Monday, November 12, 2012

Hotels on the Summit Part I

The Village of Kirtland Hills was incorporated in October 1926.  Named after ornithologist Dr. Jared P. Kirtland, who lived from 1793-1877, the village encompasses just over 13 miles.  A drive thru Kirtland Hills will reveal some interesting facts. One little known fact is that the first officials were elected in Elton Hoyt's stable.  Another is that Riverside School on Baldwin Road was used as the Village Hall thru 1952.  Three churches exist within village limits.  Perhaps the most interesting known fact is that the top of Little Mountain is at an elevation of 1266 feet, the highest point above sea level in Ohio.  The plateau, the start of the Allegheny Mountains includes more than fifty acres and is shaped like a saddle.  Girdled Road crossed the summit from east to west at one time. Deep caverns nicknamed 'Devil's Kitchen', 'Devil's Bedroom', and 'Table Rock' were interesting summit rock formations known to early Native Americans.  It was here on this summit that many influential families came for over a century to spend their summers.  Their residences were the various hotels that sprung up on the Kirtland Hills famous mountain summit.

The first hotel on the summit was built and operated by Captain Simeon Reynolds.  Reynolds made his fortune from peppermint oil, a lucrative crop of the time.  His hotel built in 1831, was originally called the Little Mountain House, and later the Lakeview House.  An indoor bowling alley and observation platform where guests could view Lake freighters / boats were amenities unique to the era.  Captain Reynolds was even known to fiddle for dances at his tavern.

A second hotel on the summit was built in 1850.  D. W. Stocking of Chardon was the builder and its namesake.  The Stocking House accommodated over two hundred guests.  In 1872, the Little Mountain Club (comprised of notable Cleveland businessmen)  purchased the house and used it as their private clubhouse for the next sixty years.  Of the summit's four hotels, the former Stocking House survived the longest.  It was demolished in 1941.

Hotels on the Summit Part II will appear next Monday.

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