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