The early history of our Bedford Heights community is synonymous with the history of Bedford Township. The Bedford area was once part of the old Western Reserve of Connecticut. The Connecticut Land Company purchased the land in 1795. The area was considered valuable because of lush timber and abundant waterpower. The area had obviously been selected by pioneers who brought with them a value of scholarly heritage as they named areas around Bedford Heights in classical references such as Solon, Aurora and Macedonia. The resource of the Lake Erie and resource off shoots such as Tinkers Creek and the Metro Parks helped identify our region as highly desirable and rich in resources.
The first settler, Elijah Nobles, settled near Tinker's Creek at the western edge of the area in 1813. When he fell into debt, Davis Hudson, a relative, sold his a tract of land at the center of Bedford, with the understanding that it would be improved.
Other settlers soon followed. Benjamin Fitch came from Independence in 1815. W. C. Taylor, his son-in-law, founded the Taylor Chair Company. (Property of the historical Taylor Chair Company is on display at the Bedford Historical Museum at Bedford Square.) Daniel Benedict arrived in 1821 and became the first permanent settler of Bedford. He was one of the original trustees of the township and owned a saw mill and a woolen mill on Tinkers Creek and named Bedford for his native Bedford, New York.
Bedford Township was formed on April 7, 1823 out of the area we presently know as Bedford, Bedford Heights, Oakwood Village, Maple Heights and Walton Hills. In 1830, Hezekiah Dunham arrived and surveyed the center and boundaries of Bedford. (The Hezekiah Dunham house remains as a historical landmark available for public viewing across the street from Bedford Square.) On March 15, 1837, Bedford became incorporated as a town. The Historical Museum has much of this community heritage for viewing.
The early Bedford area was mostly agricultural with many dairy farms. Examples in our community are the Laing farm on the ridge and the Forbes family homestead on Forbes Road to name just a few. The early 1900s saw large industry, such as McMyler Interstate and Best Foundry, move in. (Note: Interstate and Best are street names in a common area of the present Bedford community.)
1850 – 1950
Many young men from the Bedford area answered the call to fight for the Union in the Civil War. The soldiers’ monument at Bedford Square provides a tribute to their bravery and conviction to their principles. The American Legion post at the annual Memorial Day Parade reads the names of those who paid the ultimate price in this and other military conflicts each year. The Village of Maple Heights succeeded to form a separate village in 1915. The rest of Bedford Township remained a common community for about 35 more years before it also subdivided to the four communities that comprise our school system of the Cities of Bedford Heights and Bedford and the Villages of Oakwood and Walton Hills.
The City's Beginning
In September 1950, 91 residents petitioned the township trustees urging a vote on Bedford Heights becoming an independent village. With the vote opposed by the Bedford Township Civic League, the measure was defeated by a narrow margin, 239-231. A second vote was held on February 20, 1951, and this time the issue passed 244-220. Once an independent village, Bedford Heights elected Robert Willeford as its first mayor, defeating George Burrows. The long battle to keep the village form of government as opposed to being annexed to Bedford was successful with a favorable margin of 258-175 votes.
The Mayor and Police Chief were noted as uncharacteristically young for their positions, but they had much energy. At the time of the Township's dissolve, Bedford Township had assets totaling $122,962.31. Upon dissolution of the township in 1951, the money was divided between Bedford Heights receiving $39,429.72; Bedford $37,047.72; and Walton Hills $25,447.13. The population of Bedford Heights at this early time was 2,424.
Mayor Willeford's term was interrupted with a 2 year term of Mayor Ramsey, 1954-1955. Mayor Ramsey called for creation of new (present) City Hall site. This Mayor's office has recently acquired a land map of homesteads recorded via the Connecticut Land Company which plot properties and family settlements that later named some of our community streets such as Laing, Bartlett, Comstock and Forbes from James Laing (Laing farm).
The Charter which frames our government was adopted on November 4, 1958. The Charter was designed to transcend the village to city status. In effect, installing a voter approved Charter allows the "tailor making" of local government regulations to the specific requirements and needs of the locality, otherwise known as "home rule." Although passed by voters in 1958, the Charter actually took effect in 1960 prior to our city status.
In planning the new young community, special zoning codes were designed anticipating the creation of the Thompson Research Center. For such innovative planning, the community earned the reputation of being state of the art for business. Although the specific Thompson project never developed, it provided the means for the creation of the strong business community that formulated on the north end of town (Miles, Richmond Roads). The Thompson project was anticipated to locate in the area referred to as the "Ridge" (Eldridge, Laing, and Randolph) which was a division of the historic Laing family farmstead.
The Ridge did not sit idle with the disillusionment of the Thompson Research Center Plan. The Kimberly Housing Development took over with a $5 million dollar initiative, one of the largest planned residential community developments in the history of Ohio at that time. Down payments to receive a lot in this neighborhood cost $20.00 with a monthly payment of $89.00 to $105.00. Buyers had only to determine which of the six models they desired to join the rapid development of 250 pre-fabricated homes ranging from $18,950 to $24,000. The population more than doubled from 2,424 in 1951 to 5,275 in 1960.
Construction simultaneously sprouted 125 homes with a price from $16,000 to $21,000 in Heather Hill (street area of Cranfield, Comstock, and Fenlake) about where Bartlett meets Rockside and Libby. This mutual development helped the city status evolve in 1961. The presence of multiple high rise apartment complexes at Rockside Road at Perkins near Aurora was once the site of Gene Kunes Golf Course. A fire preceded other development that without a doubt changed our streetscape and community design.
Bedford Heights became a city on January 4, 1961. The 1960s were a fast and invigorating time for Bedford Heights. In 1960, the population was 5,275 but grew to 13,063 by 1970. These were the years of the addition of apartment buildings on the Bedford Heights horizon as well as the construction of I-271.
In 1966, Lucille J. Reed was elected Mayor of Bedford Heights as well as the first woman elected mayor of a city in Cuyahoga County. During her tenure, her administration was successful in acquiring $1.6 million from the federal government for the Reed Park Development (20 acres) off of Eldridge Boulevard. This is the site of our outdoor pool and picnic pavilion.
As an interesting quirk of culture 1966 was the year Star Trek used as its mantra "Go where no man has gone before." At the same time in Bedford Heights, Lucille Reed went where no woman had gone before as the first female elected mayor in any community of Cuyahoga County. Although she was elected from the Council body with other Councilmen with considerable experience, the first local newspaper articles describing the new mayor focused on what colors she wore and how she did her hair. However, just as Nancy Sinatra's simultaneously popular song "These Boots Are Made For Walking," the Mayor found a significantly bolder presence than the fashion reviews of her first interviews.
Bedford Heights also hosted some fame during this era as being the hometown of Cleveland Indians Baseball star rookie pitcher Jim Rittwage. The family lived on Columbus Road until recently. The City's most rapid expansion happened under the Reed administration, must probably as the coincidence of timing, the impact of the freeway and the completion of the several apartment buildings which nearly doubled the population. The present City Hall (1975) and the onset of the many programs that would transpire from here and Reed Park resulted in a long term for Mayor Reed.
During the mid-to-late 1970s, the once primarily Italian American community began to find a heavy flow of residents leaving and minorities replacing them in the neighborhoods beyond those located in Metro Estates. The City developed the position of Housing Coordinator designed to assure equal opportunity and witness against illegal practices of steering and redlining. Other groups such as the Bedford Heights Civic Coalition were designed to help the integration go smoothly and responsibly. About this time Mayor Reed decided not to run for Mayor for an additional term of office and passed her support to Councilman Robert Furlong for the position. This was an unsuccessful effort as Jimmy Dimora was elected to the Mayor's position instead (defeating Reed's candidate.)
Dimora, like Reed, had a significant tenure in the mayoral position for seventeen years. Unlike Reed, he managed to extend the two year term to four years and characteristically ran unopposed as he ran year to year. Dimora also ran and supported a slate of council members which were to become his team, joining in his opinions and his approach of cooperation and teamwork.
Most notable during Dimora's tenure in office was the creation (1984) and later (1994) expansion of the Bedford Heights Community Center. The Building would later be re-named the Jimmy Dimora Community Center as a tribute to his vision and his stature in the community.
Dimora's tenure also called for the first considerable municipal jail expansion, completed in conjunction with Chagrin Falls, Glenwillow and Moreland Hills. It also led to renovation of the outdoor pool, return of K-9 units (for Officers Kalavsky and Hagquist), and creation of a more defined senior and recreation staff amongst other things. The 10 year road repair program was established by Charter, and the acquisition of safety and senior vehicles were prioritized. Dimora ran twice for County Commissioner and was successfully elected in 1998 before he completed the last year of his mayoral term. He had also in the interim been named Chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, a position of influence to the state and nation, as well as our region.
As Dimora moved on to County Commissioner, Council President Debora Mallin was by Charter aligned to fill the mayoral vacancy. During her first year, Mayor Mallin instituted a new communication system for the safety forces, addressed the roof improvements necessary for all City buildings, and addressed repair and renovation needed at Reed Park. She also created many new programs such as the auxiliary police program and others which received "Best Practices" publication by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mallin was elected to serve in 1999 and again in 2003. Her contributions, trials and energies are amongst other postings on this website.
Perspective As we reflect on some milestones in our community's early development, we thought it might be insightful to post not only what was going on in Bedford Heights but what was happening on the national scene as well. The entries of national reflection, be they Political, entertainment, sports or otherwise referenced are not as the matters of greatest impact but simply listed...for perspective.
In Bedford Heights, Election to create Bedford Heights as a separate community fails to gain enough votes for passage (to separate from Bedford Township.) The vote on October 2, 1950 failed to pass the proposal on the premise such separation "would only increase our taxes".
Political, (July 1) U. S. ground forces land in Korea.
Music, Nat King Cole sings "Mona Lisa" Technology, CBS began 1st color broadcast in November. Seeburg Company makes major technological advancement of "jukeboxes" to play 45 rpm records, soon to regularly appear in bars, bowling alleys and soda shops.
In Bedford Heights, Bedford Heights established Robert Willeford 1st Mayor.
Dominic Meuti became Chief of Police, a position held until 2001(believed at the time to be the longest serving Chief in the nation.). The initial flash of victory was short-lived as there was an attempt by some residents to annex much of the new village back to the City of Bedford. This matter went to court and a vote of the people to maintain Bedford Heights as a separate community.
Phone numbers for area all began referenced to words instead of numbers. For example Merities Sunoco Station at 24301 Aurora Road had the number "Bedford 2 9393" written BE2 -9383. Bedford Heights headquarter for "Flowers, Plants and Vegetables" per an advertisement in Bedford Heights Informer was Rugan's Food Market on Aurora at Libby Road.
Politics, More than 300 Hollywood personalities were implicated as Communists, the majority of them blacklisted.
Movies, Hollywood puts out "The Day the Earth Stood Still" Marlon Brando gains fame in "Streetcar Named Desire" in which Vivien Leigh is named Best Actress. 17 million Americans now have their own Television sets on which "I Love Lucy" is one of the most popular reasons to stay home and watch it. "Fireside Theater", "Colgate Comedy Hour" and "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" also top the list.
Music, "Rocket 88" considered by many to be the first actual Rock and Roll song topped the Charts by Jackie Brenson and his Delta Cats, which featured a young Ike Turner at the piano.
Novelty, The first plastic lawn flamingo designed by Don Featherstone is marketed.'
In Bedford Heights, News of the Village was reported in local newspaper "Bedford Heights Informer" later joined by "The Suburban Newsbeat" (as well as the "Bedford Times Register).
National, UFO sightings reported across the country. (3/2) U.S. Supreme Court rules subversives can be barred from teaching in public schools.
Novelty, Habro's Mr. Potato Head made Television history as the first toy advertised on Television. Although at the time it was just plastic face features you could put on your own potato, advertising made it a hit. The plastic body was not added until 1964.
Political, (11/4) Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower was Elected President over Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson. Both men were popular but Stevenson was believed hurt by inferences of Democratic corruption in the White House. Additionally, Stevenson's reputation as an intellectual was believed to clash with country's anti-intellectual mood.
Business, Tired of lack of quality accommodations, Kemmon Wilson opened his first Holiday Inn which rapidly became a success.
In Bedford Heights, Mayor Robert Willeford, after negotiating with Cleveland Water Department representatives, was successful in acquiring three take-offs from the new water line completed on Northfield Road. This was significant because original plans called for Bedford Heights to go to Maple Heights for water despite the 30" water main being installed on the Northfield side of the street. A petition drive in the Northfield, Louis, and Norton area hoped to conclude this issue on behalf of the Bedford Heights citizenry.
(3/15) Mayor Robert E. Willeford defended his actions concerning the now famous "tear gas" incident at a public Council meeting.
Twenty residents in attendance announced sign truce ending the Korean their intentions of searching the facts and starting proceedings against Williford. Williford had fired a tear gas charge at 35 year old Saul Goldtone of Mantua Corners. Goldstone had to be transported to Marymount Hospital where there was fear he might lose his eye.
Twenty residents in attendance announced sign truce ending the Korean their intentions of searching the facts and starting proceedings against Williford. Williford had fired a tear gas charge at 35 year old Saul Goldtone of Mantua Corners. Goldstone had to be transported to Marymount Hospital where there was fear he might lose his eye.
Goldstone had been halted by the Mayor who was in the company of Patrolman Walter Scott when he sped by in his red convertible. From the corner of Northfield and Aurora at the speed of 61 mph, the police chase ensued. The first car (Goldstone) was racing away. Williford and Scott caught up with Goldstone who tried to flee after this confrontation. It was at this time the tear gas was shot striking Goldstone in the face. Judge James Cornell freed the Mayor of assault and battery charges. The story received national coverage in Life Magazine. Angry villagers tried to oust the Mayor to which Ohio Governor Frank Lausche said he lacked the power to fire Willeford. The election due at that time had the voters removing him from office in favor of Thomas Ramsey, Jr. to serve as mayor.
Nationally, War and Peace - Communist and United Nations delegates War. 54,246 Americans were killed, 103,284 were wounded and 7,955 were reported missing in action.
Business, The first franchise with the golden arches (specifically designed to attract passing motorists) was opened in Phoenix, Arizona. "Speedee" the original McDonald's mascot lasted until 1960, when the hamburger loving clown Ronald McDonald was introduced.
Academy Awards, Best Picture "From Here To Eternity" while Best Actor goes to William Holden for "Stalag 17" and Best Actress to Audrey Hepburn for "Roman Holiday."
Technology, Cinemascope, the first shot using a wide screen process is viewed in "The Robe" (Richard Burton and Jean Simmons), "Julius Ceasar" (Marlon Brando James Mason) and "Calamity Jane" (Doris Day).
Fashion, Bermuda Shorts were the obvious fashion statement as businessmen actually would wear the big baggy shorts during the summer months. Whether combined with suit jackets, dress shirts, ties and knee high socks such garmented gents were making fashion statements.
Music, Patti Paige sings "How Much is That Doggy In the Window?"
Movie Queen, Marilyn Monroe has national attention from among other things her performances in "Niagara", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire".
In Bedford Heights, Under Mayor Ramsey's tenure, a $675,000 bond was proposed for contracting a sewage system. Food, A 1954 study found that the average American's ideal meal consisted of fruit cup, vegetable soup steak and potato, peas and pie for dessert.
In Bedford Heights, Although the sewer bond issue was approved 578-303, Mayor Ramsey was defeated by former Mayor Robert Willeford 617-278 in the November 1955 election.
Music, New York band The Crows flew to the top of the charts in part because of Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed playing "Sh Boom".
Construction, 1,320,000 new homes were built thanks to the baby boom. America's first enclosed shopping mall is built in Appleton, Wisconsin Civil Rights, (12/1) 42 year old Rosa Parks arrested after refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Montgomery bus boycott begins under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. Disney, Mickey Mouse Club debuts on TV, and Magic Kingdom opens in California.
In Bedford Heights, (11/17) Residents of Bedford Heights were invited to tour their new Village Hall located at 5661 Perkins Road.
Economy, The average teenager now had more money than ever before (minimum wage raised to $1.00). Music, 45 rpms were in great demand and Elvis topped the charts with "Don't be Cruel", "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel". Little Richard was also a big hit. Dance, The Cha-Cha craze swept the country. Science, The USSR Sputnik I left the US far behind in the space race.
In Bedford Heights, The Village Council approved purchase of a 16 acre tract on Solon Road to provide for adequate sewer facilities. The Issue passed on the ballot successfully. National, The average American production worker now making $82.32 a week could easily afford the estimated 5000 new grocery store products introduced in 1957.
In Bedford Heights, The apartment complexes built in Bedford Heights first went up in 1959 - but continued to be built in additional locations through 1970. The Village Council showed itself to be ahead of the times in electing a lady, Mrs. Mary Szabo, as its President. Mr. Eugene Mould was honored by the Bedford Heights Progressive League as "Mr. Bedford Heights". Mr. Mould was honored for his vast contributions to the village recreation program at this time. In order to bring the City in line with state statutes and in keeping with the new charter proposal, the number of councilmen to be elected in the 1959 election was expanded from six to seven. The four candidates with the most votes were to begin four year terms while the three highest vote getters were to serve two year terms with their posts open for re-election in 1961.
Three housing developments simultaneously bring rapid growth to Bedford Heights. They are:
1. Bedford Heights Ridge Estates aka "The Ridge" formerly the Laing farm from John Laing's (1857) purchase from the Connecticut Land Company. 2. Kimberly Park housing program and 3. Heather Hill (Comstock, Cannon Millbrook, Fenlake).
The young community hungry for substance and progressive in initiative had a Bedford Heights Business and Industrial Association of which Ben Sachse served as Chairman, Mary Szabo Secretary, Al Ponyk Treasurer, and Albert Kondik and Dominic Meuti as Board of Directors.
Economy, As the average American now earns $91.53 a week, he is looking for new ways to spend it.
Despite a 116 day steelworker strike (longest in U.S. history); the U.S. is in good shape thanks to the government's "Buy American" campaign. The new leisure is here; for the first time, a civilization has reached a point where people are no longer preoccupied with providing food and shelter. There was now over 250,000 swimming pools at U.S. homes, an overwhelming degree of opulence, according to LIFE magazine.
National, The U.S. began to challenge Russia in the Space Race. (9/14) Soviet rocket rams moon surface and U.S. rejects Soviet flag planting as their legal claim of the moon.
Entertainment, Suburban women taking hula lessons in fascination of Polynesian culture, believed in part as welcome relief to the rampant repression of the Eisenhower Era. Barbie doll is introduced at the New York Toy Fair by Mattel Company co-founder Ruth Handler (named after her daughter). In Percepto, Theater seats were wired to emit mild electrical shock currents as to actually shock the audience. Hollywood jumps on beatnik bandwagon with "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver) Hawaiian Eye popular show on ABC TV. Also favorites: "Bonanza" with Lorne Greene as Pa Cartwright, "The Untouchables", Robert Stack as Elliot Ness, and the "Twilight Zone” with Rod Serling. ABC also scores with big cartoon hit "Rocky and Friends" which debut Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose, and Boris and Natasha.
In Bedford Heights, Bedford Heights becomes a City. The new city builds a service garage to house the department that will help Bedford Heights come to be known as "The Service City." The growth surge of the young city brought on many new families and therefore children to serve. Construction began at Aurora Road School in 1961 and Columbus School would be next in 1962. September of 1962 marked the date the State Chartered the Bedford Heights Jaycees which immediately launched a program of community activities. By 1961, the original 2 member police force had grown to a Chief, Captain and 8 policemen. Fashion, Jackie Kennedy set fashion trends for many American women with wraparound sunglasses, bouffant hairdos, two piece swimsuits and a-line skirts to the mid-knee.
Entertainment, "The Game of Life" introduced by Milton Bradley as an update of a popular 19th century game was released in honor of the company's 100th Anniversary.
Political, As relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba deteriorate, Kennedy encourages Americans to build their own backyard fall-out shelters. Kennedy accepted full responsibility for the Bay of Pigs Incident (April 24).
Civil Rights, Freedom riders protesting southern segregation are physically attacked in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama.
In Bedford Heights, Bedford Heights established its Fire Department which not only helped address safety concerns of the new community, but it also helped establish insurance ratings that assisted the fortification of the City's industrial tax base. Schools in the district at this time included Aurora, Carylwood, Central, Columbus, Ellenwood, Glendale, Interstate, Moody Jr. High and Bedford Senior High School.
Nationally, Advertisement "Thinking Young" is the not so subliminal message vibrating the nation; from Pepsi Cola advertising people to "come alive" and for "people who think young" to Ford's successful campaign for their sporty new Mustang (100,000 sold). The new Mustang was advertised as a "young people's car" or one driven by famous others (Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds) as well.
Entertainment, TV favorites include Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched. Playthings, Hasbro's GI Joe Doll and Kenner's Easy Bake Oven are favorite toys. Music, Louis Armstrong with "Hello Dolly", Supremes with "Baby Love", and "(Meet the) Beatles", "Hard Day's Night" Theatrical, Award winning movies include My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins and Sean Connery's 3rd Bond film Goldfinger. Political, (9/27) Warren Commission releases report on the Kennedy assassination concluding no conspiracy (domestic or international) affiliated with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on 11/22/63. 11/3 Lyndon B. Johnson re-elected in landslide victory over Goldwater. Civil Rights, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize.
In Bedford Heights, Dale Rittwage, Bedford Heights Native, is rookie pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. Bedford Heights' residents of all ages are especially proud of their Rittwage (Topps) baseball cards.
Nation, (2/21) Civil Rights leader Malcolm X assassinated by rival Black Muslims. (3/26) 25,000 Civil Rights marchers gather in Montgomery, Alabama.
Theater, The Sound of Music receives Best Picture directed by Robert Wise. Frankie and Annette's Beach movies and Sean Connery's Thunderball are among other favorites.
Television, Bob Crane in Hogan's Heroes, and Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie.
Music, Everyone's playing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (Whipped Cream and Other Delights) and the Mary Poppins soundtrack. Novelties, Super Ball and Lava Lite introduced.
Sports Extra, Gatorade invented by Sports Physician Dr. Robert Cade, who was studying effects of heat exhaustion on Florida Gators college team.
Cars, Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed aims much of its criticism at Chevrolet Corvair but impacted the Oldsmobile and introduced the Toranado. This was noted significant having imposed heightened safety restrictions in American cars.
In Bedford Heights, Lucille Reed becomes Mayor of Bedford Heights and the first female mayor in Cuyahoga County. With Moody Junior High School no longer able to serve the needs of the growing district, Heskett School was begun in 1966. This building was located on Perkins Road in Bedford Heights and named for (past) District Superintendent Dale Heskett. It would open in 1968 with a 400 seat little Theater, banquet facilities, gymnasium, and ample classroom space for instructional diversity.
12/1 Cleveland Press reports former Mayor Willeford will file for a recount in a local election option that resulted in two precincts "drying up". Willeford had planned to open a tavern on Northfield Road (Precinct C) but changed his mind when the voters placed the local option on the ballot. He now operates Barney's Inn at 24467 Aurora Road. Precinct K is the other area where Williford is considering recall. The fee is $10.00 per precinct but the filing deadline is in 2 days.
Music, "These Boots Are Made For Walking" is popularized by Nancy Sinatra while Sgt. Barry Sadler performs the "Ballad of the Green Berets" for five weeks on the top of the charts. "Cherish" by the Association is also popular.
Politics, Texas Gov. John Connelly's testimony for LIFE magazine calls for the assassination of JFK to be reopened; theory of second assassin beyond Oswald. Vietnam protest demonstrations.
Entertainment, Milton Bradley introduces Twister, the "game that ties you in knots". Television, "Batman" with Adam West. "To go where no man has gone before (23rd century).”Star Trek" with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.
Dad's Still Hot, The same year Nancy Sinatra was rocking the Music world, father Frank Sinatra still tops the charts with "Strangers in the Night".
In Bedford Heights, Fire Chief Rogers recommended purchase of a 100 foot aerial ladder truck to service the diverse challenges of the growing community. An additional bay added to the south end of the garage would house the vehicle. Meanwhile, Police Chief Dominic Meuti asked for 11 new men and a new station not affixed to City Hall. State officials told Bedford Heights that it could cut off sewer service to Warrensville Heights and Oakwood for continued negligence in paying their fees.
Nationally, Maxwell House coffee costs .69 cents a pound, and ice cream is .59 cents a half gallon.
Civil Rights, (3/28) Violence mars a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King led march in support of striking Memphis sanitation workers. Dr. King promises to return for another march. (4/4) The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis. James Earl Ray arrested in London (6/6) for the shooting. (6/5) Senator Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles shortly after acknowledging his victory in the California primary. Sirhan Sirhan is arrested for the shooting.
In Bedford Heights, The Wastewater Treatment Plant later to be named for Mayor Willeford (and his vision) was built to serve the City.
Bedford Heights gets much attention in the April 3 issue of the Cleveland Press:
1. for a spending increase of $200,000 this year ($1,313,000). Mayor Reed said the largest item was to cover ($65,000) police and fire personnel raises approved earlier.
2. The City was currently considering going from 16 to 19 police officers; 17 to 20 firemen.
The Council meeting of March 4, 1969 put Charter changes on the ballot which designated Council members to be 4 (one per) Ward and 3 at large. All boards and commissions host 5 members appointed by the mayor. Duties of the Clerk/Treasurer were separated to award financial functions to a Finance Director.
Nationally, Sesame Street premiers. (7/16) Apollo 11 mission launched; Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on surface of the moon as America tunes in on July 20.
Military, (4/3) U.S. deaths in Vietnam reach 33,641.
Gay Rights, Police raid the Stonewall Bar, a gay establishment in New York City's Greenwich Village. The "Stonewall Riots" are commonly considered the start of the Gay Liberation Movement.
Music, Beatles sang "Hey Jude" while Marvin Gaye does "I Heard it Through the Grapevine".
Election, (8/26) Humphrey nominated as Democratic candidate for President as Nixon (8/8) holds Republican platform and George Wallace announces (10/3) 3rd Party candidacy.
In Bedford Heights, City Hall is built at 5661 Perkins Road. Residential property during 1970 was taxed at a rate of 55.40 mills or $55.40 per $1000.00 of the assessed value of property. At this time, (1970), residential property taxes contributed 26.7% of the real estate taxes collected. The balance essentially was provided by industry, commercial establishments, public utilities and personal property tax. (Since 1972) New clubs active In Bedford Heights include Bedford Heights Kiwanis Club, and The Citizens League of Bedford Heights.
Nationally, (2/21) Watergate participants Alderman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell each receive 30 months in prison.
Political, Vietnam War ended as U.S. pulled out April 30.
Civil Rights, Forced busing in schools is attempted to desegregate public schools.
Economy, (11/26) President Ford provides a short term loan of $2.3 billion to New York City to help the nation's largest city avoid bankruptcy.
Crime, (7/30) Jimmy Hoffa disappears Technology, Home Video games begin with Pong by Atari, video table tennis game connected to your Television. Novelty, Best sellers include Pet Rock which came with its own owner's manual for $4.00 each and mood rings, empowered by heat sensitive liquid crystals.
Theater, Best Picture is "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" as well as Best Actor Jack Nicholson and Best Actress Louise Fletcher. "Jaws" sells out at the box office.
Music, Captain and Tennille "Love Will Keep Us Together", Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffite" and Eagles "One of These Nights". Television, Chevy Chase gains fame with popular new comedy show (Saturday Night Live) in his merciless impressions of President Gerald Ford. "Sanford and Son" and "M.A.S.H." are also popular.
In Bedford Heights, As the U.S.A. celebrated its 200th Birthday, the City of Bedford Heights also saluted its first 25 years. The simultaneous anniversaries are acknowledged with several special events and the red, white and blue painting of City fire hydrants.
Space, (7/20) Viking I lands on Mars after 11 months in space and announce the planet devoid of Martians.
World News, U.S. and USSR sign nuclear test pact.
Political, Jimmy Carter is elected President by a margin of 1.7 million votes over Gerald Ford.
Sports, Dorothy Hamill and Bruce Jenner become sports idols after the Olympics.
Music, Stevie Wonder - "Songs in the Key of Life", Wild Cherry - "Play That Funky Music", and Rod Stewart - "Tonight's the Night".
Novelty, C.W. McCall's song "Convoy" capitalized on the citizen band radio craze.
In Bedford Heights, Jimmy Dimora elected to Council at large. The City of Bedford Heights begins to experience integration no longer limited to Metro Estates.
Civil Rights, (10/8) Congress extends deadline of the Equal Rights Amendment to 6/30/82; so far 35 of 38 states have ratified it.
Sports Craze, Major League Baseball popularity reaches an all time high record as 40 million attend games in 1978. In the same year the NFL extends its season from 14 to 16 games. Inflation continues to rise but does not affect cost of jogging suit/sportswear documenting renewal of interest in physical fitness. Leon Spinks regains Heavyweight Boxing Championship (from Muhammad Ali) for the 3rd time.
Entertainment, First legal casino outside of Nevada opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Disco craze hit the nation as noted by "Saturday Night Fever" and the onset of the Village People. The bizarre performances of Kiss also gain attention. Novelty, Pop Rocks, a candy product that fizzes in your mouth.
Theater, Best Picture is "Deer Hunter"; John Belushi, National Lampoon "Animal House” and John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in "Grease".
Television, Robin Williams airs in new show "Mork and Mindy", "Dallas", "3's Company", "Happy Days", "Charlie's Angels", "Fantasy Island" are favorites.
In Bedford Heights, Jimmy Dimora becomes Mayor of the City of Bedford Heights at a considerably young age. 1980 Census population of the community is 13,214 persons. The Dimora administration initiated the Trash Bag program where residents can purchase 30 gallon trash bags for the reduced rate of $7.00. In September, Council authorized Operation Paintbrush, (Homeowners 60+ or in distressed situations may receive paint to help keep their home in repair). Winter weather and community interest led to the installation of an outdoor skating rink on Diamond #4. Water and electricity are installed at Metro Estates playground. A fence is added to the Columbus Road bridge to assist in kids' safe crossing. The City in conjunction with Bedford Heights Community Services applied for a federal grant to finance the purchase of a minivan for Seniors. Successful in the award, the van is expected to arrive in 1983. Three new glass enclosed bus shelters are installed.
Nation, Whether it was due to Reaganomics or just the result of Economy running its course, inflation dropped 6 points in 1982. Unemployment, nonetheless, continued to rise hitting 10.8 by the end of the year. A record 4.6 million people were unemployed by October. (1/26) State of the Union - Reagan defines New Federalism turning welfare and food stamps to state's authority. (2/26) Reagan proposed budget for upcoming fiscal year and asks for huge cuts in domestic spending while he increases military spending by $18 million. 35% - 40% of entire U.S. auto market were foreign cars.
Health, 20 million Americans believed to have AIDS.
Civil Rights, Equal Rights Amendment fails to meet deadline.
Travel, EPCOT Center latest addition to Disney World Theme Park in Orlando, Florida.
Sports, NFL strike cut season to 9 games per team (9/21 - 11/16).
Hollywood, Hollywood profits are up 9% from 1981. Steven Spielberg's "E.T.", Dustin Hoffman "Tootsie", Arnold Schwarzenegger "Conan the Barbarian" and Sylvester Stallone "Rocky IV".
Television, "Cheers" debuted.
Popularly Watched, Jane Fonda's Workout
In Bedford Heights, The ribbon cutting is held on the new Bedford Heights Recreation Center facility, one of the first in the region. The original facility hosts a full gym with a raised running track, a (smaller) weight room, locker rooms with sauna and whirlpool. Additional opportunity for party room rental or day care services also became available with initiation of "The Rec". Planter boxes and drains are added on Northfield Road to enhance its image. The City becomes eligible for the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program and plans its first application for road repair. A Citizens Advisory Cable Committee is initiated to survey public appeal and collectively work for identifying the best provider of Cable TV services for our residents.
Census, U.S. population swelled to 236,158,000 with most growth in the South and West.
Politics, Reagan is re-elected President on the strength of the Economy--healthiest since 1951. Reagan signs a bill (7/17) giving states until October 1 to raise legal drinking age to 21 or suffer 5% federal highway funds.
Sports, Fitness Industry continues to boom. Sales of home exercise equipment passed the billion dollar mark. Introduction of Nike's Air Jordan’s endorsed by Chicago Bulls.
Music, Michael Jackson "Thriller", Prince's "Purple Rain", and Bruce Springsteen "Born in the U.S.A.".
Technology, 8% of American households owned personal computers as Bell Laboratories announced development of the megabit memory chip, capable of storing more than 1 million bits of electronic data.
All the buzz..., "Where's the Beef" ads provided America a new buzz phrase.
In Bedford Heights, City of Bedford Heights provides addition to the Community Center which essentially doubles the facility in square footage. At the same time, first prompted by the need to comply with State Jail Standards, the City of Bedford Heights adds on to its Police/Corrections facility also allowing for collection of fees from contracting communities and agencies. Voting City residents approve a 10 year levy specific for road improvement as a Charter Amendment which will reserve funds applicable for road repair in the next 10 years.
Entertainment, Music from "The Lion King" is heard everywhere, while "ER", "Friends", "Seinfeld" and "60 Minutes" are Television favorites.
Memorable, Much of America watched football star O.J. Simpson and former teammate Al Cowlings in a bizarre chase which led to Simpson's arrest in the death of his ex-wife.
Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor estimated 20% of American grads held jobs that did not require college education.
In Bedford Heights, Jimmy Dimora moves on to serve as one of 3 County Commissioners. Council President Debora Mallin completes (his last) year (of unexpired term) as Mayor and in November wins a four year term of her own (2000-2003) as Mayor. As the year starts, City Council is changed by 3 seats in 2 months without an election: Bill Keslar seat to Barbara MacKenzie, Debora Mallin seat to Harvey Brown, and Paul DeFrancisco seat to Philip Saunders. Mayor Mallin and Police Department create City's first (10 member) Auxiliary Police program with approval of City Council. City works with technical experts to be sure all City computers and records are Y2K compliant. City changes to Computer Automated Dispatch service at start of the year 1999. Mallin holds an Inaugural Ball at Mediterranean Party Center to formally and publicly acknowledge change in City leadership. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones ceremoniously swears in Mallin again as Mayor.
Y2K, Much panic to/by government agencies still uncertain of impact of Y2K bug expected to muck up computers not sufficiently prepared to transcend the millennium. Concern centered on affect of daily life, Economy, public safety, and record retention actually proved to be significantly overplayed.
Politics, Worsening situation exists in the Balkans. NATO begins strikes on Kosovo (March) but government officials and American public not sure to intervene. Nation tired of Monica Lewinsky story as Republicans fail to show majority support to convict Clinton of perjury or obstructing justice. Clinton's approval rating second highest in his tenure (66%) as he promises to focus his attention on "the people's business". There is a buzz to position First Lady Hillary Clinton as U.S. Senator from New York. Meanwhile, Vice President Al Gore and Senator Bill Bradley (NY) position for candidacy for Presidential Election.
Entertainment cartoons for amusement of adult viewers are heavily introduced among new Television shows including "The Simpsons", "King of the Hill" "South Park", "Futurama", "Family Guy", "Dilbert" and "Powder-puff Girls"