Cleveland history

11 6, 2019

Author Jane Ann Turzillo talks true crime, ‘Wicked Women’ & westerns

By |2019-11-06T06:00:06-05:00November 6, 2019|

Jane Ann Turzillo visited our library in October as part of our Mentor Mystery Month.

After her program, we chatted with Turzillo about how she researches historic crimes, what motivates her “wicked women,” and her love of photography and westerns.

Turzillo has written several books about Ohio’s criminal past, including Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio, Murder and Mayhem on Ohio’s Railsand Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio. You can borrow these and more of her books from our library.

By the way, you can see interviews with more of our Mystery month authors, including James Badal, D.M. Pulley, Vivien Chien, and Brad Ricca on our YouTube channel.

10 15, 2019

James Badal & Mark W. Stone on the Cleveland Torso Murders

By |2019-10-15T06:00:01-04:00October 15, 2019|

This month, we were fortunate to host two of the preeminent experts on the Cleveland Torso Murders. Those experts are:

They were kind enough to let us film their talk at our library, so we could share it with those who could not attend that evening. Watch and learn about this grisly crime spree, including who Badal and Stone think the Torso Slayer is.

Warning: This video includes several graphic crime-scene photos and may be upsetting to some people.

By the way, this talk was part of our Month of Mystery. Throughout October, some of the best mystery and true-crime authors will be speaking at the library, including:

  • Brad Ricca, author of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, the phenomenal true story of Grace Humiston, the first woman U.S. District Attorney, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17.
  • Jane Ann Turzillo, who will take us on a tour of the murderers, tricksters, train robbers, and more in Ohio’s wicked past at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

All of these author visits are open to all, free to attend, and require registration. Additionally, they’re all hosted at our Main Branch.

During our Mystery Month, you can also:

We also have mystery programs for all ages and at all of our branches, so visit our event calendar to see which intrigue you.

02 14, 2019

5 fascinating facts about League Park

By |2019-02-14T06:00:58-05:00February 14, 2019|


Ken Krsolovic and Bryan Fritz talk about the legendary League Park in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Mentor Public Library.

Local authors and sports fans Ken Krsolovic and Bryan Fritz visited us earlier this week to talk about League Park – the legendary home of the Cleveland Indians for decades.

Here are five fascinating facts that we learned from listening to Krsolovic and Fritz.

1. One of the best pitchers the game has ever seen pitched for the Cleveland Spiders on League Park’s first Opening Day in 1891 – none other than Cy Young.

He’d pitch several more opening day games there before his retirement (and he’d win all but one of them.)

The authors brought artifacts with them, including a piece of League Park's Great Wall.

The authors brought artifacts with them, including a piece of League Park’s Great Wall.

2. Nap Lajoie was such a big star that when he came to Cleveland they renamed the team for him. However, when he joined the Cleveland Bronchos in 1902, he was in the midst of a legal kerfuffle with his previous team, the Phillies.

Due to an existing contract with the Phillies, a judge declared that Lajoie could only play baseball for them. However, an enterprising lawyer discovered that the injunction could only be enforced in Pennsylvania.

Consequently, when the Bronchos/Naps played the Athletics in 1902 and most of 1903, Lajoie would visit Atlantic City, instead. Peace wasn’t made between the National and American Leagues until 1903 with an agreement that also created the World Series.

3. League Park was initially constructed entirely of wood. But, by 1909, wood was no good.

More modern stadiums were made of steel and concrete. They could fit more seats, which meant more fans and more money.

For its upgrade, the Cleveland team relied on the legendary Osborn Engineering firm, which also designed Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Comiskey Park.

Most importantly, Osborn was then and still is headquartered in Cleveland.HB4116

4. League Park was the site of the Cleveland Indians first World Series victory in 1920. The Indians beat the Brooklyn Robins 5-2, which looks like a typo unless you know that from 1919 to 1921 the World Series was best of nine.

While the Indians won, no Robin had a worse series than Cleveland native Rube Marquard. Not only did his team lose, but he was convicted of ticket scalping (his punishment: $1 fine and $2.80 in court costs) and his wife divorced him the same week.

Marquard got something like the last laugh, seeing as he’s since been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.

5. League Park was also the scene of Joe DiMaggio’s 56th and final game in his legendary hitting streak.

The streak ended July 17, 1941 against the Indians in Cleveland Stadium. (The Indians would play weekday or afternoon games in League Park, which they owned. But they’d play weekend games, especially against more popular opponents, at the larger Cleveland Stadium.)

For more fun stories from League Park history, read Krsolovic and Fritz’s League Park: Historic Home of Cleveland Baseball, 1891-1946. You can borrow one of our copies

05 11, 2018

Mob author Frank Monastra talks about researching his mafioso grandfather

By |2018-05-11T06:00:01-04:00May 11, 2018|

Author and organized crime historian Frank Monastra visited us earlier this month to talk about his new book, King of Clubs, which profiles the famous, popular and very illegal casinos that flourished in and around Cleveland during the 1930s and 1940s.

He also talked about researching his grandfather — Frank Brancato, a mainstay of the Cleveland mafia for almost 50 years — for his first book, Brancato: Mafia Street Boss.

He even listed some of his favorite books about the Cleveland underworld for your reading pleasure and historical edification.

05 19, 2017

10 facts about Dorothy Fuldheim, the first lady of television news

By |2017-05-19T06:00:13-04:00May 19, 2017|

Dorothy Fuldheim played to a packed house when she visited Mentor Public Library.

Dorothy Fuldheim played to a packed house when she visited Mentor Public Library.

Carol Starre-Kmiecik visited us to discuss Dorothy Fuldheim, the first lady of television news, while in character as Fuldheim.

Here are 10 things we learned from her talk:

  1. Fuldheim’s family was so poor that when her brother died of strep throat, they buried
    Starre-Kmiecik as Fuldheim

    Starre-Kmiecik as Fuldheim

    him in an orange crate instead of a coffin.

  2. Fuldheim loved reading from a young age. Even as a child, she would read a book and two full newspapers each day.
  3. Despite her poverty, Fuldheim went to college and she paid for it by working at a department store.
  4. Fuldheim always loved big, ostentatious hats. And she blew her first $50 paycheck that she earned teaching on an especially nice lid.
  5. Jane Addams—the founder of Hull House and first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize—discovered Fuldheim when she was performing in regional theater. Addams loved Fuldheim’s voice and hired her to give lectures on social issues. From there, Scripps Howard hired her to write news.
  6. Fuldheim traveled Europe as a journalist and even interviewed Adolf Hitler. After hearing him speak, she told him that she disagreed with everything he said. (Fuldheim, however, thought it best not to tell him that she was Jewish.) The next day, local Munich papers claimed that Hitler had been harangued by a “hysterical American woman.”
  7. Fuldheim also interviewed Benito Mussolini during her tour of Europe. While in Italy, the US Embassy warned Fuldheim not to have any issues of Fortune magazine with her, because it had published something negative about the Fascist. Fuldheim destroyed an issue of the offending magazine by shredding and flushing it down the toilet. It clogged the plumbing in her hotel for two days.
  8. When Channel 5 in Cleveland first hired her to read the news on television, they did it on a temporary basis. They told her she would have the job for 13 weeks, until they could find a man to replace her. Instead, she stayed anchor for 37 years.
  9. During her career, she interviewed a slew of presidents (her favorite was Harry Truman); Joe Namath (whom she offended by not recognizing him); the Duke of Windsor; Helen Keller; Martin Luther King Jr.; and entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee (whom Fuldheim found to be warm and well-read.)
  10. Despite her success, Fuldheim knew tragedy. She outlived her daughter, Dorothy Jr., who died of a heart attack in 1980.


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