Stories of Cleveland's Pioneers

While there are many great pioneers in Cleveland's past, these are summaries of a few of the people and stories you'll learn about in Dan Ruminski's talks and on this site.

The Storyteller's presentations are the result of research, passion and great satisfaction relating to Cleveland’s exceptional history from 1875 to about 1929.

Did You Know?

Did You Know are a few short stories provide a glimpse into Millionaires’ Row and Cleveland’s greatness in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Read Dan's article from Fine Lifestyles the Magazine, Cleveland's Public Square, Not Just Any Square.

Other Cleveland History Resources

New Story: Millionaires' Row and Cleveland Firsts

Winton Auto Ad
Winton Auto Ad

Millionaires' Row was more than the center of the world's wealthiest people in its heyday. During the gilded age, there were many inventions and firsts including:

  • The first traffic light was patented by Garrett Morgan, with the first one installed at the corner of East 9th and Euclid.
  • The first automobile sold in America, the Winton, by Alexander Winton in 1898.
  • The first billionaire in the world was one of Cleveland's most famous residents, John D. Rockefeller.

Millionaires' Row has always been one of Dan's most popular talks, but his research has continued to uncover new information and insight design to educate, impress, and amaze audiences. The new people Dan will talk about will highlight how Cleveland changed the world, making the audience proud of its unique and meaningful history.

Millionaires' Row's Laura Mae: From Fortune Hunter to Heroine

Laura Mae Corrigan
Laura Mae Corrigan

The Cleveland Storyteller's new talk focuses on a true heroine that has been largely ignored by history. Laura Mae started as a laborer, was dismissed by Millionaires' Row society as a gold digger, and later hobnobbed with royalty. But that only tells part of the story. The Cleveland Storyteller will share:

  • The want-to-be socialite who outsmarted The Avenue's finest
  • Her legendary parties and feats
  • Her redemption as the American Angel during World War II and heroic efforts

This new talk will make you wonder why Hollywood hasn't turned this into a movie!

The Avenue, Cleveland's Millionaires' Row

For 30 years, Euclid Avenue was closed for sleigh races between the millionaires photo
Sleigh races on The Avenue

The Cleveland Storyteller's new talk looks at daily life on Cleveland's Millionaires' Row in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The Avenue includes tales of Rockefeller's secret passion, scandals, and a want-to-be socialite who outsmarted all. The new talk features tales of:

  • John D. Rockefeller's secret passion
  • Scandal on The Avenue
  • The ghost of Julia Drury, who many claim to still see today

This new talk is sure to entertain and leave a lasting impression.

The Famous and Infamous Women of Cleveland's Millionaires' Row

Cassie Chadwick photo
Cassie Chadwick, Swindler

Much has been written about the men of Millionaire Row—John D. Rockefeller, Samuel Mather and his brother William, Mark Hanna and Thomas Howard White to name a few—but for the most part little is known about the wives of these great individuals. Dan Ruminski, Cleveland's Storyteller, thought it time to feature some of the better known women of the time, including:

  • Mrs. Rockefeller, her accomplishments and influence on her husband
  • Cassie Chadwick, an outlandish swindler, who died in prison
  • The Storyteller's personal experiences with the ghost of Julia Drury

These are fascinating tales you've probably never heard that will both enlighten and entertain.

Millionaires Row ~ Euclid Avenue

Driving on Millionaires' Row photo
Euclid Ave., Early 1900s
  • A story that will amaze in its scope, wealth and effect on Cleveland, Ohio.
  •  A personal side of the great avenue and how it came into being
  • That which created also destroyed, the rest of the story
  • What made Euclid Avenue unique?
  • What were the residents like, other that extremely wealthy?
  • Were they much different than you and I?

The Famous Whites of White Sewing Machine and White Motors

Walter White, 1929 photo
Walter C. White, 1929

  • A very personal look at this genius of the Thomas Howard White Family
  • A detailed account of his sewing machine company and The White Motor Company.
  • A look at the grand homes and estates that were created from wealth earned
  • Surprise revelations about the individuals that made up this famous White family

The Great Estates of Wickliffe ~ Millionaires Mile

Frank Rockefeller
Frank Rockefeller
  • A story that ties Cleveland to the now famous movie The King's Speech
  • The Four families ~ A very personal touch for I knew Mrs. Boler ~  Frank Rockefeller’s daughter
    • Rockefeller
    • Corrigan
    • McKinney
    • Coulby
  • Learn in great detail of how four Wickliffe estates’ owners became involved in a story that would rival any Greek tragedy
  • Once heard, one will never look upon Wickliffe, Ohio the same way again

The Francis Drury Story, Drury Theater and The Cleveland Playhouse

Frank Rockefeller
Francis Drury
  • A very personal presentation of a man and his family few know about
  • Learn details of this building of his great Cedar hill Farm, now Gilmour Academy and his great home on Millionaires Row across from the playhouse.
  • A great story with an unexpected ending
  • The Drury connection to John D. Rockefeller

The John D. Rockefeller Story Myth Verses Fact

John D. Rockefeller
  • Surprising details of Cleveland’s wealthiest citizens
  • Learn where folklore and fact differ in a most fascinating story of great ambition, success and charity
  • Hear about John D.’s passions, his  unusual disease and what he really thought of Cleveland at the end of his life

The Theatrical, a Very Famous Cleveland Landmark

The Theatrical phooto
The Theatrical
  • Short Vincent Street and the Theatrical Restaurant were featured in the movie, "The Danny Green Story."
  • The Theatrical, a Cleveland landmark, was a place where men met future wives, lawyers and those pursued by the law, sat to have lunch or dinner. Movie stars and the great entertainers of the day mingled there on an everyday basis.
  • Hear how some of our nation's greatest entertainers got their start in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Learn about the beginning and sad ending to this legendary place.

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