Bay's neighborhoods, Eagle Cliff revisited
On a Monday morning in 1880, a group of young people crossed the Superior Viaduct in a horse-drawn wagon for a week of camping in Dover Township. Their destination was the Eagle Cliff Allotment, a campground run by Mr. B. E. Stone.
The campground was located 50 feet above the water along a cliff on the westernmost edge of the township. The hunt for a choice hammock location and the experiment of setting up a tent on the edge of the cliff with success gave them confidence.
Every morning the days activities were announced. With instructions in hand, milk was gone for, fresh eggs gathered, vegetables dug and cleaned, coffee and tea set up. There was strolling through the neighborhood woods for berries and herbs, foraging trips for apples in the farmer’s orchards, quiet swinging in hammocks, reading poetry, playing games of ball, croquet and euchre, holding sing-a-longs and telling stories by the camp fire. The week ended too soon, and they packed up for home with happy memories.
In 1878, Henry Foote sold part of a handsome grove of young growth hickory, oak and maple trees lying between the public highway (Lake Road) and the lake. This portion of the David Foote farm extended to the Avon Township line. Ten acres of the grove were purchased by eleven young businessmen from Cleveland. The land was surveyed into 10 one-acre lots and became the property of each member of the company, leaving the areas (easement) along the cliff to be held in common for everyone to enjoy. A club cottage was built and tents purchased. Each member supplied his own furniture for his family’s enjoyment.
The eastern boundary ended at a point which extended into the lake and gave magnificent views of Cleveland. To keep watch over the point, an American eagle had built his nest nearby and with his mate reared their young. Due to his company and the enjoyment of watching him dive for fish, the residents allowed the new resort to be named “Eagle Cliff.” (This was the first subdivision mapping in the township. In 1901, it was known as Eagle Cliff Park.)
Mr. Stone’s house became a Methodist meeting place. During these meetings, people camped out in tents. In 1881, the ladies of the Rebecca Relief Society enjoyed a day at the beautiful campground of Mr. B. E. Stone, one of the prettiest spots along the lake. His equipment for boating, bathing and in fact everything to make a visit enjoyable, was at your service. Another group visit spent the afternoon in Bible-reading and singing. After supper all joined the ranks of a Sunday school held in a little church about three-quarters of a mile away (Bay Methodist).
The school, presided over by Superintendent Reuben Osborne, was ably assisted by Miss Catharine Foote who played the organ and taught Bible class. Following Sunday school there was a service by Rev. Ensley, pastor of the small church called Dover Lake Appointment. The little chapel held 150 persons and was nearly filled during that visit.
In 1881, an incident occurred with Mr. Stone’s valuable bay mare. The animal believed to be securely tied wondered too close to the cliff’s edge and one night tumbled off the cliff into the water below. She made her way into a small cove nearby and was found the next day. She was towed down to Mr. Henry W. Aldrich’s beach one-half mile east at the end of Bradley Road. When taken out, she was found to be uninjured.
Epilog: In 1897, the Lake Shore Electric Interurban built a very attractive shelter on the south side of Lake Road at Stop #38, Eagle Cliff. The Stone family lived there into the 1940s. Cottages, built close to the road on each of the lots, still allowed the common ground a clear view of the lake. They survived well into the 1950s, being turned into permanent homes.
A road was cut through from Lake Road south to the interurban track and named Eagle Cliff Road. Soon cottages were scattered along it. Across the street from the western end of the allotment property were woods and garages for the interurban company cars. Some families that made the Eagle Cliff neighborhood their home were Darby, Hoagland, Larson, Palmieri, Cutts, Brinkman, Campbell, Young, Price and Heinz. In the 1940s there was a sawmill on the south side of the interurban tracks at the end of Eagle Cliff Road. The man with the contract to cut the virgin hardwoods (oak) was named Mr. Bales. His daughter, Ida May, and a son went to Bay schools while they were here. The wood went to the ship yards in Lorain for staging used in building war ships during WWII. Today this is part of Huntington Woods.
Kay Laughlin, Bay Village Historical Society
I am a historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.