Cleveland, Tennessee

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Cleveland, Tennessee
Craigmiles Hall in downtown Cleveland
Craigmiles Hall in downtown Cleveland
Nickname(s): The City with Spirit
Location of Cleveland, Tennessee
Location of Cleveland, Tennessee
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Country United States
State Tennessee
County Bradley
Founded 1837[1]
Incorporated 1842[2]
Named for Benjamin Cleveland
 • Type City Council
 • Mayor Tom Rowland[3]
 • City Manager Janice S. Casteel[4]
 • Assistant City Manager Melinda B. Carroll
 • Total 29.68 sq mi (76.87 km2)
 • Land 29.68 sq mi (76.87 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 869 ft (265 m)
Population (2012 Census Estimate[5])
 • Total 42,386
 • Density 1,428.1/sq mi (551.40/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 37311, 37312, 37320, 37323, 37364[6]
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-15400[7]
GNIS feature ID 1280705[8]

Cleveland is a city in Bradley County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 41,285 at the 2010 census.[9] It is the county seat and largest city in Bradley County,[10] and the principal city of the Cleveland, Tennessee metropolitan area (consisting of Bradley County and neighboring Polk County), which is included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton combined statistical area. Cleveland is the fourteenth largest city in Tennessee[11] and the fifth-largest industrially with twelve Fortune 500 manufacturers.[12]


Child workers from Cleveland's Hosiery Mills, 1910. Photo by Lewis Hine.

In 1819, the Cherokee Agency— the official liaison between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation— was moved to the Hiwassee area, a few miles north of what is now Cleveland. The Indian agent was Colonel Return J. Meigs. Charleston and Blythe's Ferry (about 15 miles, or 24 kilometers, west of Cleveland) would both figure prominently in the Cherokee Removal in the late 1830s.[1]

The legislative act that created Bradley County in 1836 authorized the establishment of a county seat, which was to be named "Cleveland" after Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a commander at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolution.[1] The commissioners chose "Taylor's Place," the home of Andrew Taylor, as the location for the county seat, due largely to the site's excellent water sources. By 1838, Cleveland already had a population of 400, and was home to two churches (one Presbyterian, the other Methodist), and a school, the Oak Grove Academy. The city was incorporated on February 4, 1842, and elections for mayor and aldermen were held shortly afterward.[13]

Cleveland grew rapidly following the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s. While bitterly divided over the issue of secession on the eve of the Civil War, Cleveland, like Bradley County and most of East Tennessee, voted against Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession in June 1861.[13] The railroad bridge over the Hiwassee River to the north was among those destroyed by the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy in November 1861. Cleveland was occupied by the Confederate Army from 1861 to 1863.[14]

During the 1870s, Cleveland experienced a growth spurt. The city's most iconic building, Craigmiles Hall, was constructed in 1878 as an opera house and meeting hall. Numerous factories were also established, including the Hardwick Stove Company in 1879, the Cleveland Woolen Mills in 1880, and the Cleveland Chair Company in 1884. By 1890, the city was home to nine physicians, twelve attorneys, eleven general stores, fourteen grocery stores, three drug stores, three hardware stores, six butcher shops, two hatmakers, two hotels, a shoe store, and seven saloons. A mule-drawn trolley system was established in 1886, and the city had electricity by 1895. During this period, Cleveland's population more than doubled from 1,812 in 1880 to 3,643 in 1900.[13]

Many of the buildings currently standing in the downtown area were constructed between 1880 and 1915. In 1918, the Church of God, a Christian denomination headquartered in Cleveland, established a Bible school that would eventually become Lee University. Cleveland's Chamber of Commerce was established in 1925. The city experienced further growth when several major factories were constructed in the area following World War II.[13]


Cleveland is in the center of Bradley County situated among a series of low hills and ridges roughly 15 miles (24 km) west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and 15 miles (24 km) east of the Chickamauga Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River. The Hiwassee River, which flows down out of the mountains and forms the northern boundary of Bradley County, empties into the Tennessee a few miles northwest of Cleveland. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total land area of 26.9 square miles (69.7 km2) in 2010.[9]

Much of the city's terrain is made up of paralleling ridges, including Candies Creek Ridge (also called Clingan Ridge), Mouse Creek/Blue Springs Ridge, and Lead Mine Ridge which are extensions of the Appalachian Mountains (specifically part of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians) that run approximately north-northeast through the city. Several streams run in the valleys between the ridges including Candies Creek, located west of Clingan ridge, and Mouse Creek, between Mouse Creek and Lead Mine Ridge.

Cleveland is divided into five major regions: Central Cleveland (also called Downtown Cleveland), Northern Cleveland (also called North Cleveland), Western Cleveland, East Cleveland, and South Cleveland. East and South Cleveland are census-designated places within the city limits. There are no official borders between the other divisions. Central Cleveland encompasses the business district and surrounding residential area including the Stuart Heights and Annadale neighborhoods. Northern Cleveland has come to be the location for most of the city's retail shops and private interests. In addition, it is a major residential division, made up of Burlington Heights, Fairview, and Sequoia Grove neighborhoods. Western Cleveland is entirely residential. Much of it is an extension of the city limits westward to encompass populous neighborhoods including Hopewell Estates and Rolling Hills. East and South Cleveland are both residential and industrial divisions. People living in East Cleveland tend to be less privileged. South Cleveland is the densest populated part of town. People who live in these regions are sometimes referred to as being "isolated" from the rest of the city, as they work in that part of town and most of their economy comes from retail and businesses in the southern part of the city.



The city of Cleveland operates under a council/manager form of government with a mayor, city manager and seven council members. The current mayor is Tom Rowland, who has held that position since September 9, 1991, the longest in Cleveland's history, and the city manager is Janice Casteel. Elections take place every even year. The city is divided into five districts which are served each by a councilman along with two who serve at-large.

District Councilman
District 1 Charlie McKenzie
District 2 Bill Estes
District 3 Avery L. Johnson
District 4 David May, Jr.
District 5 Dale R. Hughes
At-large 1 George Poe, Jr.
At-large 2 Richard L. Banks

Public safety

The Cleveland Fire Department is an all-paid professional department. It currently consists of 90 highly trained personnel and 5 stations, and serves an estimated 67,135 people. The current chief is Steve Haun.[15] The Cleveland Police department currently has 91 Certified Police Officers, two Codes Enforcement Officers and 11 full-time civilian employees, along with one part-time civilian employee, 13 School Crossing Guards and eight Animal Control employees. They also maintain a Volunteer Program consisting of a 15-member Public Service Unit and a nine-member Chaplain Unit. The Chief of Police is Mark Gibson.[16]


Cleveland's main hospital is SkyRidge Medical Center.[17] Bradley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center is a nursing home that serves the county. Bradley County Emergency Medical Services is an emergency medical service (EMS) agency of the county government and consists of three stations, eleven ambulances, and six ancillary vehicles, along with 61 full-time employees and 32 part-time employees.[18]


Cleveland Utilities is the major department which provides services to Cleveland residents. They provide electric, water, and sewage services.

Public works

The Public Works Department performs the most varied actions of all the city departments. It has approximately 51 employees. The department is responsible for the city’s fleet operation, sign maintenance and design, and street markings. The current director is Tommy Myers.[19]

Parks and recreation

Several public recreational parks are located within or near Cleveland.[20] They are all maintained by the Cleveland Parks and Recreation department. They allow a variety of activities, and some organized sports teams compete at them. The Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway is an approximately 4.4 mile long greenway path which follows South Mouse Creek from downtown to neighborhoods in the northern part of the city.[21] Other facilities include the Bradley County Park, Kenneth L. Tinsley Park, Mosby Park, Pritchard Park, Deer Park, College Hill Recreation Center, Northeast Recreation Center, Johnston Park, Leonard Fletcher Park, Cleveland Family YMCA, and the South Cleveland Community Center.



Hardwick Field, also known as Cleveland Municipal Airport, was the principal airport from 1955 to 2013.[22][23] Cleveland Regional Jetport, located approximately two miles east of Hardwick Field opened on January 25, 2013, replacing Hardwick Field.[24] It consists of a 5,500-by-100-foot (1,676 by 30 m) runway.[24]


Cleveland is served by the Norfolk Southern Railway, which forks in the city and provides logistics for industries.


The center of Cleveland is at the intersection of U.S. Route 11 and U.S. Route 64. US-11 connects the area with Chattanooga to the south and Athens to the north. The US 11 Bypass (Keith Street) passes 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of the central business district. U.S. Route 64 connects Cleveland with Murphy, North Carolina, to the east and the Chattanooga area to the southwest. State Route 60 (25th Street) connects Cleveland with Dayton to the northwest and Dalton, Georgia, to the southeast, where the road becomes State Route 71. APD-40, made up of the U.S. 64 Bypass and a section of S.R. 60, is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System from where it takes its name, and serves as a beltway around the business district. Parts of this beltway are controlled access. Interstate 75 passes through western Cleveland, connecting the area with Knoxville to the north and Chattanooga. A total of three exits serve Cleveland.


The U.S. 11 Bypass (Keith Street) was built in the mid-1960s to relieve congestion of passing traffic downtown. S.R. 60 originally turned southward at the first intersection east of the interstate and ran together with U.S. 64 through downtown, but was moved to 25th Street in the early 1970s, which ended at Ocoee Street (U.S. 11). APD-40 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s to divert traffic passing through downtown around the city. Sgt. Paul Huff Parkway, a major thoroughfare in the northern part of the city, was built between Georgetown Road (S.R. 60) and North Lee Highway (U.S. 11) in the mid to late 1980s to provide a focal point for new businesses and an easier access to industries in the northeastern corner of the city.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is currently rebuilding the I-75 interchange with APD-40 (exit 20), as the current conditions cause traffic to back up across the existing two-lane overpass and on the ramps. A reported 17,000 vehicles traverse this bridge daily. Plans are to demolish the existing structure and build a new six-lane bridge. The ramps will also be lengthened. The project is expected to be completed by November 2015.[25] APD-40 has also been reported to be the road where the most roadway accidents and fatalities occur in Bradley County.[citation needed]

Principal highways

Aerial view of the cloverleaf interchange with APD-40 (US 64 Byp./SR 60) and US 64 (Inman Street, Waterlevel Highway)

Other major roadways

  • Mouse Creek Road
  • Stuart Road
  • Peerless Road
  • Georgetown Road
  • SR 312 (Harrison Pike)
  • Freewill Road
  • 20th Street NE
  • 17th Street NW
  • Michigan Avenue Road
  • Benton Pike
  • SR 74 (Spring Place Road)
  • Blue Springs Road
  • McGrady Drive


Since 1908, 28 tornadoes have been documented in the Cleveland area, seven of which struck on April 27, 2011.[26]

Climate data for Cleveland, Tennessee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 50
Average low °F (°C) 28
Average precipitation inches (cm) 5
[citation needed]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 806
1870 1,658 105.7%
1880 1,874 13.0%
1890 2,863 52.8%
1900 3,858 34.8%
1910 5,549 43.8%
1920 6,522 17.5%
1930 9,136 40.1%
1940 11,351 24.2%
1950 12,605 11.0%
1960 16,196 28.5%
1970 21,446 32.4%
1980 26,415 23.2%
1990 30,354 14.9%
2000 37,192 22.5%
2010 41,285 11.0%
Est. 2014 43,182 [27] 4.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
Location of the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area in Tennessee

Cleveland is the principal city of the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Bradley and Polk counties[28] and had a combined population of 104,015 at the 2000 census.[7]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 37,192 people, 15,037 households, and 9,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,490.9 people per square mile (575.5/km2). There were 16,431 housing units at an average density of 658.7 per square mile (254.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.00% White, 7.01% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.29% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.87% of the population.

There were 15,037 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 15.4% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,098, and the median income for a family was $40,150. Males had a median income of $30,763 versus $21,480 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,316. About 11.3% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.


Industry is responsible for the majority of the city's income. According to the Chamber of Commerce,[29] Cleveland is the fifth largest city in Tennessee industrially. Cleveland is home to several industries, including household cooking equipment, foodstuff, textiles, furniture, storage batteries, pharmaceuticals, industrial cleaning products, photographic processing, industrial and domestic chemicals, and automotive parts. Tourism also plays a major part, with many nearby attractions and yearly events.

Old Hardwick Woolen Mills factory building in Cleveland, Tennessee

Cleveland is the location for the corporate headquarters of Life Care Centers of America, the largest privately-held nursing facility company in the US, founded and owned by Forrest Preston. Check Into Cash Inc., the largest privately-held payday loan company in the US, was founded in Cleveland in 1993 by businessman Allan Jones.[30] Hardwick Clothes, the oldest tailor-made clothing maker in America, was founded in 1880 and has been headquartered in Cleveland for over 130 years.[31] In addition to corporate businesses, Cleveland has a thriving retail climate, most located in the northern part of the city. The Bradley Square Mall is a shopping mall with over 50 tenants.

Top employers

Name[32][33] Number of Employees
Whirlpool Corporation 1,503
Bradley County Schools 1,200
SkyRidge Medical Center 1,157
Peyton's Southeastern 950
Lee University 815
Jackson Furniture 800
Cleveland City Schools 664
Walmart Supercenter (two stores) 640
Bradley County Government 620
Mars Chocolate North America 575
Bayer 537
Life Care Centers of America 450
Olin Corporation 384
Whirlpool Xperience Center (call center) 375
Proctor & Gamble/Duracell 350
City of Cleveland 340
Exel, Inc. 340
Coca-Cola 320
Jones Management Services 320
Lonza 320
Catnapper/Cleveland Chair 300
Check Into Cash 300
Hardwick Clothes 240


Tourism is a major part of Cleveland's income. Several attractions in and around Cleveland attract visitors from all over the country. Perhaps the Cherokee National Forest in Polk County is responsible for the majority of the income. The forest yields many outdoor activities. Two rivers, the Ocoee and Hiwassee, flow through the forest. Thousands of people travel to the area every year to raft these rivers. Red Clay State Park is a historical site just above the Georgia state line. The Cherokee Indians took council here upon being driven out of Georgia. The Museum Center at Five Points is a history museum and cultural center which features exhibits on the Ocoee Region and surrounding areas.[34] The Ocoee Regional Nature Center is a state-certified arboretum. It houses over 100 types of trees, plants, flowers, and shrubs.[citation needed]

File:Craigmiles Christmas.jpg
Craigmiles Hall in December 2015


Photo of Tall Betsy in Fort Hill Cemetery, 1993.

The MainStreet Cleveland Halloween Block Party draws more than 20,000 people to the city every year. The event began in 1988 as a candy handout at the Cleveland Police Department and Centenary Avenue, and has grown to one of the largest events in Cleveland, featuring live music, food stands and a costume contest.[35] Cleveland’s mayor, Tom Rowland, has dubbed the city the “Halloween capital of the world.”

Cleveland is also famous for Tall Betsy, the official Halloween goblin of Bradley County. For years, Tall Betsy’s Halloween night appearance drew large crowds to Cleveland’s Centenary Avenue. The growing crowds inspired MainStreet Cleveland to organize the Halloween Block Party around the event. Local businessman Allan Jones created the modern legend from tales of the Tall Betsy goblin that his grandmother told him as a child. The original legend dates back to the 19th century, with print references in the Cleveland Daily Herald dating as far back as 1892. In 1998, Tall Betsy retired after drawing a crowd of over 25,000 people, but came back in 2005 to celebrate her 25th anniversary.[36][37] The Cleveland Apple Festival, begun in 2002, is an annual family event held on the third weekend of October.[38] This festival offers a juried art and craft show, live bluegrass music, food booths, pony and a hayride, entertainment, contests and children's activities. Unlike many festivals of its kind in the U.S., The Cleveland Apple Festival does not charge for children to participate in the various children's activities provided in the children's area. The festival is a 501(c)(3) public charity.


Cleveland High, Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School are the three public high schools in Bradley County. Cleveland Middle, Ocoee Middle and Lake Forest are the three middle schools. Cleveland City Schools is a school system for students living within the city limits. Several elementary schools serve students within different sub district divisions. Some schools maintained by Bradley County Schools are also in the city. Tennessee Christian Preparatory School is a Christian college preparatory school located in Cleveland. The city is also home to Cleveland State Community College, a unit of the Tennessee Board of Regents, as well as Lee University, the second largest private four-year university in the state.[39]

Public schools

High Schools


Jones Wrestling Center

Cleveland High School has one of the most successful football programs in Tennessee. It has the second longest winning streak in Tennessee high school football history, with 54 consecutive wins between 1993 and 1996. The Blue Raiders have also won state championships in 1968, 1993, 1994 and 1995.[citation needed]

The Cleveland High School and Bradley Central wrestling teams traditionally dominate the state wrestling championships. Since 1994, the Bradley Central Bears have won 22 state championships in the Dual and Traditional categories.[40] The Cleveland Blue Raiders, based at the state-of-the-art Jones Wrestling Center, have won Traditional Championships in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and placed second in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.[41][42]

In 2013, the Cleveland City Council presented a resolution honoring the Cleveland High School wrestling team, and declared Feb. 25 as “Blue Raider Wrestling Day.” The Blue Raiders were state champions for the second time in three years after winning the 2013 TSSAA Division I Traditional State Championships and the State Duals Finals. The team was runner-up in both the Duals and State Tournaments in 2012, after claiming the Traditional title in 2011.[43]

Private schools

Higher education



The Cleveland Daily Banner is the town's newspaper. The paper was first published in 1857.[44] Additionally, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a paper based in Chattanooga, also serves as a primary source of news for Bradley County residents.


Several radio stations located within Chattanooga and neighboring cities serve Cleveland, along with others licensed to Cleveland, which are listed below:[45]

Call sign Frequency Format
W207C1 (WAYW) 89.3 FM Contemporary Christian
WSAA 93.1 FM Air 1, Contemporary Christian
WOOP-LP 99.9 FM Country
WUSY 100.7 FM Country
W267BI 101.3 FM Talk
WCLE-FM 104.1 FM Adult contemporary
W290CA (WTSE) 105.9 FM Contemporary Christian
WBAC 1340 AM News/Talk
WCLE-AM 1570 AM Talk


Cleveland is served by several TV stations licensed both in the city and neighboring cities. Stations licensed in Cleveland include:

Call sign[46] Channel Network
WPDP-LP 25 Fox, My Network TV
WTNB-CD 27.1 Heartland
WFLI-TV 42, 53 The CW, Me-TV


Broad Street United Methodist Church

Numerous Christian denominations are represented in the city, including several for which Cleveland serves as the international headquarters. Denominations based in Cleveland include:

Several churches in Downtown Cleveland are of notable architecture, including the Romanesque Revival Broad Street United Methodist Church, the First Presbyterian Church on Ocoee Street, and St. Luke's Episcopal Church, which was built in the Gothic Revival style by architect Peter Williamson. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Notable people

Don Troiani's depiction of Col. Benjamin Cleveland

Sister Cities


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External links