Friday, August 19, 2011

The Hiawatha Club

As one drives the roadways of Lake County, you can't help but wonder how streets got their names.  Certainly residents traveling down Heisley or Hopkins Road might have heard of the town ancestors whose names are now local roads.  Morley Road, Casement Avenue, Richmond Street, and even Willoughby Avenue should be historical names known to longtime residents of their communities.  Today, we visit another hidden treasure in local history.  It is a small-in-size, big-in-heart community of 800 persons, or 309 households.  Founded in 1947 as Timberlake, its early history is unique.  What follows is the Timberlake Legend.

Timberlake is located on the northern shores of Lake Erie in Eastlake .  Originally known as the Lakeshore Boulevard Estates, the early residents formed the Hiawatha Club.  The club name was inspired by the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem of Hiawatha.  From its lines came the names of out streets and the current name of the village.

Wenonah, daughter of Nokomis, was Hiawatha's mother.  His mom was deserted by the West Wind, Mudjekeenis, and in her anguish died shortly after the birth of her son Hiawatha.  From this abridged portion of Longfellow's poem, one can see why the club was inspired and why in 1947 they changed the  name to Timberlake.  Take a moment to read the entire poem of Hiawatha if time permits.  That way the next time as you drive east-to-west or west-to-east on Lakeshore Boulevard, you will know the history of the street names as you travel past the roadways of the Timberlake Legend.

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