I know what you're thinking. Cleveland, the world's wealthiest city? This guy is nuts!
For sure, we've come a long way since those days, thanks in no small part to burning rivers, smokestacks, and local comedians.
You might have heard of this guy named John D. Rockefeller. He's from Cleveland, and his business, Standard Oil, was built in Cleveland. His home was and is known as Forest Hill, a 400-or-so-acre estate that straddles the line between the suburbs of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. In 1902, his total wealth equaled about 1% of the country's GDP. He made his money here, and he wasn't the only one who got rich on these shores.
I'll admit, I'm no statistician and this tidbit of wealth-info is probably urban legend (at least until I get _really_ bored!). But there are several sources out there that seem to state that Cleveland became the world's wealthiest city in 1885. Money tends to leave a long impression. Some of it is still around--just one example is this east-side suburb, the 6th-highest income place in the U.S.
Some of that wealth has sought warmer climates, but all of it left a legacy of unmatched architecture, unusually important cultural institutions, and a treasure trove of groundbreaking historical events.
I think this legacy is worth preserving. All we have to do is find a little hope.