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Forest Hill Park

Cleveland, OH

Located on the home site of John D. Rockefeller’s historic estate built in 1873, Forest Hill Park straddles the boundary between East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights. The 235-acre park was established in 1938 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with the stipulation that the land remain available for recreational purposes and that the park be overseen by a commission comprised of the two city mayors and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Rockefeller commissioned local landscape architect A.D. Taylor to design the park. Working with the site’s dramatic topography, which includes two steep ravines and more than 100 feet of grade change, Taylor left a significant portion of the land wooded or as open meadow or lawn. He emphasized Dugway Brook’s ravine with a spillway and cascade that empty into a large, picturesque lagoon with an open-air stone boathouse. Above the cascade, a rustic stone bridge dating from 1915 crosses the brook, made from Euclid bluestone found on the site. A similar stone bridge crosses the south branch of the creek, and a pedestrian bridge designed by Engineer Wilbur Watson and architect Frank Walker give pedestrians safe access across Forest Hills Boulevard. Forested areas with trails, mostly following the edges of the ravines, include mature sugar maples, oaks, and beech trees, along with 450 other wood and herbaceous plant species. The park also includes picnic areas, an outdoor swimming pool, baseball fields and tennis courts. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

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