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Hundreds Turn Out For Cleveland Tank Plant Homecoming

photo of George Markakis

Thousands of people visited the former Cleveland Tank Plant over the weekend – now known as the I-X Center – to see some of the military vehicles that were once produced there.

General Motors opened the plant in 1942 to make parts for the B-29 bomber, and later made tanks there such as the M56 Scorpion and M109 Howitzer.

Preserved examples of all of those pieces were on display over the weekend for visitors like Aristotle Markakis and his father, George.

“I think they’re amazing: all the technology put into it. All the designs. Everything.

“It reminds us of how we were once great and maybe, once again, we’ll get some industry back – it would be nice.”

The Cleveland Tank Plant next to Cleveland Hopkins Airport closed in 1970, sat vacant for many years, and then re-opened as the I-X Center in 1985.

There is a lot of history here... not just the Cavaliers of the Indians.

Mike Baron from Olmsted Falls is a Coast Guard veteran who took in some of the historical vehicles over the weekend.

“That’s one of the things that young people need to realize: there’s a lot of history here. It’s not just the Cavaliers of the Indians. We gave a lot back to this country and they should get out here to see what their relatives produced for our nation.”

The tank plant and I-X Center were technically in Brook Park until 2001. That year, the city swapped the land with Cleveland in exchange for the site of NASA Glenn Research Center.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.