Dover Bay Park, Part II: After 1900

The north side of the Dover Bay Park club house, which looked out on the lake.

To set the scene, Washington Lawrence’s Dover Bay Park was a colony of cottages owned by Cleveland’s finest, situated on the north side of Lake Road at the east end of Dover Township/Bay Village.

Some of the names associated with the park cottages were: John Fuller (Irene Lawrence's husband,) Arthur Newbury, Douglas Dodge, J.B. Zerbe, Dick Bokum, Colonel Myron T. Herrick, Mr. Getzem-Danner, and Judge Hughes. Involved with the golf course were: Walter James (Ida Lawrence's husband,) Chisholm Beach, Charles Nicola, William Matthews (Ella Lawrence’s husband), and Mr. Bourne.

With the death of Washington Lawrence in 1900, life in Dover Bay Park began to change.

Over the next years, some of the cottages were put up for sale and new residents moved in. The Winifred Lawrence Ingersoll cottage by the road west of the mansion burned down. In 1903, the club house and golf course incorporated into the Dover Bay Country Club managed by Jack Quinlan. The family continued to live in the mansion and own cottages on the grounds. Groups began picnicking in the park and using the beach more.

Day trips from Cleveland organizations were planned with Dover Bay Park as the destination. Often these trips were advertised in the newspaper. An article from the Cleveland Leader in 1890 states, “Engineers at Dover Bay.” Often children from the inner-city spent the day at the park. Another article states, “The Children’s Progressive Lyceum will have their twenty-second annual grove meeting at the Dover Bay Park picnic grounds tomorrow. The train will leave Euclid station via the 'Nickel Plate' railroad at 8:30 a.m. and stop at all the intermediate stations.”  (The Lawrence mansion had its own Stop 11 on the line. Clague Road with its sub-station was Stop 12.)

For the next 30 years, this was the life in the park. By the 1940s, few proud cottages were still standing. When Irene Lawrence married John Fuller, their Fuller cottage was moved to a bluff on the east side of the mansion and remodeled into a two-story home for Irene. In the 1940s, the McDonough family occupied one of the cottages until they found a permanent home in the village. 

The park eventually fell into disarray. At the end, two of the remaining cottages were moved to Lake and Wolf roads and became permanent homes. The pavilion was taken down in 1943. In 1941, Fred Drenkhan recalled delivering the morning Plain Dealer to the family in the mansion and running fast across the park grounds because it was so dark and spooky. The kids growing up in the area thought the mansion was haunted and took dares to go in and look around.

The club house and golf course were always successful. At some time, the club house was painted dark green and received an addition for overnight accommodations for members who wished to spend the week or weekend. (Later, this golf club morphed into part of Westwood Country Club.)

By 1951 the club house was torn down and the land divided into lots for sale. Today, it is comprised of five deep lots with houses on the lake. A new club house was built across the street using one of the old farmhouses and the golf course was sold to Mickey McBride, founder of the Cleveland Browns. In 1956, a fight erupted in the village over whether the golf course land should become a Union Carbide Research Center or homes built by Standvick Construction. Houses were built when Union Carbide pulled out over the squabbling.

The Lawrence family owned the mansion until 1948 when they sold the property to the Richard Sheppard family for Bay View Osteopathic Hospital. It was the end of an era. Today, the mansion is part of Cashelmara Condominiums.

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 9:55 AM, 11.07.2017