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Issue Date: June 2008

Rating the Suburbs - Olmsted Falls

Marilyn Q. Sparks,81
Chair of the city’s architectural review board
That tree in my backyard, it’s the oldest red oak in Ohio — 350 years old. It’s the second-largest tree in all of Ohio.

The developers just skipped Olmsted Falls, which was great.

Greek Revival is the earliest architectural style in the Western Reserve, but the surge after World War II wiped out so much of it. You can hardly distinguish one community from another anymore. We escaped for two critical reasons: We had no sewers, and we still had wells in lots of places.

A famous Cleveland architect, Bob Gaede, who has since passed away, came to Olmsted Falls to take a look. He said we had the best collection of 19th-century buildings maybe in the state.

Clint Williams, he bought the whole shebang, and now it’s Grand Pacific Junction [a collection of shops and restaurants]. We ought to raise a monument to him somewhere.

Eagles.We actually have eagles going up and down the river.

This was a very do-it-yourself community. You didn’t pay to have anything done. Even the most well-to-do, you’d see them up on a ladder. It was wonderful. That changed a little bit when women started working more.

We’re a nonpartisan city, which is important because we’re close to NASA and a lot of NASA people live here. Because they are government employees, they could not run for office in a partisan city.

There was a time when we were the only school district in the state to pass two issues. The schools are getting better and better.

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