Arts & Education

Zelma W. George

A well-known African-American philanthropist who was famous for being an alternate in the United Nations General Assembly and, as a headliner in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium, the first African American to play a role that was typically played by a white actress.

Almeda Adam

Overcame sightlessness to help found the Cleveland Music School Settlement and achieved a long career as a teacher, author, and lecturer.

George Crile

One of the four founders of the Cleveland Clinic. President of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (1921-1940) and trustee (1921-1936).

Dr. Harvey Williams Cushing

Pioneer Brain Surgeon, “Father of Modern Neurosurgery.”

Flora Stone Mather

Founder of the Goodrich Settlement House, supported Western Reserve University, the Advisory Council, College for Women, renamed in her honor, Mather College (now the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women).

Adella P. Hughes

Founder of the Cleveland Orchestra and a celebrated pianist herself.


Charles F. Brush

Developer of the Arc Light, forerunner of the light bulb, received over 50 patents. His Brush Electric Company was bought by Thompson Houston Electric Co. which merged with Edison General Electric Co. to become General Electric.

Francis Glidden

Founder of the Glidden Paint Company.

Garrett Morgan

Inventor, including the tri-color traffic light and a gas mask.

Henry A. Sherwin

Founder of The Sherwin-Williams Company.

Alexander Winton

Built the first ready-made car in the United States.

John D. Rockefeller

Founder of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio and the first Billionaire in the United States.


Marcus Hanna

Founded Hanna Mining Company and helped fund President Garfield’s and President McKinley’s election.

Francis Payne Bolton

Congresswoman, serving for 29 years in the 22nd district of Ohio. Convinced Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, of the need to establish an Army School of Nursing rather than untrained nurses. She funded a school of nursing at Western Reserve University, named the Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Carl B. Stokes

First African American Mayor of a major U.S. city, Cleveland, Ohio.

Worth Mentioning

James Barnett

Banker, merchant and gallant soldier and officer in the Civil war. An honored and influential citizen of Cleveland.

Ray Chapman

Shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. The only Major League Baseball player to have died from an injury received at a major league baseball game after being struck in the head by a pitch.

Joseph Carabelli

Stonecutter, Sculptor, Founder of Little Italy in Cleveland.

Eliot Ness

Public Safety Director for Cleveland, 1935-1942, known for helping bring down Al Capone in Chicago.