Emerald Necklace Inn and the Fairview Park Cemetery
The Emerald Necklace Inn is situated at the eastern edge of Fairview Park. It occupies a century-old building that once housed the first grocery store in Fairview Village. The proprietors of the store were Nick and Mary Gilles. And it is here our story begins.
Nick Gilles, born in Germany in 1869, ventured to the U.S. with an aunt and uncle when he was 11 years old. Mary Frobieter, born in 1874, moved here from Germany as a young girl with her family. They met when they were both working for William White, at White's Two-Minute Stock Farm and Villa in Rockport. Nick and Mary wed on October 11, 1893.
While they lived in Cleveland for a time, Mary's heart was here, where she grew up and her parents still resided. The couple returned to Fairview Village and opened the first grocery store at 18840 Lorain Road. The business was on the first floor of the two-storied brick building and the family lived on the second floor. Nick and Mary had five children; three who grew to adulthood.
Frederick, one of the three, served during World War I and died in France of toxemia and influenza at the age of 24. He was brought back home to be buried in the Rockport Cemetery, as it was known then. In time, both Nick and Mary were interred there.
The legacy of this family, their involvement in the community, along with endearing stories of the grocery store itself is well-kept by Innkeeper, Gloria Cipri-Kemer. Because she treasures the history, she has become involved with the Fairview Park (Rockport) Cemetery.
Within walking distance of the Emerald Necklace Inn, the Fairview Park (Rockport) Cemetery is the final resting place of many local pioneers, veterans from seven wars, Fairview Park's first mayor, a suffragist, a professional baseball player and a host of everyday folk. Since the late 1800s, village and city personnel, various local organizations and individuals alike have worked hard to preserve, upkeep, and honor these beloved grounds.
Every year, the City of Fairview Park, the We Do Care Committee and the American Legion Post 738 remember our 60+ veterans with Memorial Day activities. This year's activities will begin at 8 a.m. with a service at city hall. The parade will start around 9 a.m., travelling down Lorain Road from city hall to the cemetery. Here the American Legion Post 738 takes over the ceremonies to honor our veterans. For many, it is a yearly tradition to visit the cemetery on this day.
This year, the addition of 10 new weeping cherry trees, planted just last fall, should be a pleasant surprise for everyone. The trees were made possible, in part, through the generous donation of Gloria Cipri-Kemer and the Emerald Necklace Inn.
The Next Project
Because Gloria enjoys and respects our local history, she would like to continue to participate in cemetery improvements. The next project is the installation of a new cemetery entrance gate. To accomplish this endeavor, Gloria has teamed up with Sharon Guinaugh, past president of the Fairview Park Historical Society and author of "Come Walk with Me, Exploring Fairview Park-Rockport Cemetery, Cuyahoga County, Ohio."
Gloria and Sharon have planned four dates in the summer for a cemetery tour followed by a luncheon at the Inn. Sharon will take guests on her favorite tour, "Off the Cuff", unscripted and largely unrehearsed. She will share the area's rich history and introduce some of the "permanent residents" as you explore the grounds. After the cemetery excursion, Gloria will host lunch at the Inn and tell some endearing Gilles stories. There will be an informal Q-and-A with Sharon and her book will be available for signing.
The tour dates are June 12, July 17, August 21, and September 18. Tours will begin at the cemetery entrance at 10 a.m., rain or shine. Private outings can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are $30.00 per person, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the entrance gate project. To make your reservations or for more information, please call Gloria at 440-333-9100 and mention cemetery tour.
Sharon Guinaugh is a native of Fairview Park and graduate of Fairview High School. She is a past president and former archivist of the Fairview Park Historical Society and the author of "Come Walk with Me."