GORDON PARK is a 122-acre outdoor recreation area bordering Lake Erie on the eastern side of East 72nd Street. The lakefront tract along the final leg of Doan Brook was originally the private estate of WM. J. GORDON, who landscaped the property with gravel paths, bridges, and wooded groves. Gordon stipulated that it would become a public park at the time of his death, and after he died in 1892 the City of Cleveland received the title. The next year, Gordon Park opened as a city playground with facilities for fishing, boating, bathing, and picnicking. Eventually it was joined to ROCKEFELLER PARK and WADE PARK by a series of bridges.
In the early 1960s, the construction of the Lakeland Freeway (later integrated into MEMORIAL SHOREWAY) divided Gordon Park into two sections: one located directly along the lakefront and another parcel beyond the roadway to its south. Subsequently the park fell into neglect and was almost destroyed by vandalism and misuse. In 1978, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, through a lease agreement with the City of Cleveland, assumed responsibility for restoring the lakeside section as part of the newly established CLEVELAND LAKEFRONT STATE PARK. By 1984, provisions had been made to improve fishing, boating, and swimming through the establishment of the Gordon Fishing Pier, the Intercity Yacht Club, and the Gordon Launch Ramp Area. As of 2006, public facilities included six boat ramps, onshore fishing platforms, a parking lot, and picnic areas. Cleveland Lakefront State Park also maintained its central office on park grounds on Lakeshore Boulevard. The CLEVELAND AQUARIUM operated in the inland section of Gordon Park on East 72nd Street between 1954 and 1986, after which its exhibits were transferred to CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO. The former aquarium site then became a police dog training facility for the City of Cleveland. As of 2006, the remaining parkland still under the city's jurisdiction housed five ball diamonds, a number of tennis courts, and a children's playground.
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