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Gates Mills Improvement Society

About The Improvement Society

On October 21, 1905, The Gates Mills Improvement Society was incorporated as a non-profit corporation by Frank Ginn, E. S. Wright, S. Prentiss Baldwin, Edwin H. Cady, F. E. Wettstein, F. T. Sholes and A. G. Frisbie.  The first officers of the Society were S. Prentiss Baldwin as President, A. Ward Foote as Vice-President, and Evelyn Wright as Secretary and Treasurer.

The purpose of the corporation was to promote the health, safety and happiness of members of The Society, to improve and protect property in Mayfield Township, and to acquire, hold, use, lease or convey such real estate as necessary to achieve these goals.

On December 1905, The Maple Leaf Land Company deeded to The Society three parcels it owned for parks. One is the present Polo Field west of Epping Road, the second is the mill race from the river to the old right of way for the Cleveland and Eastern Railroad Company, and the third is a strip of land along the west bank of the river from the dam southward to the parcel owned by Corliss Sullivan.

The Society was the governing body of the town until The Village of Gates Mills was incorporated in 1920.  The Society’s early committees reflected the community’s interests of the time:  Parks, Good Roads, Forestry, School, and Dam Improvement. Over the decades all of the Society’s efforts have centered on the improvement of village life, whether acting alone or in cooperation with other organizations. 

The most recognizable efforts of The Society are the Fourth of July Parade and Ceremony on the Polo Field and The Annual Employee Christmas Fund.  Additionally, The Society supports the Animal Welfare Committee, Tennis Program, funding for Christmas Eve gathering and bonfire, special meetings of Village interests, and the Annual Dinner in January at The Hunt Club.