Monday, August 26, 2013

Brief Portals in Time -- The Shore Club

Purchased in 1897 a property lying centrally east and west about 300 feet back of the lake bank began its brief history.  Known as 'The Shore Club', it comprised 150 acres and was formerly the L.L. Lanthrop and Charles Smart Family Farms.  The Club was located at the intersection of the former Huntington Road and Fairport-Nursery Roads.  The idea was to develop an area of summer homes on the bluffs.  Thus the Lake Erie Land Company was formed in 1898 and  an arched stone pillar with ironworks sign 'Shorelands' affixed, signaled the start of the dream.

It was a dream meant not to be.  Rock, salt water, ice hummock and other issues plagued its progress.  Insufficient  financial backing and lack of individual club memberships hampered its growth.  Construction did start in 1899 and by 1900 two cottages were in place, the Scott and Harper lots.  In year three, some other families joined the club.  They were the Merrills, Grants, Averys, Harrisons, Barnes, and Mrs. Winsor.  Membership did not grow much after this but the 'core' remained active in ensuing summers.

1910 signaled the beginning of the end as the Diamond Alkali Company bought the large tract of land about a mile west of their club.  Controversy arose right from the start.  While no one was disagreeable at first to the company's arrival, its rapid growth, odors, and vegetation effects soon were felt.  Cleveland's rise to industrial center and the nostalgic idealism of the Lake County cottage communities were at the crossroads.  The early New England Village flavor was waning.  Industrialization, immigration, and the mechanized future guaranteed 'The Shore Club' would soon become a footnote in history.  Friday's Lady Day, Thimble Parties, Saturday Night Dances, tennis, croquet, and stables faded from memory and 'The Shore Club' footprint disappeared in the ensuing two decades.

Source -  Percy Kendall Smith article, August 1967, FHHS archives

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