Historical Highlights

Thc Cleveland Natural Science Club

  • Early 1920s: Professor Ellis C. Persing of the Western Reserve University Education College, taught a class on how to teach the natural sciences. His students were so excited  about the subject that after class and on weekends they would meet with Professor Persing to further discuss and explore the natural sciences.
  • May 21, 1924: The Cleveland Nature Club was organized by Professor Ellis Persing and his students.
  • September 26, 1925: The Nature Club’s name was changed to, “The Cleveland Natural Science Club.”
  • February 7, 1928: The first Annual Dinner of the Science Club was held.
  • April, 1931: The old “Winslow Farmhouse” was obtained from Cleveland Metroparks for use as a clubhouse in exchange for upgrading the building plus providing educational services to the public.  The Club members named their new clubhouse Look About Lodge.
  • 1935: The Club membership had grown significantly, so a new “Look About Lodge” was needed.  The new Lodge was designed and financed by Science Club members, and built with WPA labor.  This happened despite the fact this was the middle of the Great Depression, and most of the members were school teachers earning only modest salaries.
  • June 5, 1938 : The new Look About Lodge was completed, dedicated, and opened to members and the public.
  • 1940s and 1950s: Members would come to the South Chagrin Reservation for breakfasts and holiday picnics, and to “Look About Lodge” for educational programs and social events.
  • 1960s through 1980s: The Club continued to provide educational programs, and to hold fund raisers where plants, food, and other nature related products were sold.
  • Throughout the Club’s history, the focus has always been on learning and teaching about wild plants and animals, plus conserving natural resources.
  • Today, the Cleveland Natural Science Club meets in the Lodge from February through November on the first Saturday of each month.  A program on a natural science subject is held at 7:30 PM.  It is open to the public. The program subjects are listed on this website and in the Cleveland Metroparks Emerald Necklace.  In December, a Christmas tea and open house is held, and is open to the public.  It has been held every year since 1938.

Look About Lodge

  • 1935: Professor Persing, in conjunction with the Metropark’s Landscape Architect, sought out a new location on which to build a new “Look About Lodge”.  It was designed to serve the expanded membership (of over 200).  The prototype was Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, which a number of members had visited.
  • 1936 – 1937: The new/current Look About Lodge was built from 309 American chestnut logs for an investment of $26,500 raised by Club members.  The chestnut trees, from the Loudonville area, had been killed by a fungus blight.  The labor to build the Lodge was provided by WPA (Works Progress Administration) craftsmen because it was built on Metroparks land and was build partially to serve the public.
  • June 5, 1938: The current Look About Lodge was dedicated, and formally opened for use by members and public guests. Members were scheduled to live at the Lodge for a week at a time during the summer and on weekends during the spring and fall to keep the Lodge open to the public.
  • An amphitheater & four-sided stone fireplace were built west of the Lodge.  Weather permitting, educational programs and (occasionally) church services were held in the amphitheater. Bench seating was logs, with a speaker rostrum/pulpit at the east end.  However, due to a mosquito problem, and fungi growth on the log seats, the facility was dismantled.
  • .During the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, members and their families would take turns spending weekends at the Lodge in the Spring and Fall, and a week or two throughout the summer months, keeping it open for the public.
  • 1993: Due to high maintenance costs and an aging membership, the Science Club chose to relinquish Lodge operation to the Cleveland Metroparks for use as a unique nature education center.  This has enabled significantly more people to benefit from the natural beauty and inspiring atmosphere of Look About Lodge.

For More Information:

There is a 176 page book available on Look About Lodge, The Cleveland Natural Science Club, and Nature appreciation in America.  It contains numerous pictures, and is called “Lodge Spirit”.  It is available at www.lookaboutlodge.com, or by calling the author, Ralph Kneale at 440-655-3069. Priced at $24.95, it is currently being offered at 20% off, or $19.96 + tax = $21.31.

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