Our mission is to promote the preservation, study, interpretation and appreciation of the history of the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
Ross E. Bassett, President
Ralph A. Pfingsten, Vice- President
Doug Smorag, Treasurer
Elaine Staley, Secretary
Christine M. Rafalke
Contact any of our Trustees and Officers by using our Contact Form.
The Founding of West Park Historical Society
Before annexation by Cleveland became effective in 1923, West Park was an independent municipality with its own mayor, city hall, safety forces and school system. This history may have been lost had it not been for the efforts of a few dedicated individuals who researched and recorded aspects of West Park’s history, often unaware of one another’s efforts. Among the early researchers who sought to preserve this history were the late Hal Swinerton, the late Barbara Unterzuber, and West Park Kiwanis. Their efforts during the 1960s through the early 1980s were relied upon by the enthusiastic researchers who followed.
In early 2004, Charles C. Chaney, a retired librarian, and Gary Swilik, a retired private investigator, pooled their talents and photograph collections, establishing the first website dedicated to West Park history: WestParkHistory.com.
About the same time, West Park native and retired John Marshall High School teacher Ralph A. Pfingsten completed his manuscript focusing exclusively on local history. In 2004 the John Marshall High School Alumni Association published Pfingsten’s book, From Rockport to West Park. Many years in preparation, it was the first major work devoted to the history of West Park and Rockport Township, Ohio.
In 2005 the publicity and interest in this book served to draw together like-minded individuals to the community room of Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation. Ralph Pfingsten read the following resolution: “That it is the consensus of this meeting that a society for the purpose of studying, preserving, interpreting and promoting West Park history now be formed.” The resolution was voted on and approved on August 30th, 2005.
Learn about the origin of West Park.
West Park Historical Society is an exempt nonprofit community organization under IRS code section 501 (c)(3)