Bay Village Historical Society offers ‘good reads’ for a cold winter’s night
While growing up in Bay Village in the 1940s and '50s, I never really thought a lot about the history of our town. I knew I lived on David Foote’s farm in his former apple orchard. We had 8 different kinds of apple trees in our backyard. The Foote farmhouse across the street had my best playmates living in it.
I remember, along with the Foote farmhouse (Wieland) at 30906 Lake Road, playing in the William Aldrich II farmhouse (Paul Hook) at 366 Bassett Road. My thoughts on Bay history didn’t go much further than that. (Unless I noticed Mr. Wells sifting through the trash at the Bay Dump on Wolf Road.)
At that time, Dover Township’s history was not taught in the Bay schools like it is today. Here I was, going to school with grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our first settlers and I didn’t even know it. Bill Sadler graduated with me.
In 1971 my sister, Gay Menning, and I decided it was time for a written history of our hometown. We named the book, "Bay Village: A Way of Life." At the time, the Bay Village Historical Society did not have a lot of money. Marvel Sebert, our Bay High School English teacher, on receiving her flyer announcing a history book being published, sent the society $1,000, and Nick Avellone, owner of Avellone’s Drug Store, offered to print all of our pictures free of charge. Roger Williams, in Lakewood, became our printer.
Gay and I would travel to the printing company and check proof sheets he would have ready for us to approve. In December 1974, a sold-out first printing was distributed just in time for Christmas. Although we have found a few minor errors, the book is still the bible of Bay Village history.
In 2006, Virginia Peterson and Sally Price signed a legal contract with Arcadia Books to produce a picture book of Bay Village, as part of the publisher's Images of America series. In March of that year, Ginny called me asking if I would collect the pictures and write the captions for the book. I said yes.
Ginny and I sat in front of my computer and picked the best pictures for each section of the book. We wrote and fact-checked the village history and early settlers' stories.
The hardest part of this book was the request from Arcadia that the pictures and written word arrive separately. Ginny worked tirelessly in front of her computer, split screen, numbering and separating each picture from the written word which was then sent to Arcadia on CD disc, thumb drive and floppy disc. Arcadia compiled the book.
For years, Dean Brennan held a fascination with the century houses on Bassett Road. She approached the historical society to see if they would be interested in publishing a pamphlet on the houses. Will Krause offered to help. In 2016, Dean Brennan and Will Krause produced a pamphlet on the Bassett Road century homes.
Dean and Will spent countless Saturday hours at the county archives looking through old tax record books for the details that would explain when a house was built or when a property was purchased. They were adamant that this book’s facts on each house would be correct. Using her computer, Cindy Lindgren typed the information and assembled the pictures for this colorful pamphlet. It is a lovely addition to the history of our village.
Catherine Flament researched and compiled a genealogical study published in 2006 of all those buried in Bay Village's Lakeside Cemetery. The book, "Retracing Footsteps," includes photos of families and gravestones, notes from vital records and newspaper snippets.
These materials are available at Rose Hill Museum and the Rueben Osborn Learning Center; the books are included in the Local History Collection at the Bay Village Library. Any one of them would be "a good read" on a cold winter’s night with a cup of tea or beverage of your choice.