of Jesus appears in European art. More

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians

    Video Obama Won't Meet with Netanyahu During Visit to Congress

    The US Congress has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at a joint meeting of the House and Senate in March. House Speaker John Boehner said he did not contact the Obama administration about the visit. President Obama will not meet with Mr. Netanyahu. More

  • Japan Hostage

    Audio Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan over Military Plan

    Japan says the government is working with Jordan to secure the release of a Japanese cititizen. The Islamic State militant group is holding Kenji Goto hostage, but claims to have executed another Japanese hostage. The hostage crisis will likely increase divisions among the Japanese public. More

  • Detroit Auto Show 42

    Video Cars Making a Comeback at North American Auto Show

    The 2015 North American International Auto Show took a test drive in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. It was the first major international car show in the U.S. Automobile manufacturers from around the world presented over 500 models, gas, electric, luxury, performance and concept vehicles More

Featured Stories

  • agridrone

    Video French Farmers Are Using Drones to Examine Their Crops

    It used to be mostly the military that used small, unpiloted aircraft, called “drones.” The little planes were very costly. But as they have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. More

  • Video Is There a Better Way to Track Passenger Planes?

    New technology could help to more closely follow passenger airplanes, and find them when they crash; international group to meet next month to discuss changes. Airline industry leaders and regulators want to improve airplane safety. They want better, more dependable tracking devices. More

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

Practice Your Writing

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

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs