Cleveland Storyteller logo

All posts by craig

Cleveland Positive: The Touch of Human Kindness

John Phillips, M.D. photo
John Phillips, "The patient coming into the hospital should feel the touch of human kindness all through his/her treatment."

Part of the thrill of telling stories about Cleveland’s history is that my audiences are very attentive and on many occasions share stories and their ideas with me. Three weeks ago after presenting a talk about “Millionaires’ Row,” a young lady waited afterwards to share an idea with me. She enjoyed my presentation but felt my audience would have great interest in how Cleveland of today is making its way back to greatness. Thus, upon this suggestion, I have added at the end of most of my talks, “A Cleveland Positive” going on today.

My first Cleveland positive is our world famous Cleveland Clinic. Now I know Cleveland is blessed with many state of the art medical facilities, but it so happens that my dear wife, Susan, took ill and her doctors were with the Cleveland Clinic. Being a Cleveland history buff, our contact with the Clinic lead me on a mission to research the history of this great medical institution. In my search I came across a quote that stuck with me and, more than anything else I read about the Clinics early beginnings, gave me pause for the quote totally represented the experience Sue and I had at our Clinic.

John Phillips, M.D. was a Co-Founder of the Cleveland Clinic. I believe all of us who may ever need medical attention would have loved contact with Dr. Phillips based upon the following quote. Dr. Phillips said, “The patient coming into the hospital should feel the touch of human kindness all through his/her treatment.” What the good Dr. said 90 years ago is what Sue and I experienced with the Clinic. How the folks at the Clinic imbed in each and every one of their employees, Dr. Phillips philosophy of medicine is far beyond me. All I can say is that they have, and the Ruminskis are most grateful (Dr. Michael McNamara).

Thus next time a stranger pulls one of those negative Cleveland stereotypes on you, give them a 5-minute Cleveland history lesson and inform them with a dose of “human kindness.” That this city is home to one of the finest medical entities in all the land, our Cleveland Clinic

Dan Ruminski

The Junior League of Cleveland’s Hand in City History

I have had the great pleasure of meeting many, many fine folks and becoming aware of extremely fine organizations as a result of my Cleveland History presentations. A few days ago I received a wonderful email from one Emily describing to me the fine work that Junior League of Cleveland accomplished each and every year. Emily was kind enough to educate me on the history of the Junior League of Cleveland as they approach their 100th birthday.

Emily has given me permission to post her email and current press release concerning the Junior League of Cleveland, one reads their press release hopefully you will get the same impression I have; Cleveland is a wonderful place full of folks doing good works. This culture will result in our return to former greatness.

We thought this may be of interest to you because many of our facts are historical in nature. The Junior League of Cleveland has had a hand in this city’s history: Our members worked in local Red Cross stations during World War I, manned milk and food stations during the Great Depression, donated a large amount of funds for the restoration of Playhouse Square, among many other projects. This is just a small sample of the way the League has appeared in the history of Cleveland.

Kind Regards,
Emily Lopick
Junior League of Cleveland

The Junior League of Cleveland Launches
“100 Days, 100 Ways” Digital Campaign

Cleveland, Ohio – Nov. 1, 2011 – The Junior League of Cleveland, Inc. (JLC), is launching “100 Days, 100 Ways,” a special digital campaign to jumpstart its 100th anniversary coming up in 2012.

Beginning November 4, 2011 and continuing once a day for 100 days, The JLC will share ways the organization has impacted the Cleveland community through volunteer work, trained leaders, and partnerships with other organizations over the past 100 years.

The information will be shared via digital mediums including The JLC’s website, Facebook and Twitter. To access, visit, ‘Like’ the Junior League of Cleveland on Facebook (, or follow @JLCleveland on Twitter (

“Our centennial provides an incredible opportunity to reflect upon our rich history of community impact,” said Hermione Malone, JLC President. “100 Days, 100 Ways is one way we’re reminding our membership – and the broader Cleveland community – of the difference the Junior League of Cleveland has made over the last century – both in the development of trained civic leaders and in programs that meet identified needs.

The culmination of the campaign will be the official launch of the JLC’s centennial year in February as it co-hosts a girls leadership symposium in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.

About The Junior League of Cleveland

Celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2012, The Junior League of Cleveland, Inc. is an organization of women volunteers dedicated to community change. The JLC is comprised of diverse, creative, compassionate, and action oriented women who are committed to promoting the League’s mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action of trained volunteers. Our members have varying backgrounds and interests and share a commitment to volunteering.

Media Contact:

Betsy Nagy, Communications Director

Continue reading The Junior League of Cleveland’s Hand in City History

Winter Sleigh Racing on Millionaires’ Row

Did you know…¬†Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, “Millionaires’ Row,oldsleighcard img” enjoyed the grand event of winter sleigh racing between the years 1875 & 1905.

These races were rather informal and were held on Thursdays, Friday & Saturday afternoons. Never on Sundays, the Sabbath. Cleveland’s finest including Rockefeller, Perkins, Hanna and Edwards along with some 50 other of Cleveland’s premier dealmakers showed up to race each other.

Many rivalries developed over the years each man wanting bragging rights for the fastest horse in town. Trotting horses were used here and thus the entire trotter racing industry had its roots in Cleveland, Ohio.

The sleigh races took place between East 9th and East 40th Streets. Early on Euclid Avenue was over 60 feet wide with no trollies to obstruct the roadway. The city would detour traffic around this portion of Euclid Avenue for the races as well as lift the 5mph speed limit. Literally thousands of people would line the Avenue to watch these famous Clevelanders show off.

Jeptha Wade owned the best sleigh I have read about – a bright red vehicle that was made special in Russia. Although these races lasted for over 30 years, there are very few pictures and even less written about them.

The sleigh races contributed to Cleveland’s unique character at this time “Millionaire’s Row” was so much more than just a gathering of mansions. It was a very tight neighborhood which Cleveland’s public could enjoy and admire. The Avenue served to motivate the creation of future wealth as many would dream, work hard, take risks and aspire to one day becoming part of the most famous Avenue in the world.

Cleveland – How Did We Lose You?

Higbee's Department Store, circa 1961 photo
Higbee's Department Store, circa 1961

There was a time in the not too distant misty past when the city of Cleveland, Ohio was one of the fairest places under the sun. It was a time when providence smiled benevolently on our fair metropolis. The streets were bustling with people, everyone worked and shopped downtown, and the closest thing to a shopping mall was almost urban Shaker Square. Downtown was alive and vital and Cleveland was a social, financial and cultural force to be reckoned with.

My father, my mother and my grandfather all worked downtown. This was at a time when Cleveland was a business hub. My father worked at a company that was just a block away from Public Square. My mother worked at various jobs downtown, too. My grandfather Walker’s office occupied the entire 11th floor of the Williamson Building~ that glorious edifice which was imploded to make way for the hum drum BP America Building. My mother grew up downtown. Continue reading Cleveland – How Did We Lose You?

Dan Goes Back to Junior High

I had the wonderful experience in speaking to an advanced class of 7th graders at Sheffield Middle School and their wonderful teachers, Eric Ruble & Michelle Gehring.

I, on occasion have been concerned about the quality of our education today and our students ability to learn and retain.

Please read 5 of the many letters I received from this great class. Their retention of my talk on Cleveland’s Millionaire’s Row was exciting to me in that my talk was given almost on the last day of school in a classroom that was at least 85 degrees.

May I say, what a treat. Our future is alive and well. What a great group of young people. My hat goes off to each and every one of you. Continue reading Dan Goes Back to Junior High