Filed Under Parks

Edgewater Park

Edgewater Park makes up the western-most grounds of the Cleveland Lakefront State Park. Running between the Memorial Shoreway and Lake Erie just to the west of downtown Cleveland, the park encompasses over 130 acres of land and overlooks 6,000 feet of shoreline. The park is divided into upper and lower levels, which are connected by a paved pathway.

The grounds for Edgewater Park were purchased by the City of Cleveland in 1894 and have provided popular recreational spaces for Cleveland residents since its opening the following year. Since the second half of the 20th century, however, Cleveland's park department was faced with juggling depleting resources and the problems of general upkeep, pollution, and security for the public grounds. Unable to maintain its park lands, the City of Cleveland leased Edgewater Park to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for fifty years in 1978. While maintaining its identity as Edgewater Park, the park is now joined along with five other public spaces to make up the Cleveland Lakefront State Park.

Audio

Fourth of July Gloria Aron recalls spending the Fourth of July at Edgewater Park as a child and expresses her hope that the park remains a place for the community to come together. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

View of Downtown Cleveland from Edgewater Park In 1894, Cleveland's Second Board of Park Commissioners purchased the land to be developed into Edgewater Park from park advocate Joseph B. Perkins for $205,958.07. Emulating Boston's park system, the board planned that these grounds would act as the north western edge of a chain of parkways and park lands encircling the city. Photograph courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
Maypole Dance in Edgewater Park, ca. 1906 Edgewater Park provided open grounds for recreation that were accessible to Cleveland's residents. Beyond the opportunity for bathing and swimming, the public park offered playgrounds, picnic areas, and athletic fields. Photograph courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
Band Concert at Edgewater Park, ca. 1908 Band concerts were regularly held in Edgewater Park at the turn of the 20th century. Through the efforts of a committee of citizens headed by Conrad Mizer, weekly concerts began in 1898. It was estimated that between 15,000 to 20,000 persons regularly attended these concerts. Following Mizer's death in 1904, a monument was erected in his honor at Edgewater Park. This is now the oldest standing monument in Cleveland. Photograph courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
Bathers at Edgewater Park Most of Cleveland's popular urban park lands were acquired by the Second Board of Park Commissioners between 1894 and 1900. The land was often received as a gift or at a low price on the condition that the city would improve the grounds and thereby increase the desirability and value of the surrounding area. Cleveland's park lands grew from ninety-three acres to over 1,200 acres within a decade. Photograph courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
Edgewater Park Bathhouse, 1927 As early as 1896, Edgewater Park's three existing bathhouses were overtaxed with users. In response to the parks popularity and need for amenities, a monumental bathhouse was opened to the public in 1914. Constructed in a Spanish Mission style, the building contained 665 separate changing rooms, two locker rooms for boys, an open pavilion, and a restaurant; overall, the building accommodated 3,000 bathers. Photograph courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
Entrance to Edgewater Park, 1929 Edgewater Park has long been a popular space in Cleveland for leisure and recreation. Located near the city's downtown, the grounds not only served communities of the near west side, but were accessible to city residents. The Second Board of Park Commissioners estimated that over 100,000 turned out for the informal opening of the park in 1895. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection
Edgewater Park after Planting This view, facing east, shows Edgewater Park as it appeared following a recently completed landscaping project. The iron ore docks appear in the distance at Whiskey Island. Source: Cleveland Parks Department Photograph Albums, Volume 4, Cleveland Public Library Date: August 1928

Location

The park is accessible by bicycle via the Lakefront Bikeway at the north end of W 65th St in Detroit Shoreway. By car, take the Edgewater Park exit off Memorial Shoreway approx 2 miles west of downtown, or enter the western end of the park via West Blvd just north of Lake Ave.

Metadata

Richard Raponi, “Edgewater Park,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 30, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/121.