Do you remember the song from Sesame Street that went something like this?
“Some of these things are not like the others,
Some of these things just don't belong,
Can you tell which things are not like the others,
By the time I finish my song?”
Ok, so I changed a few words around to create my version, but the idea is the same. While all of the properties in Cleveland Metroparks are unique, there are a few that share the special distinction of not being located in Cuyahoga County. Why you ask? Well, at the time these properties were acquired our neighboring counties did not have park districts of their own and their conservation was entrusted to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District.
In March 1917, the Ohio State Legislature passed a bill providing for “the conservation of natural resources by the creation, development and improvement of park districts.” On July 23 of the same year, Probate Judge Alexander Hadden appointed the first Board of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, now Cleveland Metroparks.
In 1920, the park district consisted of only 109 donated acres. By 1930, 9,000 acres had been obtained throughout the region. In 1923, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District acquired 600 acres in Hinckley Township. They built a dam to create a 100-acre lake and started the largest public park in Medina County. It wasn’t until 1965 that citizens of Medina County formally requested the formation of a park district. Probate Judge W.W. Garver ordered the creation of the Medina County Park District including all of Medina County except Hinckley Township where Hinckley Reservation is located.
In 1925 land began to be acquired to create North Chagrin Reservation. A portion of the park is located in Willoughby Hills (formerly Willoughby Township) in Lake County. It wasn’t until 1958 that the citizens of Lake County petitioned for the creation of their own park district and the Lake County Metropolitan Park District, now Lake Metroparks, was formed.
In 1944, James and Fannie Brown offered to donate their golf course in Willoughby Township (now Willoughby Hills) to the city of Cleveland. The city declined and it was sold to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District for one dollar, under the condition it must forever remain a golf course. Manakiki was a private club until it opened as a public golf course in 1960.