West Park, OH, technically, Cleveland Ohio, is just south of Lakewood and east of Fairview Park. It is close to literally everything: Freeway, downtown, airport and the Metroparks. Perhaps you have heard of Kamm’s Corners, which is also part of the West Park area. It is named after Oswald Kamm, who opened a grocery store which also served as a post office. Kamm would climb into the valley, cross the river and drop off the mail daily. The mail was postmarked as “Kamm’s, Ohio” and that is how Kamm’s Corners got its name.
The West Park area has plenty to offer and should be your go-to spot for St. Patrick’s Day…or any day for that matter. However, one of my favorite things about West Park is the history, as well as the pride of the people who live here. WestParkHistory.com has compiled a wide variety of stories and pictures that I encourage you to check out. I have spotlighted a couple of my favorites below.
- Tornado of 1953
Did you know that in 1953 a tornado tore through the West Park area (west side of Cleveland and Downtown)? These are a few of the headlines found in The Cleveland Press after the storm ripped through on June 8, 1953: “200 families left homeless by storm”, “9 dead, 300 hurt.” A father lost his home and baby all in 30 seconds while another recounts a seeing a neighbor’s house fly by. The National Guard stayed in the area for weeks to help the community rebuild.
Photo courtesy of Ralph A. Pfingsten and Karen McCurdy on the WestPark History Webpage.
- Puritas Springs Amusement Park 1898 – 1958
In 1898 an Amusement Park opened on the Westside of Cleveland and admission was free! In 1928, the highest, fastest and most dangerous roller coaster in Cleveland opened at Puritas Springs Amusement Park. The coaster, named Cyclone, dipped in and out of the valley of the Metroparks. However, due to the steepness of the ride, its riders were known to become injured riding the coaster and police had to shut it down a few times. Rumor has it that the abandoned tracks can still be seen in the Metroparks. I have plans to track down these abandoned tracks one day to see them for myself.
- Historical Houses
Marquard House – 3260 Warren Road
For years I drove past this house not knowing what it was. Does someone live here? Is it an office building? A banquet hall? Abandoned? I wish I had a better answer as to what this is being used for now; however, the last I heard, it is owned by St. Mary’s. Its name comes from the man who purchased it in 1912, Philip Marquard. Mr. Marquard built this home so that he could raise his 12 children. The home has 52 rooms and even its own chapel.
Marquard House – Image from Google Maps
The Castle House – 16804 West Park Avenue
In 1914, land was purchased and soon after, sandstone was hauled by horse and buggy to build the house that now stands at 16804 West Park Avenue. This house stands out on the street as it looks like the stones used to build a castle. This year, the house turned 100 years old.
- Oswald Kamm’s Grocery Store
Does the building above look familiar? It was a grocery store in the late 1800s. In the 1930s, the store was no longer needed and was transformed into Tony’s Restaurant. I am not sure how long Tony’s restaurant was in the space as a fire in 1997 forced the building to be renovated and Alfonzo’s Tuscan Grill took over the space. In 2009 the space became Panini’s Bar and Grill and is now the new home of the Ironwood Café. I visited Ironwood Café recently and they had some great specials and portion sizes. Try the bloody Mary with a splash of Guinness on top.
Explore Kamm’s Corner Today
Now that you know a little West Park history, I encourage you to get out an explore everything the neighborhood has to offer today. Head on over to Kamm’s Corner to eat at one of my favorite spots such as the Red Lantern, Dragon Towers, Gyro World, Café Falafel, West Park Station, Public House or the Souper Market. Grab breakfast at Gene’s place or Peace, Love and Little Donuts. If you want the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to head to George’s Kitchen. Looking for a great coffee shop? Check out Savor the Moment. For entertainment you should check out Mary’s Lane when they play at PJ McIntyres and grab a Kamms Lager while you are there.
For more ideas on where to visit if you are in the West Park neighborhood, be sure to check out http://www.kammscorners.com/.
Jessica McCartney (aka Marathon Maniac #3963) enjoys running and anything sporty. She has completed 11 marathons and is an Official Blogger for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.