Thursday, July 31, 2014

Remarkable Lake County -- Kirtland-opoly

It is always difficult to craft an article or entry that shares 100% of your vision.  This can be especially true when one attempts to choose historical events to share about a particular city, municipality or community.  I begin today's entry with my usual refrain about Lake County being Ohio's smallest county with perhaps the most history.  With apologies to The Kirtland Temple, The Mooreland Mansion and Historic Kirtland history sites let's begin today's challenge.  Do you know the answers to these ten questions dealing with Kirtland, Ohio?

1.  In 1923 the John Wanamaker Store in Philadelphia purchased three stone cottages from England.  One cottage dated back to 1492.  The structures found their way to America in 1925 and to Kirtland by 1945.  American entertainment icons Cole Porter, Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford visited this man's estate.  Name this Kirtland personality or estate on Little Mountain Road and Hart.

2.  Pastoral Terrors abound each fall as the story of these personalities lead visitors to Wisner Road in search of a siting.  Name these local legendary figures.

3.  A 1920 meeting of David Norton, Edward Moore and Mrs. Henry Everett led to the creation of this famous Kirtland site.  It still exists today- Can you name it?

4.  If you know the answer to question three, then you know the 580 acres, 25 outbuildings and 1910 stone mansion was once known as this?

5.  Kirtland got its name from Turhand Kirtland yet it is is son that may have had the most lasting impact on this community.  Name this famous son whose contributions to the fields of science are many.

6.  Samuel and Blanche Halle purchased 424 acres in 1912 in Kirtland for their summer farm.  What Lake Metropark property occupies their former site?  Hint - a horse barn is the visitor center.

7.  Sixty percent of this 1808 holding lies within Chapin Forest.  This topography also marks the beginning of the Allegheny Plateau.  Name the man or mountain that goes by this surname.

8.  9019 Kirtland-Chardon Road is the location of the county's oldest stone home dating back to 1841.  The owner was Henry Earl.  Known as the Vineyard House, today it is home to this national organization.

9.  Over 170 years ago Chris G. Crary obtained the first 156 acres of this site.  Other owners included the Criswell Family, Farinacci Family and Locust Farms.  In 1990 it was acquired by Lake Metroparks and is now known as...

10.  It was conceived as a memorial for his oldest daughter in 1931.  Warren Corning donated land, collections and even served as director in its infancy.  Name this well-known Kirtland property.

answers-   1.Leonard C. Hanna  2.  Melonheads   3. Kirtland Country Club   4.  Leo Doro Farms   5. Dr. Jared Kirtland   6.  Penitentiary Glen   7.  S.A. Gildersleeve   8.  Herb Society of America   9.  Farmpark   10.  Holden Arboretum

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#Instagram #InstaTour #InstaFun -- LCVB offers unique vacation opportunity July 25-27,2014

Looking for a unique family-friendly weekend getaway vacation that is not only a one tank trip or less but that also blends a combination of current technology, local history, outdoor experiences and local community flavor - then the weekend of July 25-27, 2014 is too good to be true.  Elizabeth Connor, social media specialist for the Lake County Visitors Bureau has crafted a unique experience for locals and out-of-county visitors for the entire weekend.  It is #InstaTour Vacation.  Quite simply all you need to do is visit and you are on your way.

InstaTour begins on Friday, July 25th when site specific hashtags are e-mailed to e-subscribers.  Beginning on Saturday, July 26th and continuing thru 4pm Sunday, July 27th visitors travel Lake County using site specific #'s to explore, enjoy, photograph, and possibly win prizes from designated locations.  Prizes range from $50 gift cars to paintings to theater tickets.  Over $600 in prizes will be given-away next weekend.  The final stop will be at Grand River Cellars at 4pm Sunday for those who choose.

Highlights of your InstaTour vacation include Headlands BeachFest on the 26th.  Sand sculpting, Lake Metroparks kayaking and SUP experiences, music, artists, vendors and CABBS Puddle Duck Racer sailboat building are just a small portion of the day's events.  Over the span of both days other vacation venues to explore include Downtown Painesville, Downtown Willoughby, Holden Arboretum, Historic Kirtland, Lake County History Center, Mentor Marsh, Kirtland Temple, Rabbit Run Theater and the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum.  Hours vary but one will be able to visit all sites between 9am-6pm both days.  Each photo stop offers visitors a chance to explore and enjoy some of the county's rich history and best kept secrets.  Climb a lighthouse tower and view Lake Erie as never before.  Walk thru the history that is the Mormon Migration.  Witness nature firsthand at an arboretum or marsh.  Explore two great cityscapes on different ends of the county.  Visit our NHS  honoring President James A. Garfield.

So visit for more information and bring your phone next weekend.

#InstaTour sponsors- Grand River Cellars, Downtown Painesville, Downtown Willoughby, Fitzgerald's B&B, Homestead House B&B, Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum, Rabbit Run Theater, Rider's Inn, Holden Arboretum, Lake County History Center, City of Willoughby, Lake Metroparks, Headlands BeachFest 2014 and others...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Remarkable Lake County --- Women Personalities Trivia Challenge

Today's submission examines some of our county's most interesting women personalities of the past.  It is a thoroughly incomplete listing of notables and totally arbitrary in its selection.  Nonetheless the challenge before you is to see how many famous women you can recall from our county's history.  Let's begin...

1.  She lived from 1840-1928 and hailed from Painesville.  Her husband was a famous Civil War General and instrumental in the completion of America's Transcontinental Railroad.  She was important in her own right- leading the way as an America Suffragette and Voting Advocate.  Name her...

2.  She lived on West Jackson Street and served Painesville as a nurse to her famous husband, medical secretary and mentor to hundreds of African-American youths until her death in 1992.  Do you know her name?

3.  She was fondly known as 'Gramma G' by those in the neighborhood.  She was Mentor's only female mayor and was largely responsible for Mentor's transformation into a leading commercial hub in the county.  Her name is...

4.  This 'Prop Girl' learned her trade at Willoughby Cook-Cleland Airport.  She later worked for TRW and ran her own flight school with another famous female aviator.  She is a member of the Aviation HOF located at Burke Airport in Cleveland.  Name this county aviator and flight pioneer.

5.  Born in 1846, her childhood ambition was to open a school for the education of young women.  Tragedy cut her life short but her childhood goal was realized in the decades that followed and is now known as Andrews-Osborne Academy.  Who is this female education pioneer?

6.  She was already a physician when she was elected as the first woman mayor in Ohio and arguably  the U.S.  She served Fairport from 1921-1923 before moving on to other medical accolades.  She is...

7.  The 'Sisterhood' later known as the Painesville Hoods were organized in 1862 and made an impact in the historical annals of the Civil War.  She was elected the first president of this famous social club.  Name her...

8.  She passed in 1948 but this Wickliffe socialite had a lasting impact on Cleveland's Gilded Age, British Society and WWII as a French Resistance member.  Name this famous anomaly?

9.  Her family is synonymous with Cleveland paint manufacturing.  She never married, was a local educator and headed the League of Women Voters and National Urban League in her time.  She is...

10.  She resided in Painesville briefly.  She was a kindergarten teacher whose students included William Windom(actor) and Jim Backus (Mr.Magoo / Thurston Howell III).  Her autograph included 'WWW' from her 1939 role in the Wizard of Oz.  Later in her career she was Cora for a national coffee company.  Name her...

Answers-  1.  Frances Jennings-Casement   2.  Mildred Rucker   3.  E;eanore Garfield  4.  Patricia J. Hange   5.  Margaret Marsh St. John   6.  Dr. Amy Kaukonen   7.  Eliza Wilcox   8.  Laura Mae Corrigan   9.  Belle Sherwin   10.  Margaret Hamilton

Monday, July 7, 2014

Remarkable Lake County -- Fairport-opoly

Ohio's smallest county came into being in 1840 and in 2014 remains at the epicenter of both early American History and that of the Western Reserve.  Each community has its own histories and personalities to share.  Today we examine one of Lake County's best kept secrets - Fairport Harbor.  Take the challenge and see how much you know about this Grand River community.

1.  The name Fairport first appeared in 1836.  'Harbor' was added in 1959.  Fairport Harbor was not the original name in 1812 when the first settlers named this community.  What is the first name on record for Fairport Harbor?

2.  Founded in 1945, the all-volunteer Fairport Harbor Historical Society has preserved the history and sentiment of the village and Great Lakes maritime history at this museum site for the last 69 years.  Name this marine museum.

3.  From 1912-1976 the chemical corridor stretched from Toledo to upstate New York and this industrial plant located in a portion of Fairport was known throughout the U.S.  Name this plant...

4.  One of Fairport's most colorful personalities was Frenchy 'the Pirate' Thompson.  Local Lore had him washing ashore sometime in the 1800's and found dead in his Huntington Beach shack in 1914.  What product did Frenchy sell by cart to make a living?

5.  A bubbling brew just offshore Fairport's beach has become part of Native American legend dating back 400 years as well as Fairport fishermen lore from the 1890's.  What is the common name of this famous legend?

6.  Madison and Fairport were leading ports and shipbuilding sites in the 1800's.  In fact, over 52 vessels are documented as being built in these two communities.  What schooner was built in Fairport in 1845 and remains a staple on Lake Erie waters today?

7.  This Finnish woman of strict cultural upbringing was not only a medical doctor but the first woman mayor in Ohio and perhaps the U.S. She was elected Mayor of Fairport in 1921 and defeated William Stange by 75 votes.  Name her...

8.  This museum began in 2002 in the former building that served as a village senior center, police station, jail, fire station and village hall.  Name the cultural organization or museum that now occupies this site.

9.  This site located on the west side of the Grand River arrived in 1921 from Buffalo, New York and was commissioned in 1925.  Since 2012 it became a private residence.  Name the structure...

10.  This WWII and Korean War flying ace served in the RCAF and USAF and is the most decorated ace in our country and the UK.  Name this famous Fairport graduate and resident.

Answers -  1. Grandon  2.  Fairport Harbor Lighthouse & Marine Museum  3.  Diamond Alkali / Diamond Shamrock  4.  water   5.  Big Water God   6.  Madeline   7.  Dr. Amy Kaukonen  8.  Finnish Heritage Museum   9.  West Breakwater Lighthouse   10.  Donald Blakeslee

Monday, June 30, 2014

Remarkable Lake County -- Mentor-opoly

Ohio's smallest county is home to many important historic events and personalities.  With the recent passing of local Mentor icon Jerome Osborne-age 92, it occurred to me to reflect on the changing history in Mentor he witnessed in his lifetime.  Remember the Mentor we know today just celebrated its fiftieth birthday in 2013.  See how many Mentor facts you know throughout the years past.

1.  In 1898 this former first lady founded the Mentor Miscellany Club - the first women's literary club.  Name her...

2.  A museum since 2007, this public service building located on Jackson Street began its history in 1942, saw improvements in the 70's and 80's before closing in 1990.  Do you remember this site?

3.  Acquired in 1997-98, this property now encompasses 450 acres of water and preserve access for the community.  Name the site...

4.  'Gramma G' served as mayor in 1952 and spearheaded much of Mentor's current cityscape and industrial footprint.  Name our only women mayor and Mentor Recreation Park founder.

5.  From 1951-57 it was known as Painesville Beach State Park.  In 1967 it reopened as this- name the state property...

6.  Two years before Mentor attained city status, this retail development opened in 1961- the first of its kind nationally.  Do you remember?

7.  Originally known as the Dickey Farm, its front porch was a platform during the first ever Presidential Campaign of its kind.  Queen Victoria sent a wreath on the occasion of his state funeral that still remains in the memorial vault on its premises.  Name the historic home...

8.  Located on Station Street and still visible today, this building has been known as Columbia Match, Lake Shore Chemical, Mentor Knitting and this...

9.  In 1973 the Cleveland Museum of Natural History transferred 673 acres of birding trails to Mentor.  Name this property...

10.  Originally located in Painesville, it came to Mentor in 1912 and still is the epicenter for agricultural programming and events today.  Name the property...

answers-  1.  Lucretia Garfield  2.  Fire House Station #1  3.  Mentor Lagoons & Nature Preserve  
4.  Eleanore Garfield  5.  Mentor Headlands State Park  6.  Great Lakes Mall  7.  James A. Garfield NHS  8.  Hart Nut & Washer  9.  Mentor Marsh  10.  Lake County Fairgrounds

Monday, June 23, 2014

Remarkable Lake County: Community Names - Then and Now

Names evoke historical curiosity.  From times long past to the present nothing can spark a conversation better than naming something.  Influences can be historical figures, significant events, or quite simply a random selection from out of the blue.  Examples abound when it comes to naming communities.  Often even roadways were named after many of our early county pioneers.  Mentor took its name from mythology.  LeRoy assumed its name from the NY settlers who arrived during the Western Reserve era.  Sometimes even entire municipalities or cities assume a surname.  Turhand Kirtland, a Revolutionary War and Connecticut Land Company figure saw his name used for what is now Kirtland, Ohio.  Capt. Abraham Skinner named his town New Market in 1806, a few years before soon to be Painesville trumped his location.  Today we examine the many names that once were part of our hometown communities.  See how many you know.

1.  The Village of Willoughbeach and Willoughby-on-the-Lake were early names of this current Lake County community.  Name it.

2.  In 1832 Thomas Richmond arrived from New York and settled here.  Hoping to make his fortune on the success of the Erie Canal and railroad boom, it was not to be.  Known as Richmond, it soon passed into the annals of history and is now known as...

3.  Its current name is generally believed to come from its postmaster in 1835.  Previous names for this community included Carlton, Charlton, Chagrin(e) and Abbott's Mill.  Do you know the name?

4.  Officially chartered in 1812 and known as Grandon, it changed its name to this in 1836 and made another name change in 1959.  Do you know this community - once the second largest port on the Lake.

5.  According to records dating back to 1844 this community was known as St. John's Township and Plains in 19th c. county history.  Can you name this community?

6.  Oak Openings and Champion, circa 1805 were two early names of this current county legislative center.  The current name comes from a key historical figure from the past.  Name the community!

7.  Chapintown (1802), Centerville (1811), Ellensburg and Madison Township are all early names of this eastern Lake County community.  Do you know it?

8.  In 1796 it was known as Range 10 Township 9.  Home to many of Cleveland's Millionaire's Row families, today it is known as...

9.  In 1802 it was known as Wilson's Corners, by 1805 this area took the name of a Revolutionary War battlesite, a name that still is used today.  Name the township!

answers- 1. willowick   2.  grand river   3.  willoughby   4.  fairport harbor  5.  eastlake   
6.  painesville  7.  madison   8.  wickliffe  9.  concord

Monday, June 2, 2014

Remarkable Lake County -- 2nd Annual Dual Lighthouses Tour this week

Two of our county's best kept secrets are approximately .8 miles apart on the banks of the Grand River.  One historical structure was built in 1825 and shone for 100 years, the other arrived via steamer in 1921, was commissioned in 1925, became a private residence just two years ago and celebrates its 89th birthday this coming weekend.  The brief history of each historical structure follows.

The Grandon Lighthouse on the Grand River  ( Fairport Lighthouse)  1825-1925

The Great Lakes were traversed by the aborigines for a long period prior to the arrival of the Europeans.  Native America tribes dotted the coastlines of Lake Erie for many centuries.  It is indeed somewhat remarkable that Lake Erie was the last of the five to come under the rule of the white man.  Grandon (1812) located midway between Cleveland and Ashtabula was once the gateway to the Western Reseerve.  Grandon's importance to Great Lakes shipping increased in 1803 when the new state of Ohio was formed from land relinquished by Connecticut and Virginia.  The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 doubled its importance as a refueling and commercial hub.  Grandon's lighthouse era was at hand.

Jonathan Goldsmith, noted architect and Hiram Wood were awarded the contract in 1825 for a lighthouse to be located on the east bank of the Grand River.  The original brick tower was 30' high with 3' thick supporting walls at the base.  A two story keeper's dwelling was included.  A 1871 award by Congress totaling $30,000 provided for a replacement build.  That lighthouse, keeper dwelling and third-order fresnel lens remained in service thru 1925. The tower and dwelling were the first to be saved from the wrecking ball in the U.S.  Both were also part of the first maritime museum to be on a lighthouse reservation in the country.  Since 1945 the site has been maintained by volunteers of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society as a marine museum.  The lens, lifesaving car, USLSS / USCG artifacts and much more are on display to the public.  Additionally, Fairport histories of the UGRR, Civil War, Mormon Migration and its place in the 19-20th c. Industrial Era are shared.

Visit -

The Fairport West Breakwater Lighthouse  1925-

The Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light was finished in June 1925.  It is situated at the mouth of the Grand River and was constructed as a replacement to the original Grandon / Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.  In June 1917, Congress appropriated $42,000 for the construction of a new breakwater combination light and fog signal station.  The outbreak of WWI delayed the construction for several years.  During that time the citizens of Fairport rallied to save their lighthouse from the funding monies allocated for its destruction.  On June 21, 1921 the steamer Wotan arrived in Fairport with the prefabricated iron frame, steel studding, floor beams, rafters, roof plating, cornices and such.  Constructed in Buffalo, NY as were two other Lake Erie lighthouses of the era, the 147 mile journey was phase one of the project.  Interior masonry and lantern room finish work took another four years to complete.  On June 9, 1925 the West Breakwater Lighthouse was illuminated for the first time.  The lighthouse station was maintained by the nearby USCG Station Fairport crew until 2012 when it was sold to a private owner.  The 42' dwelling is now a private residence while the third story lantern room remains an active navigational aid and is still under federal / USCG possession.

Visit -

A private showing of both lighthouses is scheduled for June 6, 2014...information may be found on the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum website.  Deadline for sign-up will be 5pm this Wednesday.  You may call the museum at 440-354-4825 on Wednesday from 1-5pm too.