The first cabin was referred to as the Community Cabin and construction started August 1935. It was one of the of the first projects to get underway in Cuyahoga County under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Village of Fairview Mayor David Bain’s community “mountain cabin” was constructed using WPA labor and traditional log cabin construction methods, in the romantic rustic picturesque style. In September 1937, it was announced that Cleveland-area WPA project monies for rehabilitation of parks had been almost cut in half by Washington WPA officials. Included in the cutbacks was completion of the Fairview Community Park project. Despite all odds, the Fairview Community Cabin and park amenities were completed by the WPA in December 1937 at a cost $65,000, of which $14,000 was contributed by villagers.
The Fire !
In the early morning of December 14, 1937, the brand new Fairview Community Cabin, “the pride of Fairview,” caught fire and burned quickly beyond repair. The fire took place just four days before the gala opening celebration and cabin dedication party at which William Stinchcomb, director of the Metropolitan Park Board, and WPA officials were to speak. With no insurance yet in place, the loss was even harder. The community and Mayor Bain were heartbroken.
Mayor Bain called for an investigation and gave the opinion that “the fire was of incendiary origin”. The State of Ohio Fire Marshal responded with a letter shortly thereafter that “due to lack of funds for the maintenance of this department, it was necessary for us to close our branch offices and lay off all our field men on September 30 . Hence we do not have anyone available for investigation work at this time… We regret exceedingly that we are unable to give this matter our immediate attention”.
The second Community Cabin.
The gala dedication celebration planned for Saturday, December 18, 1937, was renamed the “Cabin Rebuilding Dinner” and held as scheduled. The event was moved to the Garnett School at West 208 Street and Lorain Road.
With nearly 300 residents in attendance, Mayor Bain stated that “[t]he the fire probably will weld the residents into one of the finest of community spirits. Villagers are solidly behind a rebuilding program…” (Plain Dealer, 15 December 1937). William Stinchcomb, who was among those present, assured residents of his continued interest. W.H. Cameron, the director of local WPA projects, told residents they could be certain of his cooperation (Plain Dealer, 19 December 1937). Letters of support were received from around the country. Organizational donations, anonymous gifts, proceeds from dinners, the ice carnival, dances, card parties, the Girls Scouts Christmas Caroling, a high school boy’s dance, and children’s donation all contributed to the rebuilding effort. United States Senator Robert J. Buckley and Ohio General Assembly member Adam Frick were both influential in procuring funds for a new community cabin and wrote letters of support.
In August 1938, Mayor Bain announced that a WPA grant of $145,612 had been approved for the project, including a $60,000 cabin built on the $15,000 salvaged foundation and materials from the earlier cabin. A cornerstone with records of 16 civic, church, and community organizations sealed in a box was laid March 19, 1939, and construction commenced on the new community cabin in October 1938.
The second Fairview Community Cabin was completed in December 1939, two years after the fire (Plain Dealer, 1 December 1939). The cabin was described as, “Built to last forever, of big stone blocks and red brick, with a slate roof, the new cabin will be used as a recreation center and for civic and cultural programs. The interior is finished in knotty pine. The main room…has a balcony at each end and large sandstone fireplace. There is a well-lighted library, also with a fireplace, and a modern kitchen.” The cabin was formally dedicated on January 15, 1940, to “recreational, social, cultural, and civic uses for the enjoyment of all citizens of Fairview”
Fairview Community Park renamed Bain Park
Mayor Bain left a legacy of vision, leadership, strength, and perseverance which had carried the Village of Fairview through the Great Depression.
On October 8, 1957, the City Council of Fairview Park approved Ordinance 57-44, which renamed Fairview Community Park as “Bain Park.”