30th Anniversary of the Euclid Municipal Complex
When George Washington still lived and before Ohio became a state, real estate developers from Connecticut sent a group of surveyors to explore the Western Reserve in northeast Ohio. They were led by former Revolutionary War officer Moses Cleaveland. The surveyors named one of the townships that they laid out after Euclid, the Greek mathematician whose work they relied upon to do their jobs.
David Dille was one of the first settlers on land near Euclid Creek near the road that today carries his name. Euclid’s early growth centered on the intersection of Euclid Avenue (once known as Buffalo Road) and Chardon Road.
Townships are sections of land created to permit local governance and services to local residents. In Ohio, these large areas were generally designed to be square in shape, five miles long by five miles wide
The first organizational meeting of Euclid Township took place in 1809. Local officials were selected.
For more information about Euclid’s earliest days, please visit the Euclid History Museum at 21129 North Street (phone: 289-8577). The museum is located in Euclid’s public school opened in 1894, one block north of Euclid Avenue and one block east of Chardon Road. The Euclid Historical Society will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2019.
In the late winter of 1903, an election was held by Euclid residents to decide if the Village of Euclid was to be split off from the rest of Euclid Township. Almost 500 voters participated. The decision was closely contested. By a few dozen votes, Euclid residents decided to form their very own village. A village is another form of local government, smaller than a township that has greater local control and its own set of elected officials. A certain amount of residents must live in the area before it can become a village, if the voters agree. Mayor Pickands who lived on the top of Chardon Hill was elected Euclid’s first mayor.
Soon after, a Town Hall was built near Euclid and Chardon that housed the village government. It was destroyed by fire in the 1929. That building stood on the south side of North Street where a parking lot now exists.
President Roosevelt was elected in 1932 during the Great Depression. One key part of his New Deal platform was to put people to work building public improvements. The Works Projects Administration, Public Works Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps were prime examples of the federal effort to improve local communities and fight unemployment; two major improvements were built in Euclid. Euclid Creek Park and a new Euclid City Hall on East 222nd Street (originally known as Bliss Road) . The New City Hall was built north and east of Euclid’s original downtown on Euclid Avenue because it was more centrally located. That City Hall still stands today and it was opened in 1938. Mayor Ken Sims, the legendary leader of Euclid for more than 32 years had his office there as Euclid grew after the end of the Second World War
In the late 1960s, Mayor Sims started to think about a New City Hall as Euclid approached its peak population of over 70,000 by 1970. Mayor Sims envisioned a new building shaped like a 5-point star to be built near the lake in what is now known as Sims Park. Mayor Sims retired due to health issues in June 1970 and never got the chance to fulfill his dream. His successor Mayor Harry Knuth named Sims Park in his honor shortly after taking office. It is now home to the Henn Mansion and Sims Park beach and pier. The coming lakefront boardwalk will begin at the northeast corner of Sims Park.
In the early 1980s, Euclid was led by its 10th mayor, Anthony J. Giunta. Mayor Giunta grew up on Goller Avenue and graduated from old Shore High School in 1947. He worked his way up through the ranks in city government until he was elected mayor in 1979. He revived the planning for a new city hall or municipal complex with the help of local architect Nick Roman. At that time, the Euclid jail was housed on the second floor of the police station above the old Euclid Municipal Court, home of the long-serving Judge Robert Niccum. Serious issues had developed about the adequacy of the small jail. At the same time, local government for a large suburb had grown so that the old city hall could not hold all of its essential operations. Extra space was rented in a private building across from the library for the Finance Department, the Building Department and Community development Department occupied old Benjamin Franklin school on Wilmore and the Recreation Department was located in the Henn Mansion.
Consolidating all city operations in a modern, handicapped-accessible, cost-effective , conveniently located building with plenty of parking was Mayor Guinto’s goal. Bids were taken in the fall of 1985 and ground was broken for the new complex in April 1986. Carbone was chosen as the general contractor having submitted the lowest and best bid.
A municipal election then intervened. In November 1987 during the construction of the new courthouse, jail and city offices, David Lynch was elected as Euclid’s 11th mayor. Mayor Giunta’s signature project would then be finished by a new administration.
At a total cost of just over $9 million, the new and beautiful municipal complex opened thirty years ago in early 1989. It has served the community well. The Council Chambers are among the finest around. The Police Department was enlarged as the jail and court facilities received their own spaces. City operations were consolidated. The former home of the Recreation Department, once named for Ruth Kramer, became the Henn Mansion.
Mayor Sims died in 1975. Former Mayor Giunta proudly attended the first Council meeting on April 17, 1989 in the new building. He died young at 64 in late 1992. Former Mayor Lynch is now the city manager of the Village of Newton Falls, Ohio, near Youngstown. Then Council President Mike Kosmetos chaired the first meeting.
Euclid has a proud history of over 200 years. First a township full of vineyards, later a village and now a city of nearly 50,000 residents, Euclid rightly earned the title of “City of Superior Services.”
It is a good time, after a generation of productive use, to remember the dedicated efforts of former mayors Sims, Guinto and Lynch who collaborated to construct the symbol of today’s Euclid government.