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WEST PARK

WEST PARK, the west side neighborhood and the last large suburb to merge with Cleveland, occupies a 12.5 sq. mi. area between W. 117th St. to the Rocky River Valley and from LAKEWOOD's southern boundaries to Brookpark Rd. The Cleveland Planning Commission divides West Park into 4 subneighborhoods: Warren-Munn, the area's "elite" suburban area; Riverside and Jefferson, areas of middle-class families; and Puritas-Bellaire-Longmead, with a fair-sized African American population and some lower-income areas. Originally part of ROCKPORT Twp., West Park was named for John West, an early settler. During the mid-19th century, the area was a community of isolated homes and rutted wagon paths. Lorain Ave., the only major thoroughfare, was a wooden plank toll road that ran past the Sherman House and the Old Lorain St. House, rest stops for travelers. Oswald Kamm opened his grocery ca. 1875, and later a post office on the southwest corner of Lorain and Rocky River Dr., inaugurating a commercial intersection thereafter known as KAMM'S CORNERS. In 1900 the county approved the formation of the Twp. of West Park. With unimproved roads covered by snow in the winter and lost in a sea of mud in the spring, isolated West Park was often referred to as the "lost city." Before 1900 the area's only public transportation was a horse-drawn omnibus operating between W. 98th St. and Kamm's Corners. During the early 1900s, the Cleveland & Southwestern Interurban provided a connection with the WOODLAND AVE. & WEST SIDE RAILWAY. In 1913 the CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. ran cars east to W. 117th St., extending the line to the airport in 1931. Elections on annexation were held in West Park and Cleveland in 1922. Annexation was approved by large majorities and occurred on 1 Jan. 1923.