For the first time since the Westlake Historical Society's cutest pet contest began, there was a tie between a dog and a cat. This year’s winners are: Owen, a 3-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi; and Spanky, a 16-year-old Himalayan cat.
The curiosity of a child inspired Elberta Fleming to create a nature center for children. While working at the front desk of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, a young boy approached her to ask about the butterfly in his hand. This serendipitous moment sparked an awe-inspiring conversation for the child and demonstrated to Elberta the power of discovery through hands-on learning.
In 1945, Elberta founded a “Junior Museum” in her home in Bay Village with a display of animals in her backyard, nature specimens throughout her home and a compelling vision to teach nature and science to people in the community. As a mother, artist and environmental advocate, her vision fueled the early formation of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center from modest beginnings.
The holiday shopping season has begun! Often, consumers are asked to shop locally during this time of year; what is more local than your Westlake Historical Society?
The historical society has a number of items that are fun, interesting and celebrate Westlake's proud history. There are several choices that cover everything from historical coloring books, to several Cat's Meow replicas of local buildings such as the Clague House Museum, Lilly Weston House, and the vintage fire truck (circa 1937).
As you start your holiday shopping list, please take time to stop by the Clague House Museum for your holiday pet photos with our lovable Santa Claus for a $10 suggested donation. Families, individuals, groups and children are also welcome to get photos taken with Santa. You are welcome to take your own photos too!
The photo dates available are Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6-9 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 7, noon-5 p.m. To make your appointment, please call Lysa at 440-808-1961 or 216-848-0680. Don’t delay, time slots fill up quickly!
For nearly 10 years, members of the Westlake Historical Society have remembered some of our city's historic families by placing holiday wreathes on their graves.
We believe placing a wreath on a grave is not only a symbol of remembrance, it is a sign of respect for that person, who they were and the contributions they made to our city. We would like to extend the opportunity for you, your family, organization or business to place a Christmas wreath this year in memory of your loved ones or one of our pioneer families.
Volunteers from the Westlake Historical Society will be placing wreaths on graves in both Evergreen Cemetery and Maple Ridge Cemetery until Dec. 10 for those individuals, families or businesses who would like to sponsor a wreath. You or your organization can sponsor a wreath from the historical society for a donation of $20 per wreath, then we will place it at the grave site.
Dover Center Road house, circa 1923, was one of first built as Westlake transitioned from farmland to suburb
Most of the nearly 200 century homes in Westlake are vernacular farmhouses rather than “high style.” That is, they were built to be functional domestic dwellings rather than making an architectural statement or appearing monumental.
The exception are some of the homes along the section of Dover Center Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road which include a cluster of existing “high style” early homes in Westlake which were designed to make an architectural statement and appear monumental. This area is a prime candidate for a local historic district designation one day. One of enigmatic jewels of this stretch of road is a substantial brick home on the northwest corner of Dover Center Road and Seneca Drive.
Each Memorial Day, The Bay Village Foundation hosts a well-attended public ceremony in Cahoon Park. The event honors friends and family with the dedication of a beautiful bronze plaque. For some families in the past, this was their perfect gift for a loved one.
A bronze plaque is engraved with personalized text and permanently installed on the footbridge of the T. Richard Martin walking trail overlooking the lake in Cahoon Memorial Park.
Part four of a four-part series on the Limpert family and their bygone fruit farm on Detroit Road in Westlake. The property is up for sale.
At one time the Westlake Historical Society maintained tan colored loose-leaf binders of information, much of which was incorporated in the book “You’ve Come a Long Way Westlake...” by William Robishaw. One article that didn’t make it into the book is a long letter written by Fern Standen Crehan to Mae Weston, dated Feb. 5, 1969. In this letter the elderly Mrs. Crehan reminisces about her childhood years growing up on her grandfather George Standen’s farm. The Standen farmhouse was located where Earth To You is located now (26690 Detroit Road).
Fern describes in detail her neighbors from New England and those of direct English and German descent who occupied the farms along Detroit Road in the 1890s and early 1900s. She states that between Bradley Road and east past Clague Road grape vineyards lined most of both sides of the Detroit Road – or as they knew it, North Ridge Road. She said there were also patches of berries, orchards of plum, pear and apple, but vineyards took up most of the landscape.
Part three of a four-part series on the Limpert family and their bygone fruit farm on Detroit Road in Westlake. The property is up for sale.
Claire Gebben, an author and native of the Cleveland area whose German ancestor came to Cleveland in 1857 to become an apprentice blacksmith in his uncle’s carriage works, has written several books about her German relatives in Cleveland. The first is a historical novel titled “The Last of the Blacksmiths” and the second a memoir, “How We Survive Here: Families Across Time.”
Interesting things I have learned or have had re-iterated to me from her books about German immigration to Cleveland include:
- Chain migration, when one member or nuclear family of an extended family immigrates and creates a “beachhead” for later members of the extended family to immigrate was common;
- Many of the German immigrants around 1850 were called “’48-ers” because they were members of the German society who had fought for the unification of the many German-speaking kingdoms into one country and for a measure of democracy, they faced persecution and possible imprisonment if they remained, therefore they came to the United States from all strata of society, not just the lowest ones;
Part two of a four-part series on the Limpert family and their bygone fruit farm on Detroit Road in Westlake. The property is up for sale.
I first became aware of the Limpert property during the 1990s when inspecting some new construction at St. Paul’s church and school next door. The property looked like a farming time capsule with “ancient” abandoned farming equipment scattered around the property. The last owner named Limpert, Carl, died in 1998 and the current owner inherited the property through probate court in 2000. Residents of Settler’s Reserve subdivision say the vineyards have not been tended for at least 15 years and it is probably more likely the 21 years since Carl Limpert died.
The book “You’ve Come a Long Way Westlake…” states that around 1900 Dover was the second largest grape producer in the United States and in 1930 had over 1,200 acres of fields devoted to vineyards. In those days Dover wines were prized and Limpert’s Winery had a wine press used to press grapes to extract the grape juice.
Part one of a four-part series on the Limpert family and their bygone fruit farm on Detroit Road in Westlake.
A mere $2.3 million will buy you 8.6 acres, twin circa-1893 Eastlake style homes and a unique piece of Dover history. The property is located just west of St. Paul Lutheran Church on the south side of the street, 28083-28119 Detroit Road. The white frame homes are set back a fair distance from the road and are almost obscured by overgrown vegetation. When they were still clearly visible from the road the “gingerbread” trim was a pleasant sight to see.
An Ohio Historic Inventory form says that a sign advertising “Wine for sale” was still displayed in 1977. As recently as the 1990s I believe a red and white “Bonded Winery” sign was mounted on the side of the road. Was it once illuminated with neon? Did it also say “Limpert’s Fruit Farm”? I can’t remember for sure.
Thank you to everyone who has already adopted ducks for the Westlake Historical Society’s annual Rubber Duck Race on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Westlake Recreation Center. Ducks can still be adopted on our website, www.westlakeohiohistory.org. The event begins at noon and promises to be a lot of fun.
As part of the Rubber Duck Race, there will also be a large Silent Auction and Old-Fashioned Pie Contest.
The Westlake Historical Society's Rubber Duck Race is a fundraising event that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, at noon, at the Westlake Recreation Center pond. Funds raised will benefit the Westlake Historical Society’s Clague Museum, local history education, and special projects.
Join the race and adopt your rubber ducks – $5 for a single duck, $25 for a “Six Quack,” and $49 for a “Quacker Pack” with 12 ducks! For each duck you sponsor, you receive an adoption certificate with a number that corresponds to a duck in the race.
A recent Observer article by Kay Laughlin about Moses Cleaveland trees in Bay Village stated that the last few original Moses Cleaveland trees were gone – that they had all succumbed to lightning strikes or Lake Erie. This led me to wonder how many were left in Westlake.
The designation of Moses Cleaveland trees began in 1946 as part of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of Cleveland’s founding in 1896, spearheaded by the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve. The idea was to identify 150 trees that had been growing when Moses Cleaveland first arrived in northeast Ohio to survey the Connecticut Western Reserve.
The Committee on Moses Cleaveland Trees of the Sesquicentennial Commission was chaired by Arthur B. Williams, curator of education at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It was estimated that there were thousands of such trees deep in the remote parts of the Cleveland Metroparks where they were still pretty much inaccessible to the public in 1946.
Signs of spring have arrived in Westlake. The days are slowly warming and spring flowers are blooming. If you look closely you will see the new buds on the trees. The spring flowers are poking out of the ground after that long, cold winter. The feel of spring is in the air! With the start of a new baseball season I am optimistic that the Cleveland Indians will do well this year. Hope does "spring" eternal.
Spring also means that it is time for the Westlake Historical Society's Spring Yard Sale. This yearly sale is looked forward to by many. The bargains are plentiful, but the sale also means winter is out of here.
The sale will take place on the lawn of the Clague House Museum on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The rain date will be the following Saturday, May 1.
Did you know that our beloved Clague family were also pet owners? Old pictures and family stories tell us they owned both dogs and cats, while living on the Clague Road farm.
Many years ago, it was common to have pets working on family farms in places such as Dover, now Westlake. Although most of our beloved pets are not working on farms these days, they are still a big part of our families.
Can you imagine if Sophronia Clague were here today! She would enjoy seeing all the pets at the Clague House having their photos taken. This month you have the opportunity to have your pet's photo taken, as the Easter Bunny returns to the Clague House Museum on Sunday, April 7, for pet photos from noon to 6:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, April 9, from 6-9 p.m.
Eighty-three-year-old Bob Collins has resided in Westlake for close to 70 years. He says that it was his high school history teacher here that got him interested in history. One way this has manifested itself is his collection of postal cards.
Early postal cards could be printed with a photograph on one side in the same way that a Christmas card can be printed today with a family photograph at Costco. A number of the cards that Bob owns have been printed and re-printed in local history books but the level of detail that can be captured and printed digitally today was not possible even a few short years ago.
Bob shared the collection with me last summer and my plan is to share them with Observer readers along with a recent photograph of the same location. I have tried to duplicate the location and angle of the new photograph as closely as possible with the old photograph.
Each year the Westlake Historical Society holds a contest to find Westlake's Cutest Pet. The money raised goes toward children’s programming at the Clague House Museum.
This year, as in all years, the competition was fierce.
It is our pleasure to introduce to you, our readers, our 2019 Cutest Pets: Shelby, age 3, and Jett, age 2.
Although not the first year for a tie, 2019’s title of Cutest Pet in Westlake will be shared within the same family.
Pet dad, Bill Hornack of Westlake, wrote a bio about Jett and Shelby that we would like to share.
The one thing that I am hoping for Christmas from Santa is a corrected Cooley historical marker under my tree. In an ongoing effort to bolster the importance of the Asher Cooley house at 2871 Dover Center Road, an error on the Ohio Historical Marker needs to be corrected. The marker was dedicated in 2015 and placed next to a meandering driveway off Dover Center Road, east of the current police station.
The marker, as well as the promotional material written at the time, states of George L. Cooley, the subject of the marker: “He was born on a farm at the northwest corner of Dover and Hilliard Roads in Dover Township.” This is not true. George L. Cooley was most likely born and raised on the family homestead, known as the Asher Cooley house, which still stands at 2871 Dover Center Road, south and across the street from the Porter Library drive which connects with Dover Center Road.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Show me your cemeteries, and I will tell you what kind of people you have.”
Each year the Westlake Historical Society makes and places holiday wreaths on the graves of founding and pioneer citizens of early Dover (now Westlake). We believe placing a wreath on a grave is not only a symbol of remembrance, it is a sign of respect for that person and who they were.
We would like to extend the opportunity for you, your family, organization, group or business to place a wreath this year in memory of one of our pioneer families or one of your departed loved ones. Volunteers from the Westlake Historical Society will be placing wreaths soon at either Evergreen or Maple Ridge cemeteries.
As you start your holiday shopping list, please take time to stop by the Clague House Museum for your holiday pet photos with our lovable Santa Claus for a $10 suggested donation. Families, individuals, groups and children are also welcome to get photos taken with Santa.
Photo dates available are Saturday, Dec. 1, 2-6 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Thursday, Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m. To make your appointment, please call Lysa at 440-808-1961 or 216-848-0680. Don’t delay, time slots fill up quickly!
In 2000, when the city of Westlake accepted the gift of the 1844 Lilly Weston house and one acre of land abutting the Westlake Recreation Center Park from Alice Ladanyi, a Weston descendant, they set aside $50,000 to stabilize and button up the exterior envelope of the building and install the historic marker.
The city hired Lewin and Associates, consulting engineers, to do a structural analysis in 2017. The city of Westlake and the Westlake Historical Society shared the cost of the $7,000 study. The city’s $3,500 share of the cost of the study was taken from the original $50,000 set aside by the mayor and City Council, which now has a remaining balance of $5,000. The rest of the original $50,000 was used to remove a 1960s addition and modern improvements from the interior of the house, re-construct a portion of the rear wall, put on a new roof, chemically strip mustard-colored paint off the exterior stone and brick, repair and paint exterior windows, doors and trim, and repoint the mortar.
Fall is in the air! Along with apple cider, falling leaves and carved pumpkins, the Westlake Historical Society is busy with various fall activities.
The Clague House Museum will host an Open House on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 2-4 p.m. There will be guided tours as well as crafts for the kids. There is no admission but donations are always appreciated.
Our October general meeting will take place on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. Thomas Strong will be our guest speaker. His topic is "The History Of Medications." Our meeting will take place at the Westlake Recreation Center, 28955 Hilliard Blvd.
Learn the true story of the sunken prison ship, “The Success,” at a program hosted by the Bay Village Historical Society on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Mike and Georgann Wachter, well-known authors of “Erie Wrecks and Lights,” “Erie Wrecks East” and “Erie Wrecks West” have been diving around the world since the mid 1970s. However, nowhere else in the world have they discovered the kind of pristine and perfectly preserved shipwrecks that lie in the fresh waters of the Great Lakes.
The Bay Village Historical Society is offering old Bay High yearbooks free of charge.
The following years are available: 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1999.
The Westlake Historical Society's annual Great Rubber Duck Race is a fun fundraising event that will be held on Sunday, Aug. 25, at 1 p.m., at the Westlake Recreation Center pond. Funds raised will benefit Clague House Museum upkeep, children’s programs and special projects.
You can join the race and adopt your ducks – $5 for a single duck, $25 for a “Six Quack,” and $49 for a “Quacker Pack” with 12 ducks! For each duck you sponsor, you will receive an adoption certificate with a number that corresponds to a duck in the race. When the rubber ducks are released into the Westlake Recreation Center pond, the first duck to cross the finish line wins!
Second in a series of articles on the Clagues, one of the founding families of Dover (now Westlake). Part I was published Dec. 5, 2017, and is archived at wbvobserver.com/read/columns/digging-dover.
The best known Manx emigrant to America was Myles Standish – the military leader of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed for New England in 1620. Why Robert Clague, the patriarch of the Dover/Westlake Clagues left the Isle of Man and came to Dover nearly 200 years later, in 1829, is unknown, but we have some clues.
John Feltham, an English travel writer, describing the Isle of Man in 1797, stated that: “The population of the island in general is excessive: it is no uncommon thing for fourteen to be grown up in one family. But in general, except the eldest son and daughter, the whole are obliged to quit the island to gain their bread, and seldom return.” It was also stated that the increase in population had pushed the cultivation of unsuitable land and the rulers of the island raised the rents and tithes, including a tithe on potatoes in the 1820s.
Hurst has been a fairly common name in Dover which makes it difficult to research. It has been hard to determine if they represent one or multiple families who settled in the geographic area that now encompasses Bay Village, Westlake and Avon.
Multiple sources state that three or four brothers named Hurst emigrated directly from England to Dover Township and Avon in the early 19th century to take up sheep farming. Both Josiah and Thomas Hurst’s homes are featured in an 1874 atlas of Cuyahoga County. Thomas Hurst’s circa 1838 brick home, which still exists on the north side of Detroit Road, west of Bradley, is marked with an Ohio Historical Marker. Josiah N. Hurst’s home was located west of Thomas’s home and while the house is gone, one of his barns pictured in the 1874 drawing still exists, painted white, at 31450 Detroit Road.
The Westlake Historical Society is collecting items for the spring yard sale, which will take place on Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Clague House lawn, 1371 Clague Road. We are happy to have your classy cast-offs and no-longer-needed knickknacks. As you are doing your spring cleaning, please remember the historical society. What a great way to rid the clutter and get an end-of-year tax deduction.
For more information, or if you would like us to pick up items, please call Jan at 440-227-0061 or Dave at 440-610-2728, or email email@example.com. Letters of donation (for tax purposes) are available upon request.
Celebrated artist and sculptor Harold Balazs passed away on Dec. 30, 2017, in Mead, Washington. He was 89 years old.
Harold was born in Dover (now Westlake) in 1928 and graduated from Dover High School in 1946. While in school he participated in basketball, hockey, volleyball, football, track, and student council. He was president of student council during his senior year.
Harold started art lessons at the Cleveland Museum of Art at the age of 12, and continued them for several years after. He was encouraged in this by his mother, who worked as a telephone operator. His father’s work in sheet metal fabrication and air conditioning repair provided young Harold the opportunity to become familiar with materials he would later use in his art.
The last in a series of articles on the Asher Cooley house.
The family legend from both the Cooley and the Power families is that a Mr. Cooley was putting up a real estate sign indicating that the Asher Cooley house was for sale and Frank and Claribel Power were driving by and bought the house on the spot. Other Cooley relatives deeply regretted the sale.
A 1930s directory of Dover has Dr. R.S. Cooley residing at 2871 Dover Center Road. Arthur, grandson of Asher and Lydia, had died in 1926 and his widow, Flora, died in 1933. Probate was complete in 1935 and the property was inherited by Arthur and Flora’s three children – their son, Dr. Richard S. Cooley, and twin married daughters, Ellen Carter of Cleveland Heights and Lucy Koones of Shaker Heights. At the time, Richard Cooley was married to Myrle Krause (no relation to the author). In 1936 half of his 1/3 share was transferred to Myrle Cooley. By the time the deed for the property was transferred to Frank and Claribel Power, Myrle was now named Myrle Potter and Richard was with his new wife, Hallie Cooley, in Oklahoma.
The Westlake Historical Society is in the mood for love this month. The Clague House Museum is the place to be to celebrate your special valentine, with several romance-themed offerings.
Valentine's Day Party: Visit the Clague House Museum on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2-4 p.m., for an old-fashioned Valentine's Day party with the Westlake Historical Society. Shake off the winter chills and come inside the Clague family home, located at 1371 Clague Road.
Enjoy an afternoon of crafts and making valentines, decorating cookies, and historic museum tours. There is no charge for the event, but donations are gratefully accepted.
In addition to tours of the Clague Museum, get your Valentine's Day photo taken in the museum parlor. The society will also honor past presidents of the United States born in February with birthday cupcakes.
The Westlake Historical Society would like to congratulate the Nutter family and their corgi, “Harry.” He has been selected as Westlake's cutest pet for 2018 by a panel of judges including celebrity judge Tiffani Tucker from Channel 19 news.
“Harry was born on Thanksgiving Day 2009," the Nutter family wrote. "He is a great fan of all food, is a super nosy and friendly guy that loves to go for walks. He loves to check out the neighborhood and say hello to everyone. Harry loves to play in the snow, as well as inside with his toys. He especially enjoys his squeaky tennis balls and platypus. When Harry is tired, he is a fan of curling up on a blanket or pillow on the couch. He hates loud noises and the hiccups make him crazy; both send him straight into the bathtub to take cover until he decides it's safe.
Are you a veteran of the U.S. military? If so we would like to hear your story. The Westlake Porter Public Library is participating in the Veterans History Project. This project, sponsored by the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, seeks to gather the oral histories of men and women who served in one of the following conflicts and is no longer on active duty:
The Westshore Questers chapter, David R. Bain #1491, is applying a grant it received from the International Questers Organization for the restoration of the first floor of the Briggs House, located in the Frostville Museum on Cedar Point Road in North Olmsted.
The restoration project includes the removal of the old carpeting, thin plywood underlayment and the various adhesives (installed in the 1990s) to reveal and restore the original tongue-and-groove hardwood floor. This will enhance the appearance and authenticity of this 1800s home.
The Westlake Historical Society is excited about the return of the fall yard sale on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sale will be held on the lawn of the historic Clague House Museum located at 1371 Clague Road. Anyone wishing to donate "stuff" for the sale, is ask to leave it on the side porch of the Clague House. Volunteers who would like to help with the sale should call Jan at 440-227-0061.
The Fall Yard Sale proceeds will benefit the Westlake Historical Society's restoration efforts of the Lilly Weston House. The Lilly Weston House, located at 27946 Center Ridge Road, is a splendid example of the skill and craftsmanship of early Ohio builders, dating back to 1844. The sandstone used to construct the home came from a local quarry, probably near Porter Road.
This year marks the centennial of the founding of the Bay Men’s Club, which lays claim as the oldest club organization in the city.
Formally known as the Community Club of Bay Village, the men’s club was founded in the summer of 1917 when a handful of village men, gathering on the steps of what is now the Rose Hill Museum in Cahoon Memorial Park, met to form a non-partisan organization whose purpose was, and is, to promote good fellowship.
With an eye to the future, its platform from the start was sponsorship of civic, social and moral activities for the benefit of the village.
The new club began meeting in the old red brick schoolhouse at the southeast corner of Lake and Bassett roads, and dues of one dollar per year were assessed.
The Bay Village Historical Society offers plaques to the owners of homes older than 100 years. Pictured here are Gary and Connie Clifford with their daughter Grace and granddaughter Rory. They live across the street from each other on Lake Road in century homes, and both recently purchased plaques from the society. Information on ordering the plaques can be found on the society’s website, www.bayhistorical.com.
What better way to celebrate Preservation Month than to gather in the front courtyard of the Lilly Weston house, one of the two structures in Westlake on the National Register of Historic Places? That is what 30 citizens of Westlake did on the evening of May 31.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has designated May as Preservation Month for many years and uses it to showcase their “This Place Matters” campaign. The Lilly Weston committee of the Westlake Historical Society thought it would be a good chance to express our affection for the historic house.
The committee has been re-activated and meeting monthly since January 2016 with the goal of making the Lilly Weston house an integral part of the Westlake community.
You know summer has arrived when the Westlake Historical Society hosts their annual ice cream social. The Society invites you to an old-fashioned ice cream social on Saturday, June 10, 1:00-4:00 p.m. It will be held on the lawn of the historic Clague House Museum, 1371 Clague Road.
This is a great opportunity to meet other people in the community and members of the historical society. Families and friends can all enjoy the beautiful setting, guided tours of the museum, and some of the best ice cream and treats around. The museum grounds are the perfect setting for this kickoff to summer. There is no charge for this event, but any donations received will benefit the historical society. A wide variety of cold and delicious ice cream, toppings of all kinds, and old-fashioned root beer floats will be available. Both cups and cones will also be available.