LINCOLN PARK is a small, rectangular public park located between W. 11th and W. 14th streets and Kenilworth and Starkweather avenues in the TREMONT section. In 1850 Mrs. Thirsa Pelton purchased about 70 acres on Cleveland's south side with the idea of founding a girl's school. She died in 1853, before the school could be built, and her heirs surrounded "Pelton Park," as it was called, with a high fence and locked the gates. Local residents, however, had come to regard the park as a public recreation ground and repeatedly tore the fence down. The trouble stemmed from a map of the property filed in the courthouse in 1851, containing a notation indicating that Pelton Park "is occupied as a pleasure ground and is to be so kept and used forever." In 1868 the city council's committee on judiciary declared the park to be "under private control but yet a public playground." Bitter litigation followed until 1879, when the city finally purchased the property from John G. Jennings for $50,000. Residents celebrated the opening of the park on 4 July 1880 with a barbecue. By 1896, restored with new walks, a fountain, and a bandstand, the park was renamed Lincoln Square, later Lincoln Park. In 1913 brewer Otto I. Leisy donated $50,000 to build a playground in the park, and in 1936 Lincoln Park was graded and landscaped under a WPA project. In the early 1950s a swimming pool was installed; in 1981 a new "tot lot" was built. In 1989, a community-based effort to revitalize the park and the Tremont area resulted in the construction of a $25,000 gazebo in the center, approximately on the site of the old bandstand.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

View image in Digital Cleveland Starts Here®


Cleveland Historical Logo

View more on Cleveland Historical

Article Categories