Village Leaders

Edward Garfield - Sixth Mayor of Bratenahl

12415 Coit Road
Edward Williams Garfield
Edward Williams Garfield

Edward Williams Garfield was elected in November 1931 to serve on the Bratenahl Council, replacing his father, Abram Garfield, who served on the council 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 was elected in November 1939 to become the sixth mayor of Bratenahl.

The events of World War II dominated the first half of Garfield’s term. 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 forty-seven male and three 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 extinguished, and anyone outside was to take cover inside. Those in homes were instructed to pull down the window blinds and keep the lighting 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 most significant 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 despite a booming United States economy. Much of Bratenahl’s tax base was lost as the rich died off, and people moved further out to the suburbs. Initially, the financial impact was softened somewhat by inheritance tax revenues.

The market for the homes dried up. However, 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 rented out as boarding houses, and some homes demolished.

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 his father’s footsteps, he received a B.A. degree in 1922 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

After graduation, Edward joined the management of Sherwin Williams, serving in various positions until his retirement in 1970.

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 (Muranko) born on January 17, 1929; Edward Williams, Jr., born on October 23, 1930; and Dorothy Hope (Stivers), born on May 17, 1932.

Edward was a trustee of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Music School Settlement. Associations 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. On Christmas morning, December 25, 1979, Edward died at the Berea Quality Care nursing home, where he resided for 1-1/2 years. He was buried alongside Hope in Lake View Cemetery.