Does anyone remember the “real” Lakewood Centennial celebration that took place in 1989? Yes, Lakewood achieved a population of 12,000 in 1911 and became a CITY, but the HAMLET of Lakewood was established in 1889. A quick review of Lakewood’s history: In 1805 the Lakewood area was designated as Township 7, Range 14 of the Western Reserve. James Nicholson was the first permanent settler in 1818, and in 1819 the Lakewood and Rocky River area was named Rockport Township.
In 1871, East Rockport (Lakewood) was designated in Rockport Township, and in 1889, East Rockport became the Hamlet of Lakewood, population 400. The name “Lakewood” was chosen because we bordered on the lake and were heavily forested.
In 1988, Mayor Anthony Sinagra assembled a group of about 24 Lakewood citizens representing all phases of life in Lakewood: Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Lakewood Clergy Association, the Office on Aging, Beck Center, Lakewood Schools, Lakewood Historical Society, Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, Lakewood PTA, Lakewood Hospital, Lakewood Jaycees, City Council and the City of Lakewood. He commissioned us with the task of planning a huge celebration in honor of Lakewood’s 100th birthday. We had about one year to plan a multitude of events starting with the Centennial Ball in January of 1989 and ending with the Lakewood Community Festival in September. During the year we sponsored an historic exhibit at the Beck Center, held an antique show in Lakewood Park, sponsored a Lakewood Home Tour, sponsored “Lakewood Sings” (a choir concert of 350 voices from the West Shore chorale, Lakewood School and Lakewood church choirs), A La Carte in the Park, not to mention HOME TOWN PRIDE WEEKEND which took place on July 28-30 in Lakewood Park and included Music in the Park, a Big Parade, rides, food and games, a Centennial Picnic and Barbecue, fireworks, a tour of Lakewood churches, and a Hometown Band Concert. We also put on a theatrical production showcasing an incredible array of hometown talent (“Century Notes and Footnotes” written by Charlotte Crews and directed by Curt Crews), and we published a book entitled LAKEWOOD: THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS by James and Susan Borchert. (Still available for sale at the Oldest Stone House Museum). There were a few other events along the way, plus a centennial logo contest. PHEW! It was quite a year.
I thought that although the City of Lakewood is now 100 years old, it would be a shame to forget the actual Lakewood Centennial of 1989.
Just think, in 2014 we’ll be 125 years old!
Jane Gaydos, Chairman
Lakewood Centennial Commission, 1989
Chairman of the 1989 Lakewood Centennial Commission