Earlier this month I was in warm Tempe, Arizona. The environment and the architecture were all new and excitingly enticing for discovery. Now, I sit looking out at the snow on another cold, wintry northeast Ohio day. I could easily fall back into the warmth of my memories, but instead I ponder this blog and its title, Roots Revealed. I am taken on an enjoyable mental tour of some of the “roots” I revealed through explorations over the past 32 years in Cleveland Metroparks.
My first year in Brecksville Reservation allowed me to discover an amazing Chippewa Gorge with enormous boulders, a waterfall and some pretty cool fossils. I also began rediscovering Bedford Reservation from my childhood. I still laugh at the thought of finally discovering that the nowhere-to-be-found steel bridge I recalled from younger days actually was in Bedford Reservation. I drove myself crazy trying to find this bridge from long ago to only find peace when I was researching for a hike and discovered that the bridge had been dismantled in 1974. Phew, I thought I was losing it there.
Then in Rocky River, I discovered remnants of the Lawrence Grist Mill, amazing shale cliffs that told of eons of river valley stories, and Fort Hill and its stories of the early occupants of the land. Once settled in at North Chagrin, I reveled in the stories of Squire’s Castle and A.B. Williams.
Dr. Arthur B. Williams, naturalist
North Chagrin Trailside Museum c.1930s
Later back in Brecksville, the opportunity to delve deeper in Camp Karamu while getting to meet Rowena Jelliffe and Murtis Taylor after investigating the old camp buildings got the explorer in me going. Then came the history of Brecksville Nature Center and all those associated with it over the years, as we prepared for its 50th Anniversary in 1989.
Camp Karamu Dining Hall 1940
The Arch and Stone Viaduct at Viaduct Park in Bedford Reservation
My Bedford journeys took me through the early years of the park as told by Joe Jesensky and rediscovered by a young naturalist. Wandering through Circle Emerald Stables, the Arch, the old Allen house and Barn, Bedford Glens and eventually the old Taylor Chair Factory prior to its demolition stick with me to this day. In Garfield Park, it was the discovery of the early years as a City of Cleveland park and all the stories that guests would share that allowed me to piece together the puzzle of days gone by.
Aerial View of Garfield Park c.1960s
(Cleveland Press Photo Collection)
Yes, as I sit here on this cold and snowy January day, I can choose to dream of somewhere much warmer, but instead I’ll just take a trip back in time to all the places right here that I’ve been fortunate enough to walk through the doors of time. Makes me wonder where I may go next and what roots may be revealed this year in Cleveland Metroparks. There is always something new for us to discover…and it may be right around the corner in your piece of the world.
P.S. Who were Rowena Jelliffe and Murtis Taylor? Where was the Allen property? The Arch? Send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit a Cleveland Metroparks Nature Center to learn more of the secrets of their reservations.