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 -

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 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

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Historic Marker #18-43...Railfanning Days Redux

Fast Facts: Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Station
  • February 8, 1848 - Ohio Legislature incorporates Cleveland, Painesville, and Ashtabula Railroad Companies
  • 1851- Painesville Depot is officially in service 
  • February 16, 1861-  President-elect Abraham Lincoln passes thru Painesville Depot
  • 1869 - A major consolidation of several lines and companies occurs and a major renaming
  • 1893-  Present station at 475 Railroad Road in Painesville is built.  Considered to be the finest of its day!
  • 1917- Depot serves as a 'Goodbye' station for WWI inductees
  • 1940s- Depot serves as a canteen for WWII enlisted
  • 1971- A merger results in the official closing of the depot
  • 1971-88 - Greyhound bus Station occupies former depot
  • 1997- Preservation efforts are begun in earnest by WRRA, a non-profit group
  • 2002- Depot is listed as Lake County Historic Site # 18-43
  • April 20, 2015 - City of Painesville designates Depot as a Preservation District

 The Painesville Depot located at 475 Railroad Street in Painesville, Ohio has a storied past.  Since 1997 a local non-profit group as well as local business donors have quietly gone about the task of restoring the site to its past glory.  Exterior efforts have resulted in a new roof and restored display Caboose.  Interior efforts while ongoing seek to restore the interior lobby to its 'heyday' when the depot was considered to be the finest of the era.  'Railfanning' Days are unique events where railroad enthusiasts gather to watch, record, and enjoy trains as they pass.  Since 9/11 this nostalgic public event has become more difficult as railroad grounds have become more restricted.  Nonetheless the depot site in Painesville offers train lovers a great and close view of this popular activity.  On average four trains pass per hour thru Painesville.  'Railfanning' Days also offer the public the opportunity to see the former station inside and out as members of the Painesville Railroad Museum are on-site to share their passions for railroading.

2016 Railfanning Days include-   May 7, July 24, September 10, October 15
A first ever Railroad Memorabilia Show is scheduled for August 28, 2016, 10am-4pm

Visit for more updated information

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Eastern Lake County - A Proud Past

In the heart of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the Painesville-Grandon-Fairport area was the epicenter of lands surveyed by the Connecticut Land Company in 1796.  Land long occupied by various Indian nations for untold generations gave way to incoming settlers. This early history is told by the Indian Museum once located on Lake Erie College campus, now located for the last decade in downtown Willoughby.

John Walworth, General Edward Paine, Captain Abraham Skinner and their followers settled in Painesville Township in 1800.  Skinner’s New Market was laid out by 1803 and in existence from 1806-1809.  Just up the Grand River, Champion was next to appear.  Named in honor of Henry Champion the village became Painesville by 1815.  Area buildings and street signs now honor these memories.

In 1810, Joseph Rider built a log cabin, a stagecoach stop that would become the landmark Rider’s Tavern.  The First Congregational Church appeared in 1810 as well.  Noted architect Jonathon Goldsmith built a local lighthouse in 1825 in addition to many local Greek revival homes circa 1818 still occupied today.  Thomas Harvey championed education and school by 1823.  His public library efforts followed in 1824 and an entire public school system became a reality by 1851.  A Women’s Seminary and future Lake Erie College dates back to 1856.  Coe Manufacturing was established in 1852, its distillery, turning mill and iron works the largest of the century.  Eber Howe founded the Painesville Telegraph in 1822, a paper that circulated daily till 1986.  Howe along with key others was a leading abolitionist and UGRR champion.

‘LeRoy’ and Concord were organized circa 1822.  Transportation and Plank Road companies began in these communities.  Leroy became a center for forge and tannery companies.  Concord boasted a boot-shoe factory and turning mill.

Grandon (1812) - Fairport (1836) claim settler Samuel Huntington for its waterfront history.  The ore and coal industry saw over 3000 ships arrive with in excess of a million dollars in commerce in 1847 landing on the Fairport docks.  Richmond later to become Grand River occupied the western side of the river.  Thomas Richmond, a salt merchant from NY sought to make Richmond a canal town in the 1830s.  2000 residents followed his dream which died out quickly once Cleveland won the canal race.

Growth continued from these beginnings as European immigrants moved into our county and became the pillars of their communities.   Kaukonen, Joughin, Harvey, Mathews, Howe, Casement, Storrs and many other native names resonate today in the voluminous lore of Lake County history.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Burroughs Nature Club at 100

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the oldest nature clubs in our nation. 
Local residents of Lake County were long familiar with the scenic and oft spectacular natural areas. Tributaries, hemlock ravines and carpeted wildflower landscapes were plentiful. Essays published by Hudson Valley naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921) influenced a group of local area men to meet and form a Burroughs Nature Club.  The Burroughs Nature Club of Willoughby was comprised of outstanding Cleveland area men (scientists, scholars, naturalists and photographers) who shared common passions such as hiking, wildlife and the natural world. This club founded circa 1916 featured speakers and club explorations to places throughout Lake County.  Hiking, identifying wildflowers, studying nesting hawks and owls became club interests.  These early naturalists and conservationists worked to preserve these haunts.  These places included Gildersleeve Mountain (Chapin Forest Reservation), Halle Ravine (Penitentiary Glen Reservation), Mentor Headlands and Marsh as well as Gully Brook.  By 1925 the Burroughs Club had made Lake County known around many conservancy circles on a grand scale.  In fact it was as early as 1925 that the call for a 'natural woods preserve' at Gully Brook appeared in a Willoughby newspaper. In 2001 after nearly a decade of intense effort this preserve became a reality and is part of the Lake Metroparks holdings.

The Burroughs Club remains active today and meets monthly September thru April in Willoughby.  An invitation is always extended to all who share in a desire to explore and help preserve the natural world.  An exhibit highlighting the clubs first hundred years may be found in the visitor center auditorium at Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland.

For more information visit –