Monday, September 10, 2012

Pete's Pond, Just-A-Mere, Corrigan's, Rockefeller and Wickliffe's Summer Farms

A small building houses the Wickliffe Board of Education.  It was once the stable to the Rockefeller summer farm.  Wickliffe City Hall was once the estate of shipping magnate Harry Coulby.  Old quarry stone may be found on the trails surrounding Pete's Pond adjacent to Wickliffe High School.  These are remnants from gardens that were part of Millionaire's Mile estates.  Ridge Road at one time sloped down to Lake Erie and vineyards dotted the landscape.  This is part of Wickliffe's early history, a history that began around 1887.

Lake Metroparks entered into a cooperative recently with Wickliffe Schools and is currently undertaking the preservation of Pete's Pond, a local landmark.  A man named Pete acquired the pond property in 1947 and by 1951 the pond was a well known entity.  Pete's Pond is roughly 19 acres and empties into Gully Brook.  It's early history is the backstory today.

Pete's Pond is located on Rockefeller Road.  Yes, Rockefeller as in John D, the Standard Oil magnate who once was part of Cleveland's Millionaires Row. John's youngest brother Frank and his wife Helen bought 158 acres of land off Ridge Road circa 1887.  They built and named their summer home Lakeland.  These homes or summer farms in Lake County were a retreat away from the industrial pollution found in nearby Cleveland.  Frank Rockefeller's farm was one of six located in Wickliffe.  Known as Millionaire's Mile, other farms on Ridge Road included Corrigan's ( Pine Ridge Country Club site), Coulby Mansion (Wickliffe City Hall) and Just-A-Mere- the Joseph Nutt estate.

That time in history has passed, the Wickliffe summer farms are now memories, lands were sold and subdivided.  However a walk through the Pete's Pond property or a drive down Ridge Road may offer you a brief glimpse into another chapter that was Lake County's past.

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