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Ohio Colleges

Ohio Colleges


Few people realize how old and historic a state Ohio is.  Many characterize it as part of the “Midwest,” when the truth is that it was important territory, if largely unsettled, during colonial times.  The British made the area part of Canada for a time, but ceded it to the United States in the treaty of 1783.  During the Revolutionary War, there was military activity between the combatants that occurred in the Ohio territory. 


When the new nation was formed, conflicting claims were made of the area by the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia.  The new government made Ohio a territory and the first settlement of Marietta was founded in 1788.  Settlers crossed into the area through the mountains from western Pennsylvania or down the Ohio River.  Ohio joined the Union in 1803, the year of the Louisiana Purchase.  Thomas Jefferson was President.


The Erie Canal made Cleveland an important shipping center and iron ore made Ohio a state that industrialized early.  After the Civil War and the advent of rail traffic, the state became an industrial hotbed.  Into the twentieth century the production of coal, steel and automobiles fed the Ohio economy.  Akron became the nation’s rubber and tire capitol. 


Labor strife in the 1930s and 1940s brought turmoil to the state’s industrial base.  It returned to prosperity during World War II and then in the 1970s and 1980s, it collapsed altogether.  Antiquated factories, foreign steal and decreasing coal production led to massive unemployment.  Akron ceased producing rubber products altogether by the mid 1980s.  The state came to symbolize the “rust belt” phenomenon that defined the nation’s aging industrial infrastructure.


Those years began a steady effort to diversify and modernize the state’s economic base.  Cleveland may be the best example of progress in that area.  It has long been known as “the mistake by the Lake” because of its exposure to the severe weather coming off of Lake Erie and its prolonged downturn as a tired industrial city.  In the mid sixties, the Cuyahoga River which passes through Cleveland caught fire because of its severe pollution with inorganic and apparently, flammable substances.  Randy Newman was inspired to write a musical tribute to the city, a song which contains the immortal line declaring the city “Cleveland…where the Cuyahoga River goes smokin’ through my dreams…”


Cleveland today is the home of (one of) the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame(s) and has undergone important urban redevelopment.  It has a new downtown baseball stadium for its Indians and retains critical cultural establishments founded by earlier generations of the wealthy.  It sits at the center of a metropolitan area of 2.2 million people and remains a regional financial center.  There is much to be done: poor urban neighborhoods remain and the school system struggles.  But urban living has once again become attractive in pockets of the city and revitalization continues; in 2005 it was ranked as one of the most livable cities in the U.S. by Economist Magazine.


Columbus is the largest city in the state with three quarters of a million residents.  It is home to Ohio State University, anchor to a well established state school system.  There are a number of research organizations that have spun off of the University.  Tuition at the school for non-residents starts at about $18,000.

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