Bay Village Library, part 2 Post War

The following history of the library in Bay Village is taken from an article written by Bay Village Historical Society board member, Cynthia Eakin. It is part 2 of a three-part series that we will be sharing with you through Glimpse of the Past.

If you would like to find out even more about the library or you can help us identify the women the library staff photo below, contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us:

We hope to see you at the Bay Village Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library during their Grand Opening, Saturday, April 30 from 2-5pm in the new location at 27400 Wolf Road.

Rapid post-war community growth prompted a library move

After World War II, Bay Village developed so rapidly that municipal, religious, educational, shopping and residential facilities became inadequate and a period of rapid construction began.

In addition to homes, churches and schools, a new Colonial-style shopping center, a professional building and a post office were built. The village government had many added duties, including increased police and fire protection, the building of new roads and the improving of water and sewage systems. Since there were so many responsibilities to be met, the village adopted the charter form of government. In 1950, the Village of Bay became the City of Bay Village, the legal name required by Ohio law after a village has attained a population of 5,000 or more.

The growth of Bay Village was soon reflected in the library program. More books were being read, circulation increased and there were more requests for meetings to be held in the library. The library board was convinced that some measure had to be taken to relieve the situation. Many pros and cons were considered, but the final decision was to join the county library system.

Head Librarian Eve Taylor Gleeson, circa late 1940s

In 1946, Mrs. Eve T. Gleeson succeeded Mrs. Scott as librarian, after Mrs. Scott had served for 24 years. In her annual report that year, Mrs. Gleeson noted that the lack of heat in the library during the winter caused meetings and children’s story hours to be rescheduled. Circulation was dropping and newcomers to Bay Village were going into Lakewood for their books. Beloved as Rose Hill was by old and new residents, it could no longer serve as a public institution for a city now totaling 13,000 residents. Another disadvantage of having the Dover-by-the-Lake Library housed in Rose Hill was its isolated location. Because of its distance from the schools, the library was inaccessible to younger children due to a lack of public transportation. Heavy motor traffic made it too dangerous for children to attempt walking to the library.

2022.P., At the crowded Dover-by-the-Lake Library, patron Grace McFarren browses books in the kitchen, May 1959.

Ever since becoming affiliated with the Cuyahoga County library system, groups within the community had pressed for a new library in a new location. A new Library Advisory Board was formed in February 1957, and a site committee was appointed at the very first meeting. Their first selection was a plot of land behind the Bay Village City Hall and across from the Wolf Road shopping center. But, because this was part of Cahoon Memorial Park, the title of which had been left to the people of the community through the mayor and city council, the title could not be transferred to the Cuyahoga County library as required.

In the midst of these discussions, Mrs. Gleeson resigned as librarian. Mrs. Helen M. Casey, then librarian at Fairport Public Library, was appointed to succeed Mrs. Gleeson. By the time Mrs. Casey assumed her duties in Bay Village in August 1957, the site search for a new building had been settled. It was the southeast corner of Wolf and Dover Center roads.

The circulation of the library showed a sharp increase under Mrs. Casey’s leadership.

2022.P. Head Librarian Helen Casey, January 18, 1960

According to city hall estimates, the 1957 population in Bay Village was 13,500, and the librarian’s annual report showed a total circulation for that year of 45,607 books, an increase of 10,248 over the preceding year. Much of that increase resulted from an accelerated program of work with children, made possible by the appointment of a part-time children’s librarian. In addition to story hour at the library, book talks were given at the schools and a summer reading program was established.

Adult library services were also increasing, with many more books, film strips and recordings being borrowed from the regional library. The Baycrafters continued to occupy space in the library, bringing in people through their art classes. The League of Women Voters continued to meet at the Dover-by-the-Lake library, as well as the Lake Erie Junior Museum, now the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, under the direction of Mrs. Elberta Fleming.

2022.P.FIC.05.3 Elberta Fleming (founder of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center) stands by the doorway of the Children’s Museum at Dover-by-the-Lake Library, circa late 1940s

By the end of 1957, there were several part-time assistant librarians and one full-time desk worker. The mayor’s report for the year indicated that the proposed site for the new library building had been purchased and bonds issued. The title to the land was transferred to the Cuyahoga County library in early 1958. After the bids for construction went out, work on the building plans proceeded under the supervision of the architectural firm of Mellenbrook, Foley and Scott of Berea.

The year of 1959 saw a new library under construction, and also saw a critical re-evaluation of the book collection. Many outdated volumes were cancelled and purchases of newer books were made. Several part-time assistant librarians were added to the staff in anticipation of the move to new quarters. The Library Advisory Board and civic groups worked to raise additional funds for furnishings, landscaping and parking lot paving.

2022.P.08.11.04 Bay Village Library at 377 Dover Center Rd., Jan. 1960

2022.P. Interior of the new Bay Village Library on opening day, January 18, 1960

In January 1960, the new library building was ready for occupancy, and dedication ceremonies were held on Jan. 31. Dover-by-the-Lake Library slipped into the past, ever to be associated with Rose Hill, and the Bay Village Public Library took its place at the hub of the community’s life.

The information in this segment of the series on the history of the Bay Village Library was gathered from, “Evolution of a Library: Bay Village, Ohio” by Marjorie Corey.

2022.P. Helen Casey and Mayor Gilbert Holtz signing a proclamation at a library open house event, October 1969

2022.P.08.11.23 Librarians Helen Casey (bottom left) and Anne Saunders (bottom middle) with other staff at the Bay Village Library, August, 1965

Bay Village Library, part 1 Dover-by-the-Lake

As Bay Village prepares for the opening of its much-anticipated new library, we at the Bay Village Historical Society would like to share with you some library history from our collections.

The following early history of the library in Bay Village is from an article written by Bay Village Historical Society board member, Cynthia Eakin. It is part 1 of a three-part history that we will be sharing with you for the next few installments of Glimpse of the Past.

If you would like to find out even more about the library or Bay Village history in general, contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us:

We hope to see you at the Bay Village Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library during their Grand Opening, Saturday, April 30 from 2-5pm in the new location at 27400 Wolf Road.

History of the Bay Village Library—Part 1, by Cynthia Eakin

Cahoon Will established the first library in Bay Village

The first settler in Bay Village was Joseph Cahoon, whose youngest granddaughter, Ida Maria Cahoon, left the family estate to the city for a library.

The Cahoon family settled along the Indian trail, now Lake Road, in 1810. In 1818, their permanent home, called Rose Hill, was built where it now stands. The third son of Joseph Cahoon married Margaret Van Allen, and their 11 children were all successful, prominent citizens. Three of their daughters, Lydia, Laura and Margaret were teachers in the Cleveland school system, and a fourth daughter, Ida, was a writer of prominence in the field of poetry. So, it was natural for a family interested in education to foster learning by establishing a library.

The library was made possible through the will of Ida Maria Cahoon. In her will, she asked that the name be, “Dover-by-the-Lake Library,” should another library ever by organized in what was then Dover Township.

The Cahoon estate consisted of 114 acres, the ancestral home of Rose Hill and the barn, left in trust to Mayor Walter Wright, city council, and their successors. The will stipulated that Rose Hill was to be used for a library and museum, and the surrounding land was to be used as a park. Item 25 of the will states, “I hereby direct and request that steps be taken by said Mayor and Council of the Village of Bay to enlist the attention of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, and solicit his help and assistance in establishing and maintaining said library. I hereby give and bequeath to the Library of Dover-by-the-Lake herein intended to be created, all of my books, pictures and I request that the family portraits and best pictures be placed on the walls of the Cahoon homestead, and be forever maintained therein.”

2022.P.08.11.07 Dover-by-the-Lake Library located at Rose Hill, May 25, 1959

A committee of 12 members was appointed on Feb. 2, 1920 to organize and develop a program for a public library. This committee met formally on Dec. 10, 1920 with their recommendations. On Mar. 18, 1921, Mrs. Emma Paul Pope and Miss Olive P. Bailey were appointed associate librarians. They planned and organized the library and opened it to the public on May 24, 1921. There were 80 people present, which was a sizable crowd in a village of 750 people.

Ida Cahoon’s will established two trust funds known as the “Library of Dover-by-the-Lake Fund,” to buy books, maintain, support and care for the library. This fund, plus fines and a small sum from the village general fund, financed the library from its beginning until 1935, when it became eligible for funds from intangible taxes.

R2021.01.10 Julia Osborn Scott

Mrs. Julia Osborn Scott was appointed resident librarian on Oct. 1,1922, and continued until 1946. Scott was the great granddaughter of Reuben Osborn, one of the first settlers of Bay Village. She not only knew her library collection, but she knew the village and all of its inhabitants, and many of their ancestors, if not by personal relationship, then by stories, folk lore and traditions passed down from one generation to the next. From her own family, she learned of the trials and hardships the pioneers endured as they traveled west into Ohio. Since Scott was steeped in the folk lore, manners and customs of the pioneers, she gave this information as freely as she lent a book.

Every newcomer to the village knew the library and Mrs. Scott before knowing anyone else, except perhaps their minister. The library was the center of interest, and there was a personal relationship between the librarian and her patrons that would not exist in larger communities. Scott lived in the upstairs of the library building from her appointment in 1924 until her retirement in 1946. Her quarters were described as being homey and interesting, as there were books everywhere.

Although there was always work to be done, Scott took the time to relate experiences that had no relation to the borrowing of books or reference readings, such as the time a Gypsy family took refuge in the library, since it was the nearest house when their baby became sick. They remained two weeks, but with all of the care they could give, the child died and was given a decent burial in the cemetery by the lake. Then, there was the incident when two men who had imbibed too much, broke into the library on a very cold night and slept on the couches downstairs. Still slightly tipsy in the morning, they proceeded upstairs to wake the librarian to ask her to intercede with the police on their behalf.

During the Depression years and until after WWII, the library hours were irregular and long for one person supervising alone. Because Scott lived in the building, many people would drop in at their convenience. The average number of hours from 1923 to 1934 were not recorded, but from 1934 to 1937, 34 hours a week were scheduled. Between 1937 and 1948, the number increased to 48 hours. There was no regular assistant, yet the services and circulation continued to increase. The library was known first as a Private Trust Library, then it became a municipal library and finally a branch of the Cuyahoga County Library System.

The Mayor and city council leased the dwelling house to the Board of Library trustees, furnished custodial services, water, gas and electricity, and paid the sum of $1,000 a year out of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library fund for use in operation and maintenance of the library. This agreement lasted from 1943 to 1952.

The information in this segment of the series on the history of the Bay Village Library was gathered from, “History of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library of Bay Village, Ohio” by Ruth R. Lephart, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Library Science, School of Library Science, Western Reserve University, June, 1954.

2022.P.FIC.05.2 Lake Erie Junior Museum event (now Lake Erie Nature & Science Center) inside the library at Rose Hill, circa the late 1940s.