Almost Erie

Mocking Cleveland is somewhere between a topic of conversation and a cottage industry; everyone (except me and Drew Carey, apparently) makes fun of the Mistake on the Lake. Still, there are some highly-regarded places nearby:

Chagrin Falls has long been noted for its exquisite landscapes, vibrant arts, and being the hometown of several celebrities, including a beloved comedian, an Olympic gold medalist, and Oscar-winning filmmaker.

On Tuesday, Cleveland’s east side suburb was named Ohio’s most livable city by

The report looks at cities with populations over 25,000 and covers five essential factors: employment, housing, quality of life, education, and health. In total, over 2,500 cities were examined and given rankings on a per-state basis.

In its report, says about Chagrin Falls: “Ohio’s most livable city is Chagrin Falls, a modestly sized suburb of Cleveland. Chagrin Falls schools are regularly ranked among the best in the state and the city is home to Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, one of the oldest community theaters in the United States.”

Not far behind was Hudson, which came in at No. 4. “A well-to-do suburb of Akron with over one thousand acres of public parks. The city’s strong economy has resulted in a median household income of over 100K,” according to the study.

In all, 96 municipalities in Ohio were rated, and Cleveland came in at 89th, no cause for celebration but still better than Youngstown, Canton and Akron. Of those three, I spent the most time in Youngstown, which I described then as “uniformly dispiriting, and underpinned with remarkably bad streets to boot.” Fourteen years later, I haven’t been back, but I suspect I’d be a little kinder.


  1. fillyjonk »

    20 June 2019 · 6:54 am

    I grew up in Hudson. It was great, if you had money and like throwing it around on conspicuous consumption. In recent years Hudson also seems to have homogenized a lot (from what I’ve read about it) with the small “indie” businesses I knew being replaced by national chains. (The bookstore and a very, very pricey women’s clothing store remain of the shops I knew as a kid. Even the restaurants I knew are gone)

    I haven’t been there in 30 years. There’s one person – an old friend of the family – I’d like to see, but the rest of it, nah.

  2. CGHill »

    20 June 2019 · 10:14 am

    I’m just cynical enough to think that the people who work up these surveys define “livable” as “full of white folks.”

  3. fillyjonk »

    20 June 2019 · 10:41 am

    Yup. And also probably “east to get a half-caff soy whip latte.”

    At least when I was a kid they had an honest-to-God soda fountain inside an old-skool drugstore, and genuinely funky downtown bar and grill that served pretty good grilled cheese. Now Saywell’s neon sign is in a museum, and Ted and Mary’s has apparently become a very self-conscious parody of a 1960s bar and grille. (Probably clear why I have little interest in going back)

    The town was so full of white folks when I was growing up that my PREP SCHOOL was about five times more diverse. (As I remember, there was one Black family and a couple of Korean-American families in the public school district, and that was it. Probably more diverse now, but I suspect not much)

  4. hollyh »

    20 June 2019 · 11:09 am

    I think I know why you’d be kinder. This description: “uniformly dispiriting, and underpinned with remarkably bad streets to boot.” perfectly describes your current city (OKC), right?

  5. CGHill »

    20 June 2019 · 1:25 pm

    Maybe if we annexed Detroit.

    The most fun thing about Youngstown was the newspaper, the Vindicator. Maybe it’s something about that quadrant of Ohio: there’s also the Plain Dealer (Cleveland) and the Repository (Canton). I am informed by a reliable source that some Canton residents have another word for it.

  6. nightfly »

    20 June 2019 · 3:14 pm

    Even their most-livable suburb is named Chagrin. Fantastic.

    Also, another excuse to post the old classic Hastily Assembled Cleveland Tourist Video:

  7. fillyjonk »

    20 June 2019 · 3:31 pm

    the good ol’ Akron Beacon-Journal. There also used to be the weekly Hudson Hub, but I think they’ve ceased publication.

    More name weirdness from the town to which my parents moved to after living in Hudson. Their new (and current) town has “The Pantagraph” as the local paper, “The Normalite” as the weekly minipaper, and even one of the universities there has “The Vidette”

  8. McGehee »

    20 June 2019 · 3:53 pm

    If a newspaper’s name can’t be turned into an insult, its founder didn’t try hard enough.

  9. hollyh »

    20 June 2019 · 4:01 pm

    Good point about the name “Chagrin”.

    This brings to mind Nebraska’s new state motto: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

    Gotta love it.

  10. The Other McCain »

    20 June 2019 · 9:22 pm

    In The Mailbox: 06.20.19

    […] Dustbury: Almost Erie […]

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