Singing Christmas Tree

Singing Christmas Tree

by Michele Yamamoto

As the Bay High School Choirs prepare for another performance of holiday music this December, we at the Bay Village Historical Society decided to take a look into our archives for some history about the much-loved “Singing Christmas Tree.” Housed in our archives are programs from the first years of the tree and information on how the structure came to be.

Curt Crews, 1968 (Bay Bluebook)

Bay High Choir Director and Vocal Music Teacher Curt Crews (Walter Curtis Crews) was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in December of 1960 that he got the idea for the tree from a news article about a similar structure in Denver, Colorado. The school in Denver that owned the structure sent Crews their own blueprints, but after calculating the costs, it seemed the price was too prohibitive for Bay High School to build one of its own. Earl Danielson, president of the Danco Metal Company, had children at Bay High School and he and his associates agreed to build and donate a tree to Bay High School which would otherwise have cost $5,000.

The Bay High Choir on the Singing Christmas Tree, 1960 Bay Bluebook

The tree took eight men four hours to assemble for its seasonal appearance. Because of the tree’s size, the annual Christmas performance had to be moved to the gym for its first appearance in 1959. This meant the lighting installation had to be adapted for the new space, which presented a challenge. The structure was built at 21 feet high and 14 feet at the base. Risers were built every two feet and safety bars were placed in front of the singers to prevent accidents. All of the singers could take their places on the tree in less than five minutes. Crews noted, “We don’t have much of a problem deciding who will be at the top of the tree. Many of the singers don’t want to go up that high. I find it a little dizzying myself.”

The “Singing Christmas Tree,” as it was called, was used for its first performance by the Bay High School Chorus on December 16, 1959. 86 Bay High Choir members are listed in the program. They were dressed in green robes with aluminum collars, holding red, white or green electric candles. A two-foot white star graced the top of the tree. The choir sang a number of traditional Christmas songs, the first listed being Adeste Fideles.

Page 1 of the 1959 Bay High Christmas Concert program, 2021.BVS.10d

The 1959 program closes with notes in appreciation, including: “The structural tree that enhances our program tonight was fabricated and erected by Danco Metal Products Company of Westlake. Messers Earl Danielson and Mauri Halstrom with a Denver news clipping to guide them have all but invented the structure which weighs over one ton and can be disassembled and used year after year. This is one of the most considerable gifts ever presented to our school. Very few audiences in the world are hearing choral voices placed as these singers are tonight as high as twenty-two feet in the air.”

The next performance of the Bay High School Choir on the “Singing Christmas Tree” will be happening 63 years after the first, on December 18 and 19, 2022. Visit the Bay High School website for more information and how to buy tickets: 2022 Holiday Choral Concert Tickets

The holidays are here at Rose Hill – December 4, 11, and 18, 2022!

You may hear the Bay High Choraleers sing Christmas carols at the Rose Hill Museum on December 11 from 2:30-3:30pm in the Victorian parlor room. The performance is part of holiday celebrations happening December 4, 11, and 18th at the museum. Also making an appearance on the 11th is Santa Claus, who will be available that afternoon for photographs in our newly reconditioned 1800s sleigh. The cost for the photo is $20 and reservations are available on our website. Throughout Sundays in December, you will be greeted by volunteers in period costumes, taking you through our festively decorated home. Our newly restored upstairs portrait gallery, early 1800s rug with pastoral scene and Aldrich family hair wreath are on display. There will be spinning wheel, loom and rug hooking demonstrations and Preston Postle will be reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Visit the Bay Historical Society’s website for all of the details, how to reserve a time with Santa and the route he’ll be taking through Bay Village on December 4th: https://www.bayhistorical.com/cahoon-christmas-2022/

Forest Views and Giving Thanks

Forest Views and Giving Thanks

by Michele Yamamoto

Forestview Elementary was a K-6 school in Bay Village. It was built in 1927 at 493 Forestview Rd. In 1981 the school was closed down due to declining enrollment and the students that attended were moved to other elementary schools. The building then housed a Montessori school for a time before it was demolished in the early 2000s. In 2010 the land became the site of a community garden.

Forestview Elementary 3rd Grade Class in 1937, Bay Village Historical Society Collection

In the school collections of the Bay Village Historical Society, we have a very small collection of three editions (1937, 1938 and 1940) of the Forestview school’s publication, Forest Views. The publication was produced entirely by students and teachers of the elementary school. It won two awards, according to the Bay Alumni Foundation, including a recognition from a national mimeograph company. The copies in our collection range from 10-12 pages in length, separated into various sections which do not change much through those years. “Bay Peeps” contains reports from each grade on projects they are doing or subjects they are studying. A section titled “Tale Chasers” lists all of the social happenings of the students at Forestview. Other sections include a calendar of upcoming events, sports reports and puzzles. The topics in the publication could range from what student went on vacation and where to serious contemplations on the news of the world.

Cover of January 1937 Edition of Forest Views, 2021.BVS.05A

April 1938 Page of Forest Views

In the November 20, 1940 issue, the students recognize the war going on in Europe that, thankfully, had not yet touched Americans. One sixth grader, Wallace Bower, wrote “As the day approaches when all people give thanks, news comes of discouraging incidents in the nations beyond the sea. In this free country, true Americans should give humble thanks to God for the peace that is still theirs to share and for the privilege of preserving the American way of living.”

Unfortunately, the peace would not last and by December 7 of the following year, America would be compelled to end its isolation after a surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. Three days later, after Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, our country became fully engaged in the Second World War.

Forest Views, November 1940, 2021.BVS.05A. The students give thanks that America isn’t part of the war in Europe.

The Bay Village Alumni Foundation has a larger collection of Forest Views. Issues from the 1940s include stories of children raising money for war bonds and cover air raid patrols.

We Need You!

Your donations and memberships help keep these artifacts preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/. We appreciate any support you may give.

If you have any questions or information for us or are interested in volunteering with Bay Village Historical Society, please call us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

Come visit us!

We have fashion on display at the Rose Hill Museum, with an emphasis on the 1920s. The museum is open on Sundays in April-December from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.

Military Collection of the Bay Village Historical Society

Military Collection of the Bay Village Historical Society

by Michele Yamamoto

Veterans Day is November 11. It is a day to officially recognize the men and women, both living and deceased, who served in the U.S. military. At the Bay Village Historical Society, we have items that help tell the story of many veterans from our community and beyond. The collections contain pieces from the Revolutionary War up to the Vietnam War, including uniforms, photographs and papers. We’d like to share a small sample of some of those collections with you today in honor of all of the veterans we recognize for their service and patriotism.

Gun powder tin said to have been carried by William Saddler I from Clarence N.Y. in saddle bags on horseback when he came through what is now Bay Village as a scout with the Army in the War of 1812. Saddler participated in the Battle of Lake Erie as a sharp shooter. Saddler liked the area so much he convinced his extended family to move to the territory when the war ended.


Civil War Ohio Volunteer Infantry cartridge box inside ammunition bag 2003.C.09


World War I Marine Corps uniform 1996.C.209


Ernie Olchon at camp in the Philippines (about 1945) 2018.P.11.05. Olchon was the owner of the Ernie Olchon’s Bay Service station from the 1940s-1971. The U.S. Army was fortunate to have such a talented mechanic. Of the many positive remarks by his superiors was this: “PFC Olchon has been devoted to his duties and put in many hours of overtime beyond his actual required work. His loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness and his mechanical ability is unquestionable.”

A selection of pieces from the Chauncey Howard Franks collection, 2013.1. Franks was stationed in North Africa and Italy during World War II. He used his skills as part of the 815th Engineer Aviation Battalion, working on a historic strip on the Anzio beachhead which is listed as perhaps the single toughest aviation engineer assignment of the Mediterranean Air War.

MIA bracelet for Capt. Peter Woodbury Sherman, 2000.C.12. Traditionally, these POW/MIA bracelets were worn by waiting loved ones in the United States until the soldier it honored was returned. Sherman was the pilot of a Douglas Attack Aircraft Skyhawk (A-4C) over Nghe An Province, Vietnam on June 10, 1967 when his aircraft crashed 45 miles off shore near Hon Me Island. His remains were recovered on January 16, 1991 and identified on April 29, 1991. Capt. Sherman served with honor in the United States Navy and was awarded the Purple Heart.

We Need You!

Your donations and memberships help keep these artifacts preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/. We appreciate any support you may give.

If you have any questions or information for us or are interested in volunteering with Bay Village Historical Society, please call us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

Come visit us!

We have fashion on display at the Rose Hill Museum, with an emphasis on the 1920s. The museum is open on Sundays in April-December from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.

Next to the Rose Hill Museum is the Osborn Learning Center which now showcases exhibits ranging from Eliot Ness and the “Untouchables” to the Sheppard murder case. It also houses various research materials from our archives for visitors.

Huntington Farm Pumpkins

Huntington Farm Pumpkins

By Michele Yamamoto

In recognition of October and fall and all things pumpkin, Bay Village Historical Society is showcasing a November 2, 1915 photo of caretaker Charles Rahl (b. 1859 d. 1948) at the old Huntington Estate farm. It was donated by Helen Osterman who was a friend of the Rahl family. Mr. Rahl is standing in front of the barn with several very large pumpkins he has grown. The weight of all four totaled 701 lbs.!

The area we now know as Huntington Beach and Reservation was once owned by English immigrant and Cleveland industrialist John Huntington (b. 1832, d.1893). Today, all that is left to remind us of the estate is the old water tower, pump house and a large carriage stepping stone bearing the Huntington name.

Huntington bought the property in 1880 and soon built a summer home and hobby farm. His family’s large “cottage” was located on the north side of Lake Road until it burned down in the 1920s. The Huntington barn and carriage house, possibly built many decades before Huntington’s arrival, was located on the south side of Lake Road, where the old Huntington Playhouse building is located today.

Huntington caretaker Charles and his wife Kate Rahl lived in a home on the property that is part of the BAYarts campus today. Residents of Bay knew to call this house before taking a swim on the Huntington property beach. Mr. Rahl would give permission, providing the Huntington family wasn’t in residence.

In 1925, Cleveland Metroparks bought the John Huntington Estate for $500,000. Bay Village residents now had one of the best public beaches of any town for miles and they no longer had to ask permission to use it.

A community theater group took over the old Huntington barn and carriage house by 1958 and converted it into the Huntington Playhouse. It burned down in May of 1970. The stage was the only feature left intact. Oats and corncobs, lodged between the floor boards, were found scattered in the rubble, a reminder of the many years the building was a working barn and stable for riding horses. At least two newspaper articles from May of 1970 in our scrapbook collection list the building as being 140 years old. If true, this would put the original build date into the 1830s, when the property was owned by Eliphalet and Margary Johnson. Eliphalet was a brother of Sarah Osborn, one of the earliest settlers of Bay Village (then Dover Township). The playhouse was able to build a new structure that would recreate the look of the old barn on the original location. The players were able to perform their first production in the new building, the musical Oklahoma!, by the summer of 1971. The structure’s newest renovations, which began in 2019 by BAYarts, are reported to continue in 2023.

Caretaker Charles Rahl and his pumpkins in front of the barn on the Huntington farm, November 2, 1915. 2022.P.FIC.06

We Need You!

Your donations and memberships help keep these artifacts preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/. We appreciate any support you may give.

If you have any questions or information for us or are interested in volunteering with Bay Village Historical Society, please call us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

Come visit us!

We have fashion on display at the Rose Hill Museum, with an emphasis on the 1920s. The museum is open on Sundays in April-December from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.

Next to the Rose Hill Museum is the Osborn Learning Center which now showcases exhibits ranging from Eliot Ness and the “Untouchables” to the Sheppard murder case. It also houses various research materials from our archives for visitors.

Early Football in Bay Village: 1924-1972

Early Football in Bay Village: 1924-1972

by Michele Yamamoto

As Bay High School celebrates another homecoming and the 50th anniversary of the Bay Memorial Stadium, we at the Bay Village Historical Society decided to look through our small collection of Bay football’s past.

The first piece of history found in our school collections is from the May 1925 edition of the Parkview publication, The Larynx. The athletics page talks about Parkview’s first year with a football team, albeit a very young one. The coach was G.S. Thompson and the oldest player on the team was probably no more than 15 or 16 years old, judging from the 1924 team photo and the fact that the school would have only housed up to grade ten at that time. It states that parents were concerned for their kids as there weren’t enough junior teams to play against. Parkview had to play two of the five games of the season against senior high teams. No serious injuries were reported and the players were eager to use their new experience in the game the next year.

1924 football team under coach Thompson in the May 1925 Larynx

Over the next 22 years, according to Bay Bluebook yearbooks and our photographs, Parkview High School saw several varsity football coaches. Otto E. Mahler succeeded Thompson in 1925 and continued to coach football at Parkview through the 1928/29 school year.

1925 Parkview football team under coach Otto Mahler, Bay Village Historical Society 2018.P.03.03.75

Homer P. Secrist succeeded Mahler and coached through the 1941 season. He was the principal of Bay High School for eight years (1940-1948) and worked for many years after in various faculty positions including Athletics Director and as a math and physics teacher until his death in October of 1960. The Homer Secrist Memorial Award, named in his honor, was created to be given each year to a deserving athlete.

1935 Parkview football team under coach Homer Secrist, Bay Village Historical Society Collection

The 1942 season was coached by Dick Humphrey and Harry Craig, who only stayed on for that one season. Tom Welbaum also took over for only one season in 1943. Michael DePaola coached from 1944-1946.

Jack Llewellyn (probably 1962), Bay Village Historical Society

In 1946 Parkview hired Jack Llewellyn to coach its varsity football team. Llewellyn would stay on for 25 seasons and would become one of the most well-known high school football coaches in Ohio. He is credited with encouraging the school to name an official mascot. Parkview High also changed its name officially to Bay High School during his first year. By the 1947 season, the new Bay High School Rockets took the field under their new name. Under Llewellyn and his assistant coaches, including such names as Robert Kitzerow, Cy Lipaj, Wayne Gray and Richard Voiers, Bay High School had a very successful football record. The most celebrated of Llewellyn’s career was the undefeated 1954 season. He ended his tenure at Bay High School after the 1970 season with 150 victories under his belt.

1952 football program from the scrapbook of halfback Dave Hinckley, Bay Village Historical Society 2021.BVS.10G

1954 undefeated season schedule, Bay Village Historical Society 2021.BVS.10G

1971 saw some major changes to the Bay High football team. E. Donald Chadwick, who had served as offensive line coach under Llewellyn, took over as head coach. A brand-new stadium at the high school’s new location on 29230 Wolf Road (as of 1968) was in the works. On September 29, 1972, the new Bay Memorial Stadium was officially dedicated during a rainy football game against Rocky River.

1973 Bay Bluebook pg. 56 about the homecoming game and dedication of the new stadium in 1972.

If you are enjoying these glimpses of Bay Village’s past, we ask you to please consider donating to the Bay Village Historical Society or becoming one of its members by visiting http://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/#Donate. We can’t do it without you!

You may still relive some school days of Bay’s early history by visiting the Rose Hill Museum (open every Sunday, April through December from 2-4:30pm) to see in person a small temporary display of items from Bay Village’s early school days. Next door at the Osborn Learning Center we have copies of most Bay High School yearbooks. You may also browse the yearbooks online at: https://www.bayhistorical.com/bay-village-history/#Yearbooks

More information about Bay Village public school history (especially the later years) can be found through the Bay Village Alumni Foundation and you may find their contact information on their website at: https://bayalumni.com/

Bay Village Comes Through for its Kids: Bayway Cabin, the Later Years

Bay Village Comes Through for its Kids: Bayway Cabin, the Later Years

 by Michele Yamamoto

This article is a continuation of the story of the Bayway Cabin history. The first part can be found on the Bay Village Historical website at: https://www.bayhistorical.com/bay-youth-brought-the-community-together-the-early-history-of-the-bayway-cabin/

Bonnie Hunt, Corin and Austin Bonnett outside the Bayway with “Beau,” a Troop 1943 creation, October 2003, Bay Village Historical Society

Bayway Cabin and Bay Youth (1964-1980s):

The Bayway Cabin continued to serve Bay Village as a community center for youth groups throughout the 1960s. An “Information and Regulations” document from November of 1964 lists that the Bayway was available to Bay youth groups sponsored by approved adult organizations who would provide  supervision. Bay High School football and baseball coach Jack Llewellyn is listed as director and Mary Ann Martin as secretary of the Bay Village Recreation Board which oversaw the cabin and managed service charges to use the facilities. In 1968 there was already a need for remodeling the Bayway, 10 years after the last. A proposal of $1,265 was made by one contractor to make updates to the floors, patch walls and install wainscoting.

The only information in the Bay Historical Society’s collections that we have found from the Bayway in the 1970s and early 1980s is an October 31, 1980 booklet for a “Drop-In Center.” It lists rules by an organization of parents in charge of a Friday evening program. Jim and Pauline Fowler are listed as general chairpersons of the parent organization that was in charge of operations. The center was started in the 1978/79 school year and was available for Bay students in grades 6-8. Sixteen dances were mentioned for the 1980/81 school year, planned by Entertainment Chairman Ray Biltz. “Relatively few” parents were counted on to run the center, helping in the kitchen snack bar and chaperoning the dances. The students who wanted to participate needed to register for an I.D. card at Bay Village City Hall or the Recreation Center for $1.50. Under the rules of the center is written: “This is your Drop-In Center. A lot of effort, planning, and expense have made it possible. Continued operation of your Drop-In Center depends on you. Use good judgement, common sense, and most of all…HAVE FUN!”

Later in the 1980s there seemed to be a feeling that there weren’t enough activities to keep Bay children in middle school age and older occupied beyond school clubs and sports. The next bit of Bayway history in our collections is a July 28, 1988 article from the Sun Herald that talks about a group of parents, led by Patty Kaiser and Astrida Riders, who sought to create a “gathering spot” for kids in grades 5-12 where they could just socialize and have a bite to eat after school. It was planned by a nonprofit called the Bay Youth Organization, which was made up of parents and kids. The idea was prompted, in part, by a recent story of complaints about kids skateboarding and hanging out at the shopping centers. The Bay Youth Organization proposed their idea of a new socialization club to the City Recreation Commission, who expressed concerns of being able to accommodate space to both the Bay Youth Organization’s proposed after school/weekend club and groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts, who were already using the building.

During the 1980s more parents in Bay were working outside of the home and there were worries that kids needed a safe to place to be supervised after school. The concerns were further compounded by the October 1989 after school kidnapping of Bay Village 5th grader Amy Mihaljevic from the Bay Village Square Shopping Center which seems to have had a lasting effect on the Bay Village community and worries about its children. The Mihaljevic case is listed in a January, 1997 The Plain Dealer article about Bayway volunteer and Bay Village Citizen of the Year Mary Ellen Meyers as a reason to continue her volunteer work for Bay youth. “I decided that this town is never going to see another tragedy like Amy Mihaljevic if I can help it,” she is quoted.

Concerns for Kids in Changing Times (the 1990s):

In our collection we have several news articles and reports from the 1990s about the concerns over the increasing violence in public schools in America. It was believed that the violence was fueled by poverty, drug abuse, the proliferation of hand guns and violence in the mass media. There were a lot of theories as to how to combat this. Socialization was one suggestion mentioned as an important way to increase children’s self-esteem and teach them how to resolve conflicts non-violently with their peers. Building a relationship between kids, parents and their communities and emphasizing education over punishment could create safe environments for schoolkids.

Bay High School’s publication, the Bay Window, reported on November 18, 1994 that a school levy failed to pass in Bay for the second time in less than a year by a slim margin of 96 votes. One of the many consequences of this, writer Scott Graham worried, was that extracurriculars such as clubs, sports and band would need to be paid for by the participants, which would limit them to only the wealthier families. Teacher cuts, custodial, lunch service and a freeze on new supplies were also feared. Students were quoted as being disappointed that a majority of the Bay voting community wouldn’t support them.

I spoke with former Kiwanis Club President (1996-1997) and Bay Village Historical Society volunteer Bill O’Brien who remembers the mid-1990s and his work on the Bayway. He spent many years in recreation, working for the city of Pittsburgh and in Shaker Heights. Bill and his wife Elaine have two daughters, Frances (Jessica) and Caitlin, who were in elementary and middle school at the time, and he saw the need for Bay’s own sort of Boys and Girls Club for whom he was working. He realized, as did a lot of the town’s parents, that there wasn’t a lot for kids in middle school through high school to do in Bay after school except hang out on the streets. To avoid this, the town needed a place where kids could just socialize and get help with homework, all in a safe environment. “There was a group of parents, I guess, who were approaching council all of the time about what can we do about youth recreation and there is no youth recreation facility, per se, in Bay Village other than the outdoor pools and tennis courts…let’s build something like the rec. center…it kind of distilled into, well the Bayway Cabin, maybe we can do something with that.” O’Brien became part of a committee to discuss ideas as to what such a place for youth would look like.

All of this discussion and buzz about the kids in the Bay community caught the attention of Bay Village Mayor Tom Jelepis. He and his wife Beverly had two daughters, Elizabeth and Caitlin, who were approaching middle school age. He remembered his experiences growing up in that age group and what an important time it is in the development of a child. During the time he was on Bay City Council (1992/1993) and Mayor of Bay Village (1994-2000) he remembers, “probably the proudest accomplishment I ever had was working with the kids because that’s important, you know, and working with the schools. At the time there wasn’t an area where especially middle schoolers could go and that is such a vulnerable age right there…so we spoke to the city, we spoke to the schools.” O’Brien credits Jelepis for lending much needed weight to the youth center project idea. “He wanted to get that done and I know he really worked hard on it, considering all of the other things he had to work on.”

Mayor Tom Jelepis plays pool with the kids at the youth center, late 1990s, Bay Village Historical Society

Bay Village Kiwanis Club is Approached:

The town knew whom to approach to get things done in Bay Village (especially for the town youth) and that was the Kiwanis Club. Jelepis credits the local organization for making a youth center happen. O’Brien remembers “I think [the town] knew to approach us. There were quite a group of guys in there, I mean every part of the community was in Kiwanis, a lot of the business guys. We considered Bay Kiwanis to be ‘the group.’ There was a strong membership for years and years, longtime members that did a lot of things for the community. People would come to [Bay Kiwanis Club] and things would get rolling because we were so involved in every other aspect in the community. We had council people on the board with us, business people, people involved in the churches…it was a pretty good community regardless, I mean we do a lot of things around here as a community anyway, but they kind of focused for us.”

Bonnie Hunt, Youth Coordinator of the Bay Village Youth Center Program:

Jelepis knew whom to ask to lead the new program, and that person was Bonnie Hunt. She initially turned down the offer but Jelepis would not give up on convincing her otherwise. He knew she was the person for the job and asked her repeatedly to interview for it. Hunt recalls what she told the mayor: “Well, I’ll interview but we’re going on vacation and don’t count on me when I get back. Well, he came to my door two weeks later and said, ‘we haven’t found anyone else more qualified than you. Would you still consider it?’ The thing of it is, he never interviewed anybody. It was just me. He just waited until I got back.” Hunt agreed to run the program on one condition. She says, “That was my caveat…if you want me to do this, the program has to be free of charge. If you charge a family for the privilege of coming then I’m missing the very kids that I’m trying to attract.”

Hunt moved to Bay Village in 1979 with her young family and volunteered extensively over the following years. She knew much about the needs of children during the 1990s and could speak with authority on the subject of kids needing a safe place to go after school when their parents were working. Through the city she conducted the Drug Free Schools Program, funded by Bay Village City schools. The focus of the program was parent education and the importance of parents networking with other families and the community at large. Once a year she conducted a parent workshop called “Parent University.” It included keynote speakers and breakout sessions for the adult participants. During the sessions parents expressed concerns that there really wasn’t anywhere that Bay Village kids could hang out safely. They wondered why Bayway Cabin couldn’t be available for kids to use in this way.

Hunt’s daughter Marcy was attending the College of Wooster at the time. Her daughter Katie was preparing to attend the University of Indiana. Hunt now had the time she needed to do even more for the youth of the community. Instead of deciding to take some time for herself, away from the needs of children, she became even more involved in the lives of so many more that were not her own. As O’Brien points out, “Her kids were past that age so she didn’t have any vested interest of her own for the kids. She just wanted something good for the community.”

History Repeats Itself and the Bay Community Again Comes Through for Its Kids:

The Bayway Cabin, as was noted in the late 1980s, was not large enough to accommodate a special daily youth program. A new wing would have to be built and it would cost money. Hunt remembers, “The bottom line was, there was no money for this…to sell the idea that this cabin, by adding this on, would improve the lives of our children, especially those who were in middle school. That was the target age range. [Bay] Middle School was located very close to the Bayway Cabin so kids didn’t need to be bused. They could easily walk. St. Raphael’s was just down the road and they were welcome, if they wanted to come. This was the target age range that made Bayway Cabin a good location.”

The City of Bay and its residents came through with much-needed funds for Bayway. The City Council was very supportive of the idea and the city put in $50,000 for the construction and remodel of the old building. Dick Martin, who was president at the time, was a major supporter. Finance Director Steven Presley would approve many of Hunt’s ideas. Director of Building Farrell Cleary used his resources to get the initial construction underway. The money from the city was matched by the Kiwanis Club and residents of Bay at $50,000.

Luckily there were lots of people in Bay and beyond who believed in the idea of an after-school youth center. As they did in the early days of the Bayway Cabin in the 1950s, various businesses and groups donated much labor and building materials. If you can name the local business or volunteer, chances are they helped in some way with the opening of the youth center. It began with a groundbreaking on March 31, 1995. In the months following, there were volunteers pouring concrete (supervised by Jim Sears in the City Public Service & Properties Department) and doing drywall. Lakewood High School students of the West Shore Vocational trade class who were learning the construction business would come and do a lot of the work, supervised by the Bay Village Building Department. Dave Volle upgraded the electrical work. A new roof was put on with donated materials and labor by Modern Roofing Supply and Fairview Roofing. A number of volunteers attended “paint parties” for the interior walls with special marbleizing techniques and stencils done by artists Carole Tate Begala and Mary Ann Campbell. O’Brien remembers, “I also helped with the remodeling. I hung drywall there, my wife and I both. Her Girl Scout troop did too. I think [the Kiwanis Club] tried to get every group in town involved in there.”

Bayway Cabin addition groundbreaking with Mayor Tom Jelepis, March 31, 1995, Bay Village Historical Society


Bayway Cabin addition groundbreaking, March 31, 1995, Bay Village Historical Society


KeyBank volunteers do some staining at Bayway Cabin, 1995, Bay Village Historical Society

The city paid the salaries of Hunt and her assistant but Hunt secured donations for the inside of the building. She procured donations of pool and foosball tables, computers, craft supplies etc. to outfit the inside with activities for the kids to do. The Bay Women’s Club, Bay Junior Women’s Club, Kiwanis Club and various other non-profits helped contribute.  Many of the parents of the children who attended also made donations to the youth center. As long as Hunt could raise the money and make it work, the center would keep running.

Hunt says, “I think it was just golden. It was just the right idea at the right time, with the right group of people behind it that…much like the making of [Play in Bay] in Cahoon Park. That was the stimulus for me to make the Bayway Cabin Youth Center a success. If a community group could get a playground built…and it was shortly after the playground got built that the Bayway Cabin and the Bay Village Youth Center kind of started taking form. It was just the right time for that kind of opportunity.”

Bay Village Youth Center Officially Opens:

A ribbon cutting ceremony and party was held on Saturday, September 28, 1996. In a press release to announce the event Mayor Tom Jelepis asked the children of Bay to bring their own scissors to help him cut the ribbon and open the doors of the 2,500 square foot addition to Bayway Cabin. “I guarantee no one will be cut from this fun opportunity to dedicate this terrific facility. We’re all very proud of this achievement and the safe environment it will provide after school for 5th-8th graders in our community.”

Bay Village Youth Center Grand Opening ribbon cutting ceremony with Bay Village Youth Center Coordinator Bonnie Hunt and Mayor Tom Jelepis officiating, September 28, 1996, Bay Village Historical Society


The ribbon is cut! September 28, 1996, from the personal collection of Tom Jelepis. Jelepis’ kids Elizabeth and Caitlin shown second from left.

There were 30-60 kids that used the new program and it ran very smoothly. Middle school kids were welcome as soon as school let out until about 6pm. 9th graders were welcomed by 1996. Registration was not required. Daily sign in and sign out notified parents of their child’s attendance that day. The responsibility for attendance was between the parent and their child. The child could call their parents upon arriving and before leaving. A flyer was sent out once a month by Bonnie’s assistant Claire to all of the town’s middle school homerooms with a list of activities offered at the center. Because it was not a fee-based program, if a kid needed to leave early, they could just call a parent and leave. If their behavior was bad, Bonnie could ask the child to leave for the day and come back on another day, when they could do better. Bay Village Parks and Recreation under Don Weeks and later Dan Enovitch was in the building and there to help, if called upon. The Police Department at the time was located next door in City Hall and would be available, which provided a sense of security. The program was held under the Community Services Department, run at the time by Adele Wheeler, who had a strong belief system in what was trying to be accomplished and took the youth center under her department for that reason. Hunt says, “None of this project could have worked if it wasn’t for the support of all of the surrounding people in the city. I didn’t feel alone.”

 Volunteers Helped Make the Center a Success:

Hunt credits the volunteers who helped the Youth Center for creating the relationships with the kids that made them want to keep coming back. It only survived with the cooperation and volunteered time and energy of a lot of people. High school kids were a big help at the center. Every day after school about five or six high school students would come to volunteer. Recruitment was mainly through word-of-mouth. The teens seem to enjoy their time with the younger children and played outdoor games they would organize for them. They became friends, which was appealing for the younger kids. Hunt was grateful for their enthusiastic help and for attracting many middle schoolers to the program. Hunt also created many projects at Bayway Cabin for the young people looking for volunteer hours to fulfill in Bay. For instance, the Boy Scouts could earn the rank of Eagle Scout by doing various projects in the building, including painting the walls, building raised beds for the garden and constructing a new sign for the center.

The adult volunteers conducted activities like crafts and supervised the computers. They ran various programs and helped supervise the indoor facilities in general. Hunt remembers how one of these adults, then Mayor Tom Jelepis, would come spend time with the kids: “He was a good pool player and so he would come from the mayor’s office and play pool every once in a while with these kids. You couldn’t imagine how these kids thought that the mayor of the city came to the youth center and played pool with us. They really got a kick out of it.” One news article in the archive details one such tournament in which the kids took on the mayor in an eight-ball pool challenge.

Youth center kids learn paper mache sculpture, probably January 1997, Bay Village Historical Society


Youth center kids with volunteers, including Amy Putnam, ca. 1990s, Bay Village Historical Society

Activities at the Youth Center:

There were a lot of activities in which the kids could participate but had a choice. Fridays were movie days and the kids could watch movies they would borrow from the video tape rental store across the street. Once a week, the children’s librarian at the Bay Village Library would present books for kids to read. There were yoga and dance programs. Several computers were used to play video games. Hunt remembers: “The Oregon Trail was one of the most popular games. I remember that, because I had a limited number of computers that kids would literally run…I could hear the bell that dismissed them from the middle school…and they ran to Bayway Cabin to get to one of those computers.” As Jelepis describes the scene for the kids: “They were in a structured environment and they didn’t know they were in a structured environment, which was the beauty of it.”

Youth Coordinator Bonnie Hunt has been given much of the credit for the success of the youth program at Bayway. Says Jelepis, “Bonnie was really the key to this. She just made it tick. I was just kind of in the position to be able to help, whatever I could do to help. Bonnie was such a gentle lady and the kids loved her. Bonnie was remarkable, I will say that. She did a phenomenal job. She really led the charge and the rest of us followed.” O’Brien agrees by saying, “Bonnie really stepped up. She said that she would run it and she did a really nice job. She’s just such a nice person, very caring and knows how to deal with kids.”

Bonnie Hunt oversees a Halloween craft at the Bayway in this clipping from The Plain Dealer, October 29, 1997


Youth center kids play a video game in this photo from the late 1990s. These graphics probably wouldn’t fly with kids today, Bay Village Historical Society


Bay Village Youth Center kids play ball outside of Bayway, ca. 1990s, Bay Village Historical Society

Doing More for Kids in Bay Village 1995-2000s:

Bay families received many wins in the mid-1990s to early 2000s. Bay Village Youth Center was named Bay Village Project of the Year in 1996, earning this distinction one year after the construction of Cahoon Memorial Park’s playground Play in Bay. Soon after, Bay Village was named the “Most Livable Community in Cuyahoga County” by Cleveland Magazine in 1995 and again in 1996. A brand-new middle school was built in 2003 which later housed a gym and weight room for the Bay community.

1997 Proclamation declaring the Bay Village Youth Center as the Project of the Year, 1996, Bay Village Historical Society

The Last Years of Bayway:

Bonnie Hunt decided to retire in 2006 to join her husband Jim and do some traveling. In 2019 they moved to Portland, Oregon to be closer to her daughter Marcy and grandson Zak. Bonnie says that leaving Bay Village was difficult to do, having made so many friends and having been so involved in community life. Hunt describes her 40 years living in Bay Village as wonderful and remarks upon what a special place residents have in Bay Village. Ask her now if all of those many hours she spent on behalf of the Bay Village Youth Center was worth it and Hunt will say, “Was it worth it? I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!”

The Bay Village Youth Center after school program continued for a least two more years under new leadership, according to Dan Enovitch. Unfortunately, the 2008 recession hit and budget cuts meant that the youth program had to eventually end. Bayway then reopened as a Kiddie Kollege daycare center in 2012.

As of 2022, there is no longer a physical reminder of the old Bayway Cabin at the spot on 27400 Wolf Road. In March 2021 the Bayway Cabin was completely demolished to make way for the new Bay Village Library building. The old 1920s building, with all of its subsequent extensions, is no more. The site of so many events, through its time as a cafeteria at Parkview School and later as a center of youth activities, will now be remembered only through photographs, papers and the stories it leaves behind. I hope that the history of the Bayway, how the town came together for its youth and the positive impact it had on so many generations of Bay kids, will serve as inspiration and continue to be repeated in other iterations for years to come.

A Call to the Kids of Bayway:

Did you attend the Bay Village Youth Center in the 1990s/2000s or participate in any of the Bayway’s activities over the years? We’d love to hear the experiences from the youth of the time and keep a record for the Bay Village Historical Society archives. We’d also like to identify the kids in the Bayway photos. You may share this information by posting on the Bay Village Historical Society Facebook page or by contacting us at info@bayhistorical.com and mention the Bayway in your subject line.

The computers where kids would spend many happy hours fording their wagons over rivers to Oregon. Taken during the Grand Opening on September 28, 1996, Bay Village Historical Society

100th Anniversary of Parkview School

100th Anniversary of Parkview School

by Michele Yamamoto

2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the building of the Parkview School in Bay Village. It was located on the spot where the Bay Middle School parking lot is now.

The Bay Village Historical Society records indicate that by 1921 there was one remaining schoolhouse in Bay Village, the “Little Red Brick Schoolhouse,” built in 1869 and located between Bassett and present-day Huntington Park at 29503 Lake Road. There wasn’t enough space at the schoolhouse, even for its grades 1-8, and from the earliest days of Bay Village history, families who wanted their children to have a secondary education were forced to send them to either Rocky River, Lakewood or what is now known as Westlake.

Bay Village historian, Kay Laughlin, wrote of the beginnings of Parkview School. She noted that in 1921, the Bay Village school system had to rent a room in Bay Village City Hall in order to accommodate the fifth grade class. In a special election in April of that year, the Board of Education managed to pass a five-mill levy to support the $225,000 in bonds needed to construct a new school. Still, expenses to build were cut in every way possible, including the risk of using non-union labor, which stopped construction completely for a time.

1924/25 Parkview students grades 1-10, Bay Village Historical Society

A two story Parkview before the third floor addition, from the May 1925 school publication, The Larynx

Parkview faculty photo from the May 1925 school publication, The Larynx. 

By the fall of 1922, Bay Village had all of their students in grades 1-8 at the Parkview School. Mentions to upper grades are not made in The Larynx (May 1925), the earliest Parkview publication the Bay Village Historical Society has in its collections. Grades 9-12 were most likely added on, one grade a year, until by 1927 Parkview High School had its first graduating senior high class.

The first graduating class at Parkview consisted of ten girls and five boys. The lack of male students proved to be a challenge for dancing partners and so the class decided to forego a traditional prom and created a “Junior-Senior Banquet” instead. The second annual banquet lists a food menu and musical performances by the students and faculty.

Parkview’s 1st Graduating Class 1927, Bay Village Historical Society. Top row, L-R: William J. Hursh, Ruth Claire Myers, Sarah E. Dodd, Caryl June French, Arthur W.J. Stampfli. Second row, L-R: Vera Anna Wuebker, George Edward Mehleck, Clarence Frank Meilander, Lawrence Kenneth Hille, Marie E. Blaha. Bottom row, L-R: Blanche Gertrude Cowley, Luella Anna Meilander, Ruth Naomi Proudley, Helen Louise Bell, Helen J. Toeller

1927 Parkview Graduation Program, Bay Village Historical Society

Vera Wuebker was a member of Bay Village’s first senior graduating class. She commented in the March 29, 1968 edition of the Bay Window that the limited number of students in Bay Village’s first senior graduating class was enjoyable. She is quoted as saying, “One became better acquainted with all of the students in the school.” Vera was also the daughter of West Dover’s first rural postman, Ernest Wuebker, and we have many items that once belonged to Vera in the Bay Village Historical Society’s collection that were generously donated by her grandson Kip Fanta. Vera married Herb (Irwin) Fanta in 1936 and worked in the guidance counselor’s office at Bay High School in later decades.

It appears that from the beginning of its use the school wasn’t big enough for all of the children in Bay Village. A third story was added in 1925, only three years after the building was first constructed. Temporary portable buildings were constructed before that addition but remained and were used until a wing on the west side of the building was opened in 1952. Forestview Elementary was constructed in 1927 at the southeast corner of Wolf and Forestview Road and housed the elementary students living on the east side of Bay Village, which may have alleviated some of the crowding.

The 1927 edition of the school publication Arc-Light lists the Parkview building as containing 13 standard classrooms, an auditorium that seated more than 430, a physics laboratory, chemistry laboratory, large library and gymnasium. Four portable buildings housed domestic science, manual training (shop class), a cafeteria and a dining hall in a corridor connecting the portables with the main building. There were 10 acres developed as a playground and athletic field.

1942 Bay Bluebook photo featuring Irma Schmedt and Bill Smith on the front steps of Parkview, Bay Village Historical Society

By the 1940s, many new changes were made to the Parkview classes. In 1941, Parkview added a kindergarten class to its 1-12 grade building. In 1947, Parkview began housing grades 7-12 only. Glenview Elementary, which opened in 1947, and the existing Forestview Elementary would now house all of Bay Village’s K-6 grades. 1947 was also the year the high school class officially renamed themselves Bay High School, although they used this name as early as 1941 in the Bay Blue Book. “Rockets” became the name of the school’s athletic teams through a vote by the student body.

By 1960, Parkview held only high school students when the Bay Junior High School moved to a brand-new building located where the present-day Bay High School now stands at 29230 Wolf Rd. In 1968 the high schoolers took over the location and the junior high classes moved back to the old Parkview building to stay for more than 30 years.

1968 Bay Bluebook photo of Parkview

1968 Bay Bluebook tribute to the old Parkview building

In November 2000, residents of Bay Village approved a bond issue for the construction of a new middle school. The current Bay Middle School location at Cahoon and Wolf Road was built directly behind Parkview and was ready for middle school students in grades 5-8 to attend for the 2003/2004 school year.

Bay Middle School old and new, December 2003, Bay Village Historical Society

Before the old Parkview building was torn down there were several send-offs and chances for former students to relive their time at the school. On Saturday, December 13, 2003 Bay residents had the opportunity to attend some farewell events.  A “Wrecking Ball” dance was held in the gym. Although much of the equipment and furniture was moved throughout the district’s schools and the remainders were sent to a school in Haiti, there was also a sale where residents and school staff members could purchase a piece of the old school. A former student from the 1960s bought a handrail. One man bought a water fountain and urinal. A current eighth grader even expressed interest in buying his old locker. Marble partitions found in the 1920s restrooms could be had for $50.

George Serb, an 88-year-old former student (class of 1933) and Bay Village Citizen of the Year remembered entering Parkview as a second grader when the building first opened. He was given the honor of symbolically locking the building for the last time.

On December 22, Parkview alumni, current students, staff members and neighbors gathered across the street from the old school to spend a day-long vigil watching Parkview be demolished.

Parkview during demolition, December 2003, Bay Village Historical Society. Note the red, orange and yellow stripes above the lockers on the second floor. 

You may still relive some of Parkview’s past by visiting the Rose Hill Museum to see in person a small display of items from Bay Village’s early school days. At the Osborn Learning Center next door, we have copies of most Bay High School yearbooks. You may also browse the yearbooks online at: https://www.bayhistorical.com/bay-village-history/#Yearbooks

A presentation about the history of Bay Village Schools, including Parkview, can be viewed on the Bay Village Historical Society website at:
https://www.bayhistorical.com/bay-highs-first-fifty-years/

More information about Bay Village public school history can be found through the Bay Village Alumni Association and you may find their contact information on their website at: https://bayalumni.com/

If you are enjoying these glimpses of Bay Village’s past, we ask you to please consider donating to the Bay Village Historical Society or becoming one of its members by visiting http://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/#Donate. We appreciate your support!

Friends of the Library, Bay Village: Over 60 Years of Friendship

Friends of the Library, Bay Village: Over 60 Years of Friendship

by Michele Yamamoto

The Bay Village Friends of the Library has announced their latest book sale at the new Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bay Village Branch building for Saturday, August 27, 2022. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Friends book sales and the 61st year of the group’s formation. To celebrate, we at the Bay Village Historical Society have combed through our records and photos, including many generously donated by the Bay Village Library itself, to compile a short history of the formation of the Friends and their first book sales.

As part of National Library Week in April of 1961, the Cuyahoga County Library system called for “Friends of Library” groups to be formed at local branches. Joseph H. Santone, an auditor for the Illuminating Company, was elected chairman at the Bay Village Branch’s first formal meeting. Mrs. Robert L. Vickroy (June) was listed as the first elected secretary, John Sturges, Jr., the publicity chairman, Mrs. John R. Van Syckle (Norma), membership chairman, and Dr. Daniel E. Marsalek, book collection chairman. Representatives from various local organizations in Bay Village served as members. That summer, the objectives of the organization as stated in their constitution were “to promote a better understanding in the community of the needs of the library, to lead in the development of programs which will extend and improve the use of the library services and facilities, to stimulate benefactions to the library, to render assistance to the library staff upon request by the librarian and to encourage the study of library science as a career.” Dues for families and individuals in Bay Village were set at $1 per year, $.50 for student members. Local organizations were asked to give $10 per year.

2022.P.08.11.05 Bay Library “Book Marks” (volunteers from the Bay Women’s Club) “smartly outfitted” in aqua cobbler’s aprons inside the Bay Library at 377 Dover Center Rd. for an August, 1960 news feature. L-R: Betty Clifton, Margaret Plum and Margaret Berger 

The Bay Village Exchange Club (the local chapter of the national service organization) helped to sponsor a book collection and sale for the Bay Village Library by June of 1961. Containers for the deposit of books, old movies, and records were placed in Bay Village shopping centers for the public to donate their items. By the end of the year, they had collected over 3,700 items. Branch Manager Helen Casey, selected 400 of these books for the library’s own collections, stating that the donated books would have cost the new library at least $1,200. One volunteer of the Bay Women’s Club service group for the library, the “Book Marks,” stated in an appeal to donors “Friends of the Bay Village Library are citizens who share the conviction that books afford people a matchless means of enriching their lives and acquiring a greater understanding of the world in which they live.” Now President Santone stated that he hoped his group would help the library obtain more reference books, expand its facilities and services, purchase needed equipment, increase “best seller” circulation, enlarge its record library, obtain more foreign language books and encourage students to study library science.

The Friends must have received the number of books they needed because that April of 1962 they announced they would be holding their first book sale for four days during National Library Week that month. The Book Marks stepped up to help with the sale of the books and Bay Junior High School students made posters to advertise the sale that were hung all around town.

2022.08.14.05.049 Cleveland Press news clipping about the first Friends of the Library book sale, April 1962

The sale was considered a success with $600 raised. $250 was spent on children’s books and $350 on reference books. The sale also helped double the membership in the Friends group. Santone wrote to Branch Manager Helen Casey when reporting on the sale about the “friendly spirit which has developed between the library staff and our organization. We hope this is only the beginning in our joint effort to provide the Bay Village Library with an excellent collection and to make the Library a vital part of our community.”

By February of 1964, the Bay Village Friends of the Library had some new elected officers, including retired surgeon Dr. Dwight S. Spreng, a book lover and new resident of Bay. Dr. Spreng led the group in planning their second book sale to be held that April, two years after the first. The sale brought in about $600, some of which was marked to buy new furnishings for the library staff room.

2022.P.08.14.01.08 Bay Village Friends of the Library members with Branch Manager Helen Casey sorting through collected books for the Friends’ second book sale in 1964. L-R: John Sturges, Helen Casey, Dr. Dwight Spreng and Mrs. Sturges

2022.P.08.14.01.07 Mary Maheu, Louella Meyer and Dr. Dwight Spreng look over collected books for the Friends of the Bay Village Library’s second sale to be held in April of 1964.

2022.08.14.01.09.82 News clipping featuring the 1964 book sale set up.

The Bay Village Historical Society records do not contain much concerning the Friends until 1978, just a few years before a new library building was built at 502 Cahoon Rd. They began publishing a newsletter in the fall of 1978 called “Stacks of Information” which detailed the news and activities of the Friends and the Bay Village Library. Throughout the 1980s, the group sponsored various programs such as concert, travel and cooking series. You could learn “Concepts of Microwave Cooking” or how to bake bread during “Cooking with the Friends.” A juried art show was held through at least most of the decade. The book sales during this time period increased to usually about four a year.

2022.08.14.02 News clipping featuring a 1985 Friends book sale at the Bay Village Library at 502 Cahoon Rd. 

Today the Friends of the Library, Bay Village is led by President Scott Rhee. Rhee says he started his work with the group during high school, when he worked as a library page in Bay. Members of the Friends asked if he could help them move around the heavy boxes of books they had collected for a sale. He soon found himself getting involved to a greater degree over the years.

The Friends’ latest book sale is for one day only, Saturday, August 27th from 9:00am-5:00pm. Items will be sold for only $.50 to $1 a piece and will include children’s, teen’s, adult fiction and nonfiction books as well as puzzles and games. If you would like to volunteer your time to help with the sale and meet some fellow book lovers, contact Holly Tramba at htramba@sbcglobal.net. If you are unable to make the sale this year, you may still purchase books from the Friends of the Bay Village Library all year round by shopping their shelf at the entrance of the Bay Village Library at 27400 Wolf Rd.

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Memberships and donations to the Bay Village Historical Society help keep the records of our town’s history preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/.

If you would like a more hands-on experience with history, consider volunteering as a docent or behind-the-scenes with our collections by contacting us at (440) 871-7338 or email: info@bayhistorical.com.

Bay Youth Brought the Community Together: The Early History of the Bayway Cabin

by Michele Yamamoto

This April, 2022 was bittersweet with the grand opening of the new Bay Village Library. Although there was great anticipation and excitement for the beautiful new library, there was also some sadness because in order to build it, an old building beloved by many for decades had to be removed. That building was the Bayway Cabin.

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bob Reid and his wife Gail, members of the Bay Village Historical Society, just as he and his old classmates were preparing for their belated Bay High School class of 1956 reunion celebration. I had called him to get more information on the old Bayway cabin when he informed me that actually his family and classmates played a big part in the making of the youth center in Bay. Thanks to Bob’s recollections and papers and photographs in the Bay Village Historical Society archives, we were able to put together the early history of this community center that served the Bay community for almost 60 years.

A Bay Village Youth Cabin Committee Report from March, 1951 lists that there was interest in a center just for youth activities in Bay as far back as 1943 when a Bay Village Youth Center Committee raised $1,200 towards that effort. The only places to use for non-school youth activities were the local churches or the Community House (old Cahoon Barn, now Bay Rec. Center Offices) and it was usually filled up with adult events. The community wanted space dedicated to the youth in Bay. Unfortunately, World War II intervened and the committee decided to convert the money it had raised into war bonds. After the War, in 1948, the Recreation Board drew up plans for a recreation building and submitted a $100,000 bond issue to the voters. It did not receive enough votes to pass and the idea of a center for Bay youth again looked hopeless.

Temporary building long in use at Parkview School (probably 1950) Bay Village Historical Society Collection

Fate stepped in, or rather the Board of Education secured approval of a bond issue by 1950 to build a permanent addition to the high school (the old Parkview School Building where Bay Middle School now stands). A temporary addition that had been built there possibly as early as 1924 before a third story was added in 1925, needed to be moved out. It was one of two temporary buildings on the west side of the school and had most recently been used as the school cafeteria. The structure was a 24 by 70 foot shell with a leaking roof and sagging floor but at least one high school student saw its potential and knew the best adult to help make the idea a reality.

Ester Reid circa 1950s, from the personal collection of Bob & Gail Reid

That adult was Ester Reid, the Secretary of the Recreation Board, Bob Reid’s mother and a leader in many activities for the betterment of Bay Village. Through her, the idea took off to move the old building and renovate it to be used as a center for the town youth.

Bay teens at the Bayway building move (1950 or ’51), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

Students by the permit sign to build Bayway Cabin (1950), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

The Recreation Department sent out invitations to all of the clubs and organizations in Bay Village, asking each to send a representative to a meeting to discuss the need for a youth recreation center. The local Kiwanis Club Youth Service Committee Chairman, Raymond D. Kraus was soon talked into organizing the project, devoting much of his time outside of his regular employment to the task of forming the Youth Cabin Committee of the Bay Village Recreation Board. Chairman Kraus and Secretary of the Committee, Mrs. Norman L. Reid (Ester Reid), it is noted in the records, were the two members who made the most tremendous sacrifices of time and effort, inspiring and organizing the work of a long list of people to bring the community project to a successful completion. There were soon mailings and a house-to-house canvassing for funds to move and fix up the old cafeteria building and turn it into a youth center. Materials, labor and time was donated by many in the community. The building was able to be moved to its new location in September, 1950 and by March 22, 1951, it was finished and turned over to begin activities under the Recreation Board of Bay Village which held many youth activities there, including dances, youth group meetings and even a nursery school. The new youth center was named “Bayway” from a winning submission by student Skip Worley, in a naming contest held throughout the Bay Village School system.

The Lakewood Post on March 24, 1951 gushed with admiration “It is hardly necessary to emphasize the importance of providing attractive, well-regulated recreational facilities for youth. The average boy and girl in Bay enjoys advantages that are considerably above average. But no set of advantages can replace the need for a center where youth may gather for a healthy good time; which will serve as headquarters for organizations and activities, which will promote friendships and sound social relationships. It indicates growth of civic consciousness, of community character. In getting together to make possible the realization of a project calculated to benefit youth of the community, adults did fully as much for themselves as they did for their boys and girls. Such unselfish ventures knit people together, constructive thinking is channeled, pride is engendered, a sense of responsibility to the community is created.”

Drawing for the Bayway expansion (1958), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

The improvements didn’t stop there. Remember, this was the mid-20th century and there was a baby boom going on all over the United States, including in Bay Village, Ohio. This may be why the population of the town increased from about 3,000 in 1943 (when the idea of a youth center first started) to over 10,000 in 1956. New housing increased from a total of 1,006 in the 1940s to 2,133 by the end of the 1950s (the highest number of houses built in Bay in any decade in our history). Bayway cabin soon outgrew the needs of the young people in Bay.

Bay High School Senior Hi-Y club (from the 1956 Bay Blue Book). Bob Reid is in the top row, third from the right.

Bob Reid recalled a meeting at the Bayway in 1956, “Our Hi-Y club was meeting in May, right before we graduated, and we must have had $75 in our treasury and the question was what to do with it. As it happened, the night we were meeting, the Kiwanians were also meeting…we in marched, the whole Hi-Y Club, and interrupted their meeting to tell them we need to start expanding the Bayway.” Hi-Y President Al Bruscino spoke for his group and then gave the Kiwanis Club all they had left in their Hi-Y treasury as seed money to get the project going.

Bayway Addition (1958), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

Page from the Bayway scrapbook covering the late 1950s through the 1960s, Bay Village Historical Society Collection

Again, the town came together to build a youth center and again Ester Reid and a too numerous to list group of townspeople helped make it a reality. Charles J. Pecoy and Dr. Dean E. Saddler were General Chairman of the Bayway Expansion Committee and Past General Chairman, respectively. The local teenagers were credited for their fundraising activities which included car washes, dances, pancake days, door-to-door canvassing, and making publicity posters, amongst other activities. Bob Reid recalled working concessions at dances on the tennis courts in Cahoon Memorial Park. The town’s fundraising activities raised about $12,000, with an additional $8,000 from the City Council and the Recreation Board, but it wasn’t enough. The committee needed more help from the community. Most notably, Bay teens helped in the actual construction of the new 2,300 sq. ft. addition to the Bayway after a week-long buildup by professional contractors to a “Bayway Finishing Day” on October 18, 1958. On that day, the youth were joined by skilled and semi-skilled citizens for a day of community work and celebration. By November of 1958, Dr. Saddler turned over the keys to the now 4,700 sq. ft. building to Mayor Gershom Barber for the town youth to begin use.

Finished Bayway expansion (probably 1958 or ’59), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

In a write up about the Bayway expansion just before the construction in 1958 titled “A Community Pulls Together to Prevent Delinquency Before It Can Happen,” it is noted that the effort that was made is worthy of publicity. “Behind this “history” is a wealth of human interest. Bay Village is a rather “typical,” “ideal” suburban community of proudly tended, neat homes that has grown from a close-knit village to a city of widely separated special-interest groups. The force of a project that is being done for and with its kids has served to pull these groups together. The drive and effort of devoted citizens have made it go. Building trades are donating services and suppliers selling without profit. Here is a social phenomenon worthy of a second look—noteworthy because it can be made to happen elsewhere—an expression of the kind of community leadership that can provide facilities to put kids on the right path—a project to prevent juvenile delinquency before it happens, by providing youth facilities when they are needed.”

Teenagers operate heavy machinery! (Undated), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

The young builders take a break (Undated), Bay Village Historical Society Collection

We have only a few papers from the 1960s about Bayway and very little between then and the 1990s to fill in the gaps. We will continue our history of Bayway Cabin’s later years in another post to come soon.

Your donations and memberships help keep these artifacts preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/

If you have any Bayway photos to share with us or can identify people in the posted photos, please contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

Victorian Virtual Reality

by Michele Yamamoto

In this week’s Glimpse of the Past, we are exploring our collection of stereographs and stereoscopes, credited by some as the very early precursor of modern day virtual reality technology.

Viewing photographs through a stereoscope was a wildly popular form of entertainment in America and most households in the 1800s and early 1900s owned one.

96.8.22 Wooden hand-held stereoscope (with copy of stereograph inserted)

The style of stereoscopes in the Bay Village Historical Society collection are used to view a stereograph card that is comprised of two photographic images. The images are placed side-by-side to create the illusion of depth to the person looking through the lenses of the stereoscope. This is done by taking two images of the same subject, offset by the same distance as human pupils (about 2 ½ inches). The viewer’s left eye views just the left image and the viewer’s right eye views only the offset right image. After taking a little time to adjust your eyes, you will soon see the images appear as one image in a 3-dimensional effect.

The original concept of “binocular vision” was first studied and described in 1838 by English scientist Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) who demonstrated the concept by constructing the first stereoscope using mirrors. Scottish scientist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), already known since 1817 as the inventor of the kaleidoscope, saw great promise in this new invention. He improved upon Wheatstone’s design by making the device portable, adding lenses and dispensing with the mirrors. By the 1850s stereograph images were produced inexpensively and in massive amounts by companies such as The London Stereoscope Company. In about 1860, the American poet and physician Oliver Wendall Holmes (1809-1894) designed a popular version of the stereoscope viewer for the public that was a simple, hand-held device. This more convenient style of stereoscope became the most used in American homes and is the type we have in our collections at the Bay Village Historical Society.

2021.P.FIC.223C “No Place Like Home” Keystone View Company 1898

Now, in the comfort of his or her own home, the average American could see sights in more near realistic depth of vision of everything from the spectacular and exotic, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, to the smaller and more intimate, as in scenes of family life. They could take the viewer into a historically significant event, such as images of the President McKinley funeral in our collections. They might be printed in a series to tell a story or to educate, as in our collection of cards that tell the story of the life of Jesus Christ. They may include additional information on the backside or another view at which to gaze. The American stereograph publisher Underwood and Underwood was the biggest in the world and at their height, produced 25,000 views a day for public consumption. We own at least one of their cards in our collections.

2021.P.FIC.224 “Easter Morning” Strohmeyer & Wyman, Publishers, sold by Underwood & Underwood 1892

2020.P.FIC.221B No.2 “Adoration Of The Wise Men”

2021.P.FIC.223S “The Funeral of President McKinley” Keystone View Company 1901

2021.P.FIC.225 “Our Father Which Art In Heaven”

2021.P.FIC.223 “Making Room For Patches” Keystone View Company 1901

2021.P.FIC.223Q “St. Gotthard R.R. and the Axenstrasse, Brunnen, Switzerland, Keystone View Company 1901

Stereographs became less popular as the 20th century moved on but we still have important uses for 3-D images today in such uses as microscopy, and even to train surgeons and pilots. Brian May, member of the rock group Queen, has for decades been an avid producer and promoter of the art of stereography (3-D photography) and has recently produced several books on the subject, complete with included viewers.
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a popular pastime from days long gone. We only wish you could view them here as they were meant to be seen, through the lenses of a stereoscope viewer.

1997.L.004 Wood and metal stereoscope (with copy of stereograph inserted)

Examples of stereoscopes and stereographs can be seen in person at the Rose Hill museum, which is open on Sundays, April-December, from 2:00 to 4:30pm.

We are working hard to preserve and be able to share objects and images such as these with the public but we need your help. If you enjoyed this post, we ask you to consider donating to or becoming a member of the Bay Village Historical Society at http://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/#Donate. If you’d like a more hands-on experience, consider volunteering by contacting us at (216) 319-4634 or email info@bayhistorical.com.

Information for this post was taken from the following sources:
Thompson, Clive. “Stereographs Were the Original Virtual Reality.” Smithsonian Magazine, October 2017 
Christie, Ian. “The 19th Century Craze for Stereoscopic Photography.” lecture at Gresham College, February 2018 
Pellerin, Denis and May, Brian. “Stereoscopy: The Dawn of 3-D.” November 2021