By Kevin Kelley
Bain Park, which earlier this year was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, has been used by Fairview Park residents for 85 years.
A plaque that commemorates the park’s designation on the list will be unveiled during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Bain Park Cabin, 21077 N. Park Drive. Mayor Eileen Patton plans to make a short presentation at the ceremony. Afterward, the Bain Park Cabin Restoration Committee will host an ice cream social. Ice cream sundaes will be available for a minimum $1 donation, with all proceeds going toward the maintenance and restoration of Bain Park.
The Fairview Park Historical Society Museum and Archives, located at the cabin, will be open following the ceremony.
The benefit of acquiring National Register status is that the city can apply for grants and other funding opportunities to aid in maintaining and restoring Bain Park Cabin and other elements of the park. A 99-page application to join the Register of Historical Places, completed by Wendy Hoge Naylor, a historic preservation consultant, with the help of the historical society, provides many details of the park’s history. Here are some of them:
• It took two and a half years between March 1928 and August 1930 to formally deed the park land to the Village of Fairview. The land ran through four new housing subdivisions.
• The formal dedication of Fairview Community Park was held on Sept. 8, 1928, known as “Fairview Day.” The winning slogan selected for the event awass “Live With Nature in Beautiful Fairview.” The daylong celebration included acceptance of the park for its citizenry by Mayor Joseph M. Daugherty, a parade, an ox barbecue, contests, dancing, three bands and a 30-piece drum corps.
• The Fairview Community Cabin and park amenities were completed in December 1937 at a cost $65,000, furnished by the WPA, of which $14,000 was contributed by villagers.
• In the early morning of Dec. 14, 1937, the cabin caught fire and burned quickly beyond repair, just four days before the gala opening celebration and cabin dedication party.
• The new, second, Fairview Community Cabin was completed in December 1939, two years after the fire. The $60,000 cabin was formally dedicated on Jan. 15, 1940.
• Local Fairview resident and WPA artist Earl Neff came up with the idea of a mural for the cabin’s interior. Central to the story depicted on the mural is Mayor Bain holding plans for a new cabin with the seal of Fairview prominently displayed in the center. Michael Rozdilsky of the Federal Art Project painted the oil-on-canvas mural.
• The mural was dedicated and unveiled on Jan. 23, 1943, with William Milliken, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, as the featured speaker.
• In 1957, the park was renamed Bain Park to honor Mayor David R. Bain, who served from 1932 to 1943.
• The gazebo was originally built in 1995 at Bohlken Park and moved to Bain Park in September 2000.