Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Short Story of Wickliffe

Wickliffe remains unique among most suburban cities in that it still lives up to the old and original definition of a city -- an incorporation that can house its residents, provide employment opportunities, and fulfill the needs of its citizens.  Wickliffe, like  many older communities of Lake County has a history dating back to Native American Indian Tribes, early pioneers, and notable industrialists.  Here is an abridged story of the history and people who built the city of Wickliffe.

The William Jones family left Haddam, Connecticut in 1817 in two covered wagons.  Their destination was the Cleveland Public Square area.  The land proved not suitable to their needs and they relocated to land located on a knoll just west of the current Lloyd Road and Euclid Avenue.  The Jones family was accompanied by the Tarbells and built a log cabin near the old village hall (Saylor's Bicycle Shop).  By 1820, a second home was built on what is now Euclid Avenue.  In a short time other notable community names arrived - the Whites, Merrills, Arnolds, Moshers, Taylors, Eddys, Lloyds, and Fullers.  Lloyd's Tavern built in 1820 sat just across from Wickliffe JHS/MS until 1949.  Taylor's house, 'Redwood' was built in 1844 and survived until the Euclid Avenue Drive-In Theater was built.  The city name is open to some debate.  Some claim the Wick House, others credit the name to Charles A. Wickliffe, Postmaster during President Tyler's years.  Mr. Walker opened the first grocery store on Depot Street (E. 289th) and Euclid Avenue.  Mr. Rush soon bought the store and it was associated with the interurban era.

The 1890's saw Wickliffe become summer homes to Cleveland's Gilded Age Families.  Frank Rockefeller had his estate on the site of the current high school.  Price McKinney claimed the current Borromeo Seminary site.  James Corrigan built his home on Ridge Road (Pine Ridge CC).  'Nutwood' was owned by N.K. Devereux (near Telshe Yeshiva site).  Perhaps the most lasting and iconic estate belonged to the Czar of the Great Lakes - Harry Coulby.  His estate now serves as the city hall complex.  Built in 1913 at a cost of over one million dollars, it is a site worth visiting.  Next to Coulby's mansion was the Frank L. White Farm (E.290th).  F.B. Squire called Wickliffe home.

A look back at Wickliffe reveals a New England atmosphere early on.  Around 1893, Germans moved to the Worden Road area.  1895 saw Italians move into the community and vineyards dotted Lloyd Road and Grand Blvd.  The 'Kansas' Crowd arrived and worked at Cleveland Crane and Engineering(circa 1901).  Wickliffe was incorporated in April,1916.  By the 1920's African-Americans settled in the community.  Wickliffe had become an amalgam of America.

Wickliffe today remains much the same as it was a century ago.  A fine industrial belt is located between Euclid Avenue and the Lakeland Freeway.  The large farms and country farms have passed into history, replaced by the community residences originally envisioned by the Western Reserve and Connecticut Land Company settlers from the early 19th century.

Source:  Historical Society Quarterly, November 1966


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