Craigmiles Hall (on the right) in downtown Cleveland
|Nickname(s): The City with Spirit|
Location of Cleveland in Bradley County, Tennessee.
|Named for||Benjamin Cleveland|
|• Type||City Council|
|• Mayor||Kevin Brooks|
|• City Manager||Joe Fivas|
|• Assistant City Manager||Melinda B. Carroll|
|• Total||29.68 sq mi (76.87 km2)|
|• Land||29.68 sq mi (76.87 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||869 ft (265 m)|
|• Estimate (2017)||44,483|
|• Density||1,535.3/sq mi (592.8/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|ZIP codes||37311, 37312, 37320, 37323, 37364|
|GNIS feature ID||1280705|
Cleveland is a city in Bradley County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 41,285 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Bradley County, and the principal city of the Cleveland, Tennessee metropolitan area (consisting of Bradley County and neighboring Polk County), which is included in the Chattanooga–Cleveland–Dalton, TN–GA–AL Combined Statistical Area. Cleveland is the fourteenth-largest city in Tennessee and the fifth-largest industrially, having thirteen Fortune 500 manufacturers.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Arts and culture
- 6 Parks and recreation
- 7 Government and politics
- 8 Education
- 9 Media
- 10 Infrastructure
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Sister Cities
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Long before the time of European encounter, this area was part of a large territory occupied by the Cherokee Nation, which extended into the South to present-day western North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. During and after the American Revolutionary War, European Americans came into increasing conflict with the Cherokee by migrating west of the Appalachian Mountains and encroaching on Cherokee territory. The Cherokee had tolerated traders but resisted settlers who tried to take over their territory.
In 1819, the Cherokee Agency— the official liaison between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation— was moved to the Hiwassee area, a few miles north of what is now Cleveland. The Indian agent was Colonel Return J. Meigs. Charleston and Blythe Ferry (about 15 miles, or 24 kilometers, northwest of Cleveland) were both important sites during the Cherokee Removal in the late 1830s.
The legislative act that created Bradley County in 1836 authorized the establishment of a county seat, which was to be named "Cleveland" after Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a commander at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolution. The commissioners chose "Taylor's Place," the home of Andrew Taylor, as the location for the county seat, due largely to the site's excellent water sources. By 1838, Cleveland already had a population of 400, and was home to two churches (one Presbyterian, the other Methodist), and a school for boys, the Oak Grove Academy. The city was incorporated on February 4, 1842, and elections for mayor and aldermen were held shortly afterward.
Cleveland grew rapidly following the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s. While bitterly divided over the issue of secession on the eve of the Civil War, Cleveland, like Bradley County and most of East Tennessee, voted against Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession in June 1861. The railroad bridge over the Hiwassee River to the north was among those destroyed by the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy in November 1861. Cleveland was occupied by the Confederate Army from 1861 to 1863.
During the 1870s, Cleveland had a growth spurt, and became one of the first cities in Tennessee to experience the effects of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The city's iconic Craigmiles Hall was constructed in 1878 as an opera house and meeting hall. Numerous factories were also established, including the Hardwick Stove Company in 1879, the Cleveland Woolen Mills in 1880, and the Cleveland Chair Company in 1884. By 1890, this industrialization helped the city support nine physicians, twelve attorneys, eleven general stores, fourteen grocery stores, three drug stores, three hardware stores, six butcher shops, two hatmakers, two hotels, a shoe store, and seven saloons. A mule-drawn trolley system was established in 1886, and the city received telephone service in 1888. In 1895 the city received electricity and public water. During this period, Cleveland's population more than doubled from 1,812 in 1880 to 3,643 in 1900.
Many of the buildings in today's downtown area, including those in the Centenary Avenue Historic District, were constructed between 1880 and 1915. In 1918, the Church of God, a Christian denomination headquartered in Cleveland, established a Bible school that would develop as Lee University. Cleveland's Chamber of Commerce was established in 1925. The city had postwar growth when several major factories were constructed in the area following World War II. As a result, the city has expanded much to the north, northeast, and northwest. The historic business district is now in the southern portion of the current town.
Cleveland is located in southeast Tennessee in the center of Bradley County situated among a series of low hills and ridges roughly 15 miles (24 km) west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and 15 miles (24 km) east of the Chickamauga Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River. The Hiwassee River, which flows down out of the mountains and forms the northern boundary of Bradley County, empties into the Tennessee a few miles northwest of Cleveland. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total land area of 26.9 square miles (69.7 km2) in 2010.
Much of the city's terrain is made up of parallel ridges, including Candies Creek Ridge (also called Clingan Ridge), Mouse Creek/Lead Mine Ridge, and Blue Springs Ridge, which are extensions of the Appalachian Mountains (specifically part of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians) that run approximately north-northeast through the city. Several streams run in the valleys between the ridges including Candies Creek, located west of Clingan ridge, and South Mouse Creek, between Mouse Creek and Lead Mine Ridge.
Cleveland is divided into five major regions: Central Cleveland (also called Downtown Cleveland), Northern Cleveland (also called North Cleveland), Western Cleveland, East Cleveland, and South Cleveland. East and South Cleveland are census-designated places partly within the city limits. There are no official borders between the other divisions. Central Cleveland encompasses the business district and surrounding residential area, including the Stuart Heights, Centenary Avenue, and Annadale neighborhoods. Northern Cleveland has developed as the location for most of the city's retail shops and private interests. In addition, it is a major residential division, made up of Burlington Heights, Fairview, and Sequoia Grove neighborhoods. Western Cleveland is entirely residential. Much of it is an extension of the city limits westward to encompass populous neighborhoods including Hopewell Estates and Rolling Hills. East and South Cleveland are both residential and industrial divisions. People living in East Cleveland tend to be less privileged. South Cleveland is the most densely populated part of town. People who live in these regions are sometimes referred to as being "isolated" from the rest of the city, as they work in that part of town and most of their economy comes from retail and businesses in the southern part of the city.
|Climate data for Cleveland, Tennessee|
|Average high °F (°C)||50
|Average low °F (°C)||28
|Average precipitation inches (cm)||5
|Source #1: weather.com http://www.weather.com|
|Source #2: weatherbase.com|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Cleveland is the principal city of the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Bradley and Polk counties and had a combined population of 115,788 at the 2000 census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 37,192 people, 15,037 households, and 9,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,490.9 people per square mile (575.5/km2). There were 16,431 housing units at an average density of 658.7 per square mile (254.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.00% White, 7.01% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.29% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.87% of the population.
There were 15,037 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 15.4% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,098, and the median income for a family was $40,150. Males had a median income of $30,763 versus $21,480 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,316. About 11.3% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 41,285 people, 16,107 households, and 10,063 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,535.3 people per square mile (575.5/km2). There were 17,841 housing units at an average density of 663.5 per square mile (254.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.90% White, 7.40% African American, 0.40% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 4.30% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.50% of the population.
There were 16,107 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 26.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city, the population was spread out with 6.5% under the age of 5, 6.2% aged 5 to 9, 5.7% aged 10 to 14, 7.9% aged 15 to 19, 10.7% aged 20 to 24, 7.1% aged 25 to 29, 6.1% aged 30 to 34, 6.0% aged 35 to 39, 6.0% aged 40 to 44, 6.3% aged 45 to 49, 6.1% aged 50 to 54, 5.5% aged 55 to 59, 5.0% aged 60 to 64, 4.2% aged 65 to 69, 3.3% aged 70 to 74, 2.8% aged 75 to 79, 2.3% aged 80 to 84, and 2.2% aged 85 and older. The median age was 34.8 years. The gender makeup was 52.4% female and 47.6% male. The median female age was 36.5 and the median male age was 32.9
The median income for a household in the city was $36,270, and the median income for a family was $47,104. The per capita income for the city was $21,576. About 15.0% of families and 21.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.5% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
Cleveland is located in a region of the Southern United States known as the Bible Belt. Numerous Protestant Christian denominations are represented in the city, including several Pentecostal groups for which Cleveland serves as the international headquarters. Denominations based in Cleveland include:
- Church of God and its affiliated school, Lee University
- Church of God of Prophecy
- The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee)
- The Church of God for All Nations
- The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres)
- The Church of God under the leadership of Bishop James C. Nabors
Several churches in Downtown Cleveland are of notable architecture, including the Romanesque Revival Broad Street United Methodist Church, the First Presbyterian Church on Ocoee Street, and St. Luke's Episcopal Church, which was built in the Gothic Revival style by architect Peter Williamson. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cleveland is home to the famous Craigmiles Mausoleum, located at 320 Broad Street NW, behind St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The mausoleum contains the body of Nina Craigmiles, a seven-year-old who died on October 18, 1871, when a horse buggy in which she was riding was struck by a train. Her father, John Craigmiles, constructed the church and mausoleum in Nina's memory. He named the church St. Luke's because the girl died on St. Luke's Day. Shortly after Nina's body was placed inside the mausoleum, red stains appeared on the marble. Over the years the stained marble has been replaced, but the stains inevitably reappear. Craigmiles commissioned a statue of Nina, which was to be shipped from Europe. It was being transported via the RMS Titanic and sank with the ship.
Much of the city's economy is based on manufacturing. Cleveland's industrial economy is the fifth largest in the state. Cleveland is home to several manufacturers. Goods produced include household cooking equipment, foodstuff, textiles, furniture, storage batteries, pharmaceuticals, industrial cleaning products, photographic processing, industrial and domestic chemicals, and automotive parts. Top employers include Whirlpool, Johnston Coca-Cola, Mars, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Duracell, Peyton's Southeastern, Arch Chemicals, Advanced Photographic Solutions, Cleveland Chair Company, Renfro Foods, Flowers Bakery, Olin Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Rubbermaid, Exel, Inc., Jackson Furniture, Cleveland Chair Company, Eaton Corporation, Olin Corporation, Bayer, Schering-Plough, Lonza, Wacker, Mueller Company, and Polartec. In total, Cleveland contains more than 150 manufacturing firms and thirteen Fortune 500 Companies. Tourism also plays a major part, with many nearby attractions and yearly events.
Cleveland is the location for the corporate headquarters of Life Care Centers of America, the largest privately held nursing facility company in the US, founded and owned by Forrest Preston. Check Into Cash Inc., the largest privately held payday loan company in the US, was founded in Cleveland in 1993 by businessman Allan Jones. Hardwick Clothes, the oldest tailor-made clothing maker in America, was founded in 1880 and has been headquartered in Cleveland for its entire history. In addition to corporate businesses, Cleveland has a thriving retail sector, located mostly in the northern part of the city. Bradley Square Mall is a shopping mall with more than 50 tenants.
Tourism is a major part of Cleveland's income. Visitors come from all over the country. Perhaps the Cherokee National Forest in Polk County supports many recreational outdoor activities. The Ocoee and Hiwassee rivers both flow through the forest. Thousands of people raft these rivers annually. The Ocoee River was the site of the canoe slalom events for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Red Clay State Park is a historical site just above the Georgia state line. The Cherokee took council here after being driven out of Georgia. The Museum Center at Five Points is a history museum and cultural center that features exhibits on the Ocoee Region and surrounding areas. The Ocoee Regional Nature Center is a state-certified arboretum. It houses over 100 types of trees, plants, flowers, and shrubs.
Arts and culture
The MainStreet Cleveland Halloween Block Party draws more than 20,000 people to the city every year. The event began in 1988 as a candy handout at the Cleveland Police Department and Centenary Avenue, and has grown to one of the largest events in Cleveland. It features live music, food stands, and a costume contest. In 2015 Cleveland’s mayor, Tom Rowland, dubbed the city as the “Halloween capital of the world.”
Cleveland is known for Tall Betsy, the official "Halloween goblin of Bradley County". For years, Tall Betsy’s Halloween night appearance drew large crowds to Cleveland’s Centenary Avenue. The growing crowds inspired MainStreet Cleveland to organize the Halloween Block Party around the event. Local businessman Allan Jones created the modern legend from tales of the Tall Betsy goblin that his grandmother told him as a child. The original legend dates to the 19th century, with print references in the Cleveland Daily Herald as early as 1892. In 1998, Tall Betsy retired after drawing a crowd of over 25,000 people. She returned in 2005 to celebrate her 25th anniversary.
The Cleveland Apple Festival, begun in 2002, is an annual family event held on the third weekend of October. This festival offers a juried art and craft show, live bluegrass music, food booths, pony and a hayride, entertainment, contests and children's activities. Unlike many festivals of its kind in the U.S., the Cleveland Apple Festival does not charge for children to participate in activities provided in the children's area. The festival is operated as a 501(c)(3) public charity.
The city song is "The Diplomat", composed by John Philip Sousa. It debuted as conducted by Sousa in a performance in 1906 at the Craigmiles Opera House. In November 2017, the city celebrated its 175th anniversary.
The city's official nickname is "The City with Spirit," adopted in 2012. In the 1970s and 1980s, 40 people in Bradley County were sent to prison for the crime of odometer fraud, and Cleveland was the subject of a 1983 60 Minutes documentary about this crime. This led to the city becoming known as the "Odometer Rollback Capital of the World." The city is sometimes sarcastically known as "Clevegas" because of the lack of entertainment industry.
Parks and recreation
Several public recreational parks are located within or near Cleveland. They are all maintained by the Cleveland Parks and Recreation department. They allow a variety of activities, and some organized sports teams compete at them. The Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway is an approximately 4.4 mile long greenway path which follows South Mouse Creek from downtown to neighborhoods in the northern part of the city. Other facilities include the Bradley County Park, Kenneth L. Tinsley Park, Greenway Park, Mosby Park, Deer Park, College Hill Recreation Center, Northeast Recreation Center, Johnston Park, Leonard Fletcher Park, Cleveland Family YMCA, and the South Cleveland Community Center.
Government and politics
The city of Cleveland operates under a council/manager form of government with an elected mayor and seven council members. Five are elected from single-member districts, and two are elected at-large, as is the mayor. The City Council hires a professional city manager to carry out daily operations. The mayor is Kevin Brooks. The city manager is Joe Fivas, who has held that position since 2016. Elections take place every even year.
|District 1||Charlie McKenzie|
|District 2||Bill Estes|
|District 3||Tom Cassada|
|District 4||David May, Jr.|
|District 5||Dale R. Hughes|
|At-large 1||Avery L. Johnson|
|At-large 2||Richard L. Banks|
Most of Cleveland is in the 4th congressional district of Tennessee for the U.S. House of Representatives, represented by Republican Scott DesJarlais. A small amount of the city, including East Cleveland and northeast Cleveland, are in the 3rd congressional district, represented by Republican Chuck Fleischmann. Most of Cleveland is part of District 24 of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Kevin Brooks was the representative until September 2018, when he resigned to become mayor of Cleveland. A small part of the city is in District 22, represented by Republican Dan Howell. Most of Cleveland is part of District 9 for the Tennessee Senate, represented by Republican Mike Bell. A small portion of the city is in District 10, represented by Republican Todd Gardenhire.
Cleveland and Bradley County have historically been majority-Republican since the Civil War, as has most of East Tennessee. Through much of the 20th century, Middle and West Tennessee were majority Democrat, which Democrats were made up of conservative whites. As a whole, Tenessee was considered part of the Solid South. Both areas had been slave societies, and West Tennessee was dominated by large cotton plantations, whereas East Tennessee was based in yeoman farmers and little slaveholding. Since the Republican Party's founding, only two Democratic Presidential candidates have won Bradley County; Southerner Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936, during the Great Depression.
Cleveland High School, Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School are the three public high schools in Bradley County. Cleveland Middle, Ocoee Middle and Lake Forest are the three middle schools. Cleveland City Schools is a school system for students living within the city limits. Several elementary schools serve students within different sub-district divisions. Some schools maintained by Bradley County Schools are also in the city. Tennessee Christian Preparatory School is a Christian college preparatory school located in Cleveland.
Cleveland High School has one of the most successful football programs in Tennessee. It has the second-longest winning streak in Tennessee high school football history, with 54 consecutive wins between 1993 and 1996. The Blue Raiders have also won state championships in 1968,[not in citation given] 1993, 1994 and 1995.
The Cleveland High School and Bradley Central wrestling teams traditionally dominate the state wrestling championships. Since 1994, the Bradley Central Bears have won 22 state championships in the Dual and Traditional categories. The Cleveland Blue Raiders, based at the state-of-the-art Jones Wrestling Center, have won Traditional Championships in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and placed second in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
In 2013, the Cleveland City Council presented a resolution honoring the Cleveland High School wrestling team, and declared Feb. 25 as “Blue Raider Wrestling Day.” The Blue Raiders were state champions for the second time in three years after winning the 2013 TSSAA Division I Traditional State Championships and the State Duals Finals. The team was runner-up in both the Duals and State Tournaments in 2012, after claiming the Traditional title in 2011.
- Tennessee Christian Preparatory School
- Cleveland Christian School
- Candies Creek Academy
- Bowman Hills Adventist School
- Shenandoah Baptist Academy
- United Christian Academy
- Vanguard Christian Academy
- La Petite Academy
- Cleveland State Community College
- Lee University
- Pentecostal Theological Seminary
- Church of God School of Ministry
The Cleveland Daily Banner is the town's newspaper. The paper was first published in 1854. Additionally, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a paper based in Chattanooga, also serves as a primary source of news for Bradley County residents.
|W207C1 (WAYW)||89.3 FM||WAY-FM, Contemporary Christian|
|WSAA||93.1 FM||Air 1, Contemporary Christian|
|WCLE-FM||104.1 FM||Adult contemporary|
|W290CA (WTSE)||105.9 FM||Contemporary Christian|
Cleveland is served by several TV stations licensed both in the city and neighboring cities. Stations licensed in Cleveland include:
|WPDP-CD||25||ABC, Fox, My Network TV|
|WFLI-TV||42, 53||The CW, Me-TV|
Hardwick Field, also known as Cleveland Municipal Airport, was the principal airport from 1955 to 2013. Cleveland Regional Jetport, located approximately two miles east of Hardwick Field opened on January 25, 2013, replacing Hardwick Field. It consists of a 6,200-by-100-foot (1,890 by 30 m) runway.
The center of Cleveland is at the intersection of U.S. Route 11 and U.S. Route 64. U.S. 11 connects the area with Chattanooga to the south and Athens to the north. The U.S. 11 Bypass (Keith Street) serves as a bypass route for US 11 around downtown, passing approximately 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of the central business district. U.S. Route 64 connects Cleveland with Murphy, North Carolina, to the east and the Chattanooga area to the southwest. State Route 60 (25th Street) connects Cleveland with Dayton to the northwest and Dalton, Georgia, to the southeast, where the road becomes State Route 71. State Route 74 connects the city to Chatsworth, Georgia to the south. APD-40, made up of the U.S. 64 Bypass and a section of S.R. 60, is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System from where it takes its name, and serves as a beltway around the business district. Parts of this beltway are controlled access. Paul Huff Parkway serves as a major thoroughfare on the northern end of the city. Interstate 75 passes through western Cleveland, connecting the area with Knoxville to the north and Chattanooga to the south. I-75 has three exits in the city.
Other major roadways
- Mouse Creek Road
- Stuart Road
- Peerless Road
- Georgetown Road
- SR 312 (Harrison Pike)
- Freewill Road
- 20th Street NE
- 17th Street NW
- Michigan Avenue Road
- Benton Pike
- Blue Springs Road
- McGrady Drive
The Cleveland Urban Area Transit System (CUATS) is a bus service operated by the Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency (SETHRA) that operates within the city limits of Cleveland and select parts of Bradley County. The city operates on five fixed routes. A Greyhound bus station is located on Paul Huff Parkway just off of I-75 exit 27.
The Cleveland Fire Department is an all-paid professional department. It currently consists of more than 90 highly trained personnel and 5 stations, and serves an estimated 67,000 people. The current chief is Ron Harrison. The Cleveland Police department currently has more than 90 Certified Police Officers, two Codes Enforcement Officers and 11 full-time civilian employees, along with one part-time civilian employee, 13 School Crossing Guards and eight Animal Control employees. They also maintain a Volunteer Program consisting of a 15-member Public Service Unit and a nine-member Chaplain Unit. The Chief of Police is Mark Gibson.
Cleveland's two hospitals are Bradley Memorial Hospital and Cleveland Community Hospital. Since 2015, both have been operated by Tennova Healthcare. Bradley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center is a nursing home that serves the county. Bradley County Emergency Medical Services is an emergency medical service (EMS) agency of the county government established in 1972 and consists of three stations, eleven ambulances, and six ancillary vehicles, along with more than 60 full-time employees and more than 25 part-time employees.
Cleveland Utilities is the major department which provides services to Cleveland residents. They provide electric, water, and sewage services. Other providers include Ocoee Utility District and Volunteer Energy Cooperative.
The Public Works Department performs the most varied actions of all the city departments. It has more than employees. The department is responsible for the city’s fleet operation, sign maintenance and design, and street markings. The current director is Tommy Myers.
- Travis Beacham, screenwriter, wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film Clash of the Titans and Pacific Rim.
- Stan Beaver, rockabilly musician
- William B. Breuer, author of The Great Raid and dozens of other books based on actual accounts of war
- Anthony Burger, southern gospel pianist, played for the Kingsmen Quartet for several years and was the pianist for the Gaither Vocal Band and the Gaither Homecoming series
- Phil Driscoll, trumpet player and founder of Mighty Horn Ministries
- Doyle Dykes, guitarist
- Richard M. Edwards, state legislator and Union Army colonel
- David Holsinger, concert band composer and conductor
- Paul B. Huff, World War II soldier and Medal of Honor recipient
- Brittany Jackson, WNBA player
- Jimmy Johnston, Major League Baseball player, appeared in 1916 and 1920 World Series
- Allan Jones, businessman and founder of Check Into Cash Inc.
- Bob Jones III, third president of Bob Jones University
- Dale Jones, former NFL player, assistant coach at Appalachian State
- Alan J. Lacy, businessman and former CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
- Jacques McClendon, NFL offensive guard
- Jerry McKenna, American sculptor and author (attended Bradley Central High School 1953-1954)
- Toby McKenzie, businessman and founder of National Cash Advance.
- Darnell Mee, former NBA player (Denver Nuggets), and in Australia was National Basketball League's Best Defensive Player (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006), won seletion to the NBL's All-First Team (2001, 2005) and was an NBL Champion with the Adelaide 36ers in 1998 and 1998/99
- Billie Nipper, noted horse artist
- Forrest Preston, owner, chairman and CEO of Life Care Centers of America
- Jeremi Richardson, member of the contemporary Christian music group Avalon
- Alvin Scott, former NBA player
- The Singing Echoes, a Southern gospel group, which holds an annual singing on Blue Springs Road every July
- Steve Sloan former NFL player with Atlanta Falcons, All-American QB under Bear Bryant at Alabama, former All-State football and basketball at Bradley Central High School.
- Phil Stacey, American Idol contestant; Lee University alumnus
- Steve Watson, actor and former host of Discovery Channel's Monster House
- Mark Wills, country music singer
- Vincent Yarbrough, former NBA player, currently playing for Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany; Cleveland High School class of 1998
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