Catch You on the Flip Side!

Another great Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting has come and gone…

Nearly 1,800 archivists descended on Cleveland this year for informative sessions and educational opportunities, networking and socializing, and (we hope) exploring some of the great food and attractions that Cleveland has to offer. You logged nearly 450 visits to Cleveland and other Northeast Ohio repository tours and open houses.

We hope you found our Host Committee blog helpful in navigating your adventures in Cleveland! We are so pleased to have received more than 9,600 visits to the blog. So thanks to all who let us help you plan and enjoy your trip!

Thanks also to everyone who volunteered and contributed to the local service projects! For the Cleveland Animal Protective League, $3,420 was donated–including money and the value of items donated through the Amazon wish list–and on-site at the conference donations of blankets (some hand-knitted), food, toys, and office supplies were accumulated for the shelter. The Shoes and Clothes for Kids project collected two boxes of donations on site, and the volunteer group packed 40 boxes of shoes and clothing at the SC4K Cleveland location.

We look forward to seeing you all again in Atlanta in 2016…Or, as they say in the music biz (how could we resist one more music reference from the Rock and Roll Capital of the World?):

Catch you on the flip side!

Vinyl Spin by Darren Cowley via Flickr, Creative Commons license
Vinyl Spin by Darren Cowley via Flickr, Creative Commons license

Your Archives 2015 Host Committee 

Janet Carleton (co-chair), Ohio University
Jennie Thomas (co-chair), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Leslie Cade, Cleveland Museum of Art
Jillian Carney, Ohio History Connection
Ron Davidson, Sandusky Library
Jeremy Feador, Cleveland Indians
Nicole Laflamme, The J M Smucker Company
Rita Knight-Gray
Angela Manella
Lisa Rickey, Wright State University
Anne Salsich, Oberlin College
Jill Tatem, Case Western Reserve University
Judy Wiener, The Ohio State University


Mobile Apps for the CLE

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee member

Wondering what mobile apps would be good for your visit to the CLE?

Archives2015 online schedule mobile icon
Archives2015 online schedule mobile icon

Well, if you haven’t already checked out the online schedule, signed up for an account to create your own personalized schedule, and bookmarked the mobile app for it, then that should be Job #1. The most up-to-date schedule information is found in this electronic version, so it’s really a must-have for conference-goers.

If you plan to use public transportation, you will want to check out the Greater Cleveland RTA’s mobile apps. Some of the useful services provided include maps, stop times, and notifications.

For general information about Cleveland-area news, weather, sports, and entertainment, make sure you install the app. Also available from the apps list are several apps pertaining to specific Cleveland-area sports teams, such as the Browns and the Cavaliers, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Interested in history? (Aren’t all archivists, to some extent?) Then consider installing the Cleveland History app. Developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Historical lets you explore the people, places, and moments that have shaped the city’s history.

You can also find Cleveland area cultural info in apps from FieldTripper and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s ArtLens.

Construction Season

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee Member

There is a running joke that Ohio has four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. Well, guess what season it is right now? Construction Season.

The most significant construction impacting the conference is that taking place around Public Square, which is located somewhat between the Renaissance Hotel and the Convention Center. There have been some changes to traffic and bus routes around Public Square, to accommodate the construction.


  • Parking garages and buildings on the perimeter of Public Square will be open and accessible to residents and Downtown employees.
  • Exterior sidewalks along the perimeter of Public Square will be open for pedestrians. That is, you can walk on the sidewalks all around the four sides of the square; only the sidewalks that criss-cross through the center are closed. (This information has been confirmed as current and accurate by a Host Committee affiliate actually visiting the square on August 13th!)

The parking garage of the Renaissance Hotel remains accessible.

Public Square construction map (courtesy of
Public Square construction map (courtesy of

The map above shows the construction area and changes to traffic routes; it has been modified from the original to include markers for the Renaissance Hotel and the Convention Center. 

For pedestrians walking from the Renaissance to the Convention Center, the following route is suggested: Exit the Renaissance near the parking garage on the north side, at W. 3rd Street. Walking on W. 3rd, cross Superior Avenue, and go two blocks north to St. Clair. Turn right on St. Clair. Walk one block east on St. Clair, and you will see the Global Center for Health Innovation, at the corner of St. Clair and Ontario Avenue. A little further down St. Clair from that corner is an entrance to the Global Center, which also connects to the Convention Center. You can use this entrance to get to the Convention Center, and there will be conference volunteers staffing this door to help you with finding where you need to go. If you are enjoying the nice weather or would simply prefer to go in the front entrance to the Convention Center, continue walking a short distance (less than a full block) on St. Clair, and turn left, either up Frantz Pastorius Blvd. (aka W. Mall Dr.) or the Public Hall pathway, and go one block north to Lakeside Avenue, where you will find the front entrance to the Convention Center, at 300 Lakeside Ave.

For more information about the Public Square construction project, visit:

For more information about Cleveland construction and traffic in general, visit:

Weather Forecast

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee Member

As you begin thinking about packing your suitcase, you might be wondering: What’s the weather likely to be in Cleveland, Ohio, this time of year?

Before I answer that question, I’ll share just a brief anecdote about Ohio weather. Occasionally, I will make a social media posting including some observation on current Ohio weather, and someone from another state will ask, “Is that normal for Ohio?” And I, a lifelong Ohio resident, reply: “It is ‘normal’ for Ohio weather to be fairly unpredictable, yes.” I’ve seen thunderstorms in December, snow as late as May (though never in August – knock on wood), and even the “remnants” of hurricanes that result in terrible windstorms.

But let’s talk about what is likely to happen next week, shall we?

As luck would have it, the current weather forecast from (or the Weather Channel if you prefer) is calling for a pretty typical week of Cleveland summer weather: highs in the 80s, lows around 70; some sun, some clouds, and some possible “scattered” thunderstorms; and occasional use of the dreaded word “humid.” As locals will know, it’s not the heat that can be the real “killer” in an Ohio summer; it’s the humidity.

Cleveland Sunrise (photo courtesy of Chris Capell, via Flickr Commons)
Cleveland Sunrise (photo courtesy of Chris Capell, via Flickr Commons)

So with all of that being said and operating under the assumption that the only thing you can predict about Ohio weather is that it’s a bit unpredictable, how does this translate to packing advice? Here are a few suggestions for your suitcase:

  • Plan to dress in layers. Every day, you will be at your hotel, then traveling to the convention center (whether by foot, bicycle, car, RTA, etc.), spending some time in the convention center, probably heading out for food at some point, maybe venturing out to some area attractions (we hope), and back to your hotel again. That’s a lot of potentially varied micro-climates, so give yourself plenty of clothing options.
  • Bring an umbrella. Whether you are walking a few blocks from your hotel to the convention center or just hopping off a bus near the entrance, it’s still a good idea to have an umbrella on hand just in case, preferably one small enough to stow in a tote bag while you’re not using it.
  • Wear the right shoes. No matter where you’re staying or how you plan to get to the convention center, you will be doing at least a little walking outdoors on pavement—potentially wet pavement. So bring comfortable and reasonably water-resistant footwear.

That should cover it—and you—rain or shine!

For the truly weather-curious, check out this database of Cleveland Weather History, including such facts as historical highs and lows for a given date.

Getting Around Town: A Basic Grid Lesson

By Rita Knight-Gray, Host Committee member

Cleveland is designed within a grid system. Avenues like Euclid, Superior, St. Clair, Lakeside, Prospect, Payne, and Carnegie travel east to west. (Once you travel west across the Cuyahoga River, Superior becomes Detroit and Carnegie becomes Lorain.) Streets are in consecutive number order and travel from north (from Lake Erie) to the south. However, if you visit one of the suburbs, all bets are off as to where the various roads are called avenues versus streets.

A building with a 2- or 3-digit address (55 to 775) on West 6th  Street or East 6th Street is close to the lake and located around Lakeside Avenue or any avenue that is close to the lake.  When the building addresses goes higher — like 1800, 2040 or 3000 — on a numbered street, it is in the area of an avenue away from the lake, like Carnegie (west side Lorain) or Superior (west side Detroit). The addresses on buildings located on avenues are related to the numbered street they are near: for example, the address for Cleveland Public Library’s two buildings is 325-525 Superior Avenue and is located between East 3rd and East 6th streets.

Frantz Pastorius Blvd, Ontario Street (two of the few named streets) north of Public Square is the East and West divide of the city.  So if you exit the Renaissance near the garage, the street that runs directly into it is West 3rd. DON’T PANIC: you are not completely on the west side.  Walk down to the next major intersection St. Clair Avenue, turn right, walk another block to the Global Center on Ontario Avenue, next street is the back side of the Convention Center.  You can take Frantz Pastorius Blvd or the Public Hall pathway to the front entrance on Lakeside Ave.

The takeaway: a building with 2- or 3-digit address is close to Lake Erie, and the address of a building located on an avenue (east-west) is related to the numbered streets (north-south).

Now that you are totally confused, hopefully this downtown map will help with illustrate the explanation. The map is reproduced below (courtesy of, without the legend. To view the legend identifying the numbered locations, view the original (printable PDF) map. Click on the map image to enlarge it:

Downtown Cleveland map (courtesy of
Downtown Cleveland map (courtesy of

When you fly into Cleveland via Hopkins, you can reach the Renaissance Hotel or downtown Cleveland without going outside by taking the Rapid, the Red Line transit train, from within the airport to the terminal tower downtown Cleveland for $2.50. But if you have too many bags or you don’t want people invading your space, take a cab or call Uber.

Trolley system map, courtesy of RideRTA (click to enlarge)
Trolley system map, courtesy of RideRTA (click to enlarge)

A FREE TROLLEY  covers downtown Cleveland from Prospect Ave to Euclid Ave from Cleveland State University to the Rock Hall. Did I mention FREE? This Free Trolley map (reproduced at left, click to enlarge) has information about schedules and routes.

Another inexpensive option for getting around downtown Cleveland is to borrow a bike via Zagster.

Please note: A number of construction projects are currently underway in downtown Cleveland. Additional details are forthcoming, but please plan to build a little extra time into your travels daily to and from your hotel, as well as to and from the conference center. 

Come out and Play in the Cleveland Metroparks

By Leslie Cade, Host Committee Member

23,000 acres, 18 park reservations, 300 miles of hiking, biking, and bridle trails, 14 miles of lakefront, 23 fishing areas, 8 golf course, and one nationally acclaimed zoo make up Cleveland’s “Emerald Necklace,” the chain of Metroparks  that surround the city.

You can have just about every type of fun in the sun from biking, hiking, running, swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, golfing, zip-lining, geocaching, and exploring nature, culture, and history.

Waning Sun along the Towpath (photo by Ben Sanborn via Flickr, Creative Commons license)
Waning Sun along the Towpath (photo by Ben Sanborn via Flickr, Creative Commons license)

The Metroparks calendar for August is chock-full of activities from corn roasts, organized hikes, and the Whiskey Island SUP Festival & Race. The Cleveland Metroparks is also a finalist in the National Parks and Recreation gold medal award, which recognizes excellence in park system management and programming.

The Metroparks are just the beginning. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, known locally as simply “the towpath,” connects Cleveland through the parks to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can hike or bike 85 miles from Cleveland to Akron following the historic Ohio and Erie Canal.  In Cleveland, you can sample a 1.2 mile stretch at steelyard commons on the near west side.

The Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (photo by Jasperdo via Flickr, Creative Commons license)
The Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (photo by Jasperdo via Flickr, Creative Commons license)

So come on out and play while you’re in town!

The Story of Steel and Iron in Cleveland

Contributed by John J. Grabowski, Ph.D.

If you are familiar with professional football (and one assumes many SAA members are) you know (should know!) that one of the most famous rivalries in the sport is that between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a bit like Ohio State and the other university up north (family connections prevent me from using its name!).  But the comparison ends there, because unlike college football with its origins in the Ivy League, that of pro football is connected to the steel mills and factories of the industrial Midwest.  The Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry has at its roots, a blue collar aura and a link to a longer economic rivalry between two great American steel cities. And, that brings us to the story of steel and iron in Cleveland.

Even in this second decade of the twenty-first century, Clevelanders cannot divorce themselves from steel despite the city’s move into a post-industrial economy. Look closely at the city while you are here.  The iron ore carrier, William G. Mather is anchored in the lake just beyond the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Take a tour of the Flats, and you’ll see ore freighters winding their way up the Cuyahoga to the ArcelorMittal mill.  Now largely automated, it is one of the most efficient steel mills in the nation. If you take the time to go to the observation deck of the Terminal Tower, you’ll see its buildings and smokestacks to the south.

Untitled (Industrial Scene, Otis Steel Co., Cleveland), 1928, by Margaret Bourke White (courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art, 1972.246)
Untitled (Industrial Scene, Otis Steel Co., Cleveland), 1928, by Margaret Bourke White (courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art, 1972.246)

This modernized plant is the descendant of an industry that formed the economic backbone of the city from the period just after the Civil War to the 1960s.  While early Cleveland blacksmiths worked iron, it was not until 1857 that the industry really got rolling, so to speak. Two Welsh brothers, David and John Jones, started the Cleveland Rolling Mills southeast of the city in the area now known as Slavic Village. By the 1880s, the making of iron and steel (the rolling mills had the first Bessemer converter west of the Appalachians) had displaced oil and refining as the chief industrial activity in Cleveland.  As the mills grew, the process also became de-skilled and thus opened up jobs to thousands of immigrant and migrant workers.  It’s not serendipity that placed some of the city’s ethnic neighborhoods near the mills; it was the need of workers to walk to their jobs.  And chain migration brought sons, families, and relatives from what are now Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and other central and eastern European nations to mill neighborhoods like Tremont, Warszawa (now part of Slavic Village), and Praha. By the early twentieth century, the Europeans were joined at the mills by African Americans who saw Cleveland and jobs at the mills as a passage out of Jim Crow and into some degree of prosperity.  That expectation was, unfortunately, not truly fulfilled, despite the fact that some migrants already had their roots in the industry in Alabama.

The making of steel then provided the basis for factories that turned it into a number of products — nuts, bolts, automobiles, sewing machines, roller skates, and even jail cells!  The transport of iron ore itself provided the city with a host of sub-industries.  Shipbuilding was one, with American Ship Building as a prime example. (It’s hard for some Clevelanders to admit this given that George Steinbrenner’s fortune came from the company and helped him bankroll the hated New York Yankees.)  Originally ships were unloaded by hand.  Up a plank with a wheelbarrow, down into the hold, shovel it full, take it out, dump it, and do it again.  That ended with the invention of the Brown Hoist system (invented and built in Cleveland) and then the Hulett, invented by a Clevelander. Both systems eventually found use all around the Great Lakes and their manufacture brought wealth and fame to the city, along with labor strife.  A strike at the Brown Hoist factory was, along with strikes at the Rolling Mills, a signifier that laboring conditions and pay in the city during its Gilded Age heyday (and afterwards) were matters of serious concern and contention.  All this reminds me of a Depression-era “poem” my father taught me:

“Yesterday I met a man I never met before. He asked me if I wanted a job shoveling iron ore. I asked him what the wages were, ‘A dollar and a half a ton.’  I told him he could shoot himself, I’d rather be a bum.”

Tremont Neighborhood includes the house from the movie “A Christmas Story” (photo courtesy of Tremont West Development Corporation website)
Tremont Neighborhood includes the house from the movie “A Christmas Story” (photo courtesy of Tremont West Development Corporation website)

I suspect that this little snippet is a reminder that I, like many Clevelanders, have some steel in my family history.  And, indeed, as noted earlier, it’s hard to let that history be forgotten.  While the mills may not be what they used to be (thank goodness perhaps, because the pollution they created was extensive), it is still possible to see the history of steel in the city.  The Brown Hoist Factory still stands on Hamilton Avenue; the site of the Cleveland Rolling Mills (which later became part of United States Steels American Steel and Wire Plant) still bears traces of the factory; and some of the factories that built automobiles such as the Winton still stand.  And, if you want to see the real thing at work, get someone to drive you down Independence Road in the Flats — you’ll be going through a major section of the ArcelorMittal mill.  Or you can visit the neighborhoods built alongside the mills. Try Tremont – look at the architecture, count the churches, enjoy a meal at some of the best restaurants in Cleveland (and remember when you pay your bill, you’ve probably spent the equivalent of several weeks wages for someone who lived in that “hood” one hundred years ago).  Of course, if you come back to the city after the convention you can buy a seat at a Browns-Steelers game.  Try to remember that the roots of this contest are blue collar when you look at the tab!

But, if you are less adventurous, simply consult the online edition of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Start with the article on iron and steel, and use the internal links to really get the full story of all the connections the industry has to the history of Cleveland.