History

Village Leader

R. Henry Norweb Jr. - Seventh Mayor of Bratenahl

10316 Brighton Road
R. Henry Norbeb Jr. 1983
R. Henry Norbeb Jr. 1983

R. Henry Norweb Jr. was appointed to serve the remaining term of Nathan Loeser who resigned in 1949. He served seven years on the council from 1950 through 1955. In 1955 Norweb was elected to be the seventh mayor of Bratenahl Village replacing Edward Garfield. He served one term from1956 through 1957.

The biggest event during Norweb’s term as Mayor was the completion of the Nike Missile Site. The Liberty Holden, Salisbury, and the Bole homes were razed. Lake Shore Boulevard was moved south, parallel to the Lakeland Freeway. The old stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard beginning at East 96th Street and terminating at the Army’s fenced perimeter was renamed, Holden Lane. The western entrance to the Village, once the most impressive and beautiful, never recovered.

Norweb faced some challenging issues during his short term as mayor. The Village was still struggling financially and the mayor engaged the Urban Land Institute to begin a study for a long-range development plan and address whether Bratenahl could even remain as a separate entity.

Mayor Norweb also appointed James Davis to the five-member planning commission to replace Ernest Dempsey. Davis, a relative newcomer to the village, was an attorney and a born leader with an intimidating and brilliant mind. He had moved to Cleveland to head the litigation department of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Davis brought a new perspective, recognizing that “Bratenahl was a gem that was about to go down the drain.”

R. Henry Norweb Jr. was born in a Paris cellar during an air raid on August 19, 1918, during World War I, to R. Henry and Emery May Norweb Sr., while his father was secretary to Ambassador William G. Sharp. He was the great-grandson of Liberty Holden and the grandson of Albert Holden. Although he referred to Katewood as his childhood home, he was raised in the Netherlands and South America except for when he and his brother and sister stayed with their great uncle, Guerdon Holden, at Loch Hame in 1921 and 1922 while his parents were in Japan.

Henry graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts in 1936. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University four years later. He then worked for the Plain Dealer as a reporter.

In 1941, Norweb enlisted and served with 107th Cavalry. He went through Officers Training School in Monmouth, New Jersey and became a U. S. Army Air Corps captain when discharged five years later.

Henry married Elizabeth “Libby” Gardner, daughter of Albert and Zelma Gardner. of Farmington, Maine. After the war, they moved to Bratenahl, where his parents had always maintained a home. The Norwebs had three children: Raymond Henry III born on February 14, 1947, Emery May (Royal) born on July 18, 1949, and Constance Elizabeth born on April 30, 1952.

Henry worked for WHK Radio in the engineering department and as a salesman. He switched to Enamel Products Co. in 1951 and was named general manager in 1958. The next year Mr. Norweb became the first executive director of Holden Arboretum founded by his grandfather, Albert Holden.

Norweb was president of the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Northeastern Ohio. He served on the executive committee of the Blossom Site Committee for the Cleveland Orchestra and was a trustee of the Musical Arts Association. He was also a trustee of the Cleveland Audubon Society, Western Reserve Historical Society, Fine Arts Garden Commission, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Society for the Blind and John Huntington Fund for Education.

Henry died on June 6, 1995, following a fall at his Boothbay Harbor, Maine residence. Libby died on June 1, 2007. Both are buried in Lake View Cemetery.