History of the  West Park
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

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Almost West Park

A section about places of interest that are not technically in the West Park area but are of interest.

The Lyric Theater
11601 Lorain Avenue

by Gary Swilik

Lyric Theatre
(Photo c1960.  Provided by Gary Swilik)                                                                            Photo by Charles Chaney, April 2005     

Click here to see it at Google Maps

The Lyric theater seems almost forgotten today.  The larger and better-known Riverside and Variety theaters seem to get most of the attention when it comes time to reminisce about double-feature matinees at the local movie house.  Yet the Lyric, if my memory serves me, was quite impressive with a classic lobby including at least one elegant chandelier.  You hear less about it only because it closed a lot longer ago and.....until now.......a photo of the place hasn't been seen in years!

To be accurate, the Lyric wasn't located in West Park but about a block east of the old city line (West 117th Street) at 11601 Lorain Avenue.  But its bright neon marquee was visible from well inside the old city limits and drew a large West Park audience for many years.  In fact, if you looked east down Lorain Avenue the brightly flashing marquees of the Variety and Lyric Theaters, only two blocks apart, lit up the night and gave the impression of a small theater district.

The Lyric, like the old West Park theater and the Riverside, is yet another theater associated with Max Lefkowich and Abraham Polster.  They bought the property the Lyric stood on from the Senate Theater Company in April of 1926.   Old city directories indicate the Lyric was already built and operating as a "moving picture theater" but we can't be absolutely certain the new owners didn't provide new construction.

In fact, Lefkowich and Polster already owned yet another theater, The Tivoli, located between the Variety and the Lyric at 11625 Lorain. But that's another story.

Lefkowich and Polster owned the Lyric until June of 1946, when they sold the property, but the Lyric continued under different ownership for many years finally closing in the early 60's.  The last show ran on Saturday, July 21st, 1962.  A double-feature of THE BIG COUNTRY, with Gregory Peck, and THUNDER ROAD, with Robert Mitchum.  Of course, back then no theater ever ran less than two films!

The Lyric still stands and now houses a worthy organization entitled AACCESS - OHIO, an acronym for the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services, a community-based, nonprofit, human service organization.  The exterior of the building appears to be in fine shape and includes what looks to be part of the original Lyric Marquee.

The author is indebted to Ron Chucksa, 1959 John Marshall High School grad, who shared valuable research essential to the preparation of this article.

See entry at Cinema Treasures for the Lyric Theater

The Linndale Roundhouse

The Linndale Roundhouse and train station complex, on West Park's southeast border, was once a very important part of railroad operations in the Cleveland area. Many West Park baby boomers had fathers, uncles, and older brothers who made their living there... 
----Gary Swilik

For more information click The Linndale Roundhouse

Memphis Drive-In Theatre
10543 Memphis Avenue
Memphis Drive In

We lost an old friend in 2006 when the Memphis Drive-In Theatre closed forever.  Constructed in 1954, the 1000 car facility eventually had three screens showing double-features.  In its later years it was the site of a flea market swap meet on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays

The screen and snack bar building were demolished in early 2007.

See entry at Cinema Treasures for the Memphis Triple Drive-In Theatre

Robert Hall Clothes
11500 Lorain Avenue

Robert Hall

Built c1953. Thousands of West Park baby boomers got their first suit here. Remember the Robert Hall's catchy commercial jingle that we all used to go around singing:

"Values go up, up, up, And prices go down, down, down,
Robert Hall this season Will show you the reason:
Low overhead, Low overhead."

"Robert Hall Commercial"
When the values go up, up, up...
and the prices go down, down down...

                         [Robert Hall Clothing Stores]

   music by Leon Mitchell;
  words by Charles A. Gaston;
   Original version (c) 1946;
   Copyright by Charles A. Gaston & Leon Mitchell;
   (c) Feb. 28, 1957; EU 467 561.
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Updated 5 July 2014