CLEVELAND — If you take a look around downtown Cleveland or into one of its neighborhoods, you'll quickly learn - our city is full of rich history.
"From the end of the Civil War to The Depression, it was really the hotbed and equal to anywhere else. We were the fifth largest city in the country in the 20s," said Tom Yablonsky. "I would argue that the country's greatest period of innovation, greatest period of architecture. So we really have a treasure trove."
Yablonsky is the executive director of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, which is responsible for the free Take a Hike Historical Tours.
"It really educates Clevelanders," said Yablonsky.
The 90-minute walking tour is guided through districts like Playhouse Square, Public Square and Gateway, as well as historic neighborhoods like Tremont and University Circle.
"It's such a positive experience to see people wanting to get to know the history of Cleveland better," said Anne McEvoy.
Guides will explain facts about the area and what makes it special to Cleveland. Plus, along the way, you'll be greeted with actors and actresses, like McEvoy, who help tell the story.
"To stand there and tell a story, you kind of get tired of hearing yourself tell the story, but when you see the looks on the people's faces and they're like, 'Oh, I never knew that,' or 'Oh, I knew that and but they're very happy to hear it again or have it validated. It's a really positive experience and one that I look forward to week after week," said McEvoy.
"It's a unique way of telling the story and really it personalizes it and it makes it come alive," said Yablonsky.
Yablonsky said the tours aren't just a look into the past.
"What's special about our tours is we talk about what's coming next," he said.
Guides also educate visitors and residents about upcoming projects and development.
"There's so much resource and wealth is here to be redeveloped," said Yablonsky.
Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. Click here to learn more.