A Timeline of Ohio

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A Brief History

My home state of Ohio has a surprising history.  This article presents a chronology of some of the key events!

Digging Deeper

On November 9, 1913, The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the North American lakes, destroyed 19 ships and killed more than 250 people.

On October 22, 1934, US FBI agents shot and killed infamous bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd in East Liverpool, Ohio.

On May 25, 1935, Jesse Owens of Ohio State won 4 events at the Big Ten Conference Track Meet, setting 3 world records and tying a fourth.  What a performance!  

On April 4, 1841, a stunned nation learned that for the first time in American history a serving president died while in office!

On March 2, 1949The Old Lamplighter became a memory and a song, but not an occupation, as automatic street lights start to shine, adding to the list of “Famous Inventions by Ohioans“!

On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River near downtown Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, sparking a story in Time Magazine and becoming the symbol for the ecology movement.

On March 21, 1952, disc jockey Alan Freed (inventor of the term “rock and roll”) and record store owner Leo Mintz staged the first rock concert in Cleveland, Ohio!

On December 27, 1964, the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship, by itself not that earth shattering, but it marked the end of an era.

On May 4, 1970, the M-1 Garand rifles of the Ohio National Guard were used in combat; against college kids!

On June 4, 1974, baseball history (not the good kind!) was made in Cleveland. Recently we ran articles about great baseball performances; this is not one of them.

On April 8, 1975, slugger Frank Robinson became the first African-American major league baseball manager when he managed the Cleveland Indians opening day game.

On April 1, 1984, three suburban Cleveland young men started a business that would become “The Aquarium Superstore!”

On April 11, 1993, prisoners at the Southern Ohio Correctional (Lucasville, Ohio) began a terrifying and deadly riot!

On October 19, 2011, Muskingum County, Ohio became the hunting grounds of lions, tigers, bears, leopards, mountain lions and even monkeys when the owner of an exotic animal farm released his private zoo and then shot himself.

Last night on May 14, 2016 in Curitiba, Brazil, heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter Stipe Miocic stunned the Brazilian crowd by knocking out reigning UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum  early in the first round.

On June 19, 2016, basketball fans across the world watched as the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship for the first time in their history in a decisive Game 7 that pundits are calling the “Greatest Game 7 in NBA History.”

Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite event in Ohio’s history?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Coleman, Loren, Andy Henderson, et al.  Weird Ohio: Your Travel Guide to Ohio’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets.  Sterling, 2005.

Weeks, Philip.  Buckeye Presidents: Ohioans in the White House.  The Kent State University Press, 2003.


About Author

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.