1902 - 1993

John L. Paolano

Born in Abruzzo, Italy, Paolano was raised in the United States and attended high school in Barberton, Ohio. He studied agriculture and landscape architecture at Ohio State University, graduating in 1927 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Upon graduation, Paolano was awarded a scholarship to the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Lake Forest, Illinois, and was subsequently hired by Ferruccio Vitale, working in the New York Office of Vitale and Geiffert. After Vitale’s passing in 1933, Paolano was engaged by the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington, D.C., as Associate Landscape Architect in the National Capital Parks Program. There he prepared a master plan for the National Capital Parks; helped complete Meridian Hill Park; removed, transplanted, and added elms, oaks, and magnolia trees in Lafayette Square Park; and designed planting plans for the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway (now George Washington Memorial Parkway) and Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park.

In 1938 Paolano returned to Ohio and established a private practice. From 1940 to 1957, he worked for the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority supervising site development for public housing projects. In 1957 he became Barberton’s first Planning Director, advocating for preservation and the acquisition of parkland. In 1958 he was appointed the first executive director of the Stan Hywet Hall Foundation and in 1960 became Akron’s Chief City Planner. He went on to serve as the city’s Landscape Architect, rezoning the municipality, establishing new parks, and expanding boulevard plantings. In 1962 he designed Fellows Riverside Gardens, at Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, Ohio, maintaining the site’s topography to afford visitors panoramic views. Paolano retired from his position with the city of Akron in 1969 and passed away in 1993.