Monday, November 14, 2011

Local Lore Visits Lake Erie College - A National Register of Historic Places Site since 1973

Seventy-seven sites in Lake County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some are famous residences. Their names include Talcott, Metcalf, Sawyer, Lyman, Hanna, and Kimball et al.  Others are places of worship. Two are Lake Erie lighthouses.  A historic district is one site duly registered. A school building is on the list.  Another structure is a city hall.  Some such as Ladd's Tavern or Lutz's Tavern are not as familiar.  One is an Administration Building (College Hall) on the campus of Lake Erie College.  It is clearly visible to anyone traveling on Mentor Avenue on  their way into downtown Painesville.  Its back story and the college traditions that sprang forth are worth sharing.

Founded in 1856, Lake Erie College has some interesting nuggets to share in our county history.  College Hall ( Administration Building ) came to be in 1859.  A south wing to College Hall followed in 1877.  Memorial Hall opened in 1890.  Former President Taft visited LEC in 1915.  The Cleveland Orchestra performed on campus in 1921.  A Skinner organ was donated in 1927.  At nearly $51, 000 in cost, it was the largest pipe organ in Ohio at the time of its arrival.  The women of LEC knitted sweaters for the British during WWII.  Dr. Benjamin Spock visited campus in 1963.  A world known Equestrian Center was begun in 1971.  Margaret Mead graced the campus in 1976.  A county and region Indian Museum was housed on campus beginning in 1980.  However it is the enduring college traditions that merit a deeper examination.

Founders Day -  Timothy Rockwell ( Concord Furnance), Silas Trumball Ladd ( Ladd's General Store), Reuben Hitchcock (Judge), William Lee Perkins (lawyer), Aaron Wilcox ( Mayor, Painesville Academy Headmaster), and Charles Austin Avery (self made man) were the original founders of the college.  Borrowed from another institution, Founders Day began in 1894.  Descendants of the founders visit campus each year.  They come to share with students the history of the college.
Mountain Day - First celebrated in 1903, this tradition calls for classes to be cancelled and outdoor activities to be the theme of the day.  Originally known as Little Mountain Day or Mountain Day, students of LEC were offered an excursion to the Little Mountain Hotel owned by founder Charles Avery.  Once there, students experienced nature and various planned outdoor experiences as part of their total educational opportunities.
Tiberius - a four foot mascot, this quiet sentinel guarding the campus has had a most interesting existence on campus.  Tiberius I came to the campus in 1910.  He came from the home of Miss Harriet Young whose residence sat directly across from the Lake County Court House.  In 1950, Tiberius was kidnapped by students of CWRU.  Many leads were persued but all proved futile in the end.  Tiberius II came to campus in 1975.  He was an exact image of the original and was found in an antique shop in New York.  Vandals destroyed Tiberius II in 1984.  Tiberius III arrived in 2004 as a class gift.  Tiberius IV appeared on campus in 2008 and currently sits in the base of Tiberius II at mid-campus.
Stormy - Lake Erie College may have had its earliest roots steeped in seminarian and all women campus history, but athletics and school spirit necessitated a mascot.  A dog, a lightning bolt, and a unicorn have served this purpose in the past annals of college history.  1994-1995 saw a community and Alumni Magazine contest search for the newest mascot to the college archives.  Named 'Stormy', this mascot now represents this co-ed institution and is the brand most often seen on the green and white that is LEC.

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