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 –