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20 Facts That Make Youngstown The Most Influential City In America

When people hear that I'm from Youngstown, Ohio, they immediately think it's an old, worn down steel city run by the mafia. But Youngstown has contributed a lot more to the world than steel and mobsters. This little city of 65,000 that sits directly between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, New York and Chicago, has woven itself into the fabric of American culture, history and society more than any other city of its size, making it the most influential city in America.

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1. The University of California was co-founded by a Youngstown native.


The University of California was co-founded by Youngstown native Ernest Carroll Moore. The education building at UCLA is named Moore Hall in his honor.

2. Scorcese's Goodfellas was dedicated to Youngstown.


Martin Scorcese used so many stories from the Youngstown mob in the movie that he dedicated the film to Youngstown. The tribute is evidenced at the very end of the movie, when Henry Hill picks up a newspaper off of his front porch. The newspaper is a copy of the Youngstown Vindicator.

3. The penalty flag was founded in Youngstown.

Sports Illustrated

According to Wikipedia, "The idea for the penalty flag came from Youngstown State coach Dwight Beede and was first used in a game against Oklahoma City University on October 17, 1941." The stadium where the Penguins play is named Beede Field, which also served as a practice facility for the San Fransisco 49ers.

4. The Warner brothers were from Youngstown.

Auroras Gin Joint

The Warner brothers grew up on the city's Northside and went on to create what would become one of the largest film production studios in the entire world.

5. Pro boxing is 12 rounds instead of 15.

Sports on Earth

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini was the WBA lightweight champ from 1982 to 1984. When he was 21, the second defense of his title was against 27 year old South Korean challenger Duk Koo Kim. The match went 15 rounds, at which point Kim tragically fell into a coma and later died from head trauma. Afterward, the WBA changed boxing from 15 rounds to 12, with the goal of boxer safety in mind.

6. Youngstown has the most NCAA head coaches.


For any city of its size, Youngstown has had the single greatest impact on NCAA football. Head coaches include: Bo Pelini (Nebraska, YSU), Bob Commings (Iowa), Bob Davie (Notre Dame), James Farragher (Notre Dame), Wes Fesler (Ohio State), Bob Stoops (University of Oklahoma), Mark Stoops (University of Kentucky), Mike Stoops (University of Arizona), and Jim Tressel (Ohio State, YSU, and current YSU President). Numerous others serve or have served as assistant coaches across collegiate and professional staffs.

7. Fashion designer Nanette Lepore is from Youngstown.

WH Sale

Nanette Lepore was born and raised in Youngstown and moved to NYC to start her fashion career after graduating from Youngstown State University. Today, her designed women's apparel can be found in all major retailers including Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and more.

8. The world's #1 business incubator is in Youngstown.

Business Journal Daily

The Youngstown Business Incubator, which provides incubation to upstart companies based in Youngstown, was recently named the number one university-affiliated business incubator in the entire world. The ranking, which was conducted by the University Business Incubator Index, is based on numerous qualitative and quantitative factors. It was noted by the co-founder of the index that Youngstown startups tend to "survive longer" than those located elsewhere.

9. Ed O'Neill is from Youngstown.

Ellen TV

Ed O'Neill was born in raised in his grandparent's house on the Northside (near the Dairy Queen on Belmont Ave.) He is the brains behind Married With Children and Modern Family, two of the most famous sitcoms in TV history. He also played briefly for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a back up QB.

10. The shopping mall was pioneered in Youngstown.

After World War II, as more Americans moved into the suburbs, there was increased demand for quicker and more convenient shopping. Eddie DeBartolo Sr. and the Cafaro family capitalized on their already existing real estate investments by offering cheaper rent to stores if they all relocated into a central location. The malls started as long strip plazas, later turning into what we know today. The Debartolo and Cafaro families were the first to scale the aggregate shop center model into suburbs all across America.

11. Arby's was founded in Youngstown.


The first Arby's was opened in Boardman township just South of the city by Forrest and LeRoy Raffel, two brothers from Youngstown. The name Arby's stands for RB's, an abbreviation for "Raffel Brother's."

12. The San Fransisco 49ers are owned by Youngstowners.


Eddie DeBartolo Jr. (above, right), from Youngstown, owned the San Fransisco 49ers for 23 years. During his time as owner, he won 5 Super Bowls, the most of any single franchise owner ever. The franchise is currently owned by Youngstown native Jed York.

13. Phantom Fireworks was founded in Youngstown.

Fireworks dot com

Phantom Fireworks was founded by Bruce Zoldan in Youngstown, Ohio. When Bruce started, he had very modest beginnings and was selling fireworks out of the trunk of his car. Today, the company is the largest fireworks retailer in the USA.

14. Youngstown bred the most boxing champions.

UCN Live

Youngstown has the most world or intercontinental boxing champs for any city of its size. Champions that hail from Youngstown include Harry Arroyo (IBF lightweight, 1984-1985), Kelly Pavlik (WBO light middleweight, 2006-2008), Jeff Lampkin (IBF cruiserweight, 1991-1992), Ray Mancini (WBA lightweight, 1982-1984), Greg Richardson (WBC bantamweight, 1991), Craig Snyder (IBC junior middleweight, 1994), and Earnie Shavers (AAU heavyweight, 1969). Shavers is considered the hardest hitting boxer in history, with a 91.8% knock-out-to-win ratio.

15. Handel's Ice Cream was founded in Youngstown.


Founded in 1945 by Alice Handel, Handel's has been ranked some of the best ice cream in America. Notable awards include the #1 Ice Cream in National Geographics "Ten Best" (ranking ahead of Stone Cold Creamery and Haagen-Dasz); and top ten in both People Magazine and USA Today's ice cream ranks.

16. The only expelled Congressman was from Youngstown.

Mark Wilson

Congressman James Traficant was propelled to stardom in the early 1980s when, as sheriff of Youngstown, he refused to foreclose on the thousands of families that lost their jobs after steel mills shut down. He went on to become Congressman, but amid allegations of racketeering and fraud, was expelled from Congress in 2002. He is the only Congressman expelled in the new Union after the Civil War.

17. The most influential Supreme Court case dealing with President powers was focused on Youngstown.

Jenny Mag dot org

During the Korean War, laborers from The Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company went on strike. Fearing that a steel strike would cripple the USA's efforts in North Korea, President Truman "seized" the assets of steel companies to assure the production of steel. The owners of the steel companies, led by The Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company, sued then Commerce Secretary Charles Sawyer to declare the seizure unlawful. President Truman argued he had the "executive power" to take the assets under war time authority, but the US Supreme Court didn't see it that way. The opinions set forth in the case, and corresponding limitations of Presidential power, have become the golden standard for what the President is and is not allowed to do. The case is known as The Steel Seizure Case or simply The Youngstown Steel Case.

18. The largest municipal-owned metro park is in Youngstown.

P Base

Milk Creek Park is 802 acres spread throughout the Youngstown area. By the acreage itself, it's the 142nd largest metro park in America. But the land is sprawled out so far, that if you encompassed all the land around it, it would be 4,440 square acres, making it the largest municipal-owned metropolitan park in America. Sprinkled in that land mass is 30 amazing golf courses. The layout has spawned similar metro park designs across the entire globe.

19. The first 3D printing research lab in America is in Youngstown.

Rapid Ready Tech

The first 3D printing lab in North America, America Makes, is located in the heart of downtown Youngstown, right next to the Youngstown Business Incubator. The main objective of the $90 million facility is to do 3D printing additive research, to determine the best materials (additives) to use to print 3D objects.

20. The Laffer Curve was founded by Youngstown native Arthur Laffer.

Bankable Insight

Arthur Laffer, the founder of the controversial Laffer Curve, was born and raised in Youngstown. The Laffer curve is a representation of the relationship between the level of taxation, and the corresponding tax revenues. At the left end of the spectrum, the government earns zero tax revenues if they charge zero tax rates. However at the other end, if the government charged a 100% tax rate, it would generate zero revenues because no one would work. The curve is used by conservative and liberal economists, to justify their position of whether more taxes (or less taxes) equals more revenue for the government. The Laffer Curve is studied in every single basic and advanced macroeconomics course in America.

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