Cleveland 101 – Ethnic & Religious

Did you know that Cleveland is home to 117 distinct ethnic groups?

There are more Slovenians living in Cleveland than anywhere in the world except Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. There are more Hungarians than anywhere except Budapest, Hungary.  Cleveland is home to many ethnic neighborhoods (Little Italy, AsiaTown, etc.) and boasts diverse religions and religious structures.

Below you will find some examples of this rare cultural and religious diversity.  To see more on the 117 distinct ethnic and religious groups that have populations in Cleveland, visit ClevelandPeople.Com.

Baha’i leader `Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Cleveland.  `Abdu’l-Bahá’ was the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.  His 1912 visit to Cleveland is commemorated with this historical marker.

Bohemian National Home. The Bohemian National Home is on the National Register of Historic Places and was where the first major declaration of cooperation between Czechs and Slovaks in the US to support an independent Czechoslovakia took place. It also hosts the Czech Cultural Center of Sokol Greater Cleveland Museum.

Cardinal Mindszenty Plaza. The leader of the Catholic Church in Hungary from 1945-1973 and uncompromising opponent of fascism and communism visited Cleveland in 1974.

Charles Young. Charles Young was the third African-American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, first black military attaché, first black to achieve the rank of colonel, and highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army.

Christopher Columbus Statue. A statue tribute to the explorer in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland.

Cleveland Buckeyes. Cleveland’s Negro league baseball team that played from 1942 to 1950 in the Negro American League.

Cozad-Bates House. Part of the Underground Railroad to help slaves get to Canada.

Copernicus and Madame Curie. Busts of the famous Polish scientists are in the Polish Cultural Garden.

Dante Alighieri statue. Italian Divine Comedy author honored in the Italian Cultural Garden.

Garrett Morgan. African-American inventor (safety hood smoke protection device, 3 position traffic signal and more) and community leader (NAACP, Call and Post).

Goethe-Schiller Monument. The 12′ monument in the German Cultural Garden is one of only 4 copies in the world. 65,000 Clevelanders attended the dedication in 1907. (The above image is from a ’99 Red Balloons’ event in front of the monument)

Hungarian Freedom Fighter. The young freedom fighter in the statue is holding a Hungarian Flag with the symbol of the Soviet Union cut out – symbolizing the anti-Communist revolution.

Immigrant Mother Statue. In the Croatian Cultural Garden, the statue is dedicated to all the immigrant mothers who brought their families to America seeking freedom and a new life.

Irish Famine Memorial. Cleveland remembers the Great Hunger – the Potato Famine of the 1840’s with this large monument in the Flats.

Karamu House. The oldest African-American theater in the United States. (Langston Hughes, Ruby Dee, Robert Guillaume, etc.)

Kossuth Monument. Kossuth is the Father of Hungarian Democracy. There are three Kossuth statues in the US: New York, Washington and here in Cleveland.  With more Hungarians in Cleveland than anywhere except Budapest it is fitting that this monument was built here.

Lady of Slovenia Statue.  The mayor of Ljubljana presented the hand-carved work, The “Lady of Slovenia” to the mayor of Cleveland in 1938, as a token of good will between the two cities.

Leif Ericson bust. Viking Explorer Leif Ericson was honored by the local Scandinavian community with this bust.

Louis Stokes Museum. A museum dedicated to the life of the first black congressman elected in the state of Ohio from his humble beginnings at CMHA’s Outhwaite homes.

Mahatma Gandhi statue.  This 17′ statue in the India Cultural Garden makes Cleveland the only city in the world with a large statue of Gandhi on a street named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage This Museum of Diversity and Tolerance tells the story of the Jewish people in Cleveland and beyond but also reaches out to all to build bridges of understanding.

Mormon Church headquarters. Between 1831 and 1838, Joseph Smith and early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established Church headquarters in Kirtland, built a temple, and laid a foundation of strength for the future.

Old Stone Church. The oldest building on Public Square, this Presbyterian Church was there for Lincoln’s funeral, Charles Brush’s arc lights and more.

Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine. The Shrine is a replica of the Grotto in Lourdes France.  You can walk through the wooded grounds for a guided visual Rosary or Stations of the Cross.

Richard Wagner Statue. A gift from Cleveland’s Goethe-Schiller Society, made up of German immigrants and German-Americans (1911).

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church This historic Roman Catholic church in the Buckeye Road neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland is the earliest ethnic parish established for Hungarians in the US.

Saint Mary Romanian Cathedral. The first Romanian Orthodoxy in America and a Cultural Center of the Romanian Americans.

Saint Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral  St. Theodosius Cathedral is the oldest Orthodox Christian Church in the State of Ohio. The historic cathedral was constructed between 1911-1912 and is considered one of the finest examples of Russian church architecture in the United States and was featured in the 1978 Best Picture winning film, The Deer Hunter with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep.

Sikh Gurdwara in Richfield.  This was the first Sikh Gurdwara in Ohio and home of The Guru Nanak Foundation of Greater Cleveland Area which was named after Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh Faith.

Slovenian (Cleveland-style) Polka Hall of Fame. The Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of polka music, the happiest sound around. The Museum has free admission and is open four days a week.

Sun Yat-sen in Cleveland. The first president and founding father of the Republic of China, visited Cleveland in 1911 and his statue is in Old Chinatown.

Coming Soon

  • Confucius statue
  • Cultural Gardens
  • Irish Famine Memorial
  • Kosciuszko statue
  • Maltz Museum
  • Mother Teresa
  • Pulaski Cannon
  • Shrine Church of St Stanislaus
  • Stefanik statue
  • and many more

If you found something on this site useful, please consider a contribution (anything will help) via the Paypal button below to help us maintain and upgrade this resource.

Thank You!