General Electric's Nela Park

Nela Park
••• Rpabst / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Nela Park, located along Noble Road in East Cleveland seven miles east of downtown Cleveland, was the world's first industrial park. Today, the 92-acre campus is home to General Electric's Lighting Division and employs around 1,200. The facility is known for its gracious Georgian-style architecture and its spectacular holiday lighting display.

History

Nela Park was established in 1911 when General Electric bought an abandoned vineyard seven miles from Cleveland in what was then the rural countryside.

The facility is named for the Cleveland company -- National Electric Lamp Company -- that was acquired by GE in 1900 in an effort to standardize the size of light bulb bases. Nela Park was designated a National Historic Place in 1975.

GE Lighting National Headquarters

Today, Nela Park is the world headquarters for General Electric's Lighting Division -- one of the company's seven divisions. The company, founded by the merging of Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Company and the Thomson Houston Company in 1892 has grown to become the world's second largest corporation.

Art and Architecture

The Nela Park campus consists of 20 Georgian Revival-style buildings, all but four of which were built before 1921. These early buildings were all designed by the New York architectural firm of Wallis and Goodwillie. The facility is also known for its art collection, which includes a number of Norman Rockwell paintings.

Education and Conferences

Among Nela Park's many functions is eduction. The facility hosts a full schedule of seminars for end users, contractors, and lighting distributors. In addition, Nela Park houses commercial, office, and industrial lighting showcases and other lighting design showrooms. Nela Park is not open to the general public.

The showrooms are open by appointment only.

A Holiday Tradition

One of the most popular aspects of Nela Park is its annual holiday lighting display. The facility decorates the campus along Noble Road with thousands of lights for visitors to enjoy from early December until New Year's Day. Although holiday visitors are no longer permitted to drive through the campus (for security reasons), the beautiful holiday lights can be viewed from the street.

The manufacturing facility at Nela Park also makes and donates the lights and ornaments for the National Christmas Tree on the White House lawn in Washington DC, a function it has performed since 1922.

Contact Information

General Electric Lighting and Electrical Institute
Nela Park
1975 Noble Rd.
East Cleveland, OH 44112

References

  • "Nela Park History" - www.gelighting.com
  • National Christmas Tree - www.nps.gov/
  • Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Van Tassel and Grabowski, Indiana University Press, 1987