Monday, March 5, 2012

A 'Hike' into the Past - Historic Marker #43-1 Indian Point Fort

It is well known that Lake County had a significant role in the early chapters of the Western Reserve and American history.  What is not as well known is a little piece of history found on 12951 Seeley Road just east of  Painesville.  A marker #43-1 officially designates it as Indian Point Fort.  It is the site of the Prehistoric Erie and it is the earliest architectural works site found in Ohio.  The fortification was built sometime after 1200 A.D.  The Erie Indians, also known as the Whittlesey Culture (geologist-archeologist Charles Whittlesey) had a presence in the area through 1653.  It is generally reported that the Erie Indians demise came  at the hands of the Iroquois.  Their fortification is along a 100' ridge at Paine Creek and the Grand River.  Two parallel mounds of earthworks are still present.  Today, visitors may view both sites as they hike the trails of this 408 acre Lake Metroparks property.

The history of this park property doesn't end with the Indian Point Fort.  It seems prior to Lake Metroparks acquiring the property in 1964, some additional back story is known.  The property was owned by John Phelps whose parents had it deeded to them in 1802 by the Connecticut Land Company.  In 1901, Charles Lyman bought some of this property and before WWI held military camps for high school age boys there.  Totem Stone carvings remain and list names from the past.  A Finnish camp known as the Kaleva Lodge also occupied this site too.  Its hiking trails and a stone hut sauna, dismantled in the 1970's were popular features at the lodge site.

Lake County may be Ohio's smallest county but it is remarkable when it comes to history.  Lake County, Ohio  has 27 historic markers to date.  Indian Point Fort was the first to receive county marker designation.  The year was 1964.  This hidden gem is just another 'hike' into our past.

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