William Stinchcomb

(1878–1959), creator of Cleveland’s celebrated “Emerald Necklace,” the chain of Metroparks that surround the city and give such pleasure—including many stunning vistas—to residents and visitors to this day and constitute one of the area’s invaluable assets. Appointed chief engineer of the City Parks Department in 1902, he laid out detailed plans for developing the park system. As county engineer in (1912 for three terms), he was responsible for construction of the Detroit Superior-Bridge and Lorain-Carnegie Bridge planning; drafted the first comprehensive plan for lakefront public land development, and convinced the Ohio legislature to block a deal turning over $30 million worth of shoreland to the railroads. In 1913, Stinchcomb got the Ohio legislature to revise the state constitution to permit legislation authorizing natural resource conservation. When the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Cuyahoga County’s park law unconstitutional in 1913, he drafted and lobbied through new legislation establishing the Metropolitan Park System, of which he was appointed first engineer. Stinchcomb mapped out a great circle, or “Emerald Necklace,” around Cleveland, and used proceeds from a levy to buy land. During the Depression, he employed Civilian Conservation Corps and WPA grants to put thousands to work making roads, building shelterhouses, parking lots, bridges, nature trails, ball fields, playgrounds and museums, and reforesting thousands of acres.



Photograph courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks