July 04, 2015 19:02 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

  • Audio Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About the 4th of July

    Sure, you know Americans celebrate their Independence Day on the fourth day of July. But do you know they have the wrong date? Or where they get all those fireworks? Hint: not from the UK. More

  • Video France's 'Freedom Frigate' to Celebrate 4th of July

    A warship from France that came to the United States 235 years ago became a sign of friendship between the two countries. The French ship traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to help defeat the British during the American revolutionary war. Now a full-scale replica has been making that same trip. More

  • Video Japanese-Americans Remember End of World War II

    VOA goes to a gathering of old men who served in the American military during the war. They fought against Japan while their families were being detained in internment camps in the US. “I…felt very strongly that we needed to show that we were patriotic Americans.” | As It Is More

  • Audio Chinese Children Seeking a Happy Ending

    Repeated cases of child abuse in China have shocked the country. They also have led to more protection of children’s rights. But child welfare activists say the government and private groups need to do more to stop neglect and violence against children. More

  • Tunisia Attack

    Audio Tunisia Detains 12 in Connection with Hotel Attacks

    Also in the news today, an Afghan court is canceling death sentences given to four men for a mob killing of a woman; At least 36 dead in Philippines boat accident, and dozens remain missing; and the United States and Japan will face each other again in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Independence Day

    Independence Day is a huge celebration in the United States. People celebrate by having parades and picnics and usually end the day with fireworks. So what do some of these words mean? More

  • Video The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O'Brien, Part One

    This story by a little-known American writer tells of a young man with a strong desire. He wants to learn how to use a microscope to see a tiny world. He tries to talk with a ghost to learn a secret from the inventor of the microscope. What will happen when he tries to build his own microscope? More

  • South Korea Film Terminator Genisys

    Video Demons, Male Dancers and Dinosaurs at Theaters Everywhere

    Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and Channing Tatum reprises his role as stripper Magic Mike. But there are also scary movies about demon children, comedies with a talking teddy bear and a marijuana-smoking secret agent; and a documentary about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. More

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs