Cleveland Metroparks 100th Anniversary

To commemorate the centennial anniversary of Cleveland Metroparks in 2017, the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities and Cleveland Metroparks worked in collaboration to create a series of new stories that delve into the history of Cleveland's renowned regional park system.

Explore the prehistoric ooze, quarry towns, scenic railways, and dance halls that once could be found where the Cleveland Metroparks now thrive. Witness the park system take on both form and meaning in response to war, an economic disaster, political scandals, suburbanization, the rise of environmentalism, and changes in American social and cultural norms. Discover a history as diverse and varied as the flora and fauna that greets visitors to the park system's picturesque grounds.

Be sure to check back weekly for a new story focusing on the history of the Cleveland Metroparks.

The Rocky River Dry Dock Co.

Traveling through the naval blockade zones of World War I, trained lookouts aboard American merchant ships scanned the hypnotic landscape of rolling waves for evidence of the German U-boat menace.  While watchmen stared along the vast expanse of the…

Frostville

Awakened from the grave on a chilly October evening in 1975, the ghostly manifestation of Western Reserve pioneer Thomas Briggs greeted trespasser at the Frostville Museum complex in Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation with scowls and…

Harriet Keeler Memorial

The name of Harriett L. Keeler has mingled in the memories of Cleveland park users with impressions of Brecksville Reservation's rugged woodlands and colorful wildflowers. Since the dedication of the Harriet Keeler Memorial Woods over 90 years…

Solar Interpretation Center

In 1976, the Cleveland Home and Flower Exposition drew a record crowd of nearly 100,000 persons during its opening weekend.    The annual convention displayed the latest in landscaping techniques, construction materials and methods, and home…

National Amateur Baseball Association Tournament

On October 10, 1915, the natural amphitheater at what is now Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation hosted possibly the largest crowd to ever assemble for an amateur sporting event. Attendance of the baseball game was estimated at between 80,000…

Amateur Baseball at Brookside Park

In 1914 and 1915, Brookside Stadium hosted a series of amateur baseball matches that set local and national attendance records. The bowl-shaped natural amphitheater and park setting offered an idyllic atmosphere for the games, which regularly…

Scenic Park

In the spring of 1903, the management of Scenic Amusement Park hired surveyors to study possibilities for overcoming the watery divide separating Lakewood and Rocky River. A scheme had been concocted to unite the two suburbs.  On the land that now…

The Great Depression and the Zoo

The Great Depression was a trying time in the City of Cleveland. As early as 1931, nearly one third of the city's work force was unemployed, and things would only get worse. With an already growing economic divide between suburban communities…

YMCA in the Cleveland Metroparks

The lazy days of summer took an industrious turn for attendees of the Young Men’s Christian Association River Road Camp at the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District's North Chagrin Reservation in 1943.  The camp’s forty-four temporary…

Dunkleosteus

Dragged silently downward by the weight of its armored head, the Dunkleosteus terrelli’s lifeless body disappeared into a murky cloud rising from the sea floor.  A death shroud of mud and freshly deposited sediment encased the remains.  As the…

Civilian Conservation Corps

Ushered in by parade and sounds of the WPA Band, the Metropolitan Park Board and representatives of the Village of South Euclid formally dedicated Euclid Creek Reservation on June 24, 1936. The day marked the first public dedication of any unit in…

Trailside Museums

Tucked away in the oak-hickory forests of the Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation, the black walnut doors, American chestnut paneling and Berea sandstone that front the Brecksville Nature Center blend harmoniously into the surrounding wooded…

Griffithsburg

The Quarry Rock Picnic Area in South Chagrin Reservation invites visitors to envision an era when small bands of pioneer men, women, and children forged a new life in the Western Reserve. Situated along the bank of the Chagrin River's Aurora…

Harriet Keeler

In 1912, Harriet L. Keeler was chosen as the temporary superintendent of schools for the sixth largest city in the United States. The Cleveland Leader released a feature interview with the recently honored public figure to mark the occassion. The…

Reinventing Cleveland's Zoo

Did you know that zoos and aquariums in the United States attract nearly 175 million visitors a year? While not taking into account repeat visitors, this staggering number is over half of the entire population of the county. With two-thirds of all…
All stories sponsored by Cleveland Metroparks