Monday, November 4, 2013

Lake County Mini-Profiles -- Frank N. Shankland the ' Outdoors Diary '

Born in 1880, Frank N. Shankland of Willoughby was a noted ornithologist and naturalist.  His parents were early pioneers and his father a veteran of the Civil War.  The Shanklands came to Cleveland from their home in Kentucky.  A move to Madison was followed by another move to Willoughby which became the home to Frank and his two siblings.  Frank graduated Magna Cum Laude from Willoughby High in 1898 and Western Reserve University in 1902.  From earliest boyhood, his keen interest in nature and the outdoors was noticed.  His study of the American Eagle at Vermilion garnered citations in many leading ornithologist articles of the era.  He became known throughout Ohio as an 'Outdoors Diary.'  Shankland recorded the first occurance for Lake County of the Yellow Tail, Western Meadowlark, Lapland Longspur, and Barrow's Goldeneye.  He also documented the first nesting records for the Sharp Shinned Hawk, Purple Finch, and Piping Plover.

Shankland was a member of the Cleveland Bird Club.  Frank had a series of juvenile bird books published that sold over four million copies and found their way to London, China and such.  He even found time to publish a series of books on the topics of 'famous romances' and 'teen-age romances.'  He became a sought after dinner speaker and even became a first person speaker in the role of Abraham Lincoln.  Other  local history topics he addressed included the Indians and Mound Builders, the first county settlements by whites, the tavern days, and the county's first medical college.  Frank Shankland served locally for many years as a trustee, secretary, and benefactor to Andrews School for Girls.

Shankland even found time to be more civic-minded.  He served at the County Court House for years and achieved perfect attendance.  He was treasurer of Lake County, served 35 years on the Willoughby Public Library Board, and was treasurer / trustee for the Willoughby Methodist Church for fifty years.  Mr. Shankland passed away in 1955 leaving behind a resume that may never be equaled in the modern era.  Frank's legacy may also be one of Lake County's least told stories.

Source -The Historical Society Quarterly, November, 1967  article by Marion Walker Fickes

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this great biography of Frank Shankland. Frank also made huge contributions in civic affairs. He wrote wrote a history on Willoughby, Ohio, the town he called home for most of his adult life. In fact, Willoughby renamed the street he lived on Shankland Rd.
    He made countless contributions to local history and the Willoughby Historical Society, including dispelling a myth about Dr. Westel Willoughby, who our town is named after.
    Alan Hitchcox
    Willoughby Historical Society