20 Vintage Photos of Cain Park in Cleveland Heights

Completed in 1938 as the first municipally-run, outdoor civic theatre in the country, Cain Park was the brainchild of Cleveland Heights Mayor Frank C. Cain and Heights High School drama teacher Dr. Dina Rees "Doc" Evans. Rising from the ashes of the Great Depression, Cain Park was built using finances and labor made possible by New Deal agencies, namely the County Soldiers and Sailors Relief Commission and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). From the beginning, "Doc" Evans' plans for the Park were ambitious, yet she accomplished nearly everything she set her mind on. Throughout the 1940's, Cain Park Theatre staged at least one production for each week of its ten-week seasons. These productions included works by Shakespeare, Moliere, Ibsen, Sardou, Pirandello, Gilbert and Sullivan, and countless others. There were dramas, musicals, period pieces, and comedies. No matter the genre, the seats at Cain Park's amphitheater were always full, during both good times and bad. The trials of a country at war and competition from the Golden Age of Hollywood did little to slow down the open-air theatre in the woods between Taylor and Lee roads.

Photos courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project

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Actors rehearse for an upcoming performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, 1939.
Actors rehearse for an upcoming performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, 1939.
Actress Olivia Russell posing in an elegant gown. July 1939
Actress Olivia Russell posing in an elegant gown. July 1939
Bertholde Lange and chorus girls from Rio Rita, 1942.
Bertholde Lange and chorus girls from Rio Rita, 1942.
Bill Walton and William Boehm in The Vagabond King, 1942.
Bill Walton and William Boehm in The Vagabond King, 1942.
Cast of Katinka, with set designed by Vern Adix and Harold Mantz, 1945.
Cast of Katinka, with set designed by Vern Adix and Harold Mantz, 1945.
Charles Weidman and Company from School For Husbands, 1944.
Charles Weidman and Company from School For Husbands, 1944.
Construction of the stage for Cain Park Amphitheater,-July 1938
Construction of the stage for Cain Park Amphitheater,-July 1938
Covering the creek during the construction of Cain Park, 1935.
Covering the creek during the construction of Cain Park, 1935.
Crew members man the interior lighting booth, 1945.
Crew members man the interior lighting booth, 1945.
Elise Romano and Whit Connor, outdoors at Cain Park Theatre, 1940.
Elise Romano and Whit Connor, outdoors at Cain Park Theatre, 1940.