With Landmark closing, Westlake loses another link to farming roots
With the recent closing of the Landmark Lawn & Garden Supply at 677 Dover Center Road, another link to Westlake’s agricultural past is gone. Landmark was a lawn, garden and pet supply business that had served the area for over 75 years. This family-owned operation also delivered bulk landscape supplies for do-it-yourself projects. Landmark Lawn & Garden Supply was located on Dover Center Road, right next to the railroad tracks.
Before it was known as Cuyahoga Landmark Inc., it was the Dover location of the Cuyahoga Farm Bureau Co-Op Association Inc. According to Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau was organized in 1915 to provide farmers in the county with a vehicle for collective action in representing, promoting and protecting farm interests.
Dover resident George Cooley led the effort to organize a farm bureau program in Cuyahoga County. Once established, the bureau quickly formed a close working relationship with the County Extension Service.
In 1919 the Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau was a leader in promoting the establishment of the Ohio Farm Bureau which incorporated in 1932. In 1934 it organized the Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau Cooperative Service Association as a farm supply organization and purchased property in Strongsville for a sales outlet.
By 1947 the Bureau and the Cooperative split with the Cooperative incorporating as a separate organization. With the increased suburbanization of Cuyahoga County after WWII, the importance of the Farm Bureau declined, today it functions mainly to organize and operate the annual Cuyahoga County Fair.
The former location of the Cooperative in Strongsville is most likely the location of the Landmark store in Strongsville which, along with a location in Avon, is still open.
Westlake’s former Landmark location began as a coal and feed supply business started by second-generation Dover resident Hugh Pease in about 1915. Hugh’s father, Calvin, had built and operated a store at Dover Center and Center Ridge roads. Before Hugh opened the coal and feed supply business he operated a basket factory on the Bay Village side of the railroad tracks. Hugh’s nephew, Russell B. Pease, managed the coal and feed business.
When Hugh died in 1943, Russell was the executor of his estate and in 1944 sold the property to the Cuyahoga Farm Bureau Cooperative Association Inc. During the 1950s and 1960s Russell was known to many Westlake families as the custodian of Dover Elementary School who lavished special care on the shrubbery, according to Bill Robishaw’s book, “You’ve Come a Long Way Westlake.”
The Robishaw book also includes a 1982 interview with Lee Burneson, the superintendent of Dover/Westlake schools from 1924 to 1963, which makes it easy to date the existing Landmark building. Mr. Burneson started with the schools in the Fall of 1921 and to earn extra money over the summer of 1923 he helped the Peases build the Landmark building (or at least a portion of it).
Russell Pease was also the father of two exceptional athletes: Robert and Jane Pease. Jane Pease went on to become the first woman in Fenn College’s Physical Education Department in 1944 and when Fenn College became the nucleus for Cleveland State University she became an associate professor of Health and Physical Education until her retirement in 1982.
Thanks to the generosity of Christine Kitchens and the efforts of Jan Schmitt, the Westlake Historical Society has recently acquired a suite of Victorian-era furniture from the Pease family which is on display at the Clague Museum.
William R. Krause, AICP I am the Assistant Planning Director for the City of Westlake. I have worked for Westlake for 29 years. I served on the Bay Village Planning Commission for 5 years. I was a member of the Reuben Osborn Learning Center Steering Committee. I was a Board Member and Historian for the Westlake Historical Society and am a Trustee of the Western Reserve Architectural Historians. I have been married to Debra for 37 years and am the father of three grown children, grandfather of two and owner of two Shih Tzu's.