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 -