Lakewood

LakewoodOur neighboring city to the west is Lakewood. I’m still putting it in the “neighborhood” series because it feels like a big neighborhood to me. I hope this doesn’t offend any citizens who live there. I mean it as a compliment.

Here’s why. Lakewood has a feel about it. I can’t exactly put a finger on it. There are a lot of north and south running streets that have houses that have lovely first and second story porches that look over small yards and big trees, out onto the street and across to houses that look similar to their own houses.  There are usually shared driveways that go back to garages in backyards that are also small and often fenced. Lakewood double decker

This is the type of vintage neighborhood of the west Akron where I grew up. In the 1920’s to 1940’s people were looking for all the things that living in the city afforded them: good neighborhood schools, markets nearby, public transportation, close neighbors to be a “village” to watch the kids, a garage for the one family car, and little yards for privacy and maybe that little flower garden or fruit tree.

People in Lakewood care for their houses and yards. I think they probably care about their neighbors’ yards as well. You can tell which streets have a little competitive feel about the flowers and scrubs and this spills over to getting new siding or a new roof.  Lakewood feels stable. It feels like a good place to live.

There are, of course, shopping and eating areas in Lakewood, but this city is not the Mecca for dining or shopping like Ohio City, Tremont, or Little Italy.  Lakewood doesn’t have the “funk” of Coventry or the chic of Bay Village, Gates Mills, or Chagrin Falls. Clearly, it started as a city build for blue collar and upwardly mobile middle class folks who could afford a rather large starter home. Somehow it still feels that way to me. Prices for homes are rather high if you are just starting out, but people may decide it is worth the price to be close to offices in downtown Cleveland.

Last week I did a walking tour through Lakewood with Karen and a friend of hers. We started at Lakewood with a lovely look at Lake Erie and the skyline of downtown Cleveland. We headed east along Edgewater, Cliff, and Lake Avenues. Along the route we crossed into Cleveland and walked past the “Gold Coast” and ended up in Edgewater Park. By the time we returned, we had walked past a lot of old estates with colorful histories. While the homes along the Lake are not typical of Lakewood, they are certainly an important part of its history.

We rarely eat in Lakewood and only go there to shop in discount stores so we end up there less frequently than in other neighborhoods. But Dave and I agreed that if we wanted to buy a house in Cuyahoga County at this stage of our lives, we’d choose Lakewood.