Thursday, September 22, 2011

Then and Now - Part II - The Lake County Historical Society Story

The story of the County Poor House may have ended in 2004 but a new chapter in the history of Lake County began shortly thereafter.  2007 saw a joint effort by the Riverside Local School District and The Lake County Historical Society re-purpose the former poor house site.  The 54 acre property and institutional building are now the permanent home of the Lake County History Center.  The 30,000 square foot building with out buildings now sit on eight acres.  Four exhibition rooms have been completed, a community room, kitchen and offices are functional, and additional room exhibits are underway.  A barn theater has been realized.  The Jack E. Daniels Living History Center spans the property.  This eight acre complex is also the site of a museum, research library, school and community programming venue.

The Lake County Historical Society was founded in 1938 by Laurence H. Norton.  Norton and fellow citizens had a goal of creating a local chapter of the Western Reserve Historical Society.  Included in this goal was the care of the James A. Garfield Presidential site.  This new historical society collected historical records and artifacts of Lake County.  Seventeen years later the LCHS incorporated.  1983 saw the National Park Service assume control of the Garfield site on Mentor Avenue.  The LCHS moved to Kirtland Hills where they remained for the next 25 years.  The new site of the history center was a Holden Arboretum property.  It was the summer home of Arthur D. Baldwin.  'Shadybrook' as it was known served the history well.  The historic village was added.  An annual heritage festival was well received for many seasons.

The Lake County Historical Society remains true to this day in its mission.  Its research library, programming, and museum collection provide residents and visitors alike with opportunities to be part of the living history that is our hometowns.  The Center offers open hours seven days a week with Wednesdays being free during the daytime hours.  Whether you visit 415 Riverside Drive in Painesville Twp. in person or access their site at, the LCHC merits your attention.

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