Emerald Necklace-March, 1952
Next time you open your copy of the Emerald Necklace, (which we hope you do every month!) take a moment to reflect on its long and illustrious history. The Emerald Necklace made its first appearance in March of 1952. We don’t have “official” documentation that tells us who decided to produce a newsletter. According to an interview with Naturalist/Artist, Fritzi Klopfenstein, she was among the group of individuals responsible, along with Chief Naturalist Harold Wallin. At that time we did not have a Marketing Department. Naturalists were responsible for promoting the parks in the community, as well as providing education for park visitors.
One of the first questions that needed to be answered was, “What do we call the newsletter?” In 2014 we are all familiar with the term “Emerald Necklace” as a popular name for Cleveland Metroparks. But, in 1952 this was not the case. The Emerald Necklace was Fritzi’s idea for the title of the new newsletter, because the Metropolitan Park System created a “necklace of green” around the city. She designed a letterhead logo that resembled the famous green city from the Wizard of Oz, and the Emerald Necklace was launched. The newspapers loved the title. By 1957, writers began using the term to refer to the park system in general. The parks not only had a new publication, but a new nickname.
Fritzi’s whimsical drawings decorated the pages of the early issues, including the mascot, Tammy the Chipmunk (full name, Tamias striatus) who was introduced in 1958. Fritzi moved to Connecticut in 1957, but continued to contribute artwork to the Emerald Necklace for several years.
Another early contributor was Ray Jones. Ray worked in the Engineering Department of the parks, but was an amateur poet whose work is found in the Emerald Necklace pages from 1957-1964. His poems were sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, and often had a strong religious content.
Executive Director William Stinchcomb, and Chief of Police James Hoy, wrote about the problems of vandalism in the parks. My December blog post highlighted the articles about the specific problem of Christmas tree thieves, but other forms of vandalism included simple flower picking as well as more malicious mischief.
Then, as now, much of the newsletter contained nature articles to educate and entertain the readers, and to invite them into the reservations to search for plants and animals. Some articles included drawings, but photographs began appearing by 1957. These articles were not just informative, many were also inspiring and lyrical. When Dr. Robert Hinkle became Chief Naturalist in 1982 he soon began contributing his notes and thoughts in monthly nature columns, "Notes from the Field" and “Naturalist’s Almanac.” While Bob retired in 2012, he continues to gift us with his lovely writing.
Much of the modern version of the Emerald Necklace is devoted to the many activities and programs available for visitors. It is interesting to follow the progress of the Emerald Necklace and watch the number of programs grow over the years. The Emerald Necklace itself has grown into a multipage, professionally printed periodical. It can also be found in digital format on our website. A far cry from the original hand-typed, mimeographed document, but I think Harold, Fritzi and Bill Stinchcomb would all approve.
NOTE: You can view digital copies of historic issues of the Emerald Necklace on our website at: