Title: Book chronicles Fairview’s post-war transformation
Author: Kevin Kelley
Publisher: WEST LIFE
The city now known as Fairview Park changed its name from Fairview Village in 1948 because Ohio had another community named Fairview. And Fairview Hospital, across the Lorain Road Bridge in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, is not named after its neighboring community but rather after a park in Ohio City near the hospital’s original site.
These are just a few of the historical tidbits readers of “Fairview Park,” the new book by Arcadia Publishing, can learn.
With the release of “Fairview Park,” Arcadia Publishing has produced history books on all of the Westshore’s communities.
Written by former Fairview Park resident Frank Barnett, the book focuses largely on the community’s post-World War II evolution from farmland to American suburbia. The city did not develop more fully earlier because it was isolated by the Rocky River valley, Barnett said.
Like other books in Arcadia’s Images of America series, “Fairview Park” consists almost entirely of photographs and captions.
Nearly half of the book’s 184 photographs came from the Fairview Park Historical Society. “I couldn’t have done the book without them,” Barnett told West Life.
The second biggest source of pictures was the Cleveland Press Archives at Cleveland State University.
Another rich source of photos were the community’s churches.
“Churches have pictures of their congregations just like families have photos of their members,” Barnett said.
Even so, Barnett, 53, had difficulty collecting enough photographs to publish the book, he said. He attributes that in part to the community’s relatively small size. Or, he speculated, there’s someone out there with shoeboxes full of historical photos who didn’t get the word he was looking for them.
While researching the book, Barnett said he came to realize there’s a lot more to the city he grew up in than he knew.
“I did a lot of exploring of the city as I was putting the book together,” said Barnett, who volunteers as a docent and archives collector for the Steamship William G. Mather Museum in Cleveland. The city’s churches are one example of places the former resident examined closely for the first time.
“I’ve been past those churches all my life, but I’ve never been in them,” Bartlett said. “They’re all quite beautiful.”
Many of the city’s neighborhoods, Barnett speculated, are largely unknown except to those who reside there. The Coffinberry neighborhood, named after Great Lakes shipping executive Henry Coffinberry, has no stores, so nonresidents don’t have any reason to go there except to visit residents, Barnett said.
“If you live (in Fairview Park), then you know one part of town and wouldn’t know the other parts of town,” said Barnett, a resident of Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.
Barnett said he hopes the book increases awareness that communities such as Fairview Park evolve over time. The book’s first chapter focuses the city’s businesses, especially the old Westgate shopping center and Fairview Shopping Center, the first of its kind in Cuyahoga County. Longtime Lorain Road stores, such as Ohliger Drugs, Pierstort’s Pharmacy and Beckers Donut Shop are also featured.
Other chapters address the community’s library and schools, century homes and Bain Park Cabin, the city’s most historically significant building.
The book, which went on sale Monday, is available at local retailers, online bookstores, and through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.