Joe Reinschmidt, Author
Many area residents describe Ridge Road in Parma as “nothing but a bunch of used car lots.”
By their nature of outdoor display, those uses are most visible, but a careful look reveals there is much more. Earlier this year, we spent several hours surveying the Ridge Road commercial corridor, tabulating all the business signs that were evident. Surprisingly they totaled 110 and included some unusual businesses.
Want a custom motorcycle, tropical fish, pet mice, snakes or rats, a 4-runner, custom car detailing, concrete lawn ornament, recreational vehicle, a mini-lighthouse?
Need a motel room, martial arts training, music or voice lessons, dance instruction, signs, a cemetery monument, legal services, DJ music services, live bait?
All of the above are available on the Ridge in Parma as well as a host of other products and services which are shown by category in the tabulation that follows:
Apartments 50, ranging from single units to a group of 13
Barber/Beauty Shops – 4 Churches – 3
Flooring Sales and installation – 2 Golf courses – 2
Golf Driving Ranges – 3 Garden Center / Farm supplies – 2
Landscaping / Tree Services – 5 Mobil Home Park sites – 50
Restaurant / Food Services – 5 Storage Facilities – 7
Motor Vehicle services: Vehicle fueling stations – 2
Registered vehicle repair shops – 10 Vehicle collision & painting shops – 5
New vehicle dealerships – 2 Used vehicle sales lots – 20
In addition, there are 36 locations providing a variety of other retail sales and services.
Yes, motor vehicle related facilities are dominant, but isn’t that appropriate for a major highway with an average of 12,000 vehicles per day traffic count? It’s certainly a far cry from 6 or 7 stagecoaches a day 200 years ago. Today’s Ridge is way beyond what early settlers could ever envision and beyond what most of us senior citizens of the area had ever expected to see.
High traffic areas are a magnet for business location, so like it or not, the progression of removing buildings and constructing new ones will continue. The late singer, Burl Ives, in his ballad on Time, captured it well in one line that says “But they’re tearing down buildings; I watched them put up-time, time, time.” However, the passage of time is what expands history.
Acknowledgements and thanks: Most of the early historical information in these articles is contained in book written by Shirley Husted, former Parma Town Historian. They are still available at the Town Clerk’s office. Thanks to the DOT for providing their most recent traffic count information. Thank You – to Mary Reazor for her assistance in the Ridge road survey of business and for reviewing drafts of these articles and special thanks to the Suburban News for printing them!