Preserving History: One Piece of Sandstone at a Time

The Beautification Committe needs your help to restore the elegance of several landmarks. (Picture of exhaust stains, April 2013.)

There are many historic niches in Rocky River, but the stone wing walls at the corner of Detroit and Erie Roads are obvious landmarks of a bygone era. The Rocky River Beautification Committee has embarked on a project to restore and preserve these landmarks for future generations. We need your help!

According to Jack Nickels, Co-President of the Rocky River Historical Society, the walls were commissioned by Clifton Beach at some point between 1909 and 1919 and designed by an architect, Mr. Smith. If they seem similar to the Wagar Beach arch, that's because they are. Mr. Smith and his stonemasons built all of them over a period of roughly 13 years. The sandstone came from a quarry on Hall Road in Lakewood, as well as some from Olmsted Falls and Berea.

Time and pollution have taken a toll on the wing walls. Missing mortar and black exhaust remnants can be spotted easily by walkers, but many are too small to be seen while driving by or waiting at the traffic signal. Lauren Miller, an Erie Road resident and Beautification Committee member, decided to spearhead an improvement project designed to restore the beauty and elegance of the walls. The self-evident conclusion to refurbish the walls: Tuck pointing and cleaning are necessary.

Concurrent with their research and bid solicitation for the masonry work, Lauren’s subcommittee also undertook a general clean-up project. Overgrown perennials were removed last summer, the beds were mulched, and a few annuals were installed. The city focused on trimming the trees. Similar plans are slated for this year, with shrubs and flowers planned for installation in stages, after the masonry work is completed.

The project’s cost is estimated at $7,700, which covers both masonry work and upgraded landscaping. The Beautification Committee is currently raising funds to cover that expense. The planting and ongoing maintenance will be managed by Beautification Committee volunteers.

An anonymous donor is offering a challenge grant that will double-match each dollar contributed to the project. We are confident that the Rocky River community will see the value in preserving the wing walls for another hundred years.

You can support this project today! The donation period will conclude on June 30. To help make this plan become a reality, please send your contribution, payable to the City of Rocky River, to the following address:

Beautification Committee/City of Rocky River

21012 Hilliard Blvd.

Rocky River, OH 44116

Thank you to Rocky River Mayor Pamela Bobst and Mary Kay Costello, Director of Public Safety Service for their support of this project.

To see more pictures, or to find out more about the Rocky River Beautification Committee, visit http://www.rrcity.com/beautification-committee/

Liz Harmath

Liz Harmath is the Chair of the Rocky River Beautification Committee.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 3:41 PM, 06.04.2015