Thursday, October 20, 2016

" You Might Be From Lake County If..." Part II - Famous County Women

Lake County's famous women are known throughout the annals of our country and some of these notables garner world-wide name recognition.  How well do you know these women of our community's history?  Let's test your mettle!

1.  Known as 'Gramma G' to many, a 65 acre park is named after Mentor's only female mayor.  Name this pioneering lady.

2.  She was not only a female doctor (1920) but the passage of the 19th Amendment (1919) allowed her to become Ohio's first woman mayor.  She was elected Mayor of Fairport in 1921.  Name her.

3.  She was a graduate of Thomas Harvey High School in Painesville, taught at Champion JHS, became a WASP in 1942, barnstormer after WWII and female racing aviatrix.  Do you know 'Marge' by her given name?

4.  She met her husband in the 1850s when his railroad work caused him to seek right-of-way access thru her family homestead.  She was also a leading member of the women's suffrage movement.  What is her name?

5.  Oz's Wicked Witch was born in Cleveland and was an educator in Painesville and other places during her long and storied career.  What is Miss Gulch's real name?

6.  She grew up in Perry and in 1952 became the personal secretary to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Can you name her?

7.  In 1932 she became the head of the Disney Studio Animation Paint Department.  Do you know this Willoughby animation pioneer?

8.  She grew up in an aviation environment in Willoughby as a young girl.  Shortly after WWII she was the country's first certified woman master mechanic in the aviation field.  Name her.

9.  She was a student, teacher and later a resident at this 1840 one-room schoolhouse site in Concord Township.  What is her name?

10.  She graduated from Thomas Harvey High School, Ohio Wesleyan University and Lake Erie College.  This reknown aviatrix and Airpark owner from Concord Township is a Ohio 2016 Senior HOF inductee as well as a HOF member at  the International Women's Aviation and Space Museum.  Name this notable township resident and current trustee.

answers-  1. Eleanor B. Garfield  2.  Dr. Amy Kaukonen  3.  Margaret Hurlburt  4.  Frances Jennings Casement  5.  Margaret Hamilton  6.  Ann C. Whitman  7.  Grace Bailey  8.  Pat Hange  9.  Elga Pomeroy  10.  Connie Luhta

Thursday, October 13, 2016

" You Might Be From Lake County If..."

Every county, community, structure or location has its facts, local lore, foibles and such.  Today's families are much more transient in their lifetime and being anchored in community is not what it once was.  Today we challenge your general 'County IQ' in the first of a series entitled "You Might Be From Lake County If..."

1. Where were these two Lake Shore Resorts located?  Linden Beach, Shore Club

2.  What town was the site of the Griffith Disaster (June 16, 1850) and do you know the story?  A historical marker shares the tale at the site.

3.  Have you visited the Old Stone School (1840) and do you know the name of the lady who was a student,  a teacher and a homeowner there during her lifetime?  This one-room schoolhouse is located on Ravenna Road in Concord Township.

4.  Where is Arcole Furnance?  What two famous county residents from the 1800s were the owners of this important business?  A historical marker is located on the site.

5.  Wickliffe is known as the City of Millionaires.  Do you know the names of at least four of these men who lived on Millionaire's Mile?

6.  Girdled Road has a storied history dating back to the Western Reserve Era.  Do you know the history?

7.  The Burroughs Club began in 1916.  Foundling members hailed from this county city?

8.  'Stop 47' and 'Stop 61' were daily occurrences from 1896-1926 if you traveled on this line?

9.  The 'Johnnycake Story' is part of this famous stagecoach stop history located at the corner of Rt. 84 & 44.  Do you know the tavern or story?

10.  Archibald Willard's famous painting 'The Spirit of '76' used these two local men as images for the fifer and drummer.  Do you know their names or home communities?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Whatever Happened to Camp Klein?

The title question is simply enough - What ever happened to Camp Klein?, which today has been repurposed into Lake Metroparks’ Environmental Learning Center.  Let’s look back at the history of Camp Klein  prior to its 1997 closing - before the 2001 purchase of the property by Lake Metroparks – and before the 2015-2016 final preservation assured its place in our county history annals.  This is its story.

Before Camp Klein, there were other camps.  In fact, the first fresh air camps appeared in the summer of 1896.  George A. Bellamy of Cleveland and Hiram House fame was its first champion.  These camps were part of a movement to emphasize social and educational development of a population that at the time was mostly immigrant in composition and definitely urban dwellers.  Early camp locations were in Brecksville at the farmhouse of Florence Oakes and the two properties secured by Harley Barnes from Painesville / Concord Township.  By 1904, Barnes had acquired an area in Concord known as Fays Mills.  The Epworth Fresh Air Camp was a reality.  The camp fell under the auspices of the Epworth League of Cleveland and soon thereafter a four-decade partnership with the Methodist Youth Fellowship.The annual camps flourished and the 250 plus children who attended were exposed to religious as well as all- natural experiences.  They were housed in dormitories and their outdoor education supervised by mothers and staff alike.

Despite some lean times resulting from the Great Depression and WWII, a brief suspension of the camp paved the way for the 1945-1952 hunt for a new campsite that would mirror the population move to the Cleveland suburbs.  Dr. John Flynn, Dr. Clarence LaRue and George Klein of the George R. Klein News Company led this search.  1952 saw the purchase of 157 acres in Concord Township and the ensuing three years saw the formation of a camp named after its key investor.  Mr. Klein was not only the founder of the camp but was also the lead chairman for many of the key committees of the Methodist Church that sponsored the site. The camp’s first guests arrived in the summer of 1955.  Cabins, a swimming pool, and additional out buildings supplemented the main structure.  The ‘Camp Klein Years’ encompassed the decade of the 60s and expansion marked the early part of the 70s decade.  Unfortunately for the many  outdoor church camps of this era, their popularity and attendance waned.  Operating at only 50% capacity led to deficits and maintaining these sites became a burden to the church communities who footed the bills.  A church study in 1987 forecast the demise of Camp Klein and others of its kind.  Within ten years warm nostalgia met financial cold hard facts.  Camp was over.

Lake Metroparks formed in the late 50s had an interest in the Camp Klein properties since day one.  In 1994 the park system even applied for federal monies should the site become available.  1998 saw the Camp sold to the Slovene Home.  Rancor and legal wranglings resulted between the interested parties.  By 2001 a remedy was brokered and LMP assumed ownership of the property.  A careful land and resource study was not completed until 2008.  The site was to be repurposed as an Environmental Learning Center.  Renovations, tear-downs and new construction lasted thru early 2015.  Today the property is open to the public with miles of hiking trails, creek access and an educational program building that is the envy to outdoor educators everywhere.  Visit for more information about this site.

  • information gleened from the research of M. Sondey

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Still More Lake County Facts not found on the bottom of Snapple Bottle Caps

Continuing on a previous posted blog, here are another ten facts about our county not readily known by most residents.  Test your skills and see how many you know.  Better yet make a commitment to visit these notable county landmarks before 2016 ends.

1.  The Casement-Jennings House in Painesville built in the late 19th century has had only four owners, featured central heating and a/c, a first of the era and had Susan B. Anthony visit there often.

2.  The two oldest stone quarried homes in the county date back to 1840 and 1841 respectively.  The first is located on Ravenna Road and was a one-room schoolhouse.  The second building in Kirtland was once a farm homestead known as the Vineyard House and today is home to the Herb Society of America.  Both are open to visitors.

3.  Wayward spirits have been reported to inhabit several dorms, a music building and the main college hall on this Lake County college campus located on Mentor Avenue in Painesville.

4.  This City of Millionaires features the former homes or sites of Coulby, Squire, McKinney, Corrigan and Rockefeller.  Do you know these properties?

5.  October programs share the ghostly stories of Robbie Babcock and Sentinel the cat at this iconic lighthouse in Fairport Harbor.  Will you be attending the 7-9 pm program on October 18 or 25th?

6.  This barn theater is one of the few remaining in the country.   Located in Madison and dating back nearly 80 years, it features four live stage shows annually.  Jim Backus, Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman have performed there.

7.  The entrance to this famous summer home was located at an interurban stop that sat in front of the current Olive Garden site on Mentor Avenue.  Do you know the name of this famous mansion?

8.  She was Mentor's only women mayor and was affectionately known as 'Gramma G' - do you know this visionary's real name?

9.  A Nike Missle site was located in this county city.

10.  This park was the first one to be acquired by newly formed Lake Metroparks in the late 50s.  It has a rich history in UGRR lore and Eber Howe history.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Legacy of One-Room Schoolhouses

Dotting the back county roads, the casual traveler often passes by abandoned or second-third use repurposed remnants of a past era.  These aging buildings may bring back remembered images, be seen as merely crumbling structures or reconnect you with a by-gone county era.  Such is the case with three unique buildings of Americana found in our Lake County communities.

One - room schoolhouses are a part of American history dating back nearly 350 years.  First suggested in 1647 (Massachusetts), the Federal Land Act of 1785 and the Section 16 Act set up support of schools as an offshoot of The Northwest Ordinances.  An 1802 draft of Ohio’s constitution made reference to schools.  Even Thomas Jefferson championed free public education.

Prior to 1820 exisitng schools were mostly private by design.  The cost of a term, usually three dollars was a luxury well beyond the reach of most citizens.  Yet it is interesting to note that Ohio’s population in 1803 was nearly 60,000- Ohio being one of the first states developed from the Northwest Territory era.  This led to an 1825 law where free education became the rule. Public School was now in session in the soon to be Lake County.
 Early pioneer schools sprang up.  These schools were of a crude log design and often a 30’x50’ size at best.  An 1840 census indicated 407,000 children ages 6-15 attended schools.  Usually townships were divided into 6 or 7 sections hence the need for 6 to 7 schools.  School terms ran May thru September and November thru April.  Within a few years, the first pioneer schools were replaced by buildings now made of stone.  The Old Stone Schoolhouse (1840) on Ravenna Road was Concord’s third school but the first quarried stone structure in the county.  By the late 1900’s schools made of red-clay brick followed.  The Red Schoolhouse in Willoughby and School #2 in Kirtland Township are examples of that era of construction.  One- room schools remained in the forefront of early public school education until approximately 1920.  At that time urban schools challenged these mostly rural institutions.  Limited curriculum, facility size and rising standards for teacher certification became issues that only larger urban- based districts could combat.  Concord Township’s nine one-room schools were shuttered by 1924 and a new one building district school opened in 1925 to better serve all students.  A new era in education was at hand.

Lake County’s One Room Schoolhouses Still Standing –Key Facts

Old Stone Schoolhouse
 Built in 1840, open from 1841-1923, one of nine in its hey-day.  Located on Ravenna Road in Concord Township, it is a township museum maintained by the local historic society and open to the public.

Children’s Schoolhouse – Lake Metroparks
Originally known as Riverside School #2, located on Baldwin Road in Kirtland Township, opened in 1894.  Donated in 1988 by the Anthony S. Ocepala Family to Lake Metroparks.  It is open to the public for educational programs only.

Little Red Schoolhouse-
Currenly located at 5040 Shankland Road in Willoughby, it was built in 1901 and situated thru 1923 on the current YMCA site.  Last used in the 1940s, it is now a three building complex maintained by the local historical society.  It was moved to its current location in 1975.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lake County Facts not found on the bottom of Snapple Bottle Caps

Every Sunday morning in recent months I have enjoyed reading sports columnist Jeff Schudel's educational ramblings entitled 'I didn't know that...until I read my Snapple bottle cap'.  Today's Local Lore by Max shares with the reader 10 Lake County Facts not found and most likely never to be found on the bottom of a Snapple bottle cap-yet worth sharing!

  1. Automobile parts inventor Claud Foster (Snubbers Car Shock Absorber and Gabriel Car Horn) and Robert Manry (Tinkerbelle voyage) both hail from Willowick.
  2. Pheasant Run Airport on Trask Road has some of the nations most coveted vintage WWI and WWII aircraft collections on view and open to the public.
  3. In 1932, nurseryman Joseph Kallay secured the first ever patent (#10) for his Blaze rose.  This patent and some other local nurserymen led Mentor to becoming the Rose Capital of the Nation in the following decades.
  4. Daniel Beard organized the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1906.  Four years later he was a foundling member of the Boys Scouts of America.  His design of the patch and emblem remain today.  He hailed from Painesville, Ohio.
  5. Hugh Mosher was the inspiration for the fifer in Archibald Willard's famous painting 'Spirit of '76'.  Henry Deveraux was the inspiration for the drummer.  Mosher hails from Perry while Devereaux was from Wickliffe.
  6. Donald Blakeslee was the most decorated airman in U.S. history.  His WWII triumphs and aviation history records garnered him the highest awards in two countries.  He hailed from Fairport Harbor.
  7. This Civil War General and lead contractor in the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 had a famous home in Painesville.  His wife teamed with houseguest Susan Anthony in another famous movement of the era.  Their home is the Casement/Jennings site.
  8. This Usonian home was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 for Louis Penfield.  Since 2003 it is the only Wright home open for overnight bookings.  The home is in Willoughby Hills.
  9. During Cleveland's Gilded Age, millionaires Franklin Rockefeller, James Corrigan, Fergus Squire, Price McKinney and Harry Coulby made this city their home and the real city of millionaires.  The city was Wickliffe.
  10. The Willoughby Medical College (1834-1847) was the county's first.  A series of unfortunate events caused its demise but two current Ohio medical campuses had their genesis there in the 1800s.  The two were Ohio State University and Case Western University.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Another Lake County Vignette - Concord Twp's Caroline 'Connie' Luhta

Lake County is one of Ohio’s smallest counties.  Concord Township is one of Lake’s smallest communities.  Yet both arguably share in the common denominator of having the most history to offer.  Concord’s aviatrix Connie Luhta is just one of many county stories worth sharing.  Seven terms to date as a local township official and 48 years as a resident are only the tip of the iceberg of this notable Concord Township lady’s story.  Here is the rest of her story.

  • 1948 Graduate of Thomas W. Harvey High School , member of Y team, cheering club, Honor Society, French Club, Harbinger Staff, Quill & Scroll
  • 1952 Graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University – B.S. in Chemistry
  • 1977 Graduate of Lake Erie College – B.S. in Business Administration
  • Career as a Research Chemist for the Standard Oil Company
  • Member of Lake County Farm Bureau
  • Founded Concord Airpark (situated on 70 acres at 12253 Concord-Hambden Road) in 1952 with her late husband Adolph.  Airpark activated in November 1954
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • President – Cleveland International Women’s Air & Space Museum located at Burke Lakefront Airport
  • Life Member - Silver Wings
  • Life Member – 99’s – International Organization of Female Pilots
  • Vice President – Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 118
  • Competitor – Twelve International Air Races, Ten Coast-to-Coast Races, Seventeen Proficiency Races
  • One of 55 female pilots enshrined in Burke Airport / International Aerospace Museum
  • Featured on card sets with notable women pilots Besse Coleman and Amelia Earhardt
  • May 2016 Inductee - Ohio Senior Citizen’s Hall of Fame
  • August 2016 Community Days Tribute to her aviation contributions 
Concord Community Days is this weekend.  For more information on that event or Connie's tribute on Saturday evening visit or call 440-639-4650