Millstream Park (Bonnie Park Picnic Area)

mom dad and two sons sitting in a field as the sun sets at millstream park

I love Millstream Park (also known was Bonnie Park Picnic Area) and shoot here during all seasons! Summer, fall, winter, spring, all of it! The parking lot is semi-small, but the sun sets in the perfect place. There is a river there, a little field (which was previously more parking) and lots of green areas & trails! This location is off Valley Parkway in Mill Stream Run Reservation, east of Pearl Road (route 42) in Strongsville, Ohio.

The History of Millstream Park, now known as Bonnie Park Picnic Area

A dam was built in 1820s to control the flow of the river and provide a water source for the mills. Most of the photos of the old mills were taken after they were retired. You can see some of the old photos by follow this LINK. With the mills quiet and still, the area seems serene. But that was not the case when they were in use! When the mills were used, between the noise and the local farmers with wagons of food plus rushing water and grindstones, you can image it was extremely noisy in this location. By the early 1900s the mill was not being used, like most small mills around this time. Local farmers dwindled and big companies made flour and sold it in local grocery stores instead.

mother and daughter blowing glitter in the snow

What does Bonnie Park mean?

The mill was no longer in use, but the dam still was there, and Dr. Clyne owned the property. It was his private picnic grounds! He added a boathouse to the mill plus used the pool created by the dam for swimming and boating at his park, known as Bonnie Park. And here’s a cool tidbit of information: Bonnie Park means “The Beautiful Park.”

Dr. Clyne sold Millstream Park to the Cleveland Metroparks in 1923. The Parks built better walls and created diving areas plus a wading pool to update the swimming area. But by the 1950s water pollution ended swimming at Bonnie Park.

two sisters and two brothers smiling at the camera as the sun sets in the fall foliage in strongsville ohio

Down goes the dam

The dam stood until 2020 when the dam was removed and now the river flows naturally. When they removed the dam, they redid the wood fencing, took out the small parking lot and filled it with dirt for more green area, which is now a nice little spot for a field + photos. It looks really nice all around! There are swallows that have made their homes in the wall by where the dam used to be, too. And there has always been a little covered shelter made of rocks, which also looks nice for photos.

Ready for more Cleveland Motherhood Content? Then don’t skip over the blog links below! But before you go, check out my family photography portfolio and get inspired to start to conversation about your child’s milestone session!

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Are you a Mom in NE Ohio? Do you want a supportive group that’s filled with support from other location Moms across NE Ohio? Look no further and join my Facebook Group called Caffeinated Moms of NE Ohio! (Loving coffee and ice cream is a plus, too, but not required!)