Thursday, December 1, 2016

Buzzin' Round Books - An Incomplete List of My Yuletide Favorites

December can be the most wonderful month of the year.  As family and friends begin to gather together for the holidays, there is nothing like a heartwarming story everyone can enjoy and relate to.  As a retired  junior high / middle school educator I have had the opportunity to share some of my favorites with students for decades.  Here are some of my favorite holiday books.  As I hold the spine of each of these holiday classics I can definitely experience the depth and love in every stitch.

Timeless Favorites
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Grinch by Dr. Seuss - No explanation needed here
School Favorites
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens-  This 1843 classic was written in six weeks.  Did you know there are other companion books in this series?
  • Gift of the Magi by O'Henry
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet Ahlberg- From 2001 this story features letters from the Big Bad Wolf, All the King's Men and more literary characters.
  • Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Rich Schneider- Released in 1988 this is the story of Small Pine's discovery on the true meaning of the holiday.
  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry- From its first release in 1963 this delightful tale of a family Christmas tree and its many uses is sure to reasonate in your head long after the story is finished.
Modern Favorite-Adults
  • Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright - This 2005 novel and the sequel are a must read.

Feel free to share your favorite holiday story with me.  Look for an expanded list to appear in December 2017 with still more books that weave the fabric of the season into all who share in their message.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! ... A Reprise

Holiday Fast Facts
  1. Four cents - the cost of the first Christmas postage stamp released in 1962.  A simple wreath and two candles were featured.  The initial supply released was 350 million.  One billion were eventually distributed due to its unexpected popularity.
  2. Wassailing is a custom of ancient origins and comes from the Ango-Saxon phrase 'waes hael' which means good health.
  3. Jingle Bells was originally written for Thanksgiving.  It is also one of the oldest holiday songs of American origin.
  4. Electric holiday lights appeared as early as 1882 thanks to Thomas Edison.  1895 saw President Grover Cleveland request an electric light bulb tree.  1903 saw G.E. issue the first kits to the public.
  5. Mistletoe in doorways dates back to the Ancient Druids who used the plant to ward off evil spirits.
Spend the holidays at home in Lake County and make it truly memorable with some of these special holiday events.  Whether it is your first time or an annual family tradition, it is the most wonderful time of the year!  Here are some of my favorite places to visit before the end of the year.

December 3 -  Harbor Holidays and the Grinch Visit to the Lighthouse  10am-6pm
Fairport Harbor remains a best kept secret as this annual event clamors for more visitors.  Local churches, small businesses and the local museums offer up ethnic foods, holiday crafts and unique stocking stuffers for all tastes. Dr. Suess's infamous Grinch may be seen roaming the village, local library and local shops in search of presents.  The annual reading of the classic tale from atop the local lighthouse tower is sure to inspire good spirits.  

December 3 - Letters to Santa with Mrs. Claus  10am -11am
The Old Stone Schoolhouse on Ravenna Road in Concord Township is the site for this children's program.  Mrs. Claus and her elves help craft letters to Santa.  Visit to register

November 27 thru early 2017 - Historic Kirtland's Nativity Display
This free event offers visitors a look at more than 500 nativity sets from around the world.  This display has garnered recognition from publications and travel agencies throughout the U.S.

Other December events include
Country Lights at Lake Metroparks Farmpark - Sold Out is the word till 12/23 but visit the park after Christmas Day and build a toy at the noted Toyshop and see the holiday displays on tractor or horse pulled wagons.  You'll be back every year!
Lake County History Center -  A Victorian Christmas display and more await you here in a most unique setting.
Pine Lodge Ski Center at Chapin Forest - Let it Snow beginning 12/15 thru March 2017.
Holiday Open Houses at Wildwood in Mentor.  Tour the manor house on select December dates - visit

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lake County mini-profile - " The World's Greatest Light Car"

The 1913 Automobile Journal hailed the Vulcan as "The World's Greatest Light Car."  The two passenger Speedster or the 5 passenger Touring model were the only two vehicles manufactured by the Vulcan Mfg. Company, Lock Box PJ 477, Painesville, Ohio.  Production lasted for only two years 1913 and 1914.  A Vulcan Power Wagon Truck was produced in 1915 under license by Driggs-Seabury.  A June 13, 2015 Cleveland All-Star Car Show held at Ursuline College featured the only known surviving Vulcan.

Surviving vehicle literature provide these specs.  The two passenger Speedster, Model 27 sold for $750. The Speedster had a maximum horsepower of 27.  The five passenger Touring Model cost $850 in 1913.  It featured a 4 cylinder L-head motor that generated 33 horsepower.  It featured three foward speeds and reverse.  A 120 inch wheelbase allowed for a 15 foot turning radius.  In 1914 with accessories the cars cost increased to $925 and $975 respectively.  Accessories included an ignition, lights and generator.  The Lake County company called Painesville home for most things Vulcan although some sources claim all cars were built in Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Two county  car history enthusiasts have donated items to the Lake County History Center located on Riverside Drive in Painesville.  A Vulcan radiator is on site from the restored car collection of Painesville's Tony Torre.  Also an impressive 3 ring binder of photos, articles and more was provided by Ken Gladyszewski.  Once again Ohio's smallest county has stepped to the forefront with the most history - this time automotive based.

As more sources become available, this article will be updated.
source: & (collection /artifacts on site)

Monday, October 24, 2016

" You Might Be From Haunted Lake County If..." Part III

 Lake County be Ohio’s smallest county but it has the most history, some of which rivals the best Jack-tales.  Test your County Ghostly I. Q. with these ten Wayward Spirit teasers… Remember none of these facts will be found on the bottom of your Snapple Tea bottle caps.

1.  What was the name of the female specter who many claim still resides at her former 1890s River Farm Estate?

2. This First Lady is said to haunt the upstairs of their NHS home.  Can you name her?

3.  This haunting tale led to the demise of the Medical College in Willoughby in the mid-1840s.  What future Ohio medical institutions rose from this tragic tale?

4.  Although not specific to our county or state, what is the common name of this Ohio Cryptid?

5.  Can you name any of the six haunted buildings on this Lake County campus?

6.  What is the name of the veiled lady of Kirtland’s Historic North Cemetery?

7.  What is the name of the young boy who haunts Fairport’s sentinel?

8.  Spirits are said to frequent this 1870 Victorian Home in Painesville that once belonged to a Civil War General who married a founding member of the suffrage movement.  Name the home!

9.  This 1847 Ohio Cottage is said to be haunted.  Name the community or street location of this multi-use historic facility?

10.  Whose name appears on the solitary gravesite located on Hart Road?

Bonus:  In 1960 a Twilight Zone episode featured this city and event.  Do you know the place or story?

answers-  1. Rebecca  2.  Lucretia Garfield  3.  CWRU & OSU  4.  Melonheads  5.  College Hall, Morley, Kilcawley, Fine Arts, Fowler  6.  Hattie Martindale  7.  Robbie Babcock  8. Casement  9. Middle Ridge in Madison  10.  Levi Smith  Bonus - Little Girl in Blue / Willoughby


Thursday, October 20, 2016

" You Might Be From Lake County If..." Part II - Famous County Women

Lake County's famous women are known throughout the annals of our country and some of these notables garner world-wide name recognition.  How well do you know these women of our community's history?  Let's test your mettle!

1.  Known as 'Gramma G' to many, a 65 acre park is named after Mentor's only female mayor.  Name this pioneering lady.

2.  She was not only a female doctor (1920) but the passage of the 19th Amendment (1919) allowed her to become Ohio's first woman mayor.  She was elected Mayor of Fairport in 1921.  Name her.

3.  She was a graduate of Thomas Harvey High School in Painesville, taught at Champion JHS, became a WASP in 1942, barnstormer after WWII and female racing aviatrix.  Do you know 'Marge' by her given name?

4.  She met her husband in the 1850s when his railroad work caused him to seek right-of-way access thru her family homestead.  She was also a leading member of the women's suffrage movement.  What is her name?

5.  Oz's Wicked Witch was born in Cleveland and was an educator in Painesville and other places during her long and storied career.  What is Miss Gulch's real name?

6.  She grew up in Perry and in 1952 became the personal secretary to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Can you name her?

7.  In 1932 she became the head of the Disney Studio Animation Paint Department.  Do you know this Willoughby animation pioneer?

8.  She grew up in an aviation environment in Willoughby as a young girl.  Shortly after WWII she was the country's first certified woman master mechanic in the aviation field.  Name her.

9.  She was a student, teacher and later a resident at this 1840 one-room schoolhouse site in Concord Township.  What is her name?

10.  She graduated from Thomas Harvey High School, Ohio Wesleyan University and Lake Erie College.  This reknown aviatrix and Airpark owner from Concord Township is a Ohio 2016 Senior HOF inductee as well as a HOF member at  the International Women's Aviation and Space Museum.  Name this notable township resident and current trustee.

answers-  1. Eleanor B. Garfield  2.  Dr. Amy Kaukonen  3.  Margaret Hurlburt  4.  Frances Jennings Casement  5.  Margaret Hamilton  6.  Ann C. Whitman  7.  Grace Bailey  8.  Pat Hange  9.  Elga Pomeroy  10.  Connie Luhta

Thursday, October 13, 2016

" You Might Be From Lake County If..."

Every county, community, structure or location has its facts, local lore, foibles and such.  Today's families are much more transient in their lifetime and being anchored in community is not what it once was.  Today we challenge your general 'County IQ' in the first of a series entitled "You Might Be From Lake County If..."

1. Where were these two Lake Shore Resorts located?  Linden Beach, Shore Club

2.  What town was the site of the Griffith Disaster (June 16, 1850) and do you know the story?  A historical marker shares the tale at the site.

3.  Have you visited the Old Stone School (1840) and do you know the name of the lady who was a student,  a teacher and a homeowner there during her lifetime?  This one-room schoolhouse is located on Ravenna Road in Concord Township.

4.  Where is Arcole Furnance?  What two famous county residents from the 1800s were the owners of this important business?  A historical marker is located on the site.

5.  Wickliffe is known as the City of Millionaires.  Do you know the names of at least four of these men who lived on Millionaire's Mile?

6.  Girdled Road has a storied history dating back to the Western Reserve Era.  Do you know the history?

7.  The Burroughs Club began in 1916.  Foundling members hailed from this county city?

8.  'Stop 47' and 'Stop 61' were daily occurrences from 1896-1926 if you traveled on this line?

9.  The 'Johnnycake Story' is part of this famous stagecoach stop history located at the corner of Rt. 84 & 44.  Do you know the tavern or story?

10.  Archibald Willard's famous painting 'The Spirit of '76' used these two local men as images for the fifer and drummer.  Do you know their names or home communities?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Whatever Happened to Camp Klein?

The title question is simply enough - What ever happened to Camp Klein?, which today has been repurposed into Lake Metroparks’ Environmental Learning Center.  Let’s look back at the history of Camp Klein  prior to its 1997 closing - before the 2001 purchase of the property by Lake Metroparks – and before the 2015-2016 final preservation assured its place in our county history annals.  This is its story.

Before Camp Klein, there were other camps.  In fact, the first fresh air camps appeared in the summer of 1896.  George A. Bellamy of Cleveland and Hiram House fame was its first champion.  These camps were part of a movement to emphasize social and educational development of a population that at the time was mostly immigrant in composition and definitely urban dwellers.  Early camp locations were in Brecksville at the farmhouse of Florence Oakes and the two properties secured by Harley Barnes from Painesville / Concord Township.  By 1904, Barnes had acquired an area in Concord known as Fays Mills.  The Epworth Fresh Air Camp was a reality.  The camp fell under the auspices of the Epworth League of Cleveland and soon thereafter a four-decade partnership with the Methodist Youth Fellowship.The annual camps flourished and the 250 plus children who attended were exposed to religious as well as all- natural experiences.  They were housed in dormitories and their outdoor education supervised by mothers and staff alike.

Despite some lean times resulting from the Great Depression and WWII, a brief suspension of the camp paved the way for the 1945-1952 hunt for a new campsite that would mirror the population move to the Cleveland suburbs.  Dr. John Flynn, Dr. Clarence LaRue and George Klein of the George R. Klein News Company led this search.  1952 saw the purchase of 157 acres in Concord Township and the ensuing three years saw the formation of a camp named after its key investor.  Mr. Klein was not only the founder of the camp but was also the lead chairman for many of the key committees of the Methodist Church that sponsored the site. The camp’s first guests arrived in the summer of 1955.  Cabins, a swimming pool, and additional out buildings supplemented the main structure.  The ‘Camp Klein Years’ encompassed the decade of the 60s and expansion marked the early part of the 70s decade.  Unfortunately for the many  outdoor church camps of this era, their popularity and attendance waned.  Operating at only 50% capacity led to deficits and maintaining these sites became a burden to the church communities who footed the bills.  A church study in 1987 forecast the demise of Camp Klein and others of its kind.  Within ten years warm nostalgia met financial cold hard facts.  Camp was over.

Lake Metroparks formed in the late 50s had an interest in the Camp Klein properties since day one.  In 1994 the park system even applied for federal monies should the site become available.  1998 saw the Camp sold to the Slovene Home.  Rancor and legal wranglings resulted between the interested parties.  By 2001 a remedy was brokered and LMP assumed ownership of the property.  A careful land and resource study was not completed until 2008.  The site was to be repurposed as an Environmental Learning Center.  Renovations, tear-downs and new construction lasted thru early 2015.  Today the property is open to the public with miles of hiking trails, creek access and an educational program building that is the envy to outdoor educators everywhere.  Visit for more information about this site.

  • information gleened from the research of M. Sondey

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Still More Lake County Facts not found on the bottom of Snapple Bottle Caps

Continuing on a previous posted blog, here are another ten facts about our county not readily known by most residents.  Test your skills and see how many you know.  Better yet make a commitment to visit these notable county landmarks before 2016 ends.

1.  The Casement-Jennings House in Painesville built in the late 19th century has had only four owners, featured central heating and a/c, a first of the era and had Susan B. Anthony visit there often.

2.  The two oldest stone quarried homes in the county date back to 1840 and 1841 respectively.  The first is located on Ravenna Road and was a one-room schoolhouse.  The second building in Kirtland was once a farm homestead known as the Vineyard House and today is home to the Herb Society of America.  Both are open to visitors.

3.  Wayward spirits have been reported to inhabit several dorms, a music building and the main college hall on this Lake County college campus located on Mentor Avenue in Painesville.

4.  This City of Millionaires features the former homes or sites of Coulby, Squire, McKinney, Corrigan and Rockefeller.  Do you know these properties?

5.  October programs share the ghostly stories of Robbie Babcock and Sentinel the cat at this iconic lighthouse in Fairport Harbor.  Will you be attending the 7-9 pm program on October 18 or 25th?

6.  This barn theater is one of the few remaining in the country.   Located in Madison and dating back nearly 80 years, it features four live stage shows annually.  Jim Backus, Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman have performed there.

7.  The entrance to this famous summer home was located at an interurban stop that sat in front of the current Olive Garden site on Mentor Avenue.  Do you know the name of this famous mansion?

8.  She was Mentor's only women mayor and was affectionately known as 'Gramma G' - do you know this visionary's real name?

9.  A Nike Missle site was located in this county city.

10.  This park was the first one to be acquired by newly formed Lake Metroparks in the late 50s.  It has a rich history in UGRR lore and Eber Howe history.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Legacy of One-Room Schoolhouses

Dotting the back county roads, the casual traveler often passes by abandoned or second-third use repurposed remnants of a past era.  These aging buildings may bring back remembered images, be seen as merely crumbling structures or reconnect you with a by-gone county era.  Such is the case with three unique buildings of Americana found in our Lake County communities.

One - room schoolhouses are a part of American history dating back nearly 350 years.  First suggested in 1647 (Massachusetts), the Federal Land Act of 1785 and the Section 16 Act set up support of schools as an offshoot of The Northwest Ordinances.  An 1802 draft of Ohio’s constitution made reference to schools.  Even Thomas Jefferson championed free public education.

Prior to 1820 exisitng schools were mostly private by design.  The cost of a term, usually three dollars was a luxury well beyond the reach of most citizens.  Yet it is interesting to note that Ohio’s population in 1803 was nearly 60,000- Ohio being one of the first states developed from the Northwest Territory era.  This led to an 1825 law where free education became the rule. Public School was now in session in the soon to be Lake County.
 Early pioneer schools sprang up.  These schools were of a crude log design and often a 30’x50’ size at best.  An 1840 census indicated 407,000 children ages 6-15 attended schools.  Usually townships were divided into 6 or 7 sections hence the need for 6 to 7 schools.  School terms ran May thru September and November thru April.  Within a few years, the first pioneer schools were replaced by buildings now made of stone.  The Old Stone Schoolhouse (1840) on Ravenna Road was Concord’s third school but the first quarried stone structure in the county.  By the late 1900’s schools made of red-clay brick followed.  The Red Schoolhouse in Willoughby and School #2 in Kirtland Township are examples of that era of construction.  One- room schools remained in the forefront of early public school education until approximately 1920.  At that time urban schools challenged these mostly rural institutions.  Limited curriculum, facility size and rising standards for teacher certification became issues that only larger urban- based districts could combat.  Concord Township’s nine one-room schools were shuttered by 1924 and a new one building district school opened in 1925 to better serve all students.  A new era in education was at hand.

Lake County’s One Room Schoolhouses Still Standing –Key Facts

Old Stone Schoolhouse
 Built in 1840, open from 1841-1923, one of nine in its hey-day.  Located on Ravenna Road in Concord Township, it is a township museum maintained by the local historic society and open to the public.

Children’s Schoolhouse – Lake Metroparks
Originally known as Riverside School #2, located on Baldwin Road in Kirtland Township, opened in 1894.  Donated in 1988 by the Anthony S. Ocepala Family to Lake Metroparks.  It is open to the public for educational programs only.

Little Red Schoolhouse-
Currenly located at 5040 Shankland Road in Willoughby, it was built in 1901 and situated thru 1923 on the current YMCA site.  Last used in the 1940s, it is now a three building complex maintained by the local historical society.  It was moved to its current location in 1975.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lake County Facts not found on the bottom of Snapple Bottle Caps

Every Sunday morning in recent months I have enjoyed reading sports columnist Jeff Schudel's educational ramblings entitled 'I didn't know that...until I read my Snapple bottle cap'.  Today's Local Lore by Max shares with the reader 10 Lake County Facts not found and most likely never to be found on the bottom of a Snapple bottle cap-yet worth sharing!

  1. Automobile parts inventor Claud Foster (Snubbers Car Shock Absorber and Gabriel Car Horn) and Robert Manry (Tinkerbelle voyage) both hail from Willowick.
  2. Pheasant Run Airport on Trask Road has some of the nations most coveted vintage WWI and WWII aircraft collections on view and open to the public.
  3. In 1932, nurseryman Joseph Kallay secured the first ever patent (#10) for his Blaze rose.  This patent and some other local nurserymen led Mentor to becoming the Rose Capital of the Nation in the following decades.
  4. Daniel Beard organized the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1906.  Four years later he was a foundling member of the Boys Scouts of America.  His design of the patch and emblem remain today.  He hailed from Painesville, Ohio.
  5. Hugh Mosher was the inspiration for the fifer in Archibald Willard's famous painting 'Spirit of '76'.  Henry Deveraux was the inspiration for the drummer.  Mosher hails from Perry while Devereaux was from Wickliffe.
  6. Donald Blakeslee was the most decorated airman in U.S. history.  His WWII triumphs and aviation history records garnered him the highest awards in two countries.  He hailed from Fairport Harbor.
  7. This Civil War General and lead contractor in the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 had a famous home in Painesville.  His wife teamed with houseguest Susan Anthony in another famous movement of the era.  Their home is the Casement/Jennings site.
  8. This Usonian home was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 for Louis Penfield.  Since 2003 it is the only Wright home open for overnight bookings.  The home is in Willoughby Hills.
  9. During Cleveland's Gilded Age, millionaires Franklin Rockefeller, James Corrigan, Fergus Squire, Price McKinney and Harry Coulby made this city their home and the real city of millionaires.  The city was Wickliffe.
  10. The Willoughby Medical College (1834-1847) was the county's first.  A series of unfortunate events caused its demise but two current Ohio medical campuses had their genesis there in the 1800s.  The two were Ohio State University and Case Western University.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Another Lake County Vignette - Concord Twp's Caroline 'Connie' Luhta

Lake County is one of Ohio’s smallest counties.  Concord Township is one of Lake’s smallest communities.  Yet both arguably share in the common denominator of having the most history to offer.  Concord’s aviatrix Connie Luhta is just one of many county stories worth sharing.  Seven terms to date as a local township official and 48 years as a resident are only the tip of the iceberg of this notable Concord Township lady’s story.  Here is the rest of her story.

  • 1948 Graduate of Thomas W. Harvey High School , member of Y team, cheering club, Honor Society, French Club, Harbinger Staff, Quill & Scroll
  • 1952 Graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University – B.S. in Chemistry
  • 1977 Graduate of Lake Erie College – B.S. in Business Administration
  • Career as a Research Chemist for the Standard Oil Company
  • Member of Lake County Farm Bureau
  • Founded Concord Airpark (situated on 70 acres at 12253 Concord-Hambden Road) in 1952 with her late husband Adolph.  Airpark activated in November 1954
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • President – Cleveland International Women’s Air & Space Museum located at Burke Lakefront Airport
  • Life Member - Silver Wings
  • Life Member – 99’s – International Organization of Female Pilots
  • Vice President – Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 118
  • Competitor – Twelve International Air Races, Ten Coast-to-Coast Races, Seventeen Proficiency Races
  • One of 55 female pilots enshrined in Burke Airport / International Aerospace Museum
  • Featured on card sets with notable women pilots Besse Coleman and Amelia Earhardt
  • May 2016 Inductee - Ohio Senior Citizen’s Hall of Fame
  • August 2016 Community Days Tribute to her aviation contributions 
Concord Community Days is this weekend.  For more information on that event or Connie's tribute on Saturday evening visit or call 440-639-4650 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Every Artifact Tells A Story - Concord Twp Site recalls Walter Wellman & Connie Luhta

History surrounds us.  Whether it is past, present or in the making one can experience history daily.  Lake County may be Ohio’s smallest county but it has the most history.  Concord Township is not exception to this claim.  One need look no farther than the Old Stone Schoolhouse to witness and share your community history.  Visitation and tours are available on posted dates, by appointment or during upcoming special events in 2016.

The schoolhouse serves as the township museum of history.  The names Leuty, Wellman, Luhta, Adams and Pomeroy  are shared here.  A school bell from the Judd Corner schoolhouse may be found on the premises.  The story of Concord’s early industry, notable farms and Little Mountain Hotels are shared there.  Artifacts from the schoolhouse years of 1841-1923 are on display.  The museum has much to share and is always looking for township documents, photos, family heirlooms and permanent artifacts to add to the still growing story that is Concord Township.

Walter Wellman – Born in 1858, his life as a noted journalist, explorer and aeronaut is examined in detail at the history museum.  As a journalist he was the founder of the Cincinnati Evening Post.  As an explorer, his efforts may have identified the exact arrival spot of Christopher Columbus.  However it is his aeronaut efforts that best define him.  A staunch pioneer in the airship / dirigible industry, he set to be the first explorer to arrive at the North Pole.  His crew left Paris in 1905 on an airship for the North Pole.  Failure resulted and a second attempt in 1907 was again non-successful.  Additional airship endeavours in 1910 (America) and in 1911 (Akron) met with tragic results.  Remnants from these historic attempts were stored in 1912 at Goodyear Tire & Rubber.  In the 2000s Wellman’s spirit was recognized and his airship artifacts sent to the Smithsonian for all to see.  A portion of his story is on display in Concord Twp.

Connie Luhta – Seven terms as a local official and 48 years as a resident are only the tip of the iceberg of this lady’s story.  This aviatrix is featured on aviation coins and banners with notable women pilots Besse Coleman and Amelia Earhart.  Connie earned degrees from OWU and LEC and enjoyed a career as a research chemist for Standard Oil for much of her life.  However it was the opening of Concord airpark in 1952 with her husband that began her rise in aviation history.  Twelve international air races, ten coast-to-coast races and 17 proficiency races sealed her spot in aviation annals.  A member of the Silver Wings, VP of the Experimental Aircraft Association and one of 55 female pilots to be enshrined in the Burke Airport / International Aerospace Museum are a few kudos on her resume.

You are invited to visit the History Society at the Old Schoolhouse.  You are welcome to volunteer.  More importantly you are encouraged to share your artifact and story with our community here!!!  This is the first installment in a series of continuing posts about local county artifacts -watch for new stories in late 2016 and early 2017.

For more information visit –

Monday, July 18, 2016

A One-Day Trifecta includes Lake County as its Epicenter

Do you know this self-mad man?
  • Born in a log cabin in Orange Township
  • Attended the Geauga Academy as a youth 
  • aspired to be a sailor
  • Was educated at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute ( Hiram College) in the 1850s
  • Was a faculty member (Greek & Latin) as well as president (age 26) at same college in the 1850s
  • Married a student from the college - Lucretia Randolph in 1858, had 7 children
  • Was an ordained minister / lay preacher
  • Served in the Civil War and achieved notable war time successes
  • Began a 17 year Congressional Career in 1863
  • A front porch campaign became his signature moment
  • An assassin's bullet took his life early in his Presidency
  • Funeral wreath from Queen Victoria may still be viewed at his Mentor home (former Dickey Farm) 
With the start of the RNC this week, I can think of no other local resident to share with you than our 20th President.  The RNC that year was a brokered convention with three candidates and two factions.  Unity proved elusive and consensus seemed hopeless.  On the 36th ballot a dark horse from Ohio became the party candidate and soon-to-be U.S. President.  An assassin's bullet took his life four months after election and his legacy faded in the annals of history.  However this week conventioneers, history buffs and county residents may want to visit the place and learn about the self-made man who is at the heart of the Republican Party.  His name James A. Garfield.

Your Trifecta Challenge -
  1. Visit Garfield's birthplace in Orange Township.  Garfield was the last president to be born in a log cabin.  The cabin is located at 4350 S.O.M. Center Road in Moreland Hills.
  2. Visit the 160 acre site that was his last home.  Today the 8 acre site that remains in Mentor, Ohio is fondly remembered as Lawnfield.  This NHS includes the first ever presidential library, a restored Victorian interior, a windmill and many other artifacts from the Garfield family collection.
  3. Visit the James A. Garfield Memorial in Cleveland. Garfield's elaborate castle-like monument is located on a hill in Lake View Cemetery in the heart of downtown.  Mosiacs, stained glass windows and a full casket display give way to a balcony view that shares a 40 miile view of Lake Erie.

Monday, June 27, 2016

All Aboard! Only in Fairport Harbor -- Tall Ships Coming in Early July

Cleveland may be on a historic winning streak in recent weeks but one more special moment in 2016 will elude the city.  It seems the RNC and its myriad of regulations refused entry to the Tall Ships Event that visits the Port of Cleveland every few years.  Cleveland's loss will be Lake County's gain.  Lake County's best kept secret Fairport Harbor will be the new site for this visit beginning July 7th with a Parade of Sails.  'Life is definitely better in a beach town' and nine tall ships will make it so July 8-10 from 10am to 5pm daily.  The docks at 420 Water Street will be abuzz with activity reminiscent of when Fairport Harbor was the second largest area port in the 19th c.  Visitors will be able to experience deck tours as well as book limited sail experiences.  Maritime musicians will be performing daily, food trucks will be on site and various local and nautical educational information will be shared.  Just up the street from the ships, the 1825-1925 Grand River Lighthouse will be open for daily visits and tower tours.  Known since 1945 as the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum, an Art Festival will be on the lighthouse hilltop during the weekend with area artist Bill Csatary on site sharing his newest works.  Nearby the Finnish Heritage Museum will be open to share the culture and history of Fairport and its Finnish community.  Local merchants such as Great Lakes Boatworks, The Gravel Pit and many local antique shops will offer retail therapy for anyone's tastes.

Tall Ships Weekend Potpourri - Visit for the most current information, schedule of events and advance ticket purchasing.
  • Participating ships include U.S. Brig Niagara, Pride of Baltimore, Draken Harald Harfagre, Appledore IV, When and IF, Appledore V, S/V Denis Sullivan, El Galeon Andulucia, Mist of Avalon
  • Maritime Musicians & Weekend Performers include Tom Kastle, Hard Tackers, Pirates of the Rusty Cutlass, Goodknights, Alex Bevan, Horsefeathers and more
  • Parade of Sail - Thursday July 7th - approx. 4-8pm
  • Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park ( Lake open daily till 8pm
  • Two local museums will be open extended hours (admission charge)
  • Two local Lighthouses may be viewed  (.8 miles apart)
  • Festival Passes, VIP Sails, Day Sails and more available by visiting
  • Parking Lot Shuttle available / sponsored by local merchants
  • Local Businesses and eateries will be open for unique shopping experiences
  • Volunteer opportunities still possible - visit website

Other Useful Websites -

Thursday, May 26, 2016

'Millionaires'City' & 'Touring Wickliffe'

The years 1873-1930s were known as Cleveland's Gilded Age.   Nearly half of the world's millionaires lived in Cleveland.  More than 260 properties showcased the grandeur of this famous era in local history.  'Millionaires' City' became the name for Wickliffe as it became the summer home destination of the area industrialists.  'Touring Wickliffe' was a 1989 program that offered a driving glimpse into this opulent time of history.  It began at Rockefeller's former carriage house and ended on Worden Road.  Today's entry is but an overview of this Wickliffe Historical Society project.

'Lakeland' as it was known on Rockefeller Road was the summer home of Franklin Rockefeller, one of the more famous gentleman farmers.  Totaling 157 acres, the estate was built in the 1900s.  Today the carriage house remains, some interurban tracks are located in Pete's Pond Reservation and Wickliffe High School occupies the former estate site.

29940 Ridge Road is the Old Stocking Home.  Part of the Stocking Family holdings from 1866-1936, the homestead at 30000 Ridge Road still stands.  Nearby to the south was Justamere Farm, the farm of Joseph R. Nutt.  It was built in 1896.  Nutt was the treasurer of the NRC for Herbert Hoover.  Nutt was also a prominent businessman and part owner of the soon to be Quaker Oats Company of Akron, Ohio.

"Nagirroc' was the home of James Corrigan.  Corrigan and Price McKinney were independent steel partners.  Their company in time was known as Republic Steel.  Both men's estates were on the current site of Pine Ridge Golf Club.  Corrigan's "Nagirroc" sits on Ridge Road.  McKinney's estate 'Ridgemere' sat on Bishop Road.  Borromeo Seminary at 28700 Euclid Avenue was also part of this summer home.

'Wickliffe-on-the-Bluff' was the home of D. Edward Dangler.  Dangler owned the first company to manufacture gasoline stoves.  Today it is known as the Drenik Estate.  29301 Ridge Road is the George Armington home.  Armington came to the area in 1903 and his company Cleveland Crane founded in 1899 was synonymous with building.

'Couallenby' is perhaps the city's most famous estate.  Today it is the site of Wickliffe City Hall.  Completed in 1913, it was the home to Harry Coulby.  Coulby was the 'Czar of the Great Lakes.' From humble beginnings Harry rose to become a shipping magnate of the day.  Pickands Mather and the Cleveland Foundation are intertwined in his life story.

28400 Euclid Avenue was the Julius E. French property.  French was involved in car roofing, railway steel springs and steel car wheels endeavours.  The home was known as 'Upton Court' and covered 400 acres.  The 'Nutwood Farm' was also part of this site and the Devereux story is part of Ohio's Historical Markers.

T.E. Rice and Chester Rush are local merchants on a lesser scale than the millionaires mentioned above.  Their stores merit a mention in today's entry as does the 'Provo House' and Hardaker's Ice Cream Parlour.  Copies of the driving tour are available at City Hall.  Also located inside the Coulby Estate is the Wickliffe Historical Society.  Kathy of the WHS is always ready to share the 'Millionaire City' history with you!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Johnnycake Ridge Road and Concord Twp - the real story?

On the north end of Concord Township runs a road that motorists drive daily.  It runs from the Painesville to the Mentor lines except for a brief stretch known as Button Road - Elijah Button was an early farmer.  An 1820 Concord Township map mentions a Johnnycake Road.  In 1857 an unnamed lane is identified on the same stretch on a county map.  The 1898 Atlas of Lake County notes this same unnamed lane.  It is not until 1915 that Johnnycake Ridge Road is officially listed on county maps.  The origins of the name of this stretch of road may date back to a a note found in an old chest in the Old Cunningham Second Hand Store in Painesville.  Local Lore revolves around a tavern circa 1818.  Three versions permeate most historical accounts.  Which is true? You can decide.

One version has New England roots.  Benaiah Jones was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.  He came to Ohio and settled here.  He hailed from Johnnycake Hill near his hometown of Middlefield, Massachusetts.  Another slightly different version involved his N.E. accent.  It seemed 'journey cakes' became johnnycakes in translation.

A second version involves a tavern that never materialized, a drunken visitor and a Johnnycake food item prank. The last and most plausible version as well as most humorous involve the pioneer tale of Tobias Williams and this local 1818 tavern.  Seems Tobias stopped at the area tavern and was served johnnycakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  He left a review of his dining experiences via a sign.  In time and perhaps as a joke saw a large Johnnycake added to the sign.  Stagecoaches came and pulled up to the tavern on Johnnycake Ridge.

Each story has some elements of truth but one fact remains - Johnnycakes were a food staple of the era.  The recipe is provided below.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1-2 tablespoons salt
1 egg
1 cup hot milk

Mix dry ingredients, stir in remaining ingredients, drop on hot griddle and brown on both sides.  Serve with butter and syrup.

source:  Concord Township Historical Society at the Old Stone Schoolhouse, blog 2007

Thursday, May 19, 2016

U.S. Coast Guard Station Fairport Open House May 21st

2016 marks the 226rd birthday of the United States Coast Guard.  In 1790 our young government had many unpaid bills, most a result of the Revolutionary War.  Established in that same year was the Revenue Cutter Service- charged with the mission of collecting tariffs and customs fees.  A secondary mission was to assist ships in distress.  1848 saw the formation of the United States Life Saving Service.  Comprised essentially of volunteer crews the organization merged with the Cutter Service as a means to protect and serve the interests of the East Coast ports.  The USLSS was a disorganized conglomeration of life saving stations until 1871 when Sumner Kimball came to office.  By 1874 stations where added in Maine, North Carolina, Texas and by 1876 even the Great Lakes.  Once again, Ohio’s smallest county played a major role in American History.  This time it was Fairport that assumed a leading role in maritime history.

Station Fairport was completed in May 1876 on the east bank of the Grand River.  George Francis Babcock was appointed and remained for the next 22 years.  Babcock was part of nearly 300 rescues on Lake Erie.  He even took the initiative to move the station to the west bank of the Grand River when local impediments hindered launching and rescue duties.  Station Fairport has remained there ever since.  Capt. N. Rasmussen succeeded Babcock at the time of his death in 1899 and remained in charge until the formation of the USCG in 1915.  The boat ramp and launch was added to Station Fairport in 1901.  Improvements were made in 1921.  Channel widening in 1938 necessitated another shifting of the footprint.  The station served as a training center during WWII.  A last footprint change occurred in the 1950’s.

One final change at the west bank of the Grand  River began in 2013.  USCG Station Fairport had served for nearly one hundred years with minimal changes.  However soaring costs mandated replacing the historic station with a new station. Conceived in 2008, it took nearly five years before a complete remodel was begun.  Between 11-16 million dollars was allocated to the new station which  serves as a major maintenance / repair hub for the Ninth District. Demolition of the former station was begun in May of 2013.  The frame of the new boathouse   and the USCG quarters took a year to finish.  The current station was dedicated in August 2014 completion date.  The USCG missions of search and rescue, law enforcement, aiding in navigation, and marine safety remain in full vigor as change dots the former station landscape.

Views of the new station construction are easily possible from the government pier on the east bank  or from Headlands State Park.  USLSS / USCG artifacts, station histories, archival photos, and USCG displays are found at the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Marine Museum.  For those wishing to view the station first-hand, Saturday, May 21st will be an open house.  This free event will run from 10 am to 2 pm and include tours of the new station and both rapid response boats as well as various site specific demonstrations.  The station is located at 2 Coast Guard Road - St. Rt. 44 N - right of Headlands State Park entrance.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Concord Township-opoly

Lake County may have officially evolved in 1840 as an outgrowth from the counties of Trumball and Geauga but Concord, Ohio has its earliest beginnings some 43 years earlier.  Surveyors tasked by the Connecticut Land Company to explore and record the lands of the Western Reserve soon passed thru the forested footprint of the current township.  This 'Perkins camp' is a little known early footnote in county history.  Concord was founded in 1822 and its name was chosen for a famous battle in Revolutionary War history.  That is your free history pass as you are now offered this Local Lore challenge --- let's see how much township history you can recall.

1.  In 1890, 5.1 miles of Concord freight track on Ravenna Road were purchased by this railroad line.  The small depot structure still remains and is a private residence.  The former tracks are now part of the Greenway Corridor.  Name the railroad line.

2.  Name the first permanent settler in Concord.  He arrived in 1802.  His family came in 1803.

3.  In 1838, this famous Painesville businessman and abolitionist relocated to Liberty Hollow at Fay Road.  Can you name him?

4.  In 1840, this structure was built on Ravenna Road and opened in 1841.  It was in continual use thru 1923 and has had multiple uses to this day.  Do you know this site?  It is currently maintained by  Concord Township and open for viewing.

5.  At peak enrollment, how many one-room schoolhouses were in the Concord School District?

6.  In 1797 this road was constructed at a cost of $2600.  Do you know its name?

7.  In 1818 this structure was a stage coach stop located at the corner of Rt. 84 and the Rt. 44 interchange.  It is also part of the famous Johnnycake Road lore.  Name the business.

8.  A famous Little Mountain hotel was constructed in 1880.  Do you recall the name of this township site?  It was one of the seven or eight dotting this era of county history.

9.  This aviatrix and her late husband began a well-known township airport and flying school between 1952-54.  Can you name the facility?  hint- Connie, our trustee would be proud.

10.  The first Lake Metropark was dedicated in 1959.  Do you know the name of this Concord Township property.

11.  J.P. Murphy, J.J. Anderson, E.D. Rust, A.L. Minor and M.A. Murray are famous in 20th c. township history.  What career profession did they and many other local notables share?

Bonus:  This notable Concord lady attended, taught, and resided in this Ravenna Road Schoolhouse during her lifetime.  Can you name her?

Answers: 1.  B&O  2.  Jordan  3.  Eber Howe  4. Old Stone Schoolhouse  5.  nine  6.  Girdled  
7.  Williams Tavern  8.  Pinecrest Hotel  9.  Concord Airpark  10.  Helen Hazen Wyman Park
11.  Farmers/agriculture   Bonus- E. Pomeroy & family

source -

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lake County Mini Profiles - Concord Township's Farms

Some of the 'Farms' that made Lake County famous remain known in their respective communities.  Many names have become mere footnotes in county history.  They have become lost to progress, urbanization, and industry- sadly stream rolled into oblivion. Today we take a brief look at the Farms of Concord Township.

Surveyors reached the area to become known as Concord around the late 1700s.  They were on assignment for the Connecticut Land Company and examining the lands known as the Western Reserve.  Men such as Perkins and Jordan settled in the area by 1802 and more settlers followed shortly thereafter.  Girdled Road was commissioned at a cost of $2600 while Ravenna Road was begun for a mere $50.  Gristmills, Woolen Mills, Furnaces, Timber Mills soon occupied Cascade Hollow, Howe's Hollow, Jordan Creek and more.  Concord's peak population of 1200 was reached by 1840.  Population declined thru 1930 as industry waned.  This decrease changed Concord's history around 1918 as farms sprung up and Lake County became a Garden Capital of the Nation.  In 2016 these farms are but mere shadows of what once was or just distant memories.  Let's see how many you may recall from Concord Township's past.  They are in no special order or ranking.  Any omissions are unintentional.

Homestead Farm -  Archives date it back to 1810, it was on the corner of Johnnycake Ridge and the State Rt. 44 interchange.  J.J. Anderson was the owner and in its 100 year history it provided produce to the Painesville Market et al.

Cobble Knoll Farm -  E. D. Rust was the owner and Rhode Island Reds were this poulterers main income.  The farm was located on Auburn Road at Cloverdale Lake.

Ridgewood Farm-  At 180 acres, it was one of the larger area farms of its day.  A. L. Minor was the owner.  Oats, wheat, corn, potatoes as well as some cows and swine were the mainstays.  The original farmhouse remains may be seen on Johnnycake Ridge Road - near the Cherry Hill, Brian and David Drive section of Concord Twp.

Home Acres Farm - Established in 1915, Mrs. Chloe Cole was the owner and fruit was the main product.

Valley View Farm-  J. P. Murphy was the proprietor and Murphy's Irish Bakers were his trademark crop.  His farm is now the Brightwood Lake sub-division.

Other Concord Twp. Farms-

Brookdale - W.E. Leuty, owner
Murray Meadows-  M.A. Murray, owner
Green Meadows-  S.J. Merrill, owner
The Spring Dale-  Middlefield Lumber Co.
Old Homestead-  F.H. Murray
Orchard Slope Farms-  Melvin Pattison, owner
Roadside Farm-  Mrs. W.M. Radcliffe, Mrs. L.L. Pomeroy, owners
Chestnut Hill Farm-  Lovina Taylor, G.E. Taylor, owners
Brookside-  Charles B. Winchell, owner

source- 1915 New Century Atlas of Lake County, Ohio-copy at Morley Library

Monday, April 18, 2016

Concord Notables

The history of Concord / Concord Township is not unlike many other communities.  The area to become Concord Twp. was an unsettled, unnamed portion of the Connecticut New Western Reserve of the Northwest Territory.  After the Revolutionary War, 48 New Englanders purchased acreage in what was to become our part of Ohio.  Daniel Colt of Norwich, Connecticut was the original owner of the land to become known as Concord.  Many future landowners purchased their homesteads sight unseen like Coit.  In 1802, Thomas Jordan of Pennsylvania became the first permanent settler in what is today known as Wilson's Corners.  More settlers followed and by 1822 the township known as 'Concord', in honor of the famous battle site was founded.  Today we share a brief synopsis of the lives of some Concord notables.

Walter Wellman -  Born in Concord in 1858, Walter was a journalist, explorer and adventurer bar none.  He built the dirigible (airship) in order to compete with noted North Pole explorer Robert Peary.  Several failed attempts on his quest to the Pole resulted and in 1910 his last attempt was fatal for his entire crew.  The remains of his dirigible may be seen at the Smithsonian.

Wade Adams-  Wade lived on Prouty Road and was a farmer for much of his life.  He joined the Army in 1898 and participated in the Spanish-American War.  He is buried in the Concord Cemetery.  His brother Marty was a farmer, school board member and Concord Clerk & Trustee.  Marty passed in 1954.

Elga (Radcliffe) Pomeroy- Elga attended school, taught school and after the school closed actually lived in the Old Stone Schoolhouse on Ravenna Road.  Her husband Lloyd purchased the schoolhouse after it closed in 1923 and also served as the first school district clerk from 1923 thru 1944.  Some of Elga's artifacts are on display at the schoolhouse museum

Eber Howe-His name is well known in the publishing archives of our county and in UGRR history.  He owned and operated a woolen mill on Fay Road and provided a safe haven for hundreds of slaves at both his Painesville home and later Liberty Hollow home.  However it was at age 22 that he began his career as a journalist and editor.  He founded the Painesville Telegraph and coined the word 'bogus'. 

Marian Leuty- She lived in the early 1900s and her schoolhouse diary offers an insight into our early township history.  She not only attended the Old Stone Schoolhouse but was later in life an elementary school teacher for Concord.  She was also part of the Womens Army Corps in WWII and a noted traveler and adventurer.

Connie Luhta-This current township trustee is well known in aviation history.  She established a flying school in the 1950s and was a famous female aviator as early as 1961.  She was an air race competitor circa 1964 and is inducted in the International Women's Air & Space Museum at Burke Airport.  She opened Concord Airpark in 1954 with her late husband Adolph and still operates it today.

These stories and more history on Concord Township may be viewed at the Concord Township Historical Society at the Old Stone Schoolhouse during museum hours.  Visit for more information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"This Place Matters" - Unionville Tavern Preservation Society Saving County History

Built in 1798 as two separate log cabins, The Old Tavern in Unionville was one of the first structures in this part of the Western Reserve, and generally is regarded as the oldest surviving Tavern in Ohio.  Strategically located along County Line Road and the Cleveland-Buffalo Road, today's Route 84 the site has had many uses.  It has been a Tavern, Inn, Post Office, stage coach stop, UGRR station and restaurant.

A brief look at its timeline reveals the following facts.  It was built in 1798 and consisted of two log cabins.  Early names of the Tavern were the Webster House followed by the New England House.  By 1818, the Tavern had become a regular mailstop and stage coach destination on the Warren-Cleveland Route.  The mid-1800s saw the Tavern serve as a station for the UGRR activities throughout Lake County and N.E. Ohio.  The Tavern closed for a span of ten years, 1916-1926 before reopening once again.  1986 saw a Pub element come into being.  Hard times and unfortunate business practices in the late 90s resulted in a decade long vacancy status for the historic site.  The building was nearly declared a total loss and faced possible demolition when in 2014 a group of civic minded citizens acquired the site for just over $90,000.  The Unionville Tavern Preservation Society was formed.  Matching grants totaling nearly $20,000 were secured and this non-profit group has begun the arduous process of preserving a 'jewel' in our county history. Save the Tavern! welcomes all interested parties to attend a program or share in their passion.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
                               Margaret Mead

For more information:    The Unionville Tavern Preservation Society
                                             Save The Tavern!
                                             P.O. Box 826
                                             Madison, Ohio 44057

Sources:  Local Lore by Max, 2011    Willoughby Historical Society   Cleveland Historical Society

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Historic Marker #18-43...Railfanning Days Redux

Fast Facts: Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Station
  • February 8, 1848 - Ohio Legislature incorporates Cleveland, Painesville, and Ashtabula Railroad Companies
  • 1851- Painesville Depot is officially in service 
  • February 16, 1861-  President-elect Abraham Lincoln passes thru Painesville Depot
  • 1869 - A major consolidation of several lines and companies occurs and a major renaming
  • 1893-  Present station at 475 Railroad Road in Painesville is built.  Considered to be the finest of its day!
  • 1917- Depot serves as a 'Goodbye' station for WWI inductees
  • 1940s- Depot serves as a canteen for WWII enlisted
  • 1971- A merger results in the official closing of the depot
  • 1971-88 - Greyhound bus Station occupies former depot
  • 1997- Preservation efforts are begun in earnest by WRRA, a non-profit group
  • 2002- Depot is listed as Lake County Historic Site # 18-43
  • April 20, 2015 - City of Painesville designates Depot as a Preservation District

 The Painesville Depot located at 475 Railroad Street in Painesville, Ohio has a storied past.  Since 1997 a local non-profit group as well as local business donors have quietly gone about the task of restoring the site to its past glory.  Exterior efforts have resulted in a new roof and restored display Caboose.  Interior efforts while ongoing seek to restore the interior lobby to its 'heyday' when the depot was considered to be the finest of the era.  'Railfanning' Days are unique events where railroad enthusiasts gather to watch, record, and enjoy trains as they pass.  Since 9/11 this nostalgic public event has become more difficult as railroad grounds have become more restricted.  Nonetheless the depot site in Painesville offers train lovers a great and close view of this popular activity.  On average four trains pass per hour thru Painesville.  'Railfanning' Days also offer the public the opportunity to see the former station inside and out as members of the Painesville Railroad Museum are on-site to share their passions for railroading.

2016 Railfanning Days include-   May 7, July 24, September 10, October 15
A first ever Railroad Memorabilia Show is scheduled for August 28, 2016, 10am-4pm

Visit for more updated information

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Eastern Lake County - A Proud Past

In the heart of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the Painesville-Grandon-Fairport area was the epicenter of lands surveyed by the Connecticut Land Company in 1796.  Land long occupied by various Indian nations for untold generations gave way to incoming settlers. This early history is told by the Indian Museum once located on Lake Erie College campus, now located for the last decade in downtown Willoughby.

John Walworth, General Edward Paine, Captain Abraham Skinner and their followers settled in Painesville Township in 1800.  Skinner’s New Market was laid out by 1803 and in existence from 1806-1809.  Just up the Grand River, Champion was next to appear.  Named in honor of Henry Champion the village became Painesville by 1815.  Area buildings and street signs now honor these memories.

In 1810, Joseph Rider built a log cabin, a stagecoach stop that would become the landmark Rider’s Tavern.  The First Congregational Church appeared in 1810 as well.  Noted architect Jonathon Goldsmith built a local lighthouse in 1825 in addition to many local Greek revival homes circa 1818 still occupied today.  Thomas Harvey championed education and school by 1823.  His public library efforts followed in 1824 and an entire public school system became a reality by 1851.  A Women’s Seminary and future Lake Erie College dates back to 1856.  Coe Manufacturing was established in 1852, its distillery, turning mill and iron works the largest of the century.  Eber Howe founded the Painesville Telegraph in 1822, a paper that circulated daily till 1986.  Howe along with key others was a leading abolitionist and UGRR champion.

‘LeRoy’ and Concord were organized circa 1822.  Transportation and Plank Road companies began in these communities.  Leroy became a center for forge and tannery companies.  Concord boasted a boot-shoe factory and turning mill.

Grandon (1812) - Fairport (1836) claim settler Samuel Huntington for its waterfront history.  The ore and coal industry saw over 3000 ships arrive with in excess of a million dollars in commerce in 1847 landing on the Fairport docks.  Richmond later to become Grand River occupied the western side of the river.  Thomas Richmond, a salt merchant from NY sought to make Richmond a canal town in the 1830s.  2000 residents followed his dream which died out quickly once Cleveland won the canal race.

Growth continued from these beginnings as European immigrants moved into our county and became the pillars of their communities.   Kaukonen, Joughin, Harvey, Mathews, Howe, Casement, Storrs and many other native names resonate today in the voluminous lore of Lake County history.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Burroughs Nature Club at 100

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the oldest nature clubs in our nation. 
Local residents of Lake County were long familiar with the scenic and oft spectacular natural areas. Tributaries, hemlock ravines and carpeted wildflower landscapes were plentiful. Essays published by Hudson Valley naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921) influenced a group of local area men to meet and form a Burroughs Nature Club.  The Burroughs Nature Club of Willoughby was comprised of outstanding Cleveland area men (scientists, scholars, naturalists and photographers) who shared common passions such as hiking, wildlife and the natural world. This club founded circa 1916 featured speakers and club explorations to places throughout Lake County.  Hiking, identifying wildflowers, studying nesting hawks and owls became club interests.  These early naturalists and conservationists worked to preserve these haunts.  These places included Gildersleeve Mountain (Chapin Forest Reservation), Halle Ravine (Penitentiary Glen Reservation), Mentor Headlands and Marsh as well as Gully Brook.  By 1925 the Burroughs Club had made Lake County known around many conservancy circles on a grand scale.  In fact it was as early as 1925 that the call for a 'natural woods preserve' at Gully Brook appeared in a Willoughby newspaper. In 2001 after nearly a decade of intense effort this preserve became a reality and is part of the Lake Metroparks holdings.

The Burroughs Club remains active today and meets monthly September thru April in Willoughby.  An invitation is always extended to all who share in a desire to explore and help preserve the natural world.  An exhibit highlighting the clubs first hundred years may be found in the visitor center auditorium at Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland.

For more information visit –