Village Leader

Edward Garfield - Sixth Mayor of Bratenahl

12415 Coit Road
Edware Williams Garfield
Edware Williams Garfield

Edward Garfield was elected to serve on the Bratenahl Council in 1931. He replaced his father, Abram Garfield, who served for 28 years. Edward served seven years on the council from 1932 through 1938. In 1939, he was appointed to serve the remaining term of Mayor John Hogg who died in office. Garfield became the sixth mayor of Bratenahl Village and served for seventeen years through 1955.

The first half of Garfield’s term was dominated by the events of World War II. A great many of Bratenahl’s young people entered the war and two did not return.

The Civilian Defense was responsible for war-related emergencies. There were 47 male and 3 female air raid wardens in the Village who supervised the blackout drills by cruising up and down neighborhood streets to make sure no light escaped the houses.

In response to an air-raid alarm installed at Village Hall, street lights were turned off and anyone outside was to take cover inside. Those in their homes were instructed to pull down the window blinds and keep the light inside to a minimum. People in automobiles were to pull over and find shelter in the nearest building.

For a short period following the war, the Village prospered under his leadership. The greatest improvement was the building of the  Lakeland Freeway. However, the 1950 census showed a population decline of 8.2%, the first population decline for Bratenahl Village.

Garfield faced challenges as Bratenahl was experiencing financial declines in spite of a booming United States economy. Much of Bratenahl’s tax base was being lost as the rich died off and people were moving further out to the suburbs. Initially, the financial impact was softened somewhat by inheritance tax revenues.

The market for the homes dried up. Some families with large properties were still willing to maintain them and even purchased neighboring properties as they became vacant. Other properties went on sheriff sale for back taxes; others were rented out as boarding houses, and some houses were torn down.

In 1955, Edward Garfield announced that he was retiring as mayor of Bratenahl and would not stand for reelection.

Edward Williams Garfield was born in Cleveland on May 17, 1899, the son of Abram and Sarah Garfield and the grandson of President James A. Garfield. He was raised at 9718 Lake Shore Boulevard in Bratenahl and attended Bratenahl school with further education at Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. Following in his father’s footsteps he received a B.A. degree in 1922 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

He married Hope Dillingham in 1928. She was born in Summit, New Jersey on June 20, 1905, to Frank & Louise Dillingham. They had three children: Louise Dillingham born on January 17, 1929, Edward Williams, Jr., born on October 23, 1930, and Dorothy Hope born on May 17, 1932.

He was a trustee of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Music School Settlement. Memberships included the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and the Cleveland Advertising Club. Social memberships included the Hermit and Kirtland clubs and the Williams Club of New York City.

Hope died on April 5, 1977. Edward died on December 25, 1979. Both are buried in Lake View Cemetery.