History of the West Park

Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

West Park Home May Be Old Toll House
by Gary Swilik

(This first appeared in the West Park Historical Society newsletter.)

In the days when wagon wheels and wet weather churned dirt roads into muddy quagmires one alternative was "plank roads."  Constructed of flattened logs, they operated as turnpikes with toll houses to collect  the fare. West Park's main thoroughfare, Lorain Avenue, was a plank road in the second half of the 1800s with taverns and roadhouses along the route.

We've long heard rumors an old toll house still stands in the vicinity of West 143rd Street.  We may have found it.  Property records for the home of Larry Morely, at 14205 Berwyn Avenue, carry the notation "former toll house, moved to this site."  Two senior neighborhood residents are certain the home once stood on Lorain Avenue by the railroad tracks in the general area a toll house is believed to have existed.

In July, 2008, Mr. Morely graciously allowed a few local historians and an expert from the Cleveland Restoration Society onto his property.  The structure was indeed moved to the site, shown by a foundation consistent with the early 1900s while the rest of the structure is from an earlier period.  Although remodeled the general appearance is similar to other toll houses from the plank road era.  Decisive proof is still lacking but so far the Morely home is the mostly likely structure in the area to have been the elusive toll house.

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Maintained by: Charles C. Chaney
14 November 2014