History of the  West Park
Neighborhood
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

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ORGANIZATIONS AND BUSINESSES

Cleveland Fire Department Station


Fairview Park Hospital


Greenhouses


House of Seven Gables Restaurant


West Park Branch Library (Cleveland Public Library)


West Park YMCA



CLEVELAND FIRE DEPARTMENT STATION N0. 39

 



West Park City Hall & Police station. Fire Station, co 39 (right). The photos are from the Cleveland Press for Nov. 11, 1922. The inset photos are of West Park Police Chief George Heideloff (left) and the last mayor of West Park Henry G. Reitz (right).

Illustration provided by Gary Swilik.
The original building is to the right while the section to the left is newly constructed.  The West Park Branch Library is to the right (corner visible).

Photo by C. Chaney, 2004.

The fire station was built, at 15637 Lorain Avenue, in 1917, as the headquarters of the West Park Fire Department.  It became part of the Cleveland Fire Department when West Park was annexed by the city of Cleveland in 1923.  The two-company, two-story brick structure has remained little changed from its original appearance.   The original building no longer houses the rigs since an annex has recently been added for that purpose.  An inscription of "WESTPARK No. 1" is visible above the front entrance.  (Note that "West Park" appears as a single word, "Westpark.")  The new annex is sited approximately where the original West Park police station/city hall stood.

 

Engine Company 39 was established in 1923 following the annexation.  The first equipment was a 1916 American LaFrance that was used until 1947.  Ladder Company 39 (as Ladder Company 15) was formed in 1925 with an 1913 Peerless service ladder truck.  Supposedly a temporary assignment, the truck was in use for seven years before a more substantial replacement arrived.

 

More history of the West Park Fire Department:  Article by Paul Nelson, Historian, Western Reserve Fire Museum and Educational Center

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FAIRVIEW PARK HOSPITAL

A four room house was rented on Scranton Road, in 1893, by the Society for the Christian Care of the Sick and Needy.  It was organized by the Reformed Churches of Cleveland.  Here the German Hospital was located until it moved the following year to Franklin Circle.

 

Two years later, a permanent home was established adjoining Fairview Park at 3305 Franklin Blvd.  Trustees changed the name to Fairview Park Hospital in 1918.  During the first World War the hospital was used as a World War casualty facility.

 

In 1953, there was the groundbreaking for a new building in the triangle of land between Lorain Avenue, Groveland and the bluffs overlooking the Rocky River valley.  The hospital moved into its new building one week following its dedication on 23 April 1955.  The hospital has continuously expanded its facilities eastward along Lorain Avenue.

 

The car barns for the Old Cleveland-Southwest Intel-urban Trains stood at the east end of the Lorain Road Bridge on the north side of the street.  They were demolished in the early 1930's.  The Center for Family Medicine was built on the site in 1976.

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WEST PARK BRANCH LIBRARY

of the Cleveland Public Library

 

The original building on the corner of Lorain Avenue and West 157th street was built in 1908 as the library for the Village of West Park.

 

A new building was erected on this site in 1928, at 3805 West 157 Street, to be a branch library of the Cleveland Public Library.  The building is of a modified English Tudor style of red brick with stone trim and a steeply sloping slate roof.  Distinctive features are picturesque bays of leaded glass.  The building was remodeled in 1978 when the south east corner was altered to accommodate an new entrance area.  The interior was modernized and air- conditioned installed.  The original style of the most visible part of the building was maintained.

 

The West Park Library Branch has, for many years, enjoyed the largest circulation of any of the branches of the Cleveland Public Library.  (Photo by Charles C. Chaney, 2004.)  West Park Branch, Cleveland Public Library. Entrance is to the right of the photo.)

 

To view photographs of the West Park Branch Library from its beginning to today, visit the Cleveland Public Library Website at Cleveland Public Library Image Collections, Cleveland Public Library Neighborhood Branches and scroll down to see items 424 and after.

 

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WEST PARK Y.M.C.A. - 1936

The West Park YMCA began in West Park in 1936, when a group of interested citizens and the West park Kiwanians raised enough funds to convince the YMCA Board to support a facility in the West Park area.  They originally met in the gymnasium of the old John Marshall High School.  In 1957, the "Y" moved into its own new building at 15501 Lorain Avenue. 

 

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GREENHOUSE CAPITOL OF THE WORLD

 

The West Park area has been called “Greenhouse Capitol of the World," because of the 12 green-house companies that were located here.  The producers owned and operated the Growers Marketing Company in order to facilitate and control marketing operations.  They also formed their own insurance company.  Fred Colbrunn was the general manager of the Florists and Growers Insurance Company that protected greenhouse operators from loss by tornadoes and fires.  Cleveland's central location in the country and its distribution facilities were excellent for transporting the tomatoes to all parts of the United States.

 

Although most of the greenhouses are now gone some remain:

R. O. Apelt and Sons Greenhouse was located at 4555 Grayton Road and is still operating in 2004.

Puritas Nursery greenhouse was located at 19201 Puritas Road and is still operating in 2004.

The following greenhouses are no longer in existence:

The West Park Greenhouse owned by Henry Barthelman had 3.5 acres under glass and was located between Chatfield Avenue and Bradgate Avenue, west from Rocky River Drive to Riveredge Avenue.  Tomatoes and cucumbers were the primary vegetables grown but other vegetables were grown for the Cleveland Market.  The Barthelman family operated the farm and greenhouse business from 1914 until 1960.

 

The Lorain Avenue Greenhouse, owned by the Colbrunn and Kamm families, was located approximately where, in 1997, the Lorain Square Apartments building stands at 16321 Lorain Avenue.

 

The Rockland Greenhouse was located at 14450 Lorain Avenue, on the site of the former Robert Lee Ford dealership, later Master National Muffler, and, in 1997, Harley-Davidson Sales Company, Inc.

 

The Riverside Greenhouse was located on the southeast corner of Chatfield Avenue and Rocky River Drive.

 

A greenhouse was at 14435 Triskett Road across the street from St. Mel's Catholic Church, and another was on the corner of Triskett Road and West 140th Street.

 

Peterson's Greenhouse was on the site where The Marriot Inn now stands on West 150th Street just south of  Interstate 71.  Another greenhouse stood directly across the street.

 

Charles Bormer had a greenhouse on Munn Road.

 

Louis Kuhlfied had a greenhouse on the site of Douglas MacArthur School at 440 Valleyside Drive.


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Updated  7 July 2014