Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Lorain’s Highland Park Became Central Park

A scene at Central Park today
Last week I featured an article about Oakwood Park that ran in the Lorain Daily News back in late August 1939. Here’s another article that was part of that newspaper’s series on Lorain parks. This one features a short history of Central Park and ran in the paper about a week later on September 7, 1939.

third in a series of articles concerning the history and development of Lorain city parks

The wading pool at Central Park, located west of Oakdale ave. between West 27th and 30th sts., is constructed over an old quarry hole. The 16 1/2 acre tract purchased by the city in 1911 to be used as park land was all quarry and trees. Old timers in the neighborhood say it was a tale easy to believe that the quarry hole had no bottom. Several drownings occurred that made even the boys who persisted in using the hole for swimming, more cautious. So the city lost no time in filling up the old “death trap” with rubbish, tin cans and refuse, and after it had settled sufficiently, topped it with a thick cement wading pool.

The park was christened “Highland Park” by the city dads, and that name stuck until 17 years later. In June, 1928, persons owning lots adjacent the spot, petitioned the city to change the name to Central Park. The council acquiesced and by ordinance No. 3527, the new name became legal.

More people per square foot use Central as a play spot than any other place in the city, according to statistics provided by the City Recreation Commission. Many games of the city baseball leagues are played on the Central diamonds. The City Park Commission realize only too well, the need of more park space in Central Lorain. A few adequate spots are available, and have been considered pending the time when the city has funds for such a purchase.

The park as it is, has a number of improvements listed for it by the Park Department book of “must be dones,” according to Supt. Geo. Crehore. A new wading pool, a new rest room and shelter house, new baseball bleachers, more tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and more picnic tables and benches are necessary to equip the park satisfactorily for the use of the people it serves.

I remember my father late in life expressing his annoyance at the park’s name change from Highland to Central Park.

I guess it was because he spent a lot of time playing there as a kid in the 1920s. It was only a block from the house where his grandparents lived on W. 28th Street, and just a couple blocks from where he grew up on Livingston. Thus the name change probably trampled on his memories.

Nevertheless, today the Highland Park name lives on as the name of the boulevard running east off of Oberlin Avenue towards the park’s northern limits.

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