William O'Neil, founder of General Tire and Rubber Company, and his wife Grace donated their 242-acre family farm to Metro Parks in 1972. Their son, M. Gerald O'Neil, served on the Board of Park Commissioners from 1969 to 1978.
The O'Neil family had cattle and horses, and their old barn still stands; the structure is an ideal bat "condo." Other winged creatures in O'Neil Woods include eastern bluebirds, which nest in boxes maintained by staff and volunteers throughout the park.
Eastern woodcocks, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, song sparrows, kingfishers and ruffed grouse have been spotted among the park's oak, black willow, eastern cottonwood, sycamore and black walnut trees. Ferns and wildflowers carpet the ground. Yellow Creek, the cleanest tributary to the Cuyahoga River, harbors turtles, frogs and a variety of fish. Biologists believe this creek's fish will eventually re-colonize the polluted river as cleanup efforts continue.