Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Businessman Harry Farnsworth Envisions Emerald Necklace

with 15 comments


At the March Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Advisory Council I learned that Brooklyn Centre businessman Harry Farnsworth along with William Stinchcomb envisioned the Emerald Necklace and served as park commissioner as property was acquired for our beautiful park system. He suggested that “huge strips of land” be joined to make a “great 40 mile sweep of boulevard.  Here is a link to the historic timeline.

I am so proud of the wealth of knowledge that our members of the SCFBC council bring to the table. I am so often pleasantly surprised, and this time was no exception.  Alan Forman shared with us that Mr. Farnsworth started the endeavor to build the emerald necklace. 

Some of you may recognize the name Farnsworth because it is the name associated with the historic building at the southwest corner of Archwood and Pearl Road where The Brooklyn Savings and Loan Company had their offices. Although Mr. William Prescott served as the president of the bank, the building became known as the Farnsworth Building after its Secretary-Treasurer Harry Farnsworth.

Mr. J. Milton Dyer designed the building originally.  This name is well-known to architects and historical preservationists because he designed some well-known structures in our area-mansions, public and manufacturing buildings, and military installations.  He designed the Edmund Burk Mansion on Magnolia Drive that now houses the Music Settlement, the Warner and Swasey building at East 55th and Carnegie, Cleveland City Hall,  Cleveland Athletic Club on Euclid Avenue and the Cleveland Harbor Station of the U.S. Coast Guard and much more here and in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The building was saved when in foreclosure by Dr. William Donahue, a well known businessman and podiatrist in the area. In the early 1980’s, the Farnsworth Building survived a horrific fire that destroyed its roof and a founding village made its future precarious.  Thanks to Reverend C. Neil Wilds, the pastor of Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist and his Board of Trustees the building was secured until Ohio Renal Care purchased and renovated as a dialysis care center. Rencare LLC has owned it since 2000 and presently the site  is occupied by Fresenius.     

The Farnsworth Building and The CPL-Brooklyn Branch, Riverside Cemetery and a few other remaining structures exemplify the history and character of Brooklyn Centre.  Now, as this historic marker of a founding village of the Greater Cleveland are enters the next phase of its existence we look forward again to it being a beacon to the future.

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 6th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Posted in general

15 Responses to 'Businessman Harry Farnsworth Envisions Emerald Necklace'

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  1. In addition to the noteworthy Brooklyn Savings and Loan Building, it is worth pointing out the 3 remaining buildings clustered together in the Scranton/W 25 Street triangle across from the I-71 N exit ramp:
    1) Harry M. Farnsworth’s (1861-1955) long term residence at 3517 W 25 Street, which was eventually acquired by Applewood Centers and used for a time by the Jones Home.
    2) Trinity United Church of Christ, located next door at 3525 W 25, constructed in 1926 by the German community.
    3) St. Nicholas Belorussian Orthodox Church at 3518 Scranton Road, with its picturesque onion dome.
    All of these contribute to defining the diverse historical, social, aesthetic and architectural heritage of our neighborhood. And all face uncertain futures as major changes are envisioned for the W 25 Street corridor. With small hope of returning any to neighborhood service through adaptive reuse, it would be good at least to gain permission from the owners to thoroughly photo document for posterity these beautiful vestiges of our past.

    For a quick PowerPoint survey of “Six Reasons to Save Old Buildings”:

    Alan Forman

    8 Mar 16 at 9:03 PM

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