Outside view of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at dusk. Photo: Elizabeth Misson, WEWS.
Copyright 2010 Angie's List. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
CLEVELAND - With the release of the major motion picture “Kill the Irishman” this year, the time when Cleveland was known as the “Bomb Capital of America” was brought back to life.
For those who remember the time throughout the 1970s when cars and homes were being blown up left and right by the Cleveland mafia, it’s a trip down memory lane. For those of us who didn’t get to experience this unique moment in time, the stories and legends that were generated from this tumultuous era are enough to get a good idea of what our city looked like when local mobsters fought out their differences in the streets (with machine guns and C-4, of course).
The folks with the Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours are hoping to breathe some new life into the legendary stories as well. This year marks the 13th season that the Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours, founded in 1999 by Chuck Gove, aims to give Northeast Ohioans a chance to learn some interesting things about the city and some of the haunted stories that go with it.
This year’s tour is called "Blown Away! Cleveland Rocked, Mob Haunts & More Tour" and features past stories of organized crime and why Cleveland was known as the “Bomb Capital of America.”
Tour goers learn about the history behind the “Sugar Wars” where two Cleveland families, the Lonardos and the Porrellos fought for control of the corn sugar market during prohibition. One of the key stops on the tour this year included a visit to the Cleveland Police Museum where former Cleveland Police Detective Bob Cermak told his stories of what is was like to investigate and prosecute organized crime in Cleveland during the 1970s.
The museum currently has an exhibit featuring the pictures and headlines from the organized crime era of Cleveland—complete with mug shots, pictures of Danny Greene’s car right after it was blown up and others. There is even a replica of a car door with an explosive fitted inside to give you an idea of how the mobsters designed one of their weapons of choice.
Another highlight of this season’s tour was a stop at the Riverside Cemetery on the west side of Cleveland. Tour goers learned the story about the ghost hitchhiker who, as legend has it, waits outside of the cemetery and asks to be driven to Franklin Boulevard. He is believed by many to be the ghost of Hannes Tiedemann, a wealthy businessman who is buried at the cemetery and was the original owner of Cleveland’s “Franklin Castle.” (He is also the same Tiedemann that the road in Brooklyn is named after).
One of the most breathtaking stops on the tour was a trip to the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Public Square. The monument was built more than 100 years ago and stands as a symbol to honor the men and women who fought and helped the wounded of the Civil War.
Thousands of cars drive past the monument each day, but few know what lurks underneath. Years after the war ended, the folks in charge of the local leftover ammunition and uniforms needed a place to store them in the event that they were needed for another war, so underneath the museum area of the inside of the monument, there is a series of tunnels and caverns—almost like a maze—that were used for safe keeping of the wartime equipment.
It doesn’t take long to feel an eerie presence in the tunnels—some of the entryways are so small that you have to crouch down just to get through. Museum curators said that they have had experiences with paranormal activity before and many tour goers have taken pictures with some apparent spiritual energy present.
If you wish to take a trip down Cleveland's haunted memory lane, the Haunted Cleveland tours run every Friday in October (Reservations are needed in advance). Some weeks are already sold out, but tickets do remain for most.
WHAT: Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tour
WHEN: Fridays in October (tours depart from the powerhouse in the flats at 6 p.m. on Fridays)
RESERVATIONS NEEDED: Visit www.hauntedcleveland.net
TICKETS: $48.00 per person
If you’re interested in getting a tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (including the creepy tunnels) the folks in charge of the monument are holding a free open house on Saturday, October 29 for anyone to come in and get a look inside of one of Cleveland’s most historical landmarks.
WHAT: Soldiers and Sailors Monument Tunnel Tour
WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (must be in line by 3 p.m.)
ADMISSION: Free of charge
INFO: Call 216-621-3710 or 216-621-3746
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Police released photos on Tuesday of the man they say tried to kidnap a woman from a Cleveland convenient store earlier this year.
The Cleveland FBI Citizens Academy Foundation (FBICAF) recently received a donation of $25,000 from the Cleveland Indians first baseman and outfielder, Nick Swisher.