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Youngstown is a city in the U.S. state of Ohiomarker and the county seat of Mahoning Countymarker, whose urban area borders Trumbull Countymarker. The municipality is situated on the Mahoning River, approximately southeast of Clevelandmarker and northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker. Youngstown has its own metropolitan area, but is often included in commercial and cultural depictions of the Pittsburgh Tri-State area and Greater Cleveland. Youngstown lies west of the Pennsylvaniamarker state line, midway between New York City and Chicagomarker.

The city was named for John Young, an early settler from Whitestown, New Yorkmarker, who established the community's first sawmill and gristmill. Youngstown is located in a region of the United States that is often referred to as the Rust Belt. Traditionally known as a center of steel production, Youngstown was forced to redefine itself when the U.S. steel industry fell into decline in the 1970s, leaving communities throughout the region without major industry. The 2000 census showed that Youngstown had a total population of 82,026, making it Ohio's eighth largest city. A 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimate released in July 2008 placed the population at 73,818.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 estimate, the Youngstown-Warrenmarker-Boardmanmarker Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) contains 570,704 people and includes Mahoning and Trumbullmarker counties in Ohio, and Mercer Countymarker in Pennsylvania. The Steel Valley area as a whole (including Youngstown-Warren and Sharonmarker-Farrellmarker-New Castle, Pennsylvaniamarker) comprises 679,402 residents.

Origins

Governor David Tod


Youngstown was named for New York native john young, who surveyed the area in 1796 and settled there soon after. On February 9, 1797, Young purchased the township of 15,560 acres (63 km²) from the Western Reserve Land Company for $16,085. The 1797 establishment of Youngstown was officially recorded on August 19, 1802.

The area constituting present-day Youngstown was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, a section of the Northwest Territory reserved for settlers from the state of Connecticutmarker. While many of the area's early settlers came from Connecticut, Youngstown attracted a significant number of Scots-Irish settlers from neighboring Pennsylvaniamarker. The first European Americans to settle permanently in the area were Pittsburgh native James Hillman and wife Catherine Dougherty. By 1798, Youngstown was the home of several families who were concentrated near the point where Mill Creek meets the Mahoning River.

As the Western Reserve's population grew, the need for administrative districts became apparent. In 1800, territorial governor Arthur St. Clair established Trumbull County (named in honor of Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull), and designated the smaller settlement of Warren as its administrative center, or "county seat". In 1813, Trumbull County was divided into townships, with Youngstown Township comprising much of what became Mahoning County. The village of Youngstown was incorporated in 1848, and in 1867 Youngstown was chartered as a city. It became the county seat in 1876, when the administrative center of Mahoning County was moved from neighboring Canfieldmarker.

The discovery of coal by the community in the early 1800s paved the way for the Youngstown area's inclusion on the network of the famed Erie Canal. The Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal Company was organized in 1835, and the canal was completed in 1840. Local industrialist David Tod, who was later Ohio governor during the Civil War, persuaded Lake Eriemarker steamboat owners that coal mined in the Mahoning Valley could fuel their vessels if canal transportation were available between Youngstown and Cleveland. The arrival of the railroad in 1856 smoothed the path for further economic growth.

Peopling of the valley

Youngstown, 1910s: Central Square and Viaduct (view looking south).
Youngstown's industrial development changed the face of the Mahoning Valley. The community's burgeoning coal industry drew hundreds of immigrants from Walesmarker, Germany, and Ireland. With the establishment of steel mills in the late 19th century, Youngstown became a popular destination for immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy, and Greece. In the early 20th century, the community saw an influx of immigrants from non-European countries including what is modern day Lebanonmarker, Israelmarker, and Syriamarker. By the 1920s, this dramatic demographic shift produced a nativist backlash, and the Mahoning Valley became a center of Ku Klux Klan activity. The situation reached a climax in 1924, when street clashes between Klan members and Italian and Irish Americans in neighboring Nilesmarker led Ohio Governor A. Victor Donahey to declare martial law. By 1928, however, the Klan was in steep decline; and three years later, the organization sold its Canfield, Ohio, meeting area, Kountry Klub Field. Today, the metropolitan area's ethnic diversity is reflected in businesses such as Jewish delicatessens, Italian eateries, and Middle Eastern restaurants. Urban neighborhoods are dotted with church, synagogues, and mosques.

The growth of industry attracted people from within the borders of the United States, and from Latin America. By the late 19th century, African Americans were well represented in Youngstown, and the first local congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1871. In the 1880s, local attorney William R. Stewart was the second African American elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. A large influx of African Americans in the early 20th century owed much to developments in the industrial sector. During the national Steel Strike of 1919, local industrialists recruited thousands of workers from the South, many of whom were Black. This move inflamed racist sentiment among local Whites, and for decades, African-American steelworkers experienced discrimination in the workplace. Migration from the South rose dramatically in the 1940s, when the mechanization of southern agriculture brought an end to the exploitative sharecropping system, leading onetime farm laborers to seek industrial jobs.

The city's population became more diverse in the post-World War II era, when a seemingly robust steel industry attracted thousands of workers. In the 1950s, the Latino population grew significantly; and by the 1970s, St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church and the First Spanish Baptist Church of Ohio were among the largest religious institutions for Spanish-speaking residents in the Youngstown metropolitan area. While diversity is among the community's enduring characteristics, the industrial economy that drew various groups to the area collapsed in the late 1970s. In response to subsequent challenges, the city has taken well-publicized steps to diversify economically, while building on some traditional strengths.

Geography and climate

Youngstown is located at (41.096258, −80.649299). It borders or touches the following other townships and municipalities:

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.2 square miles (88.7 km²); 33.9 square miles (87.8 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it is water. The total area is 1.02% water.

Youngstown is in the Mahoning Valley on the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau. At the end of the last Ice Age, the glaciers left behind a uniform plain with valleys caused by the Mahoning River crossing the plain. Lakes created by glaciers that dammed small streams were eventually drained, leaving behind fertile terrain.



Demographics

According to the 2000 Census numbers, Youngstown has 32,177 households and 19,724 families in the city. The population density is 893/km² (2,312.9/sq mi). There are 37,159 housing units at an average density of 1,096.3/sq mi (423.2/km²).

The racial makeup of the city is roughly 51% White, 44% Black or African American, and 5% Hispanic or Latino of any race, though Puerto Ricans are the dominant latino group.

Records suggest that 27.2% of the households have children under the age of 18. Of these, 33.2% are married couples living together, 22.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. Meanwhile, 34.0% of all households comprise a single person, and 14.7% of households comprise a person over 65 years of age living alone. The average household size is 2.39 and the average family size is 3.07.

In Youngstown, the population leans toward greater numbers of youths, as is often the case in U.S. inner-city areas with higher birth rates. Survey data show the following: 25.8% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females, there are 91.9 males; for every 100 females aged 18 and over, there are 87.8 males.

The median household income is $24,201, and the median family income $30,701; but the average per capita income for the city is $13,293. Males have a median income of $29,900 and females $21,050. About 24.8% of the population lives below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 37.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The United States Census Bureau's 2006 Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) Supplement Current Population Survey estimates a median household income of $21,850. Analysis by CNNMoney states that Youngstown has the lowest median income of U.S. cities with more than 65,000 residents.

Industry and business

Youngstown Sheet & Tube and Viaduct
Endowed with large deposits of coal and iron as well as "old growth" hardwood forests needed to produce charcoal, the Youngstown area eventually developed a thriving steel industry. The area's first blast furnace was established to the east of town in 1803 by James and Daniel Heaton. In time, the availability of fossil fuels contributed to the development of other coal-fired mills, including the Youngstown Rolling Mill Company, which was established in 1846. By the mid-19th century, Youngstown was the site of several iron industrial plants, notably David Tod's Brier Hill Iron & Coal Company. The iron industry continued to expand in the 1890s, despite the depletion of local natural resources. Numerous rail connections ensured a consistent supply of coal and iron ore from neighboring states.

At the turn of the century, local industrialists began to convert to steel manufacturing, amid a wave of industrial consolidations that placed much of the Mahoning Valley's industry in the hands of national corporations. Shortly after the establishment of U.S. Steel in 1901, the corporate entity absorbed Youngstown's premier steel producer, the National Steel Company. One year earlier, however, a group of city investors took steps to ensure high levels of local ownership in the area's industrial sector. Led by local industrialists George D. Wick and James A. Campbell, they organized what became the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, among the nation's most important regional steel producers. The firm significantly expanded its operations in 1923, when it acquired plants in South Chicagomarker and East Chicago, Indianamarker. This impulse to support local ownership surfaced again in 1931, when Campbell, as chairman of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, attempted to merge the firm with Bethlehem Steel, in a bid to create the nation's second-largest steel corporation. Other area industrialists blocked the move, with the financial backing of Republic Steel founder Cyrus S. Eaton, who feared the implications of a strengthened Bethlehem Steel.

In the late 1930s, the community's steel sector gained national attention once again, when Youngstown became a site of the so-called "Little Steel Strike", an effort by the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, a precursor to United Steelworkers, to secure contract agreements with smaller steel companies. These firms included Republic Steel, Bethlehem Steel, Youngstown Sheet and Tube, National Steel, Inland Steel, and American Rolling Mills. Gus Hall, one of the committee's founding organizers, led strikes in Youngstown and Warren. On June 21, 1937, strike-related violence in Youngstown resulted in two deaths and 42 injuries. Despite violent episodes in Youngstown and Chicago, the Little Steel Strike proved to be a turning point in the history of the U.S. labor movement. Historian William Lawson observed that the strike transformed industrial unions from "basically local and ineffective organizations into all-encompassing, nationwide collective bargaining representatives of American workers". A historical marker commemorating the strike was recently installed on the grounds of the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.

Decline of steel

Between the 1920s and 1960s, the city was known as an important industrial hub that featured the massive furnaces and foundries of such companies as Republic Steel and U.S. Steel. At the same time, Youngstown never became economically diversified, as did larger industrial cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Akron, or Cleveland. Hence, when economic changes forced the closure of plants throughout the 1970s, the city was left with few substantial economic alternatives. The 1969 corporate merger between the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company and the New Orleansmarker-based Lykes Corporation proved to be a turning point in the demise of the local steel industry. The merger and subsequent takeover of Youngstown Sheet and Tube burdened the community's primary steel producer with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Further, the deal placed control of the company outside of the Mahoning Valley. The September 19, 1977, announcement of the closure of a large portion of Youngstown Sheet and Tube, an event still remembered by many Youngstowners as "Black Monday", is widely regarded as the death knell of the old area steel industry. This was followed by the withdrawal of U.S. Steel in 1979 and 1980, and the bankruptcy of Republic Steel in the mid-1980s. Attempts to revive the local steel industry proved unsuccessful. Shortly after the closure of most of Youngstown Sheet and Tube's area operations, local religious leaders, steelworkers, and activists such as Staughton Lynd participated in a grassroots effort to purchase and refurbish one of the company's abandoned plants in neighboring Campbell, Ohiomarker. This project met with failure in April 1979. In the wake of the steel plant shutdowns, the community lost an estimated 40,000 manufacturing jobs, 400 satellite businesses, $414 million in personal income, and from 33 to 75 percent of the school tax revenues. The Youngstown area has yet to fully recover from the loss of jobs in the steel sector.

Post-steel economy

Youngstown is the site of several steel and metalworking operations, though nothing on the scale seen during the "glory days" of the "Steel Valley". The largest employer in the city is Youngstown State Universitymarker (YSU), an urban public campus that serves about 13,000 students, located just north of downtown.

The blow dealt to the community's industrial economy in the 1970s, was slightly mitigated by the presence of auto production plants in the metropolitan area. In the late 1980s, the Avanti, an automobile with a fiberglass body originally designed by Studebaker to compete with the Corvette, was manufactured in an industrial complex located on Youngstown's Albert Street. However, this company didn't last long in Youngstown, moving after just a few years.A mainstay, though, of Youngstown's industrial economy has long been the GM Lordstown plant.The General Motors' Lordstown Assemblymarker plant is the largest industrial employer is the area. One of the nation's largest auto plants in terms of square feet, the Lordstown facility was home to production of the Chevrolet Impala, Vega, and Cavalier. Recently expanded and retooled with a new paint facility, it is the current home of the Cavalier's successor, the Chevrolet Cobalt.

Delphi, Packard Electric Systems, and the WCI Steel plant are also located in the Warren area. The largest industrial employers within the Youngstown city limits are V&M Star Steel Company (formerly North Star Steel), in the Brier Hill district, and Exal Corporation, located on Poland Avenue. The latter has recently expanded its operations.

New growth

Downtown Youngstown at night
Youngstown's downtown, which once underscored the community's economic difficulties, is a site of new business growth. The Youngstown Business Incubator, located in the heart of the downtown, houses several start-up technology companies, which have received office space, furnishings, and access to utilities. Some companies supported by the incubator have earned recognition, and a few are starting to outgrow their current space. One such company–Turning Technologies–has been rated by Inc. Magazine as the fastest-growing privately held software company in the United States and 18th fastest-growing privately held company overall. In an effort to keep such companies downtown, the incubator secured approval to demolish a row of vacant buildings nearby to clear space for expansion. The project will be funded by a $2 million federal grant awarded in 2006.

Legacy of innovation

Extensive coverage of Youngstown's economic challenges has overshadowed the city's long entrepreneurial tradition. A number of products and enterprises introduced in Youngstown later became national household names. Among these is Youngstown-based Schwebel's Bakery, which was established in neighboring Campbell in the 1900s. The company now distributes bread products nationally. In the 1920s, Youngstown was the birthplace of the Good Humor brand of ice cream novelties, and the popular franchise of Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt was established there in the 1940s. In the 1950s, the suburb of Boardman became the site of one of the country's first modern shopping plazas, which was established by Youngstown-born developer Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. The fast-food chain, Arby's, opened the first of its restaurants in Boardman in 1964, and Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips was headquartered in Youngstown in the late 1970s. More recently, the city's downtown hosted the corporate headquarters of the now-defunct pharmacy chain store Phar-Mor, which was established by Youngstown native Mickey Monus. In the 1980s, before it was compelled to declare bankruptcy, Phar-mor was a competitor of Wal-martmarker.

Post-steel image in popular culture

A large segment of the American public associates Youngstown with the economic malaise that befell much of the industrial northeast after the collapse of its manufacturing sector. The decline of Youngstown's steel industry and its adverse effects on local workers were the subject of Bruce Springsteen's ballad, "Youngstown", featured on his The Ghost of Tom Joad album. Springsteen made Youngstown the first stop on his Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, playing to a sold-out audience at Stambaugh Auditoriummarker.

Government

Youngstown is governed by a mayor who is elected every four years and limited to a maximum of two terms. Mayors are traditionally inaugurated on or around the second of January. The city has tended to elect Democratic mayors since the late 1920s because of the local unions' support for Democratic candidates for office. Youngstown's current mayor is Jay Williams, the city's first African-American mayor and its first independent mayor since 1922. Williams belongs to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with the stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets".

Residents elect an eight-member city council, which includes representatives of the city's seven wards and a council president. The council, in turn, appoints a city clerk. The council traditionally meets every first and third Wednesday of the month. City council meetings are generally held from the third week in September to the third week in June. Meanwhile, the board of control oversees contracts for public projects within the municipal limits. The Youngstown Police Department and Youngstown Fire Department fall under the board's supervision, as do the parks, civil service, community development, health, planning, and water departments.

Youngstown's finance department oversees all municipal finances and supervises the departments of economic development and income tax. The city's department of public works has sweeping supervisory responsibilities and oversees the departments of engineering, building inspection, building and grounds, signal and sign, demolition and housing, litter and recycling, street, and water waste treatment. The city's law department represents the city on all legal issues, serving as counsel to all municipal departments.

Education

Public

The Youngstown City School District manages all public education within the city. As of 2007, the school district was engaged in a process of reconfiguration, consolidating existing schools while building some new ones. District high schools once included South, Chaney, Rayen, East, Woodrow Wilson, Youngstown Early College, and Choffin Career and Technical Center. This roster has changed, however. Chaney expanded, while Rayen and Wilson were closed to make way for a newly built East High School. Youngstown City School District participate in an "Early College" program, in cooperation with Youngstown State University. This program enables high school students to attend classes on campus and earn college credit.

Private

The Diocese of Youngstown once oversaw more than 20 schools within the city limits. As a result of dwindling enrollment, however, only four Catholic schools continue to operate within Youngstown proper. These include two elementary schools–Byzantine Catholic Central and St. Christine's–and two secondary schools, Ursulinemarker and Cardinal Mooneymarker. (The two high schools share a heated and longstanding rivalry in athletics.) Several additional Catholic schools operate in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Portage, Stark, and Ashtabula counties.

Youngstown hosts a small number of charter schools and one Montessori school. The Montessori School of the Mahoning Valley, which recently celebrated its 30th year, offers alternative learning environments for students ranging from preschool to eighth grade.

Higher education

Youngstown State University's Jones Hall
Youngstown State Universitymarker, the primary institution of higher learning in the Youngstown-Warren metropolitan area, traces its origins to a local YMCA program that began offering college-level courses in 1908. YSU joined the Ohio system of higher education in 1967. Once regarded as a commuter school, YSU serves about 13,000 students, many from outside the Youngstown area. The campus is situated just north of the city's downtown and south of Youngstown's historic district, a neighborhood of Tudor-, Victorian-, and Spanish Colonial Revival-style homes.

YSU offers the lowest tuition of any public institution of higher learning in Ohio, and its campus was reported to be among the safest in the state in 1996. The university's assets include the Dana School of Music, an All-Steinway school. The Dana School of Music is one of the six oldest continuously operating schools of music in the United States.

In addition, the Youngstown–Warren area hosts a regional branch of Kent State Universitymarker. Kent State–Trumbull was established in the mid-1960s in Champion, Ohiomarker, just north of Warren. Another branch, Kent State-Salem, is located in the Steel Valley and serves the area's southlands. It is located about 25 minutes south of Youngstown. Kent State Universitymarker's main campus, a primary center of education for Northeast Ohioans, is located just east of Akron, and 30 to 40 minutes west of downtown Youngstown.

Attractions

Covelli Centre

Despite the impact of regional economic decline, Youngstown offers an array of cultural and recreational resources. Moreover, the community's range of attractions has increased in recent years. The newest addition is the Covelli Centre, a venue for professional hockey games, arena football contests, "on ice" shows, and other forms of entertainment.

Theater

Stambaugh Auditorium was built in 1926 to provide additional space for concerts.
The community's culture center is Powers Auditoriummarker, a former Warner Brothers movie palace that serves as the area's primary music hall while providing a home for the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. This downtown landmark is one of five auditoriums located within the city limits. Ford Recital Hall was built in 2006 as an addition to newly renovated Powers Auditorium. Imposing and neo-classical Stambaugh Auditoriummarker, located on the city's north side, has served for decades as a site of concerts and is often rented for private events. The facility also hosts the Stambaugh Youth Concert Band.

Oakland Center for the Arts, located in the downtown area, is a venue for locally produced plays. This institution is complimented by the Youngstown Playhouse, which is located on the city's south side. The Youngstown Playhouse, Mahoning County's primary community theater, has served the area for more than 80 years, despite intermittent financial problems. Well known theatrical personalities from the Youngstown area include comedic actor Joe Flynn, screen actress Elizabeth Hartman, singer and Broadwaymarker performer Maureen McGovern, and television and screen actor Ed O'Neill.

Museums

Youngstown's most widely known museum is the Butler Institute of American Artmarker, which is located on the northeastern edge of the Youngstown State University campus. This institution was established by industrialist Joseph G. Butler, Jr., in 1919 as the first museum in the country dedicated to American art. Across the street from the Butler stands the McDonough Museum of Art, which is owned and operated by YSU. The McDonough, since its establishment in 1991, has showcased contemporary art and hosted programs for students on campus and throughout the surrounding area. The Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum, also located on the YSU campus, is operated by the university's geology department and housed in a campus building.
The Butler Institute of American Art
To the immediate north of YSU is the Arms Family Museum of Local History. The museum, housed in a 1905 Arts & Crafts style mansion on the main artery of Wick Avenue, is managed by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. Once the estate of a local industrialist, the museum maintains period rooms that showcase the original contents of the household, including furnishings, art objects, and personal artifacts. The museum mounts rotating exhibits on topics related to local history. Recently, the museum opened the "Anne Kilcawley Christman Hands-on History Room". The MVHS Archival Library operates in the estate's former carriage house, located near the back of the site.

Located just south of the YSU campus is the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, which sits on a grade overlooking the downtown area. This museum, owned and operated by the Ohio Historical Societymarker, focuses on the Mahoning Valley's history of steel production. Other museums include the Children's Museum of the Valley, an interactive educational center located in the downtown area, and the Davis Education and Recreation Center, a small museum that showcases the history of Youngstown's Mill Creek Park.On the city's north side the Tod Engine Foundation is constructing the Tod Engine Heritage Park, featuring a collection of steel industry equipment and artifacts. The main exhibit is a 1914 William Tod Co. rolling mill steam engine that was built in Youngstown and used at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works. The Tod Engine is one of three remaining rolling mill engines in the United States and is a Mechanical and Materials Engineering Landmark.

Parks

Youngstown's most popular resource is Mill Creek Park, a five-mile (8 km)-long stretch of landscaped woodland reminiscent of Rock Creek Parkmarker in Washington, D.C.marker Mill Creek Park is the oldest park district in Ohio, established as a township park in 1891. The park's highlights include the restored 19th century Lanterman's Mill, the rock formations of Bear's Den, scores of nature trails, the Fellows Riverside Gardens and Nature Center, the "Cinderella" iron link bridge, and two 18 hole Donald Ross golf courses.
Mill Creek Park's "Cinderella" iron link bridge
Mill Creek Park encompasses approximately , of drives and of foot trails. Its attractions include gardens, streams, lakes, woodlands, meadows, and wildlife.

The Nature Center's popular lookout point offers visitors contrasting views of the area. From the south side, the canopied woodlands overlooking Lake Glacier are visible; from the north side, visitors are presented with a view of downtown Youngstown. The park features two 18-hole golf courses. The North Course is situated on rolling terrain, while the South Course features narrow, tree-lined fairways. Other features include playgrounds, athletic fields, and picnic areas.

In 2005, Mill Creek Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A plaque commemorating this event is located near a memorial statue of Volney Rogers, the Youngstown attorney who set aside land for the creation of Mill Creek Park.

A smaller recreational area called Wick Park is located on the historic north side. Wick Park's periphery is lined with early 20th-century mansions built by the city's industrialists, business leaders, and professionals during Youngstown's "boom" years. Stambaugh Auditorium, a popular venue for concerts and other public events, is located near the park's southwestern edge. Several cemeteries (notably historic Oak Hill Cemetery) and small recreational spaces are scattered throughout the city.

Sports

Club League Venue Established Championships
Youngstown Phantoms USHL, Ice hockey Covelli Centremarker 2003 0
Mahoning Valley Thunder af2, Arena football Covelli Centremarker 2006 0


Youngstown has enjoyed a long tradition of professional and semi-professional sports. In earlier decades, the city produced scores of minor league baseball teams, including the Youngstown Ohio Works, Youngstown Champs, Youngstown Indians, Youngstown Steelmen, Youngstown Browns, Youngstown Gremlins, and Youngstown Athletics. Local enthusiasm for baseball was such that the community hosted championship games of the National Amateur Baseball Federation throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The area's minor league baseball teams were supplemented by semi-professional football teams, including the Youngstown Patricians, which won the 1915 championship of what became the National Football League, and the Youngstown Hardhats, which competed in the Middle Atlantic Football League in the 1970s and early 1980s. Youngstown is home to the Mahoning Valley Thunder of af2, the minor league for the Arena Football League. Local minor league basketball teams included the Youngstown Pride (which played in the WBA from 1987 to 1992), the Youngstown Hawks (IBA, 1999), and the Mahoning Valley Wildcats (IBL, 2005). Youngstown's Covelli Centre was the home of the Youngstown SteelHounds hockey team (when it was the Chevrolet Centre), which played in the Central Hockey League until May, 2008.

The metropolitan area's current minor league baseball team is the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The team is the single-A short season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and competes in the New York-Penn League. The Scrappers play at Eastwood Fieldmarker in neighboring Niles. Since their first season of play in 1999, the team has developed into a successful minor-league franchise.

In early 2007, the "Championship Wrestling Experience" began holding events in the area that featured stars like "Jake the Snake" Roberts and Jerry Lynn. These wrestlers have appeared at the "Salute to Wrestling" event held in July for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The community has a lengthy tradition of collegiate sports. The Youngstown State University Penguins, a major regional draw, compete in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Penguins, noted participants in FCS (I-AA) football, play their games at Stambaugh Stadiummarker and enjoy one of the more supportive fan bases. All other YSU athletic teams compete in the Horizon League. The Youngstown State men and women's basketball teams hold their games at Youngstown State's Beeghly Centermarker. The teams average about 2,500 fans per game, a number which has been on the rise the past two seasons with a new style of play under Head Coach Jerry Slocum. In addition, the YSU baseball and softball teams have enjoyed local support and success. The baseball team reached the NCAA super-regionals in 2005, and the softball team did so in 2006.

Meanwhile, Youngstown has produced a significant number of boxing champions, including bantamweight Greg Richardson, lightweights Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and Harry Arroyo, and middleweight Kelly Pavlik.

Building on tradition

One of the city's most recent sports-related attractions is the Covelli Centremarker (formerly the Chevrolet Center and during planning the Youngstown Convocation Center), which was funded primarily through a $26 million federal grant. Located on the site of an abandoned steel mill, the large, high-tech facility opened in October 2005. The Centre's main tenants are the Youngstown Phantoms, which play in the United States Hockey League, and the Mahoning Valley Thunder, an af2 arena football team which began play in 2007. Previously, it was home to the Youngstown Steelhounds hockey team, who played in the CHL. The city plans to develop vacant land adjacent to the Centre. Plans included using the space for a park, riverwalk (the Mahoning River flows through the site), amphitheater, or athletic stadium for the city's public and private high schools.

Such investments reflect wide appreciation of Youngstown's athletic tradition, which has produced noted figures in a variety of sports. Prominent athletes with connections to the city include former world boxing champions Greg Richardson and Jeff Lampkin, IBF lightweight champion Harry Arroyo, College Football Hall of Famemarker end Bob Dove, Hall of Famemarker umpire Billy Evans, major league pitcher Dave Dravecky, NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar, IBF cruiserweight champion Jeff Lampkin, WBA lightweight champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, major league manager Jimmy McAleer, current WBC and WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, legendary baseball trainer "Bonesetter" Reese, major league outfielder George Shuba, and Heisman Trophy recipient Frank Sinkwich.

Former attractions

Several of the city's recreational resources disappeared amid the economic hardships that began in the late 1970s. Among these was Idora Parkmarker, an amusement park that served as a convenient alternative for residents who preferred not to travel to larger parks in Northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. (These included Conneaut Lake Parkmarker in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvaniamarker, Geauga Lakemarker in Aurora, Ohiomarker, Cedar Pointmarker in Sandusky, Ohiomarker, and Kennywoodmarker in Pittsburghmarker.) The park, which closed in 1984, held sentimental value for many local residents and enjoyed a degree of historical significance. Former Youngstown resident Jack Warner noted in his autobiography that the Warner brothers took their first step into the movie business when they screened a used copy of The Great Train Robbery at Idora Park and other local venues.

From the early 1900s to the mid-1970s, Youngstown was the retail center of the Mahoning Valley. There were two flagship department stores in the downtown area, including Strouss Hirshberg's (later absorbed by Kaufmann's, now part of Macy'smarker) and McKelvey's (later Higbee's, now part of Dillard's). Specialty shops lined the main artery of West Federal Street, and the district had four upscale movie theaters, including the Palace Theater, the Warner Brothers' first Theater, the State Theater, and the Paramount Theater. These businesses were the first to close as a result of declining attendance in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In the early 1970s, the appearance of two suburban malls (the Southern Park Mall, in Boardman, and the Eastwood Mallmarker, in Niles) hastened the closure or relocation of many businesses that remained. The collapse of the community's steel industry at the end of the decade created additional challenges for downtown business owners; and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, efforts to revive the former retail hub were unsuccessful.

Redevelopment

Youngstown's cityscape includes relatively few contemporary buildings, and from certain angles, the downtown area appears to have changed little since the 1960s. Yet, downtown Youngstown has seen modest levels of new construction. Recent additions include the George Voinovich Government Center and state and federal courthouses: the Seventh District Court of Appeals and the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. The latter features an award-winning design by the architectural firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects.

In 2005, Federal Street, a major downtown thoroughfare that was closed off to create a pedestrian-oriented plaza, was reopened to through traffic. The downtown area has seen the razing of structurally unsound buildings and the expansion or restoration of others.

Construction and business development

The re-opened Federal Street
In 2004, construction began on a 60-home upscale development called Arlington Heights, and a grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Developmentmarker allowed for the demolition of Westlake Terrace, a sprawling and dilapidated public housing project. Today, the site features a blend of senior housing, rental townhouses and for-sale single-family homes. Low real-estate prices and the efforts of the Youngstown Central Area Improvement Corporation (CIC) have contributed to the purchase of several long-abandoned downtown buildings (many by out-of-town investors) and their restoration and conversion into specialty shops, restaurants, and eventually condominiums. Further, a nonprofit organization called Wick Neighbors is planning a $250 million New Urbanist revitalization of Smoky Hollow, a former ethnic neighborhood that borders the downtown and university campus. The neighborhood will eventually comprise about 400 residential units, university student housing, retail space, and a central park. Construction for the project began in 2006.

New construction has dovetailed with efforts to cultivate business growth. One of the area's more successful business ventures in recent years has been the Youngstown Business Incubator. This nonprofit organization, based in a former downtown department store building, fosters the growth of fledgling technology-based companies. The incubator, which boasts more than a dozen business tenants, has recently completed construction on the Taft Technology Center, where some of its largest tenants will locate their offices.

Crime control

Meanwhile, the city has attempted to come to terms with its troubling reputation for crime and corruption. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Youngstown was nationally identified with gangland slayings that were often committed with car bombs. Hence, the town gained the nickname "Murder City", and the phrase "Youngstown tune-up" became a regionally popular slang term for car-bomb assassination. This dubious image has been reinforced by the widely reported fact that five prisons operate within the metropolitan area. The city, however, has accelerated measures to limit the influence of organized crime upon all sectors of municipal life. For some observers, the climax of this ongoing effort was the arrest, trial, and 2002 conviction of former U.S. Representative James A. Traficant, Jr., on bribery, tax fraud, and racketeering charges. Meanwhile, the municipal government has responded to a rise in gang- and drug-related violence by increasing the presence of police in urban neighborhoods. In the course of enforcing traffic laws and issuing warrants, police and state troopers have apprehended serious criminal offenders. Despite these efforts, crime remains a serious problem. In March 2008, Youngstown recorded its ninth homicide of the year, a figure that includes a January arson fire that left six people dead.

Renewal plan

In line with these efforts to change the community's image, the city government, in partnership with the university, has organized an ambitious urban renewal plan titled Youngstown 2010. The stated goals of Youngstown 2010 include the creation of a "cleaner, greener, and better planned and organized Youngstown". In January 2005, the organization unveiled its "master plan", which took shape in the course of several public meetings that featured input from citizens. The plan, which received national attention, is consistent with efforts in other metropolitan areas to address the phenomenon of urban depopulation. Given that the communities to the south and west of the city continue to enjoy a measure of economic prosperity, supporters of such projects hold out hope for the revitalization of Youngstown.

Neighborhoods

Downtown's Central Square (Federal Plaza) from the east.


Transportation

The Youngstown area is served by the Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA) bus system, which is supported through Mahoning County property and sales taxes. WRTA, whose main terminal is located in the downtown area, provides service throughout the city and into surrounding Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The downtown terminal serves as the Youngstown area's Greyhound terminal.

Located in the vicinity of the WRTA terminal is a former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station. The historic terminal building, which has been converted into a banquet hall, served as a train station from 1995 to 2005. The local railroads now serve cargo trains exclusively.

The only airport within the city limits is the Lansdowne Airportmarker, located on the city's east side. This facility is used for general aviation. The metropolitan area's main airport is the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airportmarker (YNG), located in nearby Vienna, Ohiomarker. The only commercial route available at this airport is a flight to Orlando, Floridamarker through Allegiant Air. Most valley residents take advantage of larger airports such as Cleveland Hopkins International Airportmarker, Akron-Canton Regional Airportmarker, and Pittsburgh International Airportmarker.

Media

Youngstown features diverse media, including television, print and radio. Newspapers include The Buckeye Review (bi-monthly/ African-American), The Business Journal (bi-monthly/business), The Catholic Exponent (bi-monthly/religious), Daily Legal News (daily/legal), The Jambar (bi-weekly/college), The Jewish Journal (monthly/Jewish), The Metro Monthly (monthly/news, features, calendar), The Morning Journal (daily/Columbiana County news), The Review (weekly/news, features), Senior News (monthly/seniors), The Journal (weekly/Struthers, Campbell and Lowellville), Parent Magazine (monthly/children's), Peace Action Youngstown {quarterly/peace activism), The Town Crier (weekly/suburban news), The Tribune Chronicle (daily/regional news), and the The Vindicator (daily/regional news).

Youngstown is served by 10 television stations, three of which are repeaters of TV stations in other cities, and a fourth coming in the near future from Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXImarker in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvaniamarker that would easily penetrate Youngstown pending FCC approval. This is unusual for a mid-sized city located near large metro areas such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Nearby Akron, with a larger population than Youngstown and Warren combined, has no local television stations and relies on Cleveland for its local news. The community's 273,480 television households make the Youngstown market the nation's 106th largest, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The market is served by stations affiliated with major American networks including: WFMJ-TVmarker (channel 21, NBC), WYTVmarker (channel 33, ABC), WYFX-LPmarker (channel 17/62 & 27.2 on WKBN-DT2, Fox), WKBN-TVmarker (channel 27, CBS), MY-YTV (channel 33.2, MNTV), and WBCB (channel 21.2, The CW). WFMJ-TV and its digital subchannel WBCB are both locally owned & operated by the Maag family, owners of The Vindicator. The rest of Youngstown's commercial television stations are either owned & operated by New Vision Television or operated by NVT through a shared services agreement, which is essentially a local marketing agreement under different legal terms. Western Reserve Public Mediamarker, which airs on channel 45 (WNEO) from Alliance, Ohiomarker and channel 49 (WEAO) from Akron, is a member of PBS.

Youngstown is served by 37 different radio stations in the metropolitan area which makes it the 119th largest radio market in the United States. Stations include 17 on the AM band and 20 on the FM band. The majority of the most powerful and popular radio stations in the Youngstown-Warren market are divided between two conglomerates: Clear Channel and Cumulus Media.

Youngstown's sister cities



Notable Youngstowners and former Steel Valley residents

References

Bibliography

  • Aley, Howard C. (1975). A Heritage to Share: The Bicentennial History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. Youngstown, OH: The Bicentennial Commission of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio.
  • Blue, Frederick J.; Jenkins, William D.; Lawson, William H.; Reedy, Joan M. (1995). Mahoning Memories: A History of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company. ISBN 0898659442.
  • Brody, David (1960). Steelworkers in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Bruno, Robert (1999). Steelworker Alley: How Class Works in Youngstown. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801434394.
  • Fuechtmann, Thomas G. (1989). Steeples and Stacks: Religion and Steel Crisis in Youngstown. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521334810.
  • Jenkins, William D. (1990). Steel Valley Klan: The Ku Klux Klan in Ohio's Mahoning Valley. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0873384156.
  • Knepper, George W. (1989). Ohio and Its People. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. ISBN 087338377X.
  • Lemann, Nicholas (1991). The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0679733477.
  • Linkon, Sherry Lee; Russo, John (2002). Steeltown U.S.A.: Work & Memory in Youngstown. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0700611614.
  • Warner, Jack L. (1964). My First Hundred Years in Hollywood. New York: Random House.


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