Monday, September 30, 2013

Tempus Fugit --- Local Lore Hits 250

It all began in 2010 when a former student and athlete, now managing editor of this newspaper asked me to write a weekly blog.  At that time only one other blogger - Joe the Coupon Guy was a regular.  Being newly retired I agreed and figured it would last a year or so.  Here it is approaching 2014 and I am still learning about our county.  I recently returned from a trip to Italy and was most impressed at the the co-mingling of past and present.  It was all around and quite obvious to decipher.  Lake County offers quite the same experiences if you just look around you.  Some historic sites are quite obvious.  Other local histories are recalled at the historical societies in Fairport Harbor, Willoughby, Perry, Eastlake, Wickliffe, Madison and such.  Some require deeper layers of exploration.  Here are just a few of our county's hidden gems -- the names and places from our past.  Do you remember these stories?

August 22, 2013 - featured Painesville's Bobby Manchester
From hillside fireworks to burlesque, Bobby brought major league entertainment to Lake County in the early 1900's.  His Utopia Theater in the heart of downtown Painesville was a key part of the city's history.

September 5, 2013 - introduced the 'Painesville Hoods'
When the Civil War finally reached into our county, twenty two women answered the call.  Their contributions are part of a little known moment in history

August 26, 2013 - chronicled the short history of 'The Shore Club'
Located on Fairport-Nursery Road, this development examined the lifestyles of some of our counties leading citizens.

December 10, 2012 - recalled the story of Kirtland Hills' Leonard C. Hanna
His story dates back to 1492 and his estate remains a notable landmark in the county streetscape.

March 25, 2013 - tells the story of a solitary tombstone on Hart Road
Levi Smith's life spans the beginnings of the Mormon Migration and is part of a witch's grave legend from long ago.

June 20, 2013 - biographied Dr. Storm Rosa
His contributions to the county and the medical field stand alone in the annals of time.

January 28, February 7, June 24, 2013  examined three separate parts of County Aviation History
Willoughby's Cook Cleland Airport, Painesville's Casement airport, and Pheasant run Airport in Leroy Twp. are but three lost airfields from our past.  These urban ghosts are examined as well as several other local airports.

Like a good book, these histories are worth a second reading.  As I continue my journey into the history of Ohio's smallest county, I will share more of the little known tid-bits and hidden gems that are all around us.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mentor @ 50 ---- Free Lecture Series Continues...

As Mentor winds its way to its fiftieth anniversary in December, the celebration continues with another round of free lectures.  The success of the spring series at Wildwood Cultural Center on Little Mountain Road has spurred on another six lectures for the fall.  These are free events that link the legacy of Mentor's past to visions of its future.  The first program begins tomorrow evening at 7pm.  Programs are free, but seating is limited so registration is required.  Here is a list of the entire fall series.  Each is held on a Tuesday evening.

September 17 -- History as We Lived It and Mentor at Leisure

September 24 -- Mentor's Great Estates, Historic Buildings and Hotels of Little Mountain

October 1 -- Mentor:  Planning for the Future and What's Trending Now

October 15 -- Hometown Memories

October 22 -- Where's Main Street Around Here?

October 29 -- Hometown Heroes, Past and Present

Each program features first hand accounts, panel discussions, Mentor Memories & Trivia Contests as well as a chance to sign a 'memories board' for the time capsule.  Frank Krupa will return as host of the events while Barbara Davis, Joannie Huebner and special guests will add to the presentations.

For more information or to register - call 440-974-5720

Friday, September 13, 2013

' Letters from our Past '

Nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of mail carriers.  Some two hundred years ago,  early American history icon and inventor Benjamin Franklin founded a postal service in the newly established colonies.  In 1896-97, Mitchell Kendal while redesigning the NYC General Post Office, borrowed the Greek quote of ‘Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Gloom…’ for the upper fa├žade of the remodel.  From this early postal trivia, let us celebrate the legacy of the mail service history in Lake County and Mentor, Ohio.

U.S. Postmaster General Gideon Granger  established regular mail service in our area in 1801.  The first mail arrived from Pittsburgh, Pa. on October 30, 1801.  Warren was the terminus for mail in the Western Reserve.  Four years later, mail service was extended to Cleveland.  Eleazar Gilson was the first mail carrier and he made his rounds every two weeks.  The first stage line traveled through our region in 1803.  It covered some 150 miles and its route included Erie, Pa., Champion (Painesville), Chagrin (Willoughby), and Cleveland.  In 1813, one letter cost the sender $.25.  Letters and mail service were in its infancy.

Mail and Stage Coach Service came to the future Lake County (1840) and Mentor on a regular basis in 1823.  By 1878, the West Mentor Post Office Branch was established at the DG Branch Tavern site.  The Tavern was built in 1814 by Warren Corning and sat on the NE corner of Center Street and Mentor Avenue.  The year 1888 marked the next signature moment in Mentor’s mail history.  Postal Services were now expanded and located inside the newly dedicated Mentor Village Hall.  The Village of Mentor was still quite rural at this point and just beginning its rise as part of the nursery / rose capitol of the day.

The corner of Hart Street and Mentor Avenue became the next location of the Post Office in Mentor.  From 1921-1962, it was a focal point of Mentor’s commercial sector.  The original building still remains today.  A new Mentor Post Office opened in ’62 on Center Street on the site that many remember as Mentor Office Supply.  It had just over a twenty- year history as the current Tyler Blvd. Branch was dedicated on January 1, 1983.  The former site was demolished in 2009.

Joe Baca once wrote, “ The Postal Service’s unmatched ability to reach every household and business in America six days a week is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure…the Postal Service delivers to over 140 million addresses daily and every year that number increases by over two million.”  As the City of Mentor celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2013, let us not forget the men and women of the USPS who were at the forefront and took every step of our journey in history.  While recent years have not always spun a positive light on the USPS, today as you read this, remember to thank those who delivered the letters from your past.


(Originally established in GEAUGA COUNTY)

Name                           Title                           Date Appointed

Daniel Kerr                           Postmaster                  02/16/1819

Washington Parker         Postmaster                  09/05/1832
Daniel Kerr                           Postmaster                  03/24/1834

Heman Brown                  Postmaster                  09/26/1836

Sumner Taylor                  Postmaster                  04/08/1839

Changed to LAKE COUNTY in 1840

Clark Parker                  Postmaster                  07/01/1841

Amos Birchard                  Postmaster                  09/23/1845

Erastus Briggs                  Postmaster                  03/08/1847

William S. Kerr                  Postmaster                  06/01/1849

Eleazer Burridge                  Postmaster                  06/07/1853

Daniel Holmes                  Postmaster                  01/22/1855

Duthan Northrup                  Postmaster                  05/27/1861

Franklin Parker                  Postmaster                  03/02/1871

Lester H. Luse                  Postmaster                  07/26/1877

Robert Radcliffe                  Postmaster                  09/14/1877

Martin V. Hopkins         Postmaster                  12/11/1885

Thomas C. Radcliffe         Postmaster                  09/04/1889

Martin V. Hopkins         Postmaster                  07/31/1893

Franklin M. Smith         Postmaster                  07/19/1897

Thomas H. Code                  Postmaster                  01/31/1914

William F. Lyons                  Postmaster                  12/04/1922

Glen F. Carver                  Postmaster                  04/25/1936

William A. Collins         Acting Postmaster 12/30/1964

Roger A. Kraft                  Acting Postmaster 05/07/1965

Roger A. Kraft                  Postmaster                  08/18/1966

William A. Collins         Acting Postmaster 04/28/1972

William A. Collins         Postmaster                  09/02/1972

Richard Baldwin                  Officer-In-Charge 12/31/1977

Perry S. Metcalf                  Postmaster                  06/03/1978

Kim E. Dellinger                  Officer-In-Charge 03/19/1992

JoAnn Greene                  Officer-In-Charge 06/15/1992

JoAnn Greene                  Postmaster                  01/23/1993

Leon Grigsby                  Officer-In-Charge 09/08/1999

John Vorbel                  Officer-In-Charge 12/01/1999

Julie A. Goins-Gray         Officer-In-Charge 07/02/2001

Julie A. Goins-Gray         Postmaster                  05/03/2003

Michael Bachinger         Officer-In-Charge 02/13/2006

Joseph A. Brambrick         Officer-In-Charge 11/06/2006

Joseph A. Brambrick         Postmaster                  06/23/2007

Phillip R. Sindelar Jr.         Postmaster                  04/07/2012

Sources:  Fairport Harbor, Ohio 1976
                  David G. Van Allen – USPS Community Relations Director
                  City of Mentor website

Thursday, September 5, 2013

'The Painesville Hoods'

Social clubs and service organizations have a storied place in history.  Some like the Men's Civic Clubs, VFW or Junior Women's League are steeped in traditions and part of local mindsets.  Others like the Masons or Daughters of the American Revolution share long histories but are often not fully understood by all.  Today we look at a local Lake County society that had its origins early in the fall of 1862.  This is their story.

In the fall of 1862 the Civil War was underway and its impact had reached into Lake County.  It was at this juncture of history that twenty five young ladies of Painesville formed their society which was dubbed the 'Sisterhood' - afterwards shortened to the 'Hoods'.  Officers were elected, offices created for all and a mission formulated.  Miss Eliza Wilcox became the first chief executive.  The group convened once a week in the members homes and their object was to carry on correspondence with the absent soldiers as well as knit socks.  Their social setting ensured that no item of news escaped the pen and paper.  No mention was made that the soldiers found the letters unacceptable.

Copies of their letters appear in The Historical Society Quarterly Vol. 3 July 1961 No.3  Their story also appears in the 1976 Bicentennial Lake County History Book and The Painesville Telegraph, December 28, 1898.  For now, here is a list of married names of the twenty-two charter members.

                              Eliza Wilcox                             Libbie Lines Lockwood
                             Sarah Wilcox Hitchcock           Hetty Sanford Ganter
                             Mary Lockwood Casement       Juliet Marshall Smith
                            Leora Brown Sears                    Sarah Doolittle Wilkerson
                            Jennie Potter King                     Mary Perkins Morley
                            Gussie Avery Stockwell             Lucy Perkins
                            Mary Everett Post                     Emma Morley
                            Mary Sterling Steele                 Mary Tinan Osborne
                            Carrie Mathews Reynolds        Anna Tracy
                            Mary Rockwell Pike                 Cornelia Gray
                            Lizzie Hitchcock Morley          Kate Chesney Hover