Monday, June 24, 2013

Saving Aviation History -- Pheasant Run Airport in Leroy Twp.

On January 26, 2011 a multimillion dollar gift to Lake Erie College allowed one of the largest vintage aircraft collections to remain in Lake County.  The donor was Gretchen Reed, a retired Riverside High School teacher.  Gretchen and her late husband Chuck were lifelong county residents and flying enthusiasts.  Their careers as pilots began at Casement Airport in 1966 and grew for the next three decades.  Wise real estate investments and Chuck's governmental career path provided funding for their aviation passions.  In 1997, the Reeds acquired 28 acres located at 5782 Trask Road.  Another 40 acres soon followed and by 2011 approximately 128 acres comprised their airport complex.

An E/W runway and Hanger #1 were finished in 1978, both projects done by the Reeds themselves.  A N/S runway and Hanger #2 followed in 1985-86.  Hanger #3 was constructed in 1990.  A 'Tower' was built in 2000 and Hanger #4 was the last structure completed in 2002.  Numerous outbuildings are on site too.  While flying remained their passion, a love of past aviation history led to securing and restoring over 33 vintage aircraft.  Eighteen are hangered and fifteen are flyable.  Chuck Reed passed in late 2008.  Gretchen continued on and sought out a worthy steward for their complex.  Lake Erie College was chosen and now shares Gretchen's passions with the public every Sunday from 1-5pm.   Aviation memorabilia and vintage aircraft such as a Fokker Dr1, Aeronca L-16, and Junkers CL-1 are on display for public viewing.

If aviation is in your blood, another venue will be hosting a special event July 8-14 at Lost Nation Municipal Airport.  The CAF ( Commemorative Air Force Base ) will be landing as part of a LCVB funded program.  Ever fly in a B-17?  Here is Your Chance!  Flight details and other event information may be found at or (602) 448-9415.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lake County Mini Profiles - Dr. Storm Rosa

Storm Rosa was born in 1791 in a typical 'Sleepy Hollow' Catskill village of the era known as Coxsackie, N.Y.  Not much is known about his N.Y. early years although by his 22nd year he was preparing for his future career under Dr. Doubleday and Dr. Greene.  Upon graduating in 1816, he hung up his shingle in Centerville ( Madison, Ohio).

Rosa and his wife, Sophia settled in a home on Washington Street.  In time, he prospered and hired noted architect Jonathan Goldsmith to build him a home.  Dr. Storm branched out into community affairs and by 1829 became President of the Painesville Academy.  He led the academy until 1851 when it was taken over by the first public school system of the day.

Dr. Rosa next turned his attentions to the newly formed Medical College in Chagrin (Willoughby,Ohio).  He served as an adjunct professor in its first year-1834.  His interests next led him to a stint with the Geauga Agricultural Society, a term as Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, a year as editor of The Painesville Telegraph and lastly campaign leader for William Henry Harrison and Whig Party causes.

His greatest moment came in 1843 when his ever inquiring mind brought him into contact with homeopathic schools of thought.  He embraced this concept and became an early crusader preaching the benefits of cleanliness, diet, and preventative medicine.  Published extracts, articles, and a leading position on the newly formed Homeopathic Society followed in quick succession.  By 1849, Dr. Rosa chaired a national convention held in Cleveland as well securing a chair at the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati.  A firm belief in the 'water cure' led the Doctor to build a stone bath house on Little Mountain Road in 1855.  This resort and its water and gymnasium based therapies lasted a few years.  Despite some family sorrows, Rosa championed homeopathy into the Civil War years.  He helped the Northern cause until the time of his passing in 1864.

source: Historical Society Quarterly - February, 1964

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hashtag; Mentor -- Saving History for Future Generations ??

Mentor's place in Lake County history is unique.  Settled in 1797, its 28 square miles makes it our county's largest city.  Its school system is the largest and has garnered many outstanding accolades over the years.  It is also leads the county with the most commercial and industrial sites .  Yet for all its present 'first' rankings, Mentor does not truly rank very high in preserving its local history.  Many other county cities and entities have their own historical societies and public collections.  Some like Willoughby, Perry, Madison and Fairport have entire buildings dedicated to this purpose.  Even Willoughby Hills, Wickliffe, and Eastlake have rooms in local governmental buildings reserved for its history.

Laurence H. Norton founded the Lake County Historical Society in 1938.  He and a group of like-minded citizens sought to combine a chapter of the Western Reserve Historical Society with caring for the Garfield presidential homestead. By 1953, the LCHS incorporated on its own and remained at Garfield's home as stewards thru 1983, when the NPS took control.  In that time, historical papers, archives, and Mentor artifacts came into their possession.  However, no permanent or distinct Mentor Historical Society came into being.

2013 celebrates Mentor's 50th Anniversary.  Lectures at Wildwood and various public programs will highlight the year.  Landmarks, personalities, and trivia will mark numerous panel discussion and article topics.  Below you will find five books that celebrate Mentor - Then and Now.  Each may be found in the local library or at designated outlets for retail purchase.  Since no permanent site may satisfy a visitor's curiosity, at least an informative read is possible.

"Roses to Retail" (2011)  - Barbara Davis, a retired Mentor educator and life-long resident traces the history of her family, their local business, and the development of Mentor from a nursery laden village to large commercial city in the 1960's.  Autobiographical and historical, the book merges two looks at Mentor and is well worth reading.

" Mentor: The First 200 Years" (1997)  - Historical photos and text recall Mentor's early beginnings and gradual rise in the Lake County chapters of history.

"Mentor - a retrospect" (1988) -  I enjoyed looking thru this book as its photos and captions captured various stages of Mentor's development.  Some photos of local businesses and merchants are still permeate local discussions today.

" Here is Lake County" (1964) -  Jack Daniels and a group of citizens compiled this history book detailing Mentor and all of Lake County in every phase of its development.  While not specifically Mentor-centric, it is the definitive source of county information and worthy of a spot on your bookshelf.

"History of Mentor Headlands and Vicinity" - (1957)  This history book is a rare find and source of pertinent county information.  Headlands is often overlooked in many community stories but its importance and key role in many chapters of local history are detailed within its dust jacket.

Many of these books are on the 'stacks' at the Mentor Public Library, Morley Public Library, LCHS, and Fairport Harbor Historical Society.  Some may be purchased online or at Mentor City Hall.

Monday, June 3, 2013

'Rock Around The Clock' ----- Lake County in the '60's

Many of my relatives 'of a certain age' revel in memories of the days of old.  This is especially true at family gatherings or when photos of our past appear on storyboards as we pay respect to those who recently passed in our lives.  My aunt and uncle, married in 1942 fondly recall the Dance Halls at Mentor-on-the-Lake and Painesville Township Park from their early years.  As for me, my cousins childhood memories recall the Rocking Lake County of the '60's.  It was the hey-day of hip-hugger bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts.  Nehru jackets, black leather jackets and long hair were not limited to Austin Powers either.  " A little dab will do ya" helped too.

Lake County had its dance clubs back then.  With a cover charge of merely a buck, it was the gathering place of hundreds of teenagers and not just on a Friday or Saturday night.  Greasers or 'racks' favored R&B and Motown.  Mods followed the British Invasion.  Here are some of the clubs that catered to the rock invasion some fifty years ago.  Do you remember?

Hires Lounge in Wickliffe was a 'greaser club," while Eastlake's Recreation Center - the Nike Site catered to the mod crowd.  Mentor had the Torchlight Club.  From 1962-68 Joey and the Continentals and the Twilighters played to waiting lines at Shibley's on Sundays.  Shibley's was the Sahara Lounge in Willoughby Hills and remained relevant into the '80's.

Hires, The Stables (Painesville) and the Hullabaloos (Mentor and Chesterland) were popular stops back then.  Culp's Surfside Inn (Eastlake) became Mr. Pete's.  Luccioni's ( Willoughby Hills), and the Orbit aka Utopia in Willoughby lasted into the '70's.  The Eastgate Coliseum held matinee Sunday dances and featured upcoming television / music personalities John Rinaldi and Leslie Gore.

As one remembers the local clubs where we danced the nights away, you have to include three others that my cousins frequented.  They were the Shangra-la, The Lantern, and Cappelli's.  I moved to Mentor in late 1971.  Clearly, the clubs and bands that played in them have not been forgotten.  As Bob Seger wrote 'Rock 'N Roll Never Forgets.'

Some information taken from author Deanna Adams Rock' n 'Roll book.