Have you ever looked back at a calendar of events, activities, songs, movies and more from the year you were born? If you have, I’m sure you’ve learned a few things new about life during your first moments on earth. If you haven’t, give it a try and discover what came about around the time you did. Oh, and for those of you (including myself) whose birth years are further back in time, enjoy the surprise (or shock) at what you read.
Along these lines, I thought I’d give a shot at reading Cleveland Metroparks Annual Report for my birth year - 1959. Contrary to my son’s thoughts, I do not recall anything from my lone four months in the 50s. Annual Reports, (or a biennial 1959-1960 report in this case,) may not sound exciting to you, but for me, they are a wealth of information. So, I thought I’d share some of the gems I found from the earlier (middle) years of Cleveland Metroparks.
The 1959-1960 Biennial report.
Notice the "Emerald Necklace"
Did the 10 evergreen trees represent
the 10 Reservations? There were 9
in 1959 with the property acquired
in 1960 for the what would become
the 10th (Bradley Woods) in 1962.
In January 1959, a major flood damaged various parts of Rocky River Reservation. The Report states, “The channel of Rocky River south of the Detroit Street bridge to the boat launching ramps was almost completely filled in with stone, shale and debris.” The ford below the Detroit Street bridge was damaged beyond repair; sections of the main park drive we completely washed out; roadway berms were eroded up to two feet deep; the No 11 green on Golf Course No. 1 (Big Met) was destroyed; extensive water damage to Golf Course No. 2 (Little Met) and the Trailside Museum was witnessed. Then in June, another flood hit Euclid Creek Reservation and “caused a six hundred-foot section of the main park drive to crack and partly slide into the stream.” A lot of time and unexpected expense was spent repairing all the flood damage. Kind of reminds me of the huge floods that hit Brecksville, Bedford and other Reservations in 2006 and the remnant of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The January 22, 1959 flood as seen from the old Lorain Rd. Bridge
near the Rocky River No. 2 (Little Met) Golf Course.
In 1959, there were nine reservations in Cleveland Metroparks with a little over 14,000 acres. Today, there are 18 reservations and Zoo totaling over 23,000 acres. Scenic Park at the northernmost end of Rocky River Reservation was acquired from the City of Lakewood and a bridge was built over Rocky River at that juncture to eliminate the seasonal use of the river ford. Shawnee Hills Golf Course became the third public golf course in Cleveland Metroparks. Conservation was also in full swing with several Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts planting 11,000 seedlings throughout several reservations to help with slope stabilization and reforestation.
In January 1959 flood waters destroyed the old ford at
Scenic Park in the Rocky River Reservation.
Educationally and recreationally, over 40,000 children spent a day or more in the Parks with organized groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls Public Recreation Departments, YMCA, YWCA, Church Groups and more. Usage was through days camps, camporees and overnight group camping. Education programs and exhibits at three trailside museums in North Chagrin, Rocky River and Brecksville Reservations reached 69,383 guests. Today, seven education centers and four outdoor experience program units in Cleveland Metroparks provided opportunities for 542,946 guests. Zoo education reached 272,085 guests. After operating in temporary quarters in Cahoon Park, the Lake Erie Junior Museum (present-day Lake Erie Nature and Science Center) moved to a new permanent facility in Huntington Reservation.
Opening up the Rocky River YMCA Camp for another
summer of learning to live in the out-of-doors.
West Side YMCA Cabin near Wallace Lake in the
Rocky River Reservation.
(Robert E. Burke, Photo)
Enjoying the naturalist programs throughout the seasons.
The Lake Erie Junior Museum's new home in Huntington Reservation.
Sadly, on January 17, 1959 the father of Cleveland Metroparks, William A. Stinchcomb passed. Stinchcomb was the originator of Cleveland Metroparks and its first park director. His namesake memorial in Rocky River Reservation, which was begun in 1958, was completely landscaped and dedicated on October 17 of 1959…a fitting tribute to the visionary to whom much is owed.
Dedication of the completely landscaped Stinchcomb Memorial
in the Rocky River Reservation took place on October 17, 1959.
Interesting to look back over the years to a time when I was brought into this world. Life was beginning for me and life in Cleveland Metroparks was moving forward. Thanks to a great number of folks, Cleveland Metroparks continues strong today as we prepare to mark our 98th Anniversary on the way to our 100th in 2017. I’m looking forward to celebrating with you all to look back while preparing to launch forward to another 100 years!