The Parma Reservoir

My Parmesan upbringing may not have been 'silver spoon' but a castle was nearby.

My Parmesan upbringing may not have been ‘silver spoon’ but a castle was nearby.

Isn't this impressive?

Isn’t this impressive?

When I lived in Parma, Ohio as a kid, I remember often going with a friend or by myself to the local reservoir. I am not totally sure why the reservoir was located in my community, but it was an interesting situation, almost odd, in fact. There was a huge brick building I recall, probably a lot smaller than I remember, but it was like a fortress and reminded me somewhat of a twentieth century chateau. I don’t remember a lot of windows, but I am sure there must have been.

The reservoir building was situated on a relatively large piece of property whose usage was questionable. I remember one time being there with my pal, Tom Lewicky, doing who knows what on the grassy area. We used to head through the grassy area and then go south toward the creek that ran to the south of the property. There, we used to check out the nature, find minute little clams and crayfish and do boy-things. I remember one time being run off by bigger kids, interested in showing their machismo by scaring others for no apparent reason.

The reservoir was just a couple of blocks from my house and the area was easy to get into since there really were no fences and barricades. It was not possible to enter the building, from what I recall. I don’t believe that entry was allowed, and the property itself was just a flat, grassy area bordered by the woods that were supposedly there before settlers arrived. Judging by the age of the trees in the creek area, I would guess that it would have to have been cleared and then taken over again by trees.

Nature-wise, we never saw or had any evidence of raccoons, possums, skunks, or deer, the only thing I remember seeing, back in the day, were the squirrels and rabbits. Chipmunks were seen once in a while as well. Hawks and predator birds like them were not seen, nor were the deer that are now so common.

One memorable event was the time Tom Lewicky and I were on the reservoir grass and minding our own business, when someone hit a golf ball which unfortunately connected with Tom, hitting him in the rib area. We were stunned and I remember Tom freaking out, as anyone would, fortunately not really hurt by it but angry as all get out at the person who had hit it, not caring to think that there were people standing there.

The reservoir was kind of like a park of sorts, for kids. A bit wild and not really open for play like a park, but I don’t recall any signs saying that you could not be there. I also remember that, in general, we were among the few who actually went there.

I just did a small bit of research and came up with a few photos of this structure from the 1930s. My memory serves me well and it did resemble a castle and was apparently made to look like a 14th century fortress, of all things. It was even built by workers from the WPA. It is also to be found as something to ‘like’ on Facebook!

I wonder why I started thinking of the ‘Reservoir.’ I wonder what ever happened to Tom Lewicky. I know his brother lived in Milwaukee and a statement he always made, “Can’t afford a car? Buy a Ford.” Perhaps I should have listened to him, but that is another story.

About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Childhood, Life in general. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Parma Reservoir

  1. Bill says:

    I live in Parma.

    The reservoir is now fenced in by a barbwire fence. There is a park next to the reservoir, it’s a pretty plan park. There are a couple of not very well maintained Baseball fields for Little League games there. I don’t think that there is any playground equipment there?

    I’m 50 years old, when I was a little kid in the 1970s and very early 1980s I played some of my Little League games there. As an adult my brother who was a PGA licensed pro taught a few Golf lessons there. You would have already been an adult then, so it wasn’t him who hit your friend with a Golf ball.

    The reservoir its self is very big, and it does look like a castle. Someone has a photo on the internet of what looks like a Roman soldier sitting on a horse in front of the reservoir.

    At the front gate of the driveway for the reservoir there is a small guard house. The guard house has a gate with red LED lights on it.

    Do you remember the small cemetery that is in front of the reservoir and is right next to Pearl Road? There are some very old graves there. I think that one or more of the people who are buried there may have died in the Civil War?

    In recent years they have built one small street of houses right behind the cemetery, but in front of the park that is next to the reservoir.

    Over the last 20 years there are now huge numbers of deer in the entire Parma, Parma Heights and surrounding suburbs area. I was just in the Reservoir Park on 8/28/22. There must have been at least 20 to 25 deer in the park at the time. Some were drinking water from the creek that you mentioned.

    The entire area also has plenty of other animals like raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, possums, chipmunks, skunks, hawks, frogs, toads, geese, ducks, etc, etc.

    There are even some coyotes in the area in the last 10 to 15 years.

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