Cleveland boasts cars, crafts, history
The Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce tells tourists the city is "in the middle of it all."
That's because Cleveland, the Bradley County seat, is close to western North Carolina, Polk County's whitewater and the amenities of Chattanooga's riverfront. Those places are less than a tankful of gas and a lovely drive away.
But Cleveland has plenty to offer itself, including restaurants, markets and historical sites. It's the events, however, that bring the biggest crowds.
Cruise-ins are the fourth Saturday of each summer month.
"We average 600 to 700 cars at each month's summer cruise-in," said MainStreet Cleveland's Sharon Marr. "Most of them are from a radius of about three hours away."
Mayor Tom Rowland said Lee University brings music -- from musical productions to classical concerts -- to town. The university and Cleveland State College bring conferences and professional gatherings such as the just-ended autism symposium at Lee.
The Museum Center at Five Points brings traveling exhibits to town, the mayor said, including the current remembrance of the civil rights era from the Tennessee State Museum.
Then there's the Tri-State Exposition Center, which has expanded its events calendar to almost year round with horse shows, competitions and bluegrass music.
And for history buffs, "Red Clay State Park was the last eastern council grounds of the Cherokee Nation before [its] tragic journey on the Trail of Tears," said Melissa Woody, of the Chamber of Commerce.
AT A GLANCE
-- Population: 41,285.
-- Best things to do/places to visit: Red Clay State Park, Museum Center at Five Points, Morris Vineyard and Winery.
-- Biggest employers: Whirlpool Corp., SkyRidge Medical Center, Peyton's Southeastern, Bradley County Schools.
-- Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 33 miles on Interstate 75.
-- Landmarks or geographic features: Hiwassee and nearby Ocoee rivers, Cherokee National Forest.
-- Date founded: Established in 1837 as the Bradley County seat. Incorporated Feb. 4, 1903.
-- Historic info: Named for Col. Benjamin Cleveland, a commander at the American Revolution's Battle of Kings Mountain.
-- Most-famous residents: Trumpet player Phil Driscoll, "American Idol" singer Phil Stacey, former NBA player Darnell Mee, World War II Medal of Honor recipient Paul B. Huff.
-- Unique traditions: Main Street Cruise-In and Halloween Block Party, both on the courthouse square; Carols in the City at Christmastime; free Evening Shade concerts downtown.
-- Unique characteristic: Cleveland is the international headquarters for a number of Christian denominations, including the Church of God (Cleveland) and its affiliated school, Lee University, a number of other Church of God denominations and the Churches of Jesus Christ International.