Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Every Artifact Tells A Story - Concord Twp Site recalls Walter Wellman & Connie Luhta et.al


                       
History surrounds us.  Whether it is past, present or in the making one can experience history daily.  Lake County may be Ohio’s smallest county but it has the most history.  Concord Township is not exception to this claim.  One need look no farther than the Old Stone Schoolhouse to witness and share your community history.  Visitation and tours are available on posted dates, by appointment or during upcoming special events in 2016.

The schoolhouse serves as the township museum of history.  The names Leuty, Wellman, Luhta, Adams and Pomeroy  are shared here.  A school bell from the Judd Corner schoolhouse may be found on the premises.  The story of Concord’s early industry, notable farms and Little Mountain Hotels are shared there.  Artifacts from the schoolhouse years of 1841-1923 are on display.  The museum has much to share and is always looking for township documents, photos, family heirlooms and permanent artifacts to add to the still growing story that is Concord Township.

Walter Wellman – Born in 1858, his life as a noted journalist, explorer and aeronaut is examined in detail at the history museum.  As a journalist he was the founder of the Cincinnati Evening Post.  As an explorer, his efforts may have identified the exact arrival spot of Christopher Columbus.  However it is his aeronaut efforts that best define him.  A staunch pioneer in the airship / dirigible industry, he set to be the first explorer to arrive at the North Pole.  His crew left Paris in 1905 on an airship for the North Pole.  Failure resulted and a second attempt in 1907 was again non-successful.  Additional airship endeavours in 1910 (America) and in 1911 (Akron) met with tragic results.  Remnants from these historic attempts were stored in 1912 at Goodyear Tire & Rubber.  In the 2000s Wellman’s spirit was recognized and his airship artifacts sent to the Smithsonian for all to see.  A portion of his story is on display in Concord Twp.

Connie Luhta – Seven terms as a local official and 48 years as a resident are only the tip of the iceberg of this lady’s story.  This aviatrix is featured on aviation coins and banners with notable women pilots Besse Coleman and Amelia Earhart.  Connie earned degrees from OWU and LEC and enjoyed a career as a research chemist for Standard Oil for much of her life.  However it was the opening of Concord airpark in 1952 with her husband that began her rise in aviation history.  Twelve international air races, ten coast-to-coast races and 17 proficiency races sealed her spot in aviation annals.  A member of the Silver Wings, VP of the Experimental Aircraft Association and one of 55 female pilots to be enshrined in the Burke Airport / International Aerospace Museum are a few kudos on her resume.

You are invited to visit the History Society at the Old Schoolhouse.  You are welcome to volunteer.  More importantly you are encouraged to share your artifact and story with our community here!!!  This is the first installment in a series of continuing posts about local county artifacts -watch for new stories in late 2016 and early 2017.

For more information visit – www.concordtwp.com

Monday, July 18, 2016

A One-Day Trifecta includes Lake County as its Epicenter

Do you know this self-mad man?
  • Born in a log cabin in Orange Township
  • Attended the Geauga Academy as a youth 
  • aspired to be a sailor
  • Was educated at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute ( Hiram College) in the 1850s
  • Was a faculty member (Greek & Latin) as well as president (age 26) at same college in the 1850s
  • Married a student from the college - Lucretia Randolph in 1858, had 7 children
  • Was an ordained minister / lay preacher
  • Served in the Civil War and achieved notable war time successes
  • Began a 17 year Congressional Career in 1863
  • A front porch campaign became his signature moment
  • An assassin's bullet took his life early in his Presidency
  • Funeral wreath from Queen Victoria may still be viewed at his Mentor home (former Dickey Farm) 
With the start of the RNC this week, I can think of no other local resident to share with you than our 20th President.  The RNC that year was a brokered convention with three candidates and two factions.  Unity proved elusive and consensus seemed hopeless.  On the 36th ballot a dark horse from Ohio became the party candidate and soon-to-be U.S. President.  An assassin's bullet took his life four months after election and his legacy faded in the annals of history.  However this week conventioneers, history buffs and county residents may want to visit the place and learn about the self-made man who is at the heart of the Republican Party.  His name James A. Garfield.

Your Trifecta Challenge -
  1. Visit Garfield's birthplace in Orange Township.  Garfield was the last president to be born in a log cabin.  The cabin is located at 4350 S.O.M. Center Road in Moreland Hills.
  2. Visit the 160 acre site that was his last home.  Today the 8 acre site that remains in Mentor, Ohio is fondly remembered as Lawnfield.  This NHS includes the first ever presidential library, a restored Victorian interior, a windmill and many other artifacts from the Garfield family collection.
  3. Visit the James A. Garfield Memorial in Cleveland. Garfield's elaborate castle-like monument is located on a hill in Lake View Cemetery in the heart of downtown.  Mosiacs, stained glass windows and a full casket display give way to a balcony view that shares a 40 miile view of Lake Erie.

Monday, June 27, 2016

All Aboard! Only in Fairport Harbor -- Tall Ships Coming in Early July

Cleveland may be on a historic winning streak in recent weeks but one more special moment in 2016 will elude the city.  It seems the RNC and its myriad of regulations refused entry to the Tall Ships Event that visits the Port of Cleveland every few years.  Cleveland's loss will be Lake County's gain.  Lake County's best kept secret Fairport Harbor will be the new site for this visit beginning July 7th with a Parade of Sails.  'Life is definitely better in a beach town' and nine tall ships will make it so July 8-10 from 10am to 5pm daily.  The docks at 420 Water Street will be abuzz with activity reminiscent of when Fairport Harbor was the second largest area port in the 19th c.  Visitors will be able to experience deck tours as well as book limited sail experiences.  Maritime musicians will be performing daily, food trucks will be on site and various local and nautical educational information will be shared.  Just up the street from the ships, the 1825-1925 Grand River Lighthouse will be open for daily visits and tower tours.  Known since 1945 as the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum, an Art Festival will be on the lighthouse hilltop during the weekend with area artist Bill Csatary on site sharing his newest works.  Nearby the Finnish Heritage Museum will be open to share the culture and history of Fairport and its Finnish community.  Local merchants such as Great Lakes Boatworks, The Gravel Pit and many local antique shops will offer retail therapy for anyone's tastes.

Tall Ships Weekend Potpourri - Visit TallShipsFairportHarbor.com for the most current information, schedule of events and advance ticket purchasing.
  • Participating ships include U.S. Brig Niagara, Pride of Baltimore, Draken Harald Harfagre, Appledore IV, When and IF, Appledore V, S/V Denis Sullivan, El Galeon Andulucia, Mist of Avalon
  • Maritime Musicians & Weekend Performers include Tom Kastle, Hard Tackers, Pirates of the Rusty Cutlass, Goodknights, Alex Bevan, Horsefeathers and more
  • Parade of Sail - Thursday July 7th - approx. 4-8pm
  • Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park ( Lake Metroparks.com) open daily till 8pm
  • Two local museums will be open extended hours (admission charge)
  • Two local Lighthouses may be viewed  (.8 miles apart)
  • Festival Passes, VIP Sails, Day Sails and more available by visiting tallshipsfairportharbor.com
  • Parking Lot Shuttle available / sponsored by local merchants
  • Local Businesses and eateries will be open for unique shopping experiences
  • Volunteer opportunities still possible - visit website

Other Useful Websites -   www.lakevisit.com
                                         www.fairportharbor.org
                                         www.fairportharborlighthouse.org
                                         www.finnishheritagemuseum.org
                                         www.lakemetroparks.com


Thursday, May 26, 2016

'Millionaires'City' & 'Touring Wickliffe'

The years 1873-1930s were known as Cleveland's Gilded Age.   Nearly half of the world's millionaires lived in Cleveland.  More than 260 properties showcased the grandeur of this famous era in local history.  'Millionaires' City' became the name for Wickliffe as it became the summer home destination of the area industrialists.  'Touring Wickliffe' was a 1989 program that offered a driving glimpse into this opulent time of history.  It began at Rockefeller's former carriage house and ended on Worden Road.  Today's entry is but an overview of this Wickliffe Historical Society project.

'Lakeland' as it was known on Rockefeller Road was the summer home of Franklin Rockefeller, one of the more famous gentleman farmers.  Totaling 157 acres, the estate was built in the 1900s.  Today the carriage house remains, some interurban tracks are located in Pete's Pond Reservation and Wickliffe High School occupies the former estate site.

29940 Ridge Road is the Old Stocking Home.  Part of the Stocking Family holdings from 1866-1936, the homestead at 30000 Ridge Road still stands.  Nearby to the south was Justamere Farm, the farm of Joseph R. Nutt.  It was built in 1896.  Nutt was the treasurer of the NRC for Herbert Hoover.  Nutt was also a prominent businessman and part owner of the soon to be Quaker Oats Company of Akron, Ohio.

"Nagirroc' was the home of James Corrigan.  Corrigan and Price McKinney were independent steel partners.  Their company in time was known as Republic Steel.  Both men's estates were on the current site of Pine Ridge Golf Club.  Corrigan's "Nagirroc" sits on Ridge Road.  McKinney's estate 'Ridgemere' sat on Bishop Road.  Borromeo Seminary at 28700 Euclid Avenue was also part of this summer home.

'Wickliffe-on-the-Bluff' was the home of D. Edward Dangler.  Dangler owned the first company to manufacture gasoline stoves.  Today it is known as the Drenik Estate.  29301 Ridge Road is the George Armington home.  Armington came to the area in 1903 and his company Cleveland Crane founded in 1899 was synonymous with building.

'Couallenby' is perhaps the city's most famous estate.  Today it is the site of Wickliffe City Hall.  Completed in 1913, it was the home to Harry Coulby.  Coulby was the 'Czar of the Great Lakes.' From humble beginnings Harry rose to become a shipping magnate of the day.  Pickands Mather and the Cleveland Foundation are intertwined in his life story.

28400 Euclid Avenue was the Julius E. French property.  French was involved in car roofing, railway steel springs and steel car wheels endeavours.  The home was known as 'Upton Court' and covered 400 acres.  The 'Nutwood Farm' was also part of this site and the Devereux story is part of Ohio's Historical Markers.

T.E. Rice and Chester Rush are local merchants on a lesser scale than the millionaires mentioned above.  Their stores merit a mention in today's entry as does the 'Provo House' and Hardaker's Ice Cream Parlour.  Copies of the driving tour are available at City Hall.  Also located inside the Coulby Estate is the Wickliffe Historical Society.  Kathy of the WHS is always ready to share the 'Millionaire City' history with you!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Johnnycake Ridge Road and Concord Twp - the real story?

On the north end of Concord Township runs a road that motorists drive daily.  It runs from the Painesville to the Mentor lines except for a brief stretch known as Button Road - Elijah Button was an early farmer.  An 1820 Concord Township map mentions a Johnnycake Road.  In 1857 an unnamed lane is identified on the same stretch on a county map.  The 1898 Atlas of Lake County notes this same unnamed lane.  It is not until 1915 that Johnnycake Ridge Road is officially listed on county maps.  The origins of the name of this stretch of road may date back to a a note found in an old chest in the Old Cunningham Second Hand Store in Painesville.  Local Lore revolves around a tavern circa 1818.  Three versions permeate most historical accounts.  Which is true? You can decide.

One version has New England roots.  Benaiah Jones was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.  He came to Ohio and settled here.  He hailed from Johnnycake Hill near his hometown of Middlefield, Massachusetts.  Another slightly different version involved his N.E. accent.  It seemed 'journey cakes' became johnnycakes in translation.

A second version involves a tavern that never materialized, a drunken visitor and a Johnnycake food item prank. The last and most plausible version as well as most humorous involve the pioneer tale of Tobias Williams and this local 1818 tavern.  Seems Tobias stopped at the area tavern and was served johnnycakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  He left a review of his dining experiences via a sign.  In time and perhaps as a joke saw a large Johnnycake added to the sign.  Stagecoaches came and pulled up to the tavern on Johnnycake Ridge.

Each story has some elements of truth but one fact remains - Johnnycakes were a food staple of the era.  The recipe is provided below.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1-2 tablespoons salt
1 egg
1 cup hot milk

Mix dry ingredients, stir in remaining ingredients, drop on hot griddle and brown on both sides.  Serve with butter and syrup.

source:  Concord Township Historical Society at the Old Stone Schoolhouse, blog cleveland.com 2007



Thursday, May 19, 2016

U.S. Coast Guard Station Fairport Open House May 21st

 
2016 marks the 226rd birthday of the United States Coast Guard.  In 1790 our young government had many unpaid bills, most a result of the Revolutionary War.  Established in that same year was the Revenue Cutter Service- charged with the mission of collecting tariffs and customs fees.  A secondary mission was to assist ships in distress.  1848 saw the formation of the United States Life Saving Service.  Comprised essentially of volunteer crews the organization merged with the Cutter Service as a means to protect and serve the interests of the East Coast ports.  The USLSS was a disorganized conglomeration of life saving stations until 1871 when Sumner Kimball came to office.  By 1874 stations where added in Maine, North Carolina, Texas and by 1876 even the Great Lakes.  Once again, Ohio’s smallest county played a major role in American History.  This time it was Fairport that assumed a leading role in maritime history.

Station Fairport was completed in May 1876 on the east bank of the Grand River.  George Francis Babcock was appointed and remained for the next 22 years.  Babcock was part of nearly 300 rescues on Lake Erie.  He even took the initiative to move the station to the west bank of the Grand River when local impediments hindered launching and rescue duties.  Station Fairport has remained there ever since.  Capt. N. Rasmussen succeeded Babcock at the time of his death in 1899 and remained in charge until the formation of the USCG in 1915.  The boat ramp and launch was added to Station Fairport in 1901.  Improvements were made in 1921.  Channel widening in 1938 necessitated another shifting of the footprint.  The station served as a training center during WWII.  A last footprint change occurred in the 1950’s.

One final change at the west bank of the Grand  River began in 2013.  USCG Station Fairport had served for nearly one hundred years with minimal changes.  However soaring costs mandated replacing the historic station with a new station. Conceived in 2008, it took nearly five years before a complete remodel was begun.  Between 11-16 million dollars was allocated to the new station which  serves as a major maintenance / repair hub for the Ninth District. Demolition of the former station was begun in May of 2013.  The frame of the new boathouse   and the USCG quarters took a year to finish.  The current station was dedicated in August 2014 completion date.  The USCG missions of search and rescue, law enforcement, aiding in navigation, and marine safety remain in full vigor as change dots the former station landscape.

Views of the new station construction are easily possible from the government pier on the east bank  or from Headlands State Park.  USLSS / USCG artifacts, station histories, archival photos, and USCG displays are found at the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum.  For those wishing to view the station first-hand, Saturday, May 21st will be an open house.  This free event will run from 10 am to 2 pm and include tours of the new station and both rapid response boats as well as various site specific demonstrations.  The station is located at 2 Coast Guard Road - St. Rt. 44 N - right of Headlands State Park entrance.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Concord Township-opoly

Lake County may have officially evolved in 1840 as an outgrowth from the counties of Trumball and Geauga but Concord, Ohio has its earliest beginnings some 43 years earlier.  Surveyors tasked by the Connecticut Land Company to explore and record the lands of the Western Reserve soon passed thru the forested footprint of the current township.  This 'Perkins camp' is a little known early footnote in county history.  Concord was founded in 1822 and its name was chosen for a famous battle in Revolutionary War history.  That is your free history pass as you are now offered this Local Lore challenge --- let's see how much township history you can recall.

1.  In 1890, 5.1 miles of Concord freight track on Ravenna Road were purchased by this railroad line.  The small depot structure still remains and is a private residence.  The former tracks are now part of the Greenway Corridor.  Name the railroad line.

2.  Name the first permanent settler in Concord.  He arrived in 1802.  His family came in 1803.

3.  In 1838, this famous Painesville businessman and abolitionist relocated to Liberty Hollow at Fay Road.  Can you name him?

4.  In 1840, this structure was built on Ravenna Road and opened in 1841.  It was in continual use thru 1923 and has had multiple uses to this day.  Do you know this site?  It is currently maintained by  Concord Township and open for viewing.

5.  At peak enrollment, how many one-room schoolhouses were in the Concord School District?

6.  In 1797 this road was constructed at a cost of $2600.  Do you know its name?

7.  In 1818 this structure was a stage coach stop located at the corner of Rt. 84 and the Rt. 44 interchange.  It is also part of the famous Johnnycake Road lore.  Name the business.

8.  A famous Little Mountain hotel was constructed in 1880.  Do you recall the name of this township site?  It was one of the seven or eight dotting this era of county history.

9.  This aviatrix and her late husband began a well-known township airport and flying school between 1952-54.  Can you name the facility?  hint- Connie, our trustee would be proud.

10.  The first Lake Metropark was dedicated in 1959.  Do you know the name of this Concord Township property.

11.  J.P. Murphy, J.J. Anderson, E.D. Rust, A.L. Minor and M.A. Murray are famous in 20th c. township history.  What career profession did they and many other local notables share?

Bonus:  This notable Concord lady attended, taught, and resided in this Ravenna Road Schoolhouse during her lifetime.  Can you name her?

Answers: 1.  B&O  2.  Jordan  3.  Eber Howe  4. Old Stone Schoolhouse  5.  nine  6.  Girdled  
7.  Williams Tavern  8.  Pinecrest Hotel  9.  Concord Airpark  10.  Helen Hazen Wyman Park
11.  Farmers/agriculture   Bonus- E. Pomeroy & family

source - www.concordtwp.com