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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lake County Mini Profiles - Concord Township's Farms

Some of the 'Farms' that made Lake County famous remain known in their respective communities.  Many names have become mere footnotes in county history.  They have become lost to progress, urbanization, and industry- sadly stream rolled into oblivion. Today we take a brief look at the Farms of Concord Township.

Surveyors reached the area to become known as Concord around the late 1700s.  They were on assignment for the Connecticut Land Company and examining the lands known as the Western Reserve.  Men such as Perkins and Jordan settled in the area by 1802 and more settlers followed shortly thereafter.  Girdled Road was commissioned at a cost of $2600 while Ravenna Road was begun for a mere $50.  Gristmills, Woolen Mills, Furnaces, Timber Mills soon occupied Cascade Hollow, Howe's Hollow, Jordan Creek and more.  Concord's peak population of 1200 was reached by 1840.  Population declined thru 1930 as industry waned.  This decrease changed Concord's history around 1918 as farms sprung up and Lake County became a Garden Capital of the Nation.  In 2016 these farms are but mere shadows of what once was or just distant memories.  Let's see how many you may recall from Concord Township's past.  They are in no special order or ranking.  Any omissions are unintentional.

Homestead Farm -  Archives date it back to 1810, it was on the corner of Johnnycake Ridge and the State Rt. 44 interchange.  J.J. Anderson was the owner and in its 100 year history it provided produce to the Painesville Market et al.

Cobble Knoll Farm -  E. D. Rust was the owner and Rhode Island Reds were this poulterers main income.  The farm was located on Auburn Road at Cloverdale Lake.

Ridgewood Farm-  At 180 acres, it was one of the larger area farms of its day.  A. L. Minor was the owner.  Oats, wheat, corn, potatoes as well as some cows and swine were the mainstays.  The original farmhouse remains may be seen on Johnnycake Ridge Road - near the Cherry Hill, Brian and David Drive section of Concord Twp.

Home Acres Farm - Established in 1915, Mrs. Chloe Cole was the owner and fruit was the main product.

Valley View Farm-  J. P. Murphy was the proprietor and Murphy's Irish Bakers were his trademark crop.  His farm is now the Brightwood Lake sub-division.

Other Concord Twp. Farms-

Brookdale - W.E. Leuty, owner
Murray Meadows-  M.A. Murray, owner
Green Meadows-  S.J. Merrill, owner
The Spring Dale-  Middlefield Lumber Co.
Old Homestead-  F.H. Murray
Orchard Slope Farms-  Melvin Pattison, owner
Roadside Farm-  Mrs. W.M. Radcliffe, Mrs. L.L. Pomeroy, owners
Chestnut Hill Farm-  Lovina Taylor, G.E. Taylor, owners
Brookside-  Charles B. Winchell, owner

source- 1915 New Century Atlas of Lake County, Ohio-copy at Morley Library





Monday, April 18, 2016

Concord Notables

The history of Concord / Concord Township is not unlike many other communities.  The area to become Concord Twp. was an unsettled, unnamed portion of the Connecticut New Western Reserve of the Northwest Territory.  After the Revolutionary War, 48 New Englanders purchased acreage in what was to become our part of Ohio.  Daniel Colt of Norwich, Connecticut was the original owner of the land to become known as Concord.  Many future landowners purchased their homesteads sight unseen like Coit.  In 1802, Thomas Jordan of Pennsylvania became the first permanent settler in what is today known as Wilson's Corners.  More settlers followed and by 1822 the township known as 'Concord', in honor of the famous battle site was founded.  Today we share a brief synopsis of the lives of some Concord notables.

Walter Wellman -  Born in Concord in 1858, Walter was a journalist, explorer and adventurer bar none.  He built the dirigible (airship) in order to compete with noted North Pole explorer Robert Peary.  Several failed attempts on his quest to the Pole resulted and in 1910 his last attempt was fatal for his entire crew.  The remains of his dirigible may be seen at the Smithsonian.

Wade Adams-  Wade lived on Prouty Road and was a farmer for much of his life.  He joined the Army in 1898 and participated in the Spanish-American War.  He is buried in the Concord Cemetery.  His brother Marty was a farmer, school board member and Concord Clerk & Trustee.  Marty passed in 1954.

Elga (Radcliffe) Pomeroy- Elga attended school, taught school and after the school closed actually lived in the Old Stone Schoolhouse on Ravenna Road.  Her husband Lloyd purchased the schoolhouse after it closed in 1923 and also served as the first school district clerk from 1923 thru 1944.  Some of Elga's artifacts are on display at the schoolhouse museum

Eber Howe-His name is well known in the publishing archives of our county and in UGRR history.  He owned and operated a woolen mill on Fay Road and provided a safe haven for hundreds of slaves at both his Painesville home and later Liberty Hollow home.  However it was at age 22 that he began his career as a journalist and editor.  He founded the Painesville Telegraph and coined the word 'bogus'. 

Marian Leuty- She lived in the early 1900s and her schoolhouse diary offers an insight into our early township history.  She not only attended the Old Stone Schoolhouse but was later in life an elementary school teacher for Concord.  She was also part of the Womens Army Corps in WWII and a noted traveler and adventurer.

Connie Luhta-This current township trustee is well known in aviation history.  She established a flying school in the 1950s and was a famous female aviator as early as 1961.  She was an air race competitor circa 1964 and is inducted in the International Women's Air & Space Museum at Burke Airport.  She opened Concord Airpark in 1954 with her late husband Adolph and still operates it today.

These stories and more history on Concord Township may be viewed at the Concord Township Historical Society at the Old Stone Schoolhouse during museum hours.  Visit www.concordtwp.com for more information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"This Place Matters" - Unionville Tavern Preservation Society Saving County History

Built in 1798 as two separate log cabins, The Old Tavern in Unionville was one of the first structures in this part of the Western Reserve, and generally is regarded as the oldest surviving Tavern in Ohio.  Strategically located along County Line Road and the Cleveland-Buffalo Road, today's Route 84 the site has had many uses.  It has been a Tavern, Inn, Post Office, stage coach stop, UGRR station and restaurant.

A brief look at its timeline reveals the following facts.  It was built in 1798 and consisted of two log cabins.  Early names of the Tavern were the Webster House followed by the New England House.  By 1818, the Tavern had become a regular mailstop and stage coach destination on the Warren-Cleveland Route.  The mid-1800s saw the Tavern serve as a station for the UGRR activities throughout Lake County and N.E. Ohio.  The Tavern closed for a span of ten years, 1916-1926 before reopening once again.  1986 saw a Pub element come into being.  Hard times and unfortunate business practices in the late 90s resulted in a decade long vacancy status for the historic site.  The building was nearly declared a total loss and faced possible demolition when in 2014 a group of civic minded citizens acquired the site for just over $90,000.  The Unionville Tavern Preservation Society was formed.  Matching grants totaling nearly $20,000 were secured and this non-profit group has begun the arduous process of preserving a 'jewel' in our county history. Save the Tavern! welcomes all interested parties to attend a program or share in their passion.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
                               Margaret Mead

For more information:    The Unionville Tavern Preservation Society
                                             Save The Tavern!
                                             P.O. Box 826
                                             Madison, Ohio 44057
                                             www.savethetavern.org


Sources:  Local Lore by Max, 2011    Willoughby Historical Society   Cleveland Historical Society