When Mayor Frank C. Cain, sometimes
called Mr. Cleveland Heights, retired on January 1, 1946, he had this
to say: “I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the experience
of these past years. I never had any political ambition. I’ve wanted
to make Cleveland Heights a family city. It had a population of 3,000
when I took over; now it has 60,000! The record speaks for itself.”
Mr. Cain was not a native of Cleveland Heights. He was born in Springfield,
Ohio, on May 6, 1877. His family had a long history in Ohio. His father’s
grandmother had lived in the second oldest house in Dayton. Both grandfathers
had been in business for many years.
Mr. Cain received
his early education in Springfield. Then he came to Cleveland Heights
in 1900. He found work in several firms until he settled with the
Goff-Kirby Coal Company. Later he became and active partner in the
Bailey Company, shippers of grain and feed. His business experience
was of great value when he got into the government of Cleveland
In 1910 he was elected a member of the Council of the village of
Cleveland Heights. He is reported to have said that, at that time,
there were more cows than people in the village. In 1914 he was
persuaded to run for mayor of the village and was elected. The village
grew and the demands of his position increased. He had less and
less time for private affairs.
Frank C. Cain
He was re-elected time and time again. When
his name appeared on the ballot, he was usually the top vote getter. In
1941 Mayor Cain received 81 percent of the vote. The citizens of Cleveland
Heights had confidence in their mayor. He served 18 terms (36 years).
What did the man do over the years to earn this respect and confidence?
It would be hard to single out any improvement in Cleveland Heights during
those thirty-six years in which Mayor Cain had no part. He really meant
it when he said he had no political ambition. With the vote-getting ability
he had, he could have reached the Ohio Legislature and probably the Governor’s
mansion. But he wanted to make Cleveland Heights a residential area with
improved transportation and utility services. These were his goals and
he worked to achieve them.
In 1921 he headed the charter commission that set up the
Council Manager form of government. Mayor Cain’s administration
is credited with the following achievements:
The first comprehensive zoning law in the state of Ohio.
Acquisition of Forest Hills Park as a gift from John
D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Development of Cain Park.
Establishment of the suburb as the first of Ohio’s
cities over 10,000 population to become debt free—with the lowest
city-purpose tax rate in the county.
It is no wonder that Mayor Cain served at the leader of the suburbs
surrounding Cleveland when they needed to cooperate in any fight against
measures that would limit their independence.
Mayor Cain said his wife should have credit for a great share of his
success. She ran the house and looked after their children, a son and
two daughters, efficiently. She said that Frank ran the city as they
ran their home. Mrs. Cain was interested in civic affairs and was a
charter member of the Women’s Civic Club of Cleveland Heights.
Of course, Mayor Cain belonged to many organizations. As a young man
he belonged to the Heights Tennis Club and won several cups. He was
a member of the Masonic Lodge and belonged to the Republican Party.
He supported any church that asked for his help. He served as President
of the Men’s City Club of Cleveland. The productions at Cain Park
had his interest and support for many years. Perhaps his greatest interest
was his family and his home at 1769 Radnor Road and, later, 1590 Compton