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Where the Towpath Ends - Part 2 of 2

Posted: 5/17/2016

So much of Cleveland has changed so dramatically since the canal era that the Towpath Trail planners had to get really creative just to get the trail downtown, let alone have it end up near its historic alignment heading to the Cuyahoga River at Canal Basin Park. As a glaring example, we’ll look ... View More >
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"Photo-Ops of the Past"

Posted: 5/2/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

For the past year we have been working to distill 100 years of Cleveland Metroparks history into a book to celebrate our Centennial.  Part of that work has been the job of sifting through boxes of historic photos to choose the right ones for the book.  This week I am sharing a few of th... View More >
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"A Fine Young Man"

Posted: 4/26/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

This week's guest blogger is Ron Ciancutti, Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. Ron began his career in 1985.  In this essay he shares the story of his first job,  and the satisfaction and pride he has derived from his long association with Cleveland Metroparks . . . In May of ... View More >
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Burning River No More

Posted: 4/20/2016
Posted By: Karen Lakus

At the turn of the 20th Century, a dirty river was seen as a sign of prosperity and in Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River was horribly polluted. Business was booming along its banks, but the people and industries using the river were also killing it. Oil refineries, steel and paint manufacturers among... View More >
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Manakiki Golf Course: An Elegant Property for Generations

Posted: 4/13/2016
Posted By: Foster Brown

Cleveland Metroparks has a gift for preserving and managing some of the most beautiful landscapes in northeast Ohio. Many of them were once prominent industrialist estates (gentleman’s farms) of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Huntington Reservation (John Huntington), North Chagrin Reservation (F... View More >
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"I Think That I Shall Never See . . ."

Posted: 4/6/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. Trees, by Joyce Kilmer   I don’t know if the lyric, old-fashioned poem by Joyce Kilmer is still taught in elementary schools on Arbor Day as it once was, but the theme of the poem still has value.  Besides being lovely to look a... View More >
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History? Who Cares...

Posted: 3/29/2016
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

A co-worker recently asked me a thought-provoking question: “Why should we care about history?”  Why should anyone care about history? Why should the Roots Revealed Blog that we so carefully research be important to read? Why should Clevelanders care about the history of Cleveland Metroparks... View More >
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Along the Lake to Lake Trail - A Western Reserve Story

Posted: 3/23/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

John Kilgore is this month’s Roots Revealed Guest Blogger. John, Manager of Facilities Engineering, worked on the Lake to Lake Trail project and was inspired by the history of the area to write this blog post. John not only works for Cleveland Metroparks, he grew up roving our reservations and ha... View More >
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Where the Towpath Ends - Part 1 of 2

Posted: 3/16/2016

Where the Towpath Ends – Part 1 of 2 Those great philosophers, the Rolling Stones, once posited, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.” The Towpath Trail is the name of a transportation and recreation trail which will eventually extend... View More >
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100 Years of History

Posted: 3/9/2016
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

The book unfolds…word by word….picture by picture. With each turn of the page, 100 years of Cleveland Metroparks history and memories come to life. Started, and wrestled with for the last two years, the pages are now coming to life. Editor Judy MacKeigan, Cleveland Metroparks historian/archivist ... View More >
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A Little Bit About VisCom

Posted: 3/2/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

In 1962 a small maintenance building in Brecksville Reservation was re-purposed to function as an “Exhibit Lab.”  For the first time since the trailside museums opened in the 1930s, there was now a place to build exhibits and then transport the finished product to install at the museums.&nbs... View More >
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Maintaining Our Cool

Posted: 2/24/2016
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

This winter has been mild, to put it mildly. In most years though, those of us who live in Northeast Ohio have experienced some cold, brutal winters.  On the flip side we can also suffer through extreme high heat and humidity in the summer.  But, for the most part we have a temperate cl... View More >
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Nature Speaks Eloquently

Posted: 2/17/2016
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Newspaper archives are a wonderful resource when researching the past. While browsing our local Cleveland Plain Dealer articles, I often come across columns written by the late George E. Condon who worked for the newspaper from 1943 until his retirement in 1985 and wrote a daily column for o... View More >
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Your Parks, Your Stories + Cleveland Historical

Posted: 2/6/2016
Posted By: Foster Brown

There is nothing more satisfying than to finally start seeing the fruit of a project that took root a couple of years ago. In 2014, Cleveland Metroparks and Cleveland State University began collaborating on an oral history project called Your Parks, Your Stories . The idea was planted by several ... View More >
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Treasures of Old Attics

Posted: 12/30/2015
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

Old attics are fascinating places. I was looking through files in the attic of Brecksville Nature Center when I came across natural history notes from the 1930s and 1940s written by several people including A. B. Williams who was Cleveland Metroparks’ first naturalist and Harold Wallin, Brecksvil... View More >
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Cemetery Connections

Posted: 12/23/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Cleveland Metroparks Connections at Harvard Grove   I enjoy exploring cemeteries, especially really old ones with gigantic trees and weathered stones. Over the past year, I have developed and led tours of a few of the City of Cleveland cemeteries including Harvard Grove which is on Lans... View More >
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A Natural Mystery Solved

Posted: 12/23/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

One of the greatest privileges I have had being a Cleveland Metroparks employee is becoming intimately acquainted with many of the reservations. Through leading hikes, attending educational in-services, special projects or spending personal time, each reservation has revealed its own stand-alone ... View More >
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Cleveland Metroparks: Back to the Future

Posted: 12/9/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

The end of another year is a good time to ponder the past and dream about the future.  As Cleveland Metroparks historian, I spend a lot of time delving into the past, but the approach of a new year has me wondering what Cleveland Metroparks might look like in the next hundred years or so. &n... View More >
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History = Enjoyment = Appreciation

Posted: 10/28/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

I really enjoy how tidbits of history can take me places, either in my mind or in reality. On October 20, I visited Shawnee Hills Golf Course in Bedford Reservation to check on a few interpretive signs. This beautiful fall day came on the heels of a snowy weekend. With the fall color still abunda... View More >
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Precious Places for Generations

Posted: 10/17/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

Do you have a site in Cleveland Metroparks that is your go-to spot to help you unwind, or you find as a safe place to reminisce about your childhood or family memories? Although I didn’t grow up in Ohio, as an employee of Cleveland Metroparks I find great joy in listening to your passionate and d... View More >
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Parker Ranch - Part 2

Posted: 10/7/2015
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

Last week I wrote about Adele Von Ohl Parker’s early life as a trick rider. The year 1928 found her stranded in Cleveland, giving horseback riding lessons. By 1929, she was able to purchase land on Mastick Road in North Olmsted where she continued giving riding lessons and started day camps for c... View More >
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Parker Ranch - Part I

Posted: 9/30/2015
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

For many years as I drove on Mastick Road to Rocky River Nature Center I would pass “Parker Ranch” with its historical roadside marker. I stopped to read it once, learning that the ranch was the home of Adele Von Ohl Parker.  My dear friend Lee Smith, whom I often mention in my blogs, told m... View More >
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Time Wharf

Posted: 9/16/2015

Time Wharf   The area of the Cuyahoga River around Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf is seeing an increase in recreational users and their human-powered watercraft. Rowers have been using the area for decades and their regattas now draw competitors from neighboring states; dragon boaters pad... View More >
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We've Come a Long Way

Posted: 9/16/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Bicycling has been a popular activity in Cleveland since the late-1800’s. Long ago there was little need for bike trails since automobiles weren’t even on the roads yet. In Cleveland Metroparks, a single, unpaved 3 mile bike trail was dedicated in Rocky River Reservation in 1939. Today, cyclists ... View More >
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Ghost Remains at Bonnie Park

Posted: 9/9/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

For almost a century engineers and construction crews have worked to create trails, roads, fords, bridges and buildings throughout Cleveland Metroparks. This allows guests to travel throughout the park system, hike, bike, or ride amongst nature, and to find restrooms and shelter for picnics. ... View More >
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Stuff. Save or Toss?

Posted: 9/2/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

Hoarder or thrower? Save it or trash it? We all fall somewhere along the continuum of these groups when it comes to going through our stuff. I’ll admit, I’m more of a saver – not quite to the hoarder stage, but it depends on what it is. And yes, it’s hard for me to throw stuff out.   I’m not... View More >
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"Bereastock"

Posted: 8/19/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

In 1970 a group of youths from Berea had visions of creating a local version of Woodstock, at least in a small way.  Some enterprising promoter put an ad in a local paper inviting the public to a rock festival near Wallace Lake at the area known, appropriately as Music Mound.  Unfortuna... View More >
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Collaborating to Catch Awesome Stories

Posted: 8/14/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

As we wind up the Your Parks, Your Stories oral history project in August, I can truly say this has been one of the most awesome projects I have been associated with since my employment with Cleveland Metroparks in 1996. The passion that patrons have for Cleveland Metroparks is astonishing. The p... View More >
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From Rocky River Trailside Museum to Nature Center

Posted: 7/22/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

  “I can remember coming here in high school with my biology class” was something I heard quite often in my year at Rocky River Nature Center. This was a great place to study aquatic life, the valley history, geology and more. Prior to working there, my early, limited exposure to the Rocky R... View More >
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Creating a Ring of Green

Posted: 7/15/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Rather than picking a topic for this blog, I decided to choose a date and look into what was happening in the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District at that time.  I chose July, 1955 and looked through newspaper records to see what I could find. I was delighted to read an article from the Clev... View More >
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Old Maps Tell Stories

Posted: 7/13/2015
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

I inherited a cigar box full of old topographic maps from my friend Lee Smith. Lee, born in 1906, was a long-time volunteer at Rocky River Nature Center who loved hiking. Lee wrote notes, hike routes, dates, and mileage all over his maps, and these notations tell stories about him. By looking ove... View More >
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Trees: A Glorious Sign of Life

Posted: 7/1/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

As a fledgling park system, seeking to surround the once 6 th largest city in the nation, it is no wonder that trees would be at the top of Cleveland Metropolitan Park District’s project list in its early years.  After all, if we were to live up to our future name, Emerald Necklace, we neede... View More >
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"Schreck" Lives! at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Posted: 6/18/2015

“Schreck” Lives!   at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo   Viktor Schreckengost   was one of the most prolific ceramicists/sculptors/painters/designers/Clevelanders for the better part of eight decades. And, while he passed away in 2008 at the age of 101, some of his work lives on in Clevela... View More >
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Door Keys and Zoo Keys

Posted: 6/10/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

A couple of weeks ago I went on vacation and spent several nights in hotels along the way.  At check-in we were given those now familiar room “keys” that resemble a credit card. A swipe of the card through the magnetic lock and the hotel room door opens.  I have used these types of card... View More >
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Providing Awesome Experiences

Posted: 6/5/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

One the greatest joys of heading up the oral history project, Your Parks Your Stories , is meeting awesome individuals and families who have invested much of their lives in Cleveland Metroparks. Their experiences and recollections as children, adults, parents and grandparents could literally fill... View More >
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Unwritten Benefits

Posted: 5/27/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

After 32 years of working for Cleveland Metroparks, I have witnessed not only my own benefits of being out in the park, but those of many others. Anything from family reunions in picnic areas with the amazing aromas of grilling ribs to children studying an inchworm crawling across a leaf the... View More >
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The Many Lives of the Gordon Park Bathhouse

Posted: 5/22/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Public bath houses were once a necessity at area beaches.  Edgewater, Euclid Beach and Gordon parks all had large bath houses with hundreds of rooms for swimmers who had ridden in streetcars or walked to the beach, to change their clothes. With the emergence of car culture in the 1930’s, bat... View More >
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On Top of Mt. Baldy

Posted: 5/13/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

“Then and now” photos have become very popular in the past few years.  Entire books have been devoted to then and now shots of cities, including Cleveland.  As we plan for our 100 th Anniversary at Cleveland Metroparks, we hope to include some photos of this kind to help tell the story ... View More >
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Talk About Hoofin' It!

Posted: 5/6/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

Some of the first settlers who arrived in what we know today as Brecksville came from Massachusetts on foot. Their imprint is still visible today as a memorial in Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation. In 1811, Lemuel Bourne and his friend Walter Waite made the six-week trek to secure land... View More >
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The Wheel in the River

Posted: 4/29/2015
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

Years ago, a fisherman noticed something odd protruding from the Rocky River in the Rocky River Reservation. Looking closer, he saw that it was an old wagon wheel. Forty years later, the wheel came to Rocky River Nature Center where Paul Goebl, a park maintenance worker, preserved what remained o... View More >
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Drifting back to 1940-41…

Posted: 4/24/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

Upon digging through the annual reports, I am intrigued to discover all the details of the progress in Cleveland Metroparks. Last month I wrote about happenings in 1959. This time I chose 1940-41. I wanted to see what was happening in the Park District around the beginning of World War II. As a c... View More >
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Cherry Blossom Time

Posted: 4/8/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Every spring the people of Japan watch eagerly for the blossoming of the cherry trees, sakura.   The Japanese Weather Service offers a “ sakura front” watch, complete with maps that trace the spreading pink from the island of Okinawa in the South to the island of Hokkaido in the North. ... View More >
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Remember the Ladies

Posted: 3/25/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

“Women have made up half the human race, but you could never tell that by the books that historians write.”  - Arthur Schlessinger, Jr.   Each year during the month of March I present a program called “Famous and Infamous Cleveland Women” at numerous meetings and events.  It is a p... View More >
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1959

Posted: 3/19/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

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 di... View More >
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Our Day in the Sun

Posted: 3/11/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Our Day in the Sun You can tell its spring in Northeast Ohio when the human population starts shedding their winter coats and roaming about without hats. Yesterday’s sunshine made the 34 degree weather seem balmy. It did, however, occur to me that 34 degree weather in July would send us all scram... View More >
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Conservation – A Pillar of Commitment

Posted: 3/4/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

Since its inception, Cleveland Metroparks has been dedicated to three major pillars that have directed its mission for 98 years: conservation, education and recreation. The Your Parks, Your Stories oral history project has been a very enlightening experience for Cleveland Metroparks staff, as we ... View More >
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Augmented Reality

Posted: 2/27/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

Not long ago I learned of the term “augmented reality”.   Dictionary.com defines it as “ an   enhanced   image   or   environment   as   viewed   on   a   screen   or   other display,   produced   by   overlaying  com... View More >
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"It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature"

Posted: 2/11/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

The swollen Rocky River wreaks havoc on a concession stand  in the Rocky River Reservation The snowy winter weather we are having this week is beautiful to look at, but admittedly causes a certain amount of disruption to our daily lives.  However, I’ll take the snow any day over floodin... View More >
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Brookside Park: Providing More Than a Hundred Years of Recreation

Posted: 2/5/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

Land set aside for the public’s greater good started early in Cleveland history. Brookside Park is one of the earliest parks created for the growing urban population. However a park system was envisioned as the Civil War was coming to a close. As early as 1865, the city of Cleveland began to see ... View More >
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A Wintry Revealing of Roots

Posted: 1/28/2015
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

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... View More >
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Dansa Sculpture at Edgewater Park

Posted: 1/22/2015
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Ever wonder what that large, metal structure is in the lawn at Upper Edgewater Park?  It is actually a sculpture by a world renowned New York artist named Charles Ginnever.  The sculpture, called Dansa , was part of a 14 piece exhibit, “Sculpture in the Park,” that was on display from J... View More >
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"Cleveland's Nature Trails"

Posted: 1/14/2015
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

In 1937 over seventeen thousand Cleveland area residents purchased a small publication from Cleveland Press sub-stations around the city.  The publication was simply titled, “Cleveland’s Nature Trails,” and its cost was a mere 6 cents. Even in the midst of the Great Depression this was a goo... View More >
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A Kind and Gentle Friend

Posted: 1/7/2015
Posted By: Foster Brown

Across from the circular wading pool along Gorge Parkway in Bedford Reservation stands a shelterhouse with a curious name: Hermit’s Hollow. With a name like this, there must be a good story behind it. ​ Most of our information comes from a gentleman, Joe Jesensky, who lived 101 years and spent mu... View More >
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Huntington Reservation – John Huntington’s Legacy

Posted: 12/31/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

    “The view is breathtaking!” John Huntington may have thought as he pushed open the hatch and stepped onto the platform of his water tower overlooking Lake Erie. Often mistaken for a lighthouse, the tower held water pumped from the lake for Huntington’s farm. In 1889, Huntington used... View More >
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The Duck’s Head

Posted: 12/24/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

I had heard for years about the infamous Dike 14, owned by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and operated adjacent to the Cleveland Lakefront State Park along the shores of Lake Erie. Adventurous birders who explored the area were amazed at the large number of bird species found there,... View More >
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Cleveland Riches Flowed from Ditches

Posted: 12/19/2014

Cleveland Riches Flowed from Ditches   Cleveland riches flowed from ditches. One really long ditch, in particular. And it’s a little hard to believe the glory, the wealth, and the growth that flowed forth from here: Not from those tall buildings in the background, but from a ditch on the oth... View More >
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This One's for The Birds

Posted: 12/10/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

This morning when I was in my backyard, I heard an unusual (to me) bird call. I found myself wishing I had one of our amazing naturalists by my side to identify this bird for me. I am not alone in my curiosity, I am sure. There are many serious birders, both those that work as naturalists and tho... View More >
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A Central Place of Joyful Meeting

Posted: 12/3/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Karamu means a central place of joyful meeting in Swahili. This title was eventually given to an arts theater associated with a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland called the Playhouse Settlement.   The concept began in 1915 by two individuals named Rowena and Russell Jelliffe.  ... View More >
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Giving Thanks for Your Stories

Posted: 11/26/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

As I sit here the day before Thanksgiving, that sense of gratefulness of the season comes over me for many things. As I ponder what to write about, I turn my thoughts to the appreciation for the very organization I work for and have come to embrace. I recall the hikes of discovery as I prepared f... View More >
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Celebrating our First People

Posted: 11/19/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

American Indians occupied Northeast Ohio for thousands of years before the arrival of the first Europeans. These prehistoric groups did not leave any known written records or descendants, so artifacts and features they left behind in the soil help scientists piece together the story of our f... View More >
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Memorials

Posted: 11/17/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

What does the word memorial mean to you? A quick Google search brings up the following definition: “something, especially a structure, established to remind people of a person or event.” If you drive along the Valley Parkway in the northern part of Rocky River Reservation you will see a larg... View More >
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Tinker's Creek: Beauty and History at Every Turn

Posted: 11/7/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Have you acquainted yourself with Tinker’s Creek yet? If you haven’t, you are missing a gorgeous waterway in Bedford Reservation. A perfect place to get up close and personal with this 28.2-mile creek just south of downtown Bedford. This historic area was part of the original Bedford Township sur... View More >
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Henry Beach: A Humanitarian of Local Reknown

Posted: 10/30/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Like many of you, I am always intrigued by old cemeteries found in the countryside along less-traveled roads. Who were these people? How did they pass? What contributions did they make to their neighborhood or community? Many years ago when I moved to Ohio and was getting to know Hinckley Reserva... View More >
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Squire's Legacy

Posted: 10/23/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

I have become intrigued by the urban legends/ghost stories about Squire’s Castle that can be found on myriad web sites.   The basic story is as follows: In the 1890s wealthy oil executive Feargus B. Squire began to build an English style country estate on land that is now part of North Chagr... View More >
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Weir Here!

Posted: 10/15/2014

  Weir along Towpath Trail in Cleveland Metroparks Ohio & Erie Canal The point of a canal – a man-made waterway – is to control an amount of water and where it flows so that it can be used reliably for transportation, recreation, irrigation, etc. You need enough water to achieve and main... View More >
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Cedar Point Nursery

Posted: 10/6/2014
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

When Cleveland Metroparks was founded in 1917, it looked vastly different than it does today. Many of the original forests had been cleared for agriculture. The 1929 Annual Report states that it was the park board’s “. . . ambition to replant large areas of the reservations, and restore them to t... View More >
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Wandering Roots in Bedford Reservation

Posted: 9/30/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

Roots Revealed is Cleveland Metroparks history blog that brings to light some of the history of the parks and its people. As I read the blogs and even prepare to write some of them, I am initially drawn to certain aspects of the park’s history. This month, I wanted to write about some of the hist... View More >
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Along the Mill Creek Trail

Posted: 9/17/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

When walking along the Mill Creek Trail in Garfield Park Reservation it’s pretty hard to miss the natural beauty of the area. Right now, late summer wildflowers are blooming below trees full of acorns, buckeyes and black walnuts.  The first fallen leaves of autumn are beginning to the litter... View More >
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The Great Bear Mountain Expedition

Posted: 9/10/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

I love this photograph for so many reasons.   Number one, I love seeing a group of men out traipsing in the woods in three piece suits.   While I love today’s casual clothes, I sometimes yearn for a time when people dressed up more often and rarely left the house without a hat.   S... View More >
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Remnants and Reminiscence of a Precious Place

Posted: 9/3/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

A crumbling concrete drive, oxidized flaking bridge frames, a huge Quonset hut, and pillars with rusty cables still cling to what was clearly a swinging bridge… all speaking of happy days gone by.   ​ Winding road coming down off of Parker Road to Camp Crag - 2014. Old Quonset hut served as ... View More >
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My Story-Your Story-Our Parks

Posted: 8/27/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

“Your Parks, Your Stories” is a two-year project  (2014-2015) where Historical Interpreter Foster Brown, Historian Judy MacKeigan, along with a host of volunteers are collecting stories from you, our park guests about your experiences in Cleveland Metroparks. This project is not only helping... View More >
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Straight from the Canal. Almost.

Posted: 8/20/2014

Straight from the Canal. Almost. “Crooked river” is the most commonly accepted translation of “Cuyahoga River,” as it is most commonly spelled. And it certainly deserves that moniker. Starting about 35 miles east of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River twists and turns as it heads southwest toward Akron... View More >
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Down in the Flats

Posted: 8/13/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Merwin's Wharf at Cleveland Metroparks Rivergate Quick, what do you think of when I say “the Flats?”   Many of you may picture the flats of the 80s and 90s, when a rowdy, frat house atmosphere prevailed.   If you are of the generation that grew up during the 30s and 40s, you might remem... View More >
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Horsing Around in Cuyahoga County

Posted: 8/8/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

With Cleveland Metroparks 100 th Anniversary approaching in 2017, we historical interpreters are having a ball. The Your Parks, Your Stories oral history project has opened up wonderful opportunities for us to gather your memories in story and photo form. It has been an awesome experience hearing... View More >
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Frostville Museum

Posted: 7/31/2014
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

One of my favorite places in the park is the Frostvile Museum in Rocky River Reservation. This living history village has a quiet, tranquil setting that immediately makes me feel like I’m living back in 1800s Olmsted Township. The homesteads and barns, the little white church and the flower beds ... View More >
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Anniversary Celebrations

Posted: 7/25/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

  On July 23, Cleveland Metroparks turned 97 years old. Started in 1917 after many years of deliberation in the Ohio State Legislature, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District became the first metropolitan park district in the state of Ohio. The first acquisition of land was a 3.4 acre parc... View More >
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Looking Outside the Lines

Posted: 7/16/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

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 vers... View More >
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"Over the River"

Posted: 7/9/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Morley Ford as it looks today ​ As I write this we have been experiencing a lot of rain the past few days.   The section of the Rocky River that I drive along to and from my office has risen to the top of its banks and is a muddy brown, full of swirling eddies and rushing water as it makes i... View More >
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Fur Trade on the Cuyahoga

Posted: 7/2/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

One of the first things I built when I moved to Ohio nearly 18 years ago was an outdoor canoe rack. My passion for paddling began on northern Indiana rivers where I would skip high school classes and paddle my 90-lb. Grumman canoe down the lazy Eel River by myself. My love for the “pull of the pa... View More >
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Reflections in A.B. Williams Memorial Woods

Posted: 6/25/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

I traveled this past May, during North Chagrin Nature Center’s 30 th Anniversary Celebration, to the A.B. Williams Memorial Woods, a 65 acre parcel of beech-maple woods near Forest Lane Picnic Area. As I meandered down the path I enjoyed the spring wildflowers, the songs of the awakening bir... View More >
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Are We There Yet?

Posted: 6/18/2014

“Are we there yet?” How many times have you heard that during a family car trip?  Have you ever felt trapped within the confines of the family vehicle?  It seems like the little ones get antsy on any trip that stretches beyond ten minutes. Now imagine it’s the 1800s, and you own and ope... View More >
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"Circle of Wildlife"

Posted: 6/11/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

The new Circle of Wildlife Carousel, awaiting the next group of riders. Yesterday I paid a visit to the new Circle of Wildlife Carousel and the nearby Nature Discovery Ridge play area at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this morning. This got me to thinking about the different types of children’s activit... View More >
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Brecksville Nature Center 75th Anniversary

Posted: 6/4/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Spring is always a busy time for me at Brecksville Nature Center with school group programs, preschool programs and planning ahead for summer camps. But, this year I am very excited to be busy with a special project. I have the honor of coordinating Brecksville Nature Center’s 75th anniversary ce... View More >
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Reflections on Hallowed Ground

Posted: 5/28/2014
Posted By: Carl Casavecchia

As I embark on a new adventure in Cleveland Metroparks, coordinating its 100 th Anniversary in 2017, I find myself being able to get out and explore more areas within the park that I haven’t had the chance to revisit for a long time. My first move from Garfield Park Nature Center in February 2014... View More >
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Remembering the Maine at Washington Park

Posted: 5/21/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Mounted on a sparkling granite boulder and surrounded by vibrant flowers, a relic from the U.S.S. Maine is on display in the triangle on Washington Park Boulevard between Harvard and Fleet Avenues. The relic consists of a section of the conning tower and porthole cover from the ship and serves as... View More >
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"Mighty Mashies"

Posted: 5/14/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Warm weather has officially arrived and the golf courses at Cleveland Metroparks are blooming with golfers.  So, I decided this would be the perfect time to putter around in our historic golf photos and articles and share some of my finds. When the parks were established in 1917, golf was al... View More >
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Quarries of Grit

Posted: 5/7/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Learning the history of the Western Reserve has been fascinating to me. The struggles the early settlers endured and the spirit of entrepreneurship they possessed still amaze me. As I explore the history of Cleveland Metroparks, their stories began to surface and I became more intrigued about the... View More >
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Sanstone, Schooners and a Sphinx

Posted: 4/30/2014
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

Tucked away behind the old Worden Homestead on Ledge Road in Hinckley Reservation are beautiful sandstone ledges adorned with ferns and wildflowers. Wandering among the cool ledges, hikers may be surprised to suddenly come face to face with a sphinx carved out of sandstone. Nearby are the carving... View More >
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A Walk on the Wild Side

Posted: 4/23/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

It is a beautiful spring day in 1930, where do you go to look for shy wildflowers, or enjoy the green leaves emerging on plants and trees?   You head out to your nearby Cleveland Metropolitan Park reservation, of course.   You can explore the woods on your own, or you can take advantage... View More >
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Button Road: A Road Less Traveled

Posted: 4/9/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Do you like to explore new places, wander down old roads and paths, or peek into dilapidated buildings? I have always been that type of person. Exploring new or very old trails in hopes that I might discover clues from the past is very exciting to me.    Several years ago, my friend and... View More >
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Parks of the Past

Posted: 4/2/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Outside the windows of the building where my office is located I can see the beauty of the Rocky River valley.   I can also glimpse the greens of Big Met Golf Course, and watch people jogging along the All Purpose Trail or driving or biking along the road that winds through the valley.  ... View More >
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Return of the Buzzards: Tales of Fact and Fiction

Posted: 3/26/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

A couple of blogs ago, right before the “Return of the Buzzards,” I told you I would explain why the turkey vultures congregate near Hinckley Lake and in that general vicinity. Here is a bit of information that surrounds this natural phenomenon. Well, there are several answers to that question. L... View More >
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Baseball & Brookside

Posted: 3/19/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Spring Training is in full swing and baseball fans are gearing up for Opening Day, so let’s take a look at a time when Brookside Park, now part of Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation, was a premier location for baseball games in Cleveland. In 1910, the Cleveland Amateur Baseball Associatio... View More >
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Spotting the Buzzards - A Grand Tradition

Posted: 3/12/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Spotting the first buzzards that return to Hinckley every March 15 is a grand tradition. We naturalists prefer to call them by their true name, turkey vulture ( Cathartes aura ). However, for the town of Hinckley and Cleveland Metroparks, celebrating this “welcome back” ceremony for 57 years, a m... View More >
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"A little news sheet"

Posted: 3/5/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

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” documentat... View More >
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Garfield Park and a Hoosier Farm Boy: A Surprisingly Common Connection

Posted: 2/26/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

I remember as a child in northern Indiana spending hours upon hours swimming in local farm ponds which (I believe) were  dug to keep farm kids out of trouble. In fact, our 80-acre farm had a 2-acre pond that we took advantage of in all seasons. Stocked bluegills and bass provided hours of fi... View More >
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A Bit About Acacia Reservation

Posted: 2/19/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Readers of my previous posts may surmise that I am interested in finding out how places in the parks got their names.  They are correct.  So when Cleveland Metroparks acquired the former Acacia Country Club property, now Acacia Reservation, in December 2012, I began to wonder about its ... View More >
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More Winter Fun

Posted: 2/12/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Observations by naturalist, Robert Furlong, in the Jan 1975 Emerald Necklace Last month I wrote about the history of our unique refrigerated toboggan chutes. But of course, there are lots of ways to have fun during the cold, snowy winter months in Cleveland Metroparks.   For this week’s blog... View More >
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John Huntington: One Man's Lasting Legacy

Posted: 2/5/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

What is the one common denominator among the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Metroparks, oil refineries, sandstone quarries, benevolent funds and the city of Cleveland? If you guessed John Huntington, congratulations!  I would like to introduce you to a man who started from humble beginni... View More >
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Western Wheels or Water

Posted: 1/29/2014

Imagine you and your family packing everything you own into a horse drawn wagon and moving to the wild Northwest Territory. You’re going to start a new life in the wilderness. When you arrive, you’ll immediately need to clear a section of dense forest and/or drain a section of swamp so you can bu... View More >
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Cedar Point: A Pictorial History

Posted: 1/23/2014
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

Cedar Point, located ¼ mile south of Rocky River Nature Center in Rocky River Reservation, has long been a place of beauty.  Its 90-foot tall shale cliff with cedar trees clinging to the edge attracted visitors and enchanted local residents. During the 1800s a community of homes, farms and e... View More >
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The Many Lives of Gordon Park

Posted: 1/15/2014
Posted By: Karen Lakus

At the end of the 19 th century, Cleveland was a fast-growing city.  Local leaders and wealthy industrialists began to see a need to preserve natural areas and give residents places to escape from the dirt and noise of downtown.  Gordon Park opened to the public in 1893 and qu... View More >
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Winter Funland: It's All Downhill From Here

Posted: 1/8/2014
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Many Clevelanders love to complain about our winter weather.   Others take advantage of the low temperatures and snowy days by getting outside and enjoying winter activities only available to us for a few months of the year.   So, while some grumble at snow, others feel cheated when the... View More >
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The Legend of Robert Whipp

Posted: 1/1/2014
Posted By: Foster Brown

Many visitors have hiked around the “Sharon Conglomerate” ledges in Hinckley Reservation for years and have admired the geological beauty they offer, but most are not familiar with the amazing story behind the ledges namesake, “Whipp.” Well, sit back for a few minutes while I tell you this true A... View More >
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It's Water Over the Bridge

Posted: 12/25/2013

Aqueduct For those who’ve ever wondered what an aqueduct is, we’d like to provide you with an earworm clue. Ready? Sing: “Like a bridge over troubled water . . .” Okay. Sorry ‘bout that. But the song may help you to remember that an aqueduct is most closely associated with a bridge that conveys w... View More >
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Conrad Mizer “Father of Park Concerts”

Posted: 12/18/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

“He gave those with the slimmest of purses a fair chance to hear the best music"    On the west side of Edgewater Park stands a memorial fountain erected in memory of Conrad Mizer, who is often referred to as the “Father of Park Concerts,” in Cleveland.  Mizer spearheaded the estab... View More >
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Guardians of the Evergreens

Posted: 12/11/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Emerald Necklace December 1952 It is a sad fact of life that wherever there are communities of people there are problems with vandalism. Cleveland Metroparks has not been immune from this problem.  In fact the majority of early arrests made by park police (as our rangers were first known) we... View More >
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Your Parks, Your Stories: Cleveland Metroparks Memories Project

Posted: 12/4/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

I have had the pleasure of traveling throughout the Greater Cleveland area, presenting cultural and natural history programs for over 17 years.  Everywhere I go, whether it’s for senior centers, libraries, public schools, homeschool events, or various civic organizations, people approach me ... View More >
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Start a Park

Posted: 11/25/2013

Did you ever want to do something grand? Something so awesome and amazing that you just knew people would love it, but it was almost impossible to do... because it was illegal? Should you push forward to start on your vision, knowing with almost absolute certainty that there was no way it would b... View More >
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First People in the Parks

Posted: 11/20/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Humans have inhabited Northeast Ohio for thousands of years.  In the last 200 years, much of the evidence of earlier people has been disturbed or destroyed by farming, industry, roads, railroads and other progress.  In Cleveland Metroparks, there are places that we know prehistoric peop... View More >
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The Chewing Gum King and Cleveland Metroparks

Posted: 11/13/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Pop quiz - What do the following items have in common . . . a stick of gum, a race horse and a golf club? Ok, time’s up, put your pencils down.   If you guessed Big Met Golf Course in Rocky River Reservation you get an A+.   The story goes back to the late 19 th century, a time of great... View More >
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A Camp of a Different Kind

Posted: 11/6/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

When most people think of camp life, especially if you attended one as a child, you probably think of campfires, singing, silly skits, crafts, sports, nature study, night hikes and bunkhouse pranks. However, I am going to share with you another kind of camp that strengthened families, our nation,... View More >
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Meet Me At The Chimney

Posted: 10/30/2013
Posted By: Kathy Schmidt

“Meet me at the chimney,” my friend Lee Smith (born in 1906) told his hiking buddies. Many years ago, Lee and I were going to hike in the Royalview Area of Mill Stream Run Reservation on what is now the “Yellow Trail.” He wanted to show me the beauty of his favorite reservation. “What is the chim... View More >
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Tinker's Creek

Posted: 10/17/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

  Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation is a wonderful place to enjoy nature any time of the year, but especially in autumn.  The Tinker’s Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook provides a spectacular vista for viewing the fall color that emerges along this largest tributary of the Cuyahoga Riv... View More >
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Camera Fiends

Posted: 10/9/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

1918 Kodak ad courtesy of Duke University Library Digital Collections http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/eaa_K0173/ I have been enjoying the beautiful photographs posted on Instagram during the Show Your Love Contest. (details at http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/MyCLEMetroparks-Ins... View More >
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Chagrin Valley's Colorful Character

Posted: 10/2/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

I often get asked which Cleveland Metroparks reservation is my favorite. I can honestly say I do not have a favorite because they all have unique ecosystems and stories that draw me to them, time and time again. However, I do find myself encouraging people to take a hike along the Aurora branch o... View More >
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What's in a Name? -- Tremont

Posted: 9/25/2013

  Tremont's vibrancy is shared with its namesake school Throughout your history, you’ve probably been called a variety of different names, ranging from what’s printed on your birth certificate to what your family and friends call you, to what you like to be called. You’re you, but you’re cal... View More >
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The Flood of 1913

Posted: 9/18/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

“They took us out of the house and put us all into a boat. I remember when we went out of the house we had to duck our heads to get under the telephone wire” recalled William Bramley of Independence. Bramley was 11 years old and lived near the current intersection of Riverview and Pleasant Valley... View More >
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The End of the Ride

Posted: 9/11/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Cleveland Memory Project Full disclosure . . . this little girl on the miniature turnpike ride at Euclid Beach in 1964 is NOT me, but it could have been.   Yes I am old enough to remember summers at Euclid Beach before it closed in 1969.   No... View More >
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Little Hannah Jane Egbert

Posted: 9/4/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

  Near my office in Bedford Reservation is a little-known gravesite within Shawnee Hills Golf Course.  Those who have golfed at Shawnee Hills in the last year have probably noticed the broken sandstone tombstone as they follow the path down from the 10 th green to the 11 th tee. Barely ... View More >
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The Shape of Things - a Canal Prism

Posted: 8/28/2013

A little digging can help you understand the shape of things when we talk about digging the Ohio Canal (later called the Ohio & Erie Canal). We often speak about the canal’s minimum dimensions being 40’ wide at the top, 26’ wide at the bottom, and 4’ deep. It’s a trapezoidal shape, referred t... View More >
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The Tradition Continues

Posted: 8/21/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Cleveland Metroparks recent management agreement with the City of Cleveland for six lakefront parks is not the first of its kind. Over the years, Cleveland Metroparks has assumed management of a number of properties that were established by the Cleveland Board of Park Commissioners more than a ce... View More >
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The Youngsters Camp Out: Part Three

Posted: 8/14/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

As summer draws to a close, and the kids get ready to head back to school (cue groans from the kids and smiles from the parents) I am finishing up my series of posts on summer camps.   This month I am highlighting Camp Cheerful.    Operated by the Achievement Centers for Children &... View More >
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Bluestone: A Touchstone to the Past

Posted: 8/7/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

Back in 1996, when I first moved to the Cleveland area and began my career with Cleveland Metroparks, the topic of sandstone always seemed to come up. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I ran across a program that a previous historical interpreter offered a few years earlier. The program was... View More >
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Mystery Cave of Cedar Point Valley

Posted: 7/31/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

A mysterious "cave" bordered by an archway of sandstone blocks stares out of the shale cliff across the river from Maple Grove Picnic Area in Rocky River Reservation. “Hermit’s Cave,” as it is sometimes called, was once the entrance to a 50-foot long sluiceway, a tunnel that brought water fr... View More >
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“Why the Long Rope, Bub?” – Etiquette on the Canal

Posted: 7/24/2013

Did you ever see a picture of a canal boat being towed by a team and wonder, “Why is that rope so long?”    Let’s start with canal operation. The Ohio & Erie Canal is at least 40 feet across (at the top) and is filled with water (ideally). Water flows downhill. Canal boats however, ... View More >
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The Youngsters Camp Out: Part Two

Posted: 7/10/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Last month I wrote about the many summer camps in Cleveland Metroparks.   This month and next I will be highlighting two unique camps, the River Road YMCA Camp at North Chagrin Reservation, and Camp Cheerful at Mill Stream Run Reservation.   While the Y camp closed up operations in the ... View More >
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Harriet Keeler - Teacher - Author - Citizen

Posted: 7/3/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

There are two amazing woman authors/naturalists from the turn of the 20 th Century that I would have loved to have taken a hike with (or at least been asked over for tea): Gene Stratton - Porter from Indiana and Harriet Keeler, who spent most of her life here in the Greater Cleveland area. Gene S... View More >
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A Lesson in Trestlin’ (or, You’ve Been Trained)

Posted: 6/26/2013

  Looming large across Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation (OECR) is a rather impressive two-track trestle. Guests to CanalWay Center and OECR are treated to the frequent familiar rumblings from the upwards of 50 freight trains per day. Tons upon tons of material roll across the 1,988’ metal m... View More >
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Balto at Brookside

Posted: 6/19/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Many visitors may know Brookside Reservation as the park next to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, but do not realize that it once WAS the zoo!  The first zoo was moved from Wade Park (to make way for the Cleveland Museum of Art) to Brookside Park in 1907 and was called the Brookside Zoo.  It e... View More >
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The Youngsters Camp Out

Posted: 6/12/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Under the section titled “ The Youngsters Camp Out ,”  the 1929 annual report of Cleveland Metropolitan Park District notes that several thousand children who attended the summer camps in the parks “ secured a new measure of health, pleasure, recreation and knowledge.”  The “youngsters”... View More >
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A Long-Lasting Tradition

Posted: 6/5/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

A Long-Lasting Tradition – Bridle Trails Around the "Emerald Necklace" Trail riding has been an enduring tradition in Cleveland. In the 1929 Cleveland Metropolitan Park System Annual Report, there were 37 miles of bridle paths. Rocky River, Big Creek, Hinckley, South Chagrin, North Chagrin, Breck... View More >
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Early Ranger Life

Posted: 5/29/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

Cleveland Metroparks Ranger Department has gone through dramatic changes since its inception 92 years ago. Here are some interesting facts and tidbits about early Ranger history that you may not know… Cleveland Metropolitan Park System hired its first patrolman on May 5, 1921. Charles L. Fox was ... View More >
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Canal Water Here and There

Posted: 5/22/2013

One of the questions we hear a lot at Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation is, "Why do some sections of the canal have water and others do not?" The answer is somewhat complicated, so we'll try to simplify it a bit. In the early 1800s, Cleveland was a small town next to a major river. Industries tha... View More >
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First People at Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation

Posted: 5/15/2013
Posted By: Karen Lakus

Native Americans occupied the Cuyahoga Valley for thousands of years before the arrival of the first Europeans. Sites dating from the Woodland (1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.) and Late-prehistoric (1000-1650 A.D.) time periods dot the landscape along the Cuyahoga River. These prehistoric groups did not ha... View More >
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Our First Naturalist

Posted: 5/7/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

     A.B. Williams and chickadee Photograph courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Natural History Do you have a favorite naturalist or cultural history interpreter at Cleveland Metroparks who has unlocked the wonders of nature and cultural history for you? To thousands in the 1930s and ‘... View More >
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Practical Dreamer

Posted: 5/1/2013
Posted By: Judith MacKeigan

Cleveland City Parks Engineer, William A. Stinchcomb, wrote in his 1906 report: “Through the valleys of Rocky River on the west, and Chagrin River on the east, lie some of the finest stretches of natural park lands to be found in the northern part of Ohio. While all this is now entirely outside o... View More >
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New Cleveland Metroparks History Blog - Roots Revealed

Posted: 5/1/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

Welcome to the first entry of Cleveland Metroparks history blog – Roots Revealed . For 96 years Cleveland Metroparks has been providing conservation, education and recreation opportunities to the public. Our aim is to reveal fascinating facts, connect names and events to the area's history, and s... View More >

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