West Park's Old City Hall Became First District Police Station
by Gary Swilik
Many West Parkers remember our old First District Police Station at 15619 Lorain Avenue. However not everyone realizes the old police station was originally West Park City Hall (right, photo). The building was the center of local government for the independent of City of West Park from 1914 until we were annexed to Cleveland in 1923. At that time, it became Station No. 17 of the Cleveland Police Department. In 1938, Safety Director Elliot Ness reorganized the police force and it became the First District police station.
For over 50 years, the former West Park City Hall on Lorain was our local police station. By the 1970s, after a half-century of service, the building was outdated. In January 1975, First District police station moved into a new $1.5 million building at 3895 West 130th Street. First District still occupies the building today. Any West Parker younger than about 45 has never known any other local police station.
After First District left the old building on Lorain Avenue– former West Park City Hall – it stood empty for several years. It was finally demolished in the late 1970s. The newer eastern section of Cleveland Fire Station No. 39 now stands on the site once occupied by the old police station.
Bizarre side note: Shortly after the new police station opened on West 130th, police officers complained about the complex procedure they had to go through to take a shower after a tour of duty. A city official ordered that all shower heads be locked up. Officers were forced to sign for the shower heads as needed and return them after use. The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association soon put a stop to that practice.