Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

City of Cleveland :: Division of Park Maintenance and Properties: Destroying public property at will to lighten the maintenance workload

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We are posting this email here for the record with regard to the city’s arrogant and high-handed attempt to destroy mature, big trees in W. C. Reed Park. Portions of this communication are mine, and others are Laura McShane’s:

Hello all-

This kind of high handed “full steam ahead” without adequate community engagement is unacceptable.

Destroying trees that have a value of $192,973 per tree and replacing them with 2 in. saplings because they MAY BE toxic is unacceptable.

Trashing a neighborhood park in the name of “remediation” with funds from the EPA is unacceptable.

For years, residents near the park have asked for routine maintenance of the trees only to be told how long the maintenance list is, how small the Urban Forestry budget is, and how short handed they are is unacceptable.

In the light of the unwillingness for the City to provide the documentation that provides the FACTS concerning why the trees must be destroyed is unacceptable.

I find it exceedingly strange that when new housing was proposed along the park and on Denison Avenue, these environmental concerns were down[played as “having no effect” but when park improvements that are strictly discretionary and DO NOT have to be done, environmental issues that will allow EPA funds be used for a contract for remediation the landscape changes.  WHY???

Please provide the documents the residents requested posthaste and STOP the forward momentum until the community has answered.

Gloria Ferris



On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM, Laura McShane <> wrote:

Hello Ms. Roberson,

Please release all planning and informational documents pertaining to the renovation and   remediation of WC Reed Field.

Residents have not received materials as promised at public meeting held at St. Barbara’s Church in December 2012.  Commissioner Cox assured residents that these materials would be made available for review at the Cleveland Public Library Brooklyn Branch 3706 Pearl Rd. Cleveland OH 44109.

We are now being told that the City of Cleveland plans to proceed with contract under Ohio EPA for remediation that is to include removing all trees at the park.

For the record, residents have not been given adequate information or notice for this to proceed and residents are opposed to removal of mature oak trees in the park.


Laura McShane


City of Cleveland :: Division of Park Maintenance and Properties

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 9th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Celebrating The Life Of A Dear Friend, Gloria Janos

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Earlier today, we gathered at the Wischmeyer-Busch Funeral home to say good bye to our dear friend and neighbor, Gloria Janos.  Although our reason for being together was a sad one, it allowed many of us who had not seen each other for years to catch up, reminisce and mourn our friend.

Her son, Jamie asked Father Bob Andrew to officiate and asked Jim Rokakis, Tim and me to say a few words about his mother.

Here is what I said about a wondeful lady who I am proud to call “friend”.

When Rev. David Bahr replied to my email telling him of the event that has brought us all here today, he replied “what can you say about a neighborhood institution who will be missed by many?”  It made me realize that words are inadequate for me to recount my years of friendship with this incredible lady.

When searching for the proper words, I found three-elegant, security, community that provide a window to the world I shared with Gloria.

Elegance-Her elegance was apparent as she walked the neighborhood with her dog Beau by her side for years or when she represented our neighborhood at city gatherings. Her home was an eclectic array of family photos, antiques, and mementos that were an open book of the four generations that called it their homestead.

Security- My first choice for this second word was safety but when I ran down the list of all the things this woman started in our neighborhood to make us feel safe and secure, I decided security described things more completely. From her founding of Archwood Denison Concerned Citizens , now called the Brooklyn Centre Community Association, BCCA for short, her relationship with Commander Baeppler, the community officers, the gang unit, and her leadership with Court Watch made it so our community knew what to do, when to do it, and how to do it effectively.

Community-Most of all, to me, Gloria embodied community. When I moved into the neighborhood she immediately welcomed me into the fold asking me to become involved in the first Christmas Candlelight Tour for the neighborhood. This would become one of our many collaborations over the years. More important, to a county girl relocated to the city were the picnics and potlucks she organized with friends and neighbors. Any occasion was a call for celebration.4th of July, Cleveland Public Theater performing at the Zoo, an out of town trip to Sandusky for a bit of architecture and history. You name it and she called oldsters, inbetweeners, and youngsters to gather together for food, a bit of drink, and a whole lot of fascinating conversation. She made Brooklyn Centre a small town in the heart of the city.

Neighbor Laura McShane may have said it best about this lady “I think the fact that my street last night included grandparents, parents, single couples and kids…sitting on their porches, reading, eating, talking and laughing…counts for something and should make the world proud of the legacy of Gloria Janos. I couldn’t agree more.

I know there is a man who called you Claude eagerly awaiting the day when you would join him again, so I am trying not to be too sad. . You both have left us with so many wonderful memories. Thank you!

Godspeed dear friend.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 5th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Reminder: Brooklyn Centre Memorial Day Service

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I just sent this email out to many of our friends and neighbors in the Cleveland area.  Although I posted about the Memorial Day service here a few days ago.  I decided it couldn’t hurt to do it again

I hope you are having a relaxing, enjoyable weekend.  here in Brooklyn Centre we will be taking time to honor and reflect on why we celebrate this holiday.  Please join us.  For 33 years, we have been gathering at the Brooklyn Centre Burying Ground to honor the dead and buried Revolutionary War thru World War II veterans at the cemetery.  Led for many years,by neighbors and friend, Rick Nicholson, we will again have this service.

In addition, we will be using this memorial service to begin our year long celebration of Brooklyn Centre’s Bicentennial.  Through the coming months, we will be letting you know of events in and around Brooklyn Centre which will celebrate our long history in Cleveland.

But first, come join us to solemnly reflect and honor the sacrifice of so many so that we can be "the land of the free and the home of the brave:

Click here for details.

The ceremony begins at 11:00 am.  There will be music, the placing of flags on the graves and veterans, and time to visit with friends and neighbors.

Tim says I should mention that Rick Nicholson is a member of the Cleveland Grays, and even in the hottest weather, he dons his wool uniform and beaver hat.  Get there early if you want to see it because tomorrow is supposed to be a scorcher.

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 27th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

2012 Brooklyn Centre Memorial Day Ceremony this coming Monday, May 28th, at 11:00 AM

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Brooklyn Centre Memorial Day Photo Only

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 25th, 2012 at 11:32 am

I Gotta Crow About

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A group of neighbors, community volunteers, our community development staff and friends who did an awesome job last Saturday.  Yes, while many of use were dodging raindrops or simply stayed inside out of the weather, this group of volunteers took on the daunting task of clearing years of neglect from an 1880’s farmhouse on Woodbridge Avenue. Here is an email I received telling all about the team’s efforts.

The yard cleanup last Saturday at the vacant house and adjacent lot at 3105 Woodbridge in our newly minted Jones Home Historic District turned out to be a resounding success.

A ton of thanks is due to so many people for their participation and without whom the event could not have taken place:

  • Bob Gardin whose vision of 3105 Woodbridge as a model/demonstration project for our Jones Home Historic District is one of the driving forces.
  • Brian and Johanna, and Megan’s incredible SCFBC staff including:
  • Adam Stalder who pitched in with me before anyone got there;
  • Greg Baron (who moved heaven and earth to save the property from demo),
  • Joe Narkin and Adam Gifford who made sure crews got there for us;
  • and the great Dave Reuse who carted off the mountain of yard debris in multiple trips.
  • The CCS team of 4 terrific guys under Bob Shore’s efficient supervision.  They tore into the decades’ growth of unruly trees and bushes that had long hidden that side of the house providing cover for vandals, thieves and squatters; the cutting tools they brought were a big help.
  • The bus load of eager kids from the Church of the Saviour youth group in Cleveland Heights under the leadership of Curt Campbell their dynamic youth director.  They came down from Cleveland Heights and poured their energy and enthusiasm into pulling, raking, bagging, dragging yard debris etc. into piles by the sidewalk for Dave to load up. 
  • How does one even begin to thank such a wonderfully focused group for such an encouraging bestowal of grace upon our neighborhood?…
  • Chris Vacario who volunteered to mow the adjacent vacant lot which was still wet from drizzle.  He set a fine example of community spirit!

Thanks to all of you for making the day such a success.  It is another step toward reclaiming the viability of this property which can contribute to the strength of our community.

Thanks to you, Alan Forman for this wonderful recap!

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 1st, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Music! Music! Music! in Brooklyn Centre

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Riverside Cemetery Jazz Festival

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2 pm until ????


The Mike Jacobs Quintet

Horse and Carriage Tours of the Cemetery will be available

Free and open to the public Phone number: 216-351-4800

The Riverside Cemetery Association will hold its first annual jazz festival at the Cemetery located at 3607 Pearl Road. Thee Festival will honor renowned Cleveland jazz musicians, Roberto Ocasio, Robert Lockwood, and Robert "Skeets" Ross, all laid to rest at Riverside. The Jazz Fest will feature a New Orleans style jazz band leading a procession from the 135-year-old Chapel to a circle in the Cemetery where President-elect Rutherford B. Hayes dedicated the Cemetery in 1876. Following a brief program highlighting the lives of these three gentlemen, there will be a concert performed by The Highlighters, aka Mike Jacobs Quintet, noted for its regular Dixieland performances for Cleveland Indians home baseball games since the opening of the ballpark in 1994. The band will also perform traditional New Orleans style funeral music and lead a horse-drawn carriage throughout the cemetery.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 15th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Brooklyn Centre Celebrates Memorial Day

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When I was a child, each Memorial Day began when I watched the traditional parade down the main street of my hometown looking for  my dad, uncles and aunt as they marched proudly down the street. Every parade ended at the town cemetery where my uncle sounded cadence and my dad was one of seven who reported with the 21 gun salute. Taps was played and the flag was raised from half staff. When I grew older I marched as a girl scout and then later, marched as a member of the high school marching band.

How fortunate I am to live in a neighborhood where my friend and neighbor Rick Nicholson carries on a tradition started many years ago by the Brooklyn Centre historical Society in conjunction with the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve at the Brooklyn Centre Burying Ground located at the end of Garden Avenue off Pearl. Each year at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day we gather by the flagpole to remember our dead who fought to keep us free and to pray for the end of war. 

This year began with our organizer, Rick Nicholson, a member of the Cleveland Grays, leading us in The Pledge of Allegiance Reverend Neal Wilds handled the Invocation but first he talked about is connection to the Civil War, his boyhood home is near the site of the Battle of Shiloh. He then moved on to the Battle of Gettysburg and the loss of 51,000 American lives lost in the battle. He said it is hard to imagine the carnage of the three day battle and the lives changed forever.  He  then related that this bloodiest of wars was the beginnings of what we now call Memorial Day  He then said a prayer asking for the end of war and a world of peace.

Reverend Bob Andrew was next and his comments included facts about the cemetery.  Brooklyn Centre Burying Ground is the resting place of many soldiers beginning with the Revolutionary War and ending with World War II. He told us that he was drafted to serve in the Korean War as a chaplain and he was stationed in Japan and did not experience combat. He recited this poem by Cadet Major Kelly Strong Air Force Junior ROTC..

Rick Jaworski who served as president of Brooklyn Centre Historical Society for many years under the tutelage of Ruth Ketteringham read General Logan’s Order #11  which is the official beginning of Memorial Day which began the tradition of decorating soldier’s graves. For years, veteran groups sold crepe paper poppies to purchase flags to be placed on graves. I wonder how those flags are purchased now. Until 1967, when the last Monday in May became the official designated day instead of the original date of May 30th and the popular Decoration Day became known officially as Memorial Day.

After comments from the people gathered around the flagpole, Joy Parrish and her friend Doc played and sang a beautiful selection of songs. She started with this song by Simon and Garfunkel and ended the set with Let there be Peace on Earth -he asked us to sing along and we did quietly and then she performed  America The Beautiful. Along the way, Doc recited Poppies in Flanders Field with additional verses he penned to add soldiers beyond World War I. Joy set the poem to music but Doc forgot to give her ALL the lyrics so we will have to wait till next year to hear he WHOLE song. What she sang was beautiful.  Doc was concerned that John McRae would be upset that he took liberties with his poem. I told him he would probably be proud.

Everyone took a few flags to place on veteran’s graves to show us all how many of those buried there fought for the freedom we enjoy today. As the flags waved in the hot breeze, we said our last prayers for peace and solemnly stood looking out over the cemetery. I love the sound of “Taps” and I cherish the times I was asked to play it for soldiers’ funerals in my hometown. But, I never heard it played on a violin until today. Doc played it with a reverence and melancholy that I thought was reserved for bugles. We then bookended the service with a second recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance”.

I am truly blessed to live in a neighborhood that knows the meaning of “Memorial Day” and knows how to celebrate it.  Mark your calendars we will be there next year.

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 31st, 2011 at 12:06 am

Brooklyn Centre Memorial Day Ceremony

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Every Memorial Day our friend and neighbor Rick Nicholson organizes special tribute to our armed forces and the veterans who lost their lives so that you and I would have the great freedoms we enjoy because we live in America.  There are a few short speeches, music, a flag placing ceremony and conversations with friends and neighbors.  It is a great way to start a holiday that remembers the fallen and the dead who gave their lives so we would be free.  All are welcome.


11:00 AM, MONDAY

MAY 30TH 2011




A Bit of History Moves When the Life of a Building Ends

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Today while skimming through Crain’s Morning Roundup, I clicked through to read the PLAIN DEALER story about the largest gift that Case Western Reserve University  has ever received. The gift came from the last local heir of the Williamson family.  The Williamson Building came to mind.  Then, I read this sentence.

The Williamson name isn’t widely known, perhaps because the family didn’t seek to put its name on buildings. Instead, they devoted their dollars and often personal time to educate minds, enrich spirits and solve social problems, said William Ginn, a retired lawyer and family friend. 

Story by Margaret Bernstein, Plain Dealer, April 29, 2011

I have no doubt that Mr. Ginn is correct in his assessment that the family valued people more than brick and mortar given their heir’s last gift to our community. Still, my interest was piqued.  Maybe it is because I know that the Williamson Building and the Cuyahoga Building were demolished to make way for 200 Public Square, first known as The Sohio Building, my employer at one time.  In fact, my signature is on the last steel beam placed in the building as are many other employees of the day.  My search began.  Here is what I found about the Williamson Building.  My connection was right!  In fact, the Williamson Building was built on the site of the Phillip Williamson homestead. What an historical record of the beginnings of the Williamson family.

Strangely enough,  this weekend as I held a postcard of the Williamson Building in my hand at the Akron Book Fair I had  a conversation with a former Clevelander about Alvie’s restaurant that was sandwiched between the Williamson  and Cuyahoga Building. I told him that Alvie’s had moved to Ontario Avenue. He didn’t remember either building or the wrought Iron clock created by Rose Iron Works in the Williamson but he did remember Schroeder’s and the name of the drugstore in the Williamson Building which I don’t.

As I write this post, I wonder what BP will give to Cleveland when “he” dies.  Cleveland has a rich legacy of philanthropic families that have endowed our community with great wealth.  We need to keep their memories and that value alive by continuing to create wealth, conserve and not spend it. Thank you Mr. Williamson from a grateful Clevelander.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 29th, 2011 at 1:14 pm