The History of Bay Village City Hall 1914-Present

The following article was part of a presentation given in 2014 by Bay Village Historical Society President, Catherine Burke Flament, during the 100th anniversary of Bay Village City Hall.

The History of Bay Village City Hall 1914-Present

by Catherine Burke Flament
President, Bay Village Historical Society

Bay Village was carved from the Northwest Territory and then the Western Reserve which was divided into 5 square mile townships. By 1806 Hubbard and Stow would purchase Township #7, Range 15 on Lake Erie for $26,087 and named it Dover (currently Bay Village, Westlake and the northern section of North Olmsted).

In 1901 not everyone was happy with how the government was being run in Dover and those in the northern section decided they were not being represented adequately and since they were paying the majority of the taxes the decision was made to separate.  After separation was proposed a lawsuit ensued over who would have the railroad and we won the Ohio Supreme Court case.  So, the Hamlet of Bay was formed in 1901 and trustees were elected.  With a population of 300 the environment was changing.  Trains and the interurban, which began in 1897, were transporting more and more individuals to the country and allowing others to go to the city for employment, although Dover continued to remain primarily a rural community.

Another change occurred in 1903 as a petition was made to incorporate into the Village of Bay.  In an old scrapbook it was stated that there were 110 eligible voters at the time and 40 individuals running for mayor. Reuben Osborn was elected to a two-year term as mayor with the first meeting held at the School House on May 4th.  There were some interesting issues that council would address over the next few years:

Letter from Attorney William Mathews to the Cahoon sisters, December 23, 1903, 2000.FIC.02.254. The letter refers to the recent split of the Village of Bay from Dover Township and proposes a petition to change the name of the town. Mr. Mathews and the sisters seemed to agree that the name “Dover” should be retained.  Mr. Mathews prefers to get rid of the word “Village” and suggests the name “Doverlake.”

In 1905 an ordinance was passed to not allow signs to be erected in the village and every effort was made to keep telephone poles from being installed.  The world was changing.  The model T, phonographs, light bulbs, typewriters and other advances were emerging, but Bay Village seemed to enjoy its country flavor and not want to rush into any drastic advances.  But bathhouses were slated to be installed which may have been a result of the influx of weekend visitors from the city, looking for a relaxing weekend at the Wischmeyer Hotel or just a day at the beach.

Albert Horace Wolf would become the second mayor of the Village of Bay in 1910 and one issue he had to address, which came up more than once, was the conduct and attire at the beach. This year also brought the addition of our first bank.

Two major issues though evolved in 1909.  It was proposed to have water piped into the village and that a formal city hall should be built.  The Cahoon sisters, becoming aware of the need offered land for city hall which was gratefully accepted. Plans were designed by architects Knox and Elliott who were hired in 1912, blending a combination of styles.  John Kiser & Brother Co. proposed the lowest bid of $8,300, which was accepted on March 12, 1914 and the building began.  Construction was questioned in July stating that the quality of the brick work needed to be re-evaluated and may need to be stopped.  Evidently the quality improved and city hall was completed.  The first official meeting was held in this building 100 years ago today, November 3rd, 1914.  The school board would begin using city hall for its meetings in 1915 with a temporary outhouse built in March of that year.  The annual budget submitted in 1915 was $7,350.

One more name change would occur as we approached 7,000 residents in 1950 and we became a city with the official name of City of Bay Village.

Numerous improvements have occurred from the original structure with additions in 1962 and 1973 and a gable roof and clock tower added to this building in 1990.  All in all, these additions have mirrored the growth the city has seen through the years.

1963 Invitation to the opening of Bay Village City Hall additions

Inside of invitation to see new additions floorplan of Bay Village City Hall, 1963


Come view beautiful examples of bead art during our latest exhibition Beadwork: The Beauty of Small Things at the Rose Hill Museum in Bay Village from 2:00-4:30 p.m. every Sunday, April through December, 2023 (closed May 14). Admission is free and our docent guides will be happy to direct you. Contact us by phone at (216) 319-4634 or email, with any questions.

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