Local History

Westlake Historical Society seeks new acquisitions

How many of you remember these old fashioned sounds?

The “woooosh” of a rotary dial telephone; the clackity clack of a manual typewriter; the sound of the shutter on an old 35mm camera; the tick of the sprocket on a film projector. All of these now seldom-heard sounds inspire memories of days gone by and gadgets that have largely been replaced. 

We may remember many of these items, but younger generations will most likely not know anything about them. These products are not only a part of American history, they are a part of our local history.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 11:55 AM, 03.20.2012

The tradition of burning a candle in the window

There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle"- Robert Alden

Placing a burning candle in one's window is a common tradition that dates back to colonial times. Candle light often evokes the warmth of home and family. The fireplace was center of family life in days gone by, and thus the candle was generally lit from that fire.   

The candle was often placed in the window when a member of the family was away. The lit candle was also placed in the window as a sign of good news or as a beacon to weary travelers. Candles also represented friendship and were seen as a sign of welcome to others.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:35 PM, 03.06.2012

Scaled-down Clague House a big job

The Clague House Museum is a familiar landmark to many in the city of Westlake. The stately home sits proudly as she has since being built in 1876. The former home of the Clague family, and current home of the Westlake Historical Society, is one that showcases Westlake's fine heritage.

The late Ruth Cunningham, a founding member of the Westlake Historical Society, as well as a miniaturist, envisioned in the mid-1970s building a miniature version of the Clague House. She initiated the idea by commissioning a carpenter to build the shell. The carpenter built the dollhouse-sized model completely enclosed.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:42 PM, 02.21.2012

Old mission bell returns to Bay Village

A major part of Dover Township history teaches us that German families settled along Bassett and Bradley roads in the 1860s. Names such as Meilander, Hagedorn, Toensing, Wolf, Davider, Koch and Krumwiede come to mind. Many of these families lived in Hanover, Germany, and immigrated to the Cleveland area in 1858 to escape suppression.

These families lived, worshipped and schooled their children together in the old German manner. Wooden shoes were worn, only German was spoken in the home, German newspapers were read, and school and worship began at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Just west of the Hagedorn farm on Bassett Road and east of the Wolf farm on Bradley Road, along the north side of Link Road and north of the New York Central & St Louis Railroad tracks, David Sites farmed. In 1886, David sold 10 acres of his land to a group of west side Lutheran churches belonging to the Missouri Synod.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:35 PM, 02.21.2012

Keys to finding your Civil War ancestors

As we now observe the sesquicentennial anniversary of our nation’s most divisive war, some of us may be wondering about our ancestors’ participation in that war. But, where might we begin this genealogical/family history quest?

The first place to look is on-line at Ancestry.com or Fold3.com (formerly Footnote.com) for Civil War Pension records. But not all soldiers received a pension. The filing process took so long that some died before collecting a pension. If they outlived their spouse and/or dependents, no pension was paid. Records for these individuals might be found in the national or state Service Record files and/or Muster Rolls. Another place to look is at the local level, where the soldier was buried.

Veterans’ graves in all of Ohio are/were registered at the County Recorder’s office. For soldiers buried in Cuyahoga County, the Recorder’s Office has compiled a Graves Registration list that can be searched at recorder.cuyahogacounty.us/veterandefault.aspx. This list is an ongoing project in Cuyahoga County, in conjunction with the Memorial Day Association of Greater Cleveland. Their registry covers veterans from all wars. However, this collection is not complete and some errors exist.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:56 PM, 01.24.2012

Updated coloring book celebrates Westlake's history

The Westlake Historical Society has updated and reprinted a picture history of Westlake, formerly known as Dover. The Dover Coloring Book was originally created as part of the "Heritage 76" project, published during the 200th birthday celebration of our nation in 1976.

At the end of 2011, the Westlake Historical Society updated and reprinted the coloring book to help celebrate the 200th birthday of Westlake. The goal of the project was to share this historically based book with all second-grade students (and parents) who attend Westlake elementary schools. 

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:51 PM, 01.24.2012

History of the Wolf Family Smoke House

While walking toward Rose Hill Museum to visit, one notices a small stone building surrounded by an herb garden standing to the right of the south porch. This building had been the smoke house for the John Wolf family at 492 Bradley Rd.

The Wolf family arrived in Dover Township in 1819. Wolf Road is named for the family. Descendant Alfred Horace Wolf served as mayor of the Village of Bay from 1910 to 1915.

Even before Alfred Horace became mayor, the smoke house was being used as a jail. Prisoners waiting to be transferred to the county jail found themselves locked up for the night in the smoke house. Later, when the Zemi family lived on the property, it was used as a haunted house at Halloween.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:50 PM, 01.24.2012

Westlake Historical Society ornament

This ornament is perfect for your holiday tree or as a gift for that special someone. it features a beautiful image of the Clague House drawn by local artist, the late Lu Walter. The ornament may be purchased on our website, www.westlakeohiohistory.org. The cost of the ornament is $15, which includes shipping. Arrangements can be made to pick up your ornament by calling the society at 440-808-1961. The Society will also gift wrap and deliver in the immediate area at no extra charge. These ornaments are limited quantity.

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 2:54 PM, 12.13.2011

Westlake Historical Society looks back, ahead

Over this past bicentennial year, it has been our goal to bring attention to the rich history of our city and its people, as well as our organization and its mission. The Westlake Historical Society celebrates 50 years, and in a manner of speaking, we are just getting started.

Some may think that a local historical society is only concerned about all things past, however those of us who are part of the Westlake Historical Society also look toward the future as well. Every day that passes, gives us the opportunity to preserve more of our history.

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 2:41 PM, 12.13.2011

Westlake Historical Society placing wreaths on historical graves

Last year the Westlake Historical Society began placing 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 Christmas wreath this year in memory of one of our pioneer families. Volunteers from the Westlake Historical Society will place the wreaths on the graves of our founding and pioneer families on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m. 

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Volume 3, Issue 24, Posted 3:26 PM, 11.29.2011

Tales of the 20s told at Porter Library

The 1920s may often bring to mind flappers, Tommy guns and the Prohibition but, as Michael Goldstein explained to a packed house on Oct. 24, it was also a period of cultural and economic progress.

Goldstein, a history instructor at Cuyahoga Community College, gave a 90-minute lecture about the “Roaring 20s” at Westlake Porter Public Library, peppered with local tales and musical interludes.

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Volume 3, Issue 22, Posted 11:33 AM, 11.01.2011

Granite marker bridges past, future of Bay Village

Residents young and old joined the Bay Village Historical Society on Oct. 9 at Cahoon Memorial Park for the dedication of the newest addition to the city’s proud history. A 4,500-pound black granite marker commemorating the 2011 Bay Village Bicentennial celebration was unveiled on the lawn across from Rose Hill Museum.

The marker is placed at the site of a time capsule containing Bay Village memorabilia collected throughout the 2010 Bicentennial year, including copies of the Observer dated Oct. 5 and Oct. 16, 2010, which featured a 200-year timeline and coverage of events of the Oct. 9-10 celebration that took place at Cahoon Memorial Park.

The lawn was decorated for the ceremony with flags from the personal collection of Bay resident Jim Goodwin. Known as the “Flag Man” for his past displays of American flags along Bradley Road, a tradition he renewed upon moving to Clague Road, Goodwin was contacted by Dave Tadych to provide flags for the ceremony.

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Volume 3, Issue 21, Posted 7:07 PM, 10.10.2011

Bay's time capsule seals Bicentennial history

In a quiet, candle-lit ceremony, the Executive Committee of Bay’s Bicentennial has sealed the city’s 2010 Time Capsule.

The time capsule, which was on display during the two-day Bicentennial Celebration in Cahoon Memorial Park, stands 12.5 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 20 inches long. The historic piece is meant to be opened during the city’s 300th birthday celebration in 2110 and will be placed and marked on this, the first anniversary of Bay’s 200th birthday.

The forty-seven-pound coated and water-proofed concrete vault is lined with copper and was specially designed and engraved by Carl Wetzig Jr., co-owner of the 58-year-old Avon Lake Sheet Metal Company located in neighboring Avon Lake.

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Volume 3, Issue 19, Posted 2:58 PM, 09.20.2011

War of 1812 remembered with ceremony

The Early Settlers Association wreath-laying ceremony, commemorating the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813, took place at Fort Huntington Park in Cleveland on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011.

Laying the wreath were Marlene Wilkinson, Doris Gorgas and Deborah Marisch, members of Peter Navarre Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812.

Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard, dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms, posted the colors at the Lakeside Avenue park's Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry Monument.

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Volume 3, Issue 19, Posted 2:58 PM, 09.20.2011

Bay Village historical sites go digital!

Over the past two years, Bay Village Historical Society members Virginia Peterson and Kay Laughlin have been working with Bay High teachers to make the story of Bay Village and Dover Township more accessible to students and the community as a whole.

As part of work on a U.S. Department of Education grant, Rob Grossman and his colleague, Dave Peters, reviewed historic sites, analyzed primary sources and conducted oral histories for publication on the new smartphone app, Cleveland Historical.

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Volume 3, Issue 18, Posted 4:21 PM, 09.07.2011

Take a trip to pioneer times without leaving your computer

If you are wondering what first brought the New England settlers to the Western Reserve some 200 years ago, you might start by visiting the website of Cuyahoga West Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohcwogs. Just click on the “Pioneer Women” menu tab.

Cuyahoga West’s webmaster, John Noble, has posted an article that was written by local history instructor Bob Rich and appeared in a July 1996 issue of The Plain Dealer.

For the most part, New England farmers had a difficult life working the thin and rocky soils of Connecticut and Vermont.  Ohio’s Western Reserve promised an easier way of life, with cheap, fertile land and abundant game to provide them with a hearty diet. But what the settlers found here was nothing like the idyllic lifestyle that was depicted in the painting that was circulated by the Connecticut Land Company, to entice settlers to purchase land in the Western Reserve of Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 2:21 PM, 06.14.2011

Civil War soldiers in Lakeside Cemetery

Our nation’s Civil War began in April 1861 with the firing of canons on Ft. Sumter. This year, 2011, is the 150th anniversary and commemoration of the Civil War. Activities are planned to remember the men who fought and made sacrifices.

Nine men from North Dover Township who answered the call of their country are buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village. They are: James Conklin, Washington Elmer, Alonson Grant, Luman Griswold, John Schultz, Chauncey Stevens, Alfred Wolf, Michael Wolf and an unknown union soldier.

This is the story of Luman Laomi Griswold who was born to Luman and Margaret Marilla Smith Griswold in Orange Township, Cuyahoga County, in 1835. At the time of Margaret’s marriage to Luman (the elder) she was living with Caleb Eddy in Dover Township.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:11 PM, 05.17.2011

Historical societies shouldn't be taken for granted

Established in 1961, the Westlake Historical Society has been telling Westlake's history for more than fifty years. Today, we are more committed than ever to preserving our local history, and educating the members of our community. We believe our local history is important to the people of Westlake, and we're dedicated to preserving our history for generations to come.

I may be biased, but I feel that in any community the local historical society is one of the most important volunteer organizations. Many people assume that every town in America has an established local historical society and museum.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:22 PM, 05.17.2011

Do you own a Sears kit house?

If you think houses built from kits are shoddy, cheap and obvious, think again! Between 1908 and 1940, Sears sold about 70,000 homes in 48 states through their mail order Modern Homes program, with 370 designs that you might not readily recognize as a kit home.  

Sears kit homes were shipped via boxcar and came with a 75-page instruction book. Each kit contained 10,000 to 30,000 pieces and the framing members were marked to facilitate construction. Many decades later, those same markings can help identify a home as a Sears kit home.

So if you’re wondering if that adorable little bungalow with the big eaves (or even your own house) is a kit home, read on for signs that will help you identify if it is indeed a historically-significant home.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:21 PM, 04.19.2011

What is the role of a local historical society?

As the president of the Westlake Historical Society, I am often asked,"What is the role of a local historical society?" To be more specific, what is the role of the Westlake Historical Society? I have given this question a lot of consideration, and thought maybe I would ask others for their answers.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough answered this way: "The Westlake Historical Society provides a wealth of information about those who have come before us to help us understand how and why Westlake has progressed into the premier community it is today. Without the ability to know our past and those pioneers who helped shape Westlake, we would be like a star lost in the universe.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:13 PM, 04.19.2011

Descendant of Civil War soldier to discuss 103rd OVI

It was 150 years ago that America’s Civil War began when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. It was a war that pitted North against South, brother against brother, and nearly tore our young nation apart. Many who served on either side were mere teenagers. 

One Medina-born youth by the name of John Yetter joined other men from Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina counties to serve with the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment from 1862-1865. Yetter’s great-grand nephew, Bill Stark, a Fairview Park resident, former teacher and retired Metro Parks Ranger, studied the history of this unit extensively for his Master of Arts degree in history, at Cleveland State University in 1986.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.08.2011

Family history research help available monthly at WPPL

Have you always wanted to explore and record your family history, but just don’t know where or how to begin? Or, have you reached a brick wall in your search for an elusive ancestor? Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Members of the Cuyahoga West Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) are ready to assist you with your family history quest.

This Chapter meets regularly from 7:00-8:45 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month (except August and December), in the Porter Room at Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd. The next meeting will be a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Cuyahoga West members will recount their most interesting research trip.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 3:37 PM, 01.06.2011

Add some history to your holiday!

As 2010 draws to a close, the Westlake Historical Society would like to thank everyone in the community for your support. Next year we will be proud to help celebrate the 200th birthday of our city and invite you to check our website for further details. Donations to the Society and Bicentennial 2011 memberships can be purchased on-line at www.westlakeohiohistory.org.

Also available is a limited-edition Christmas ornament with a drawing of the historic Clague House Museum originally penned by the late Lu Walter. Each ornament is gift boxed and is available online or at the Museum for only $14.95.

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Volume 2, Issue 25, Posted 11:17 PM, 12.10.2010

'Pioneers of Westlake, Ohio' book now available

The new book, "Pioneers of Westlake, Ohio" by Jeanne Workman, is now available from Cuyahoga West Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society. The much-anticipated book celebrates the Bicentennial of Westlake and the early pioneers of Dover. The book contains the stories of the original families who settled in Dover Township around 1820.

Each book sells for $25.00, plus $4.00 shipping and handling. (Ohio residents pay $1.95 sales tax). Orders can be sent to Cuyahoga West Chapter O.G.S., P.O. Box 45607, Westlake, Ohio 44145.

 

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Volume 2, Issue 25, Posted 9:32 PM, 12.10.2010

The Red Brick's memories live on

The Red Brick Building, a century-old schoolhouse that was considered a landmark of the old Dover Village, was torn down over a period of five days, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27. This building had been vacant since 2003, and after plans fizzled to transform the building into something useful for the community, the city decided to raze the school. Many residents have negative opinions regarding the tearing down of a local landmark.

“The building holds many memories for a great deal of community members, as well as historical significance for Westlake and the region," said Kim Bonvissuto, Communications Coordinator for the Westlake Schools. "At the same time, you have a segment of the community looking toward the future and the opening of our new middle and high schools [that] sees the Red Brick’s demolition as a necessary step to move forward.”

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Volume 2, Issue 24, Posted 6:09 PM, 11.22.2010

Troop 1245 interviews a very special Bay resident

Wednesday, Nov. 17, was an exciting day for Girl Scout Troop 1245! We met at St. Barnabas Church to interview Mina Hughes. She is 101 years old! Mrs. Hughes was born in Indiana in 1909. She moved to Bay Village 60 years ago.

Mrs. Hughes has led a very interesting life. My question to her was if she went to her prom. She did! She also attended an all-girls college. One year after college, all the banks closed down. It was called The Great Depression. She felt very lucky that her father did not lose his job. She still remembers her grandmother’s telephone. She had to call the operator first to call the person that she wanted to talk to.

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Volume 2, Issue 24, Posted 9:15 PM, 11.21.2010

Clague House Museum open during holiday season

The road construction on Clague Road north of Hilliard Road is almost complete and Westlake's historic Clague House Museum (1371 Clague Road) will be open during the holiday season. On Nov. 19, The Westlake Historical Society will hold an old-fashioned board game night beginning at 7 p.m. Please bring your favorite board game and a snack to share.  

The Clague House will be decorated for Christmas on Nov. 27 and all wishing to join in the fun should arrive at 2 p.m. December 1 is "Night At The Museum" with our special guest, Mayor Dennis Clough. The mayor is scheduled to arrive about 7 p.m. and all in the community are welcome to attend.

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Volume 2, Issue 23, Posted 11:05 PM, 11.12.2010

Come celebrate Westlake's 199th birthday!

The Westlake Historical Society invites you to visit us on Nov. 14 for birthday cake and punch as we celebrate Westlake's 199th birthday. The Clague House Museum, located at 1371 Clague Rd., will be open from 2-4 p.m. for tours and cake. Nov. 14, 1811, was the date that Dover Township (which included all of Westlake and Bay Village, and part of North Olmsted) was officially incorporated. Due to construction, the museum may only be reached by traveling south from Detroit Rd.

 

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Volume 2, Issue 22, Posted 5:32 PM, 10.29.2010

'Visitor from the past' coming to WPPL Oct. 20

Cuyahoga West Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society presents a preview event for Westlake’s Bicentennial Year 2011, on Wednesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m., in the Porter Room, Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd. 

Historian and actress Judy MacKeigan will portray Mrs. Harriet Porter Griffin (1842-1933), a descendant of the Bassett and Porter families. Mrs. Griffin is especially interesting, because she served on the Dover Township Committee of the Women’s Department for the Cleveland Centennial Commission of 1896. And her uncle, Leonard Porter, bequeathed $1,000 for the founding of Westlake Porter Public Library.

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Volume 2, Issue 21, Posted 4:04 PM, 10.07.2010

The Dover Station on the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad

New and exciting sounds were heard in North Dover in 1882 with the beat of the steam locomotive exhaust, the shrill call of a whistle and the rumble of iron wheels on steel rails. Clifton Aldrich and his dad rode on their manure spreader to see the first green and red locomotive come through. Joel Cahoon was taken by his sons in their wagon to see the newly laid track that Joel always said would come.

The New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad was also known as the “Nickel Plate.” The generally accepted story behind the nickname has a newspaper editor calling it “the great, nickel-plated railroad” and the term became a nickname. Eventually, even the locomotives and cars were so marked. It was primarily a freight hauler but carried passengers, too.

The railroad station was the center of all the comings and goings in town. The Cahoon family negotiated the placement of the station on their property in Dover Township on the north side of the tracks in return for the track being laid through their property for lease.

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Volume 2, Issue 20, Posted 8:43 AM, 09.30.2010

Bay photographer captures history in doors

In honor of our Bicentennial we have created a beautiful print of the homes of Bay Village. This print is an updated version of the previous Doors of Bay Village done over 15 years ago. We created this print as a fundraiser for our adoption of two boys from Ethiopia.

Our family decided to begin the process of adoption last January. We felt drawn to Africa and after much thought and research decided to adopt from Ethiopia. We have learned so much through this journey and met so many wonderful people. 

Many of these encounters occurred as we spent the summer riding our bikes around Bay Village seeking out doors for our project. Even after living here my whole life I discovered homes I had never seen before and interesting architecture all over our city.

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Volume 2, Issue 20, Posted 12:40 PM, 09.28.2010

Westlake Historical Society presents 'If Quilts Could Talk' Sept. 27

The practice of quilting is said to date all the way back to ancient Egypt. Some of the earliest known quilts in Europe date back to the late 1300s. Quilting in America was only done by the wealthy colonists originally and probably further delayed by the Civil War and aftermath.

Recently, the Westlake Historical Society was given a historic quilt made in England dating back to 1838. It is made of three cornered patches and lined with old historical newspapers and letters from the period. It was also shown at the Halle Brothers exposition in 1927.

The above quilt will be part of a presentation on September 27 by Dr. Marie Albano, titled "If Quilts Could Talk." The presentation is sponsored by the Westlake Historical Society and will be given at the Westlake Porter Public Library at 7 p.m.

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Volume 2, Issue 19, Posted 9:47 PM, 09.17.2010

People who made a difference: The Cahoon sisters

Lydia Elizabeth Cahoon

Born in Frederick, Md., in 1835 and died in 1917. Lydia was a school teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools. She often taught foreign students the love of country and the flag as one of the essentials of citizenship. After retiring from teaching, Lydia resided in Rose Hill and was instrumental in the building of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of Bassett and Lake roads. She was a member of the Commodore Perry Chapter, Daughters of 1812. Lydia was a very tiny lady who loved to cook and was often in the kitchen. She never married.

Laura Ellen Cahoon

Born in 1841 and died in 1917. Laura was a school teacher in the Cleveland school system. She became a principal in Cleveland and at her death her pupils attended to pay respect. Everyone loved her. She had a bright, pleasant personality and a happy face. Laura never married.

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Volume 2, Issue 19, Posted 3:07 PM, 09.15.2010

Bay homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places

Bay Village has five structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Rose Hill Museum, the Cahoon Barn/Community House, the Washington Lawrence Mansion, the Huntington Pumping Tower and the Aaron Aldrich III House. Although changes have been made to some of these structures over the years, these changes have not affected their status with the Register.

In 1994, Rose Hill Museum and the Cahoon Barn (Community House) located in Cahoon Memorial Park qualified for this distinction. The application states, “Rose Hill Museum and the Community House are significant ... because of their association with the innovative philanthropy of Ida Maria Cahoon. Miss Cahoon was the last surviving child of Joel and Margaret Cahoon and was granddaughter of the township’s first settler.” The 1917 Cahoon Will gifted intact the 128-acre family farmstead to the citizens of Bay Village.

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Volume 2, Issue 19, Posted 12:48 PM, 09.15.2010

CSU Local History Special Collections Librarian Bill Barrow to speak at WPPL

Bill Barrow, Archivist and Special Collections librarian at Cleveland State University, knows a good deal about Cleveland and the Western Reserve of northeastern Ohio and has made it possible for others to access that info online. His on-going projects at CSU Library include:

  • Cleveland Cartography, a collection of historical and contemporary maps (active since 1996).
  • Cleveland Digital Library, an online reference library that includes digital images, maps, photographs, video, drawings, cartoons and electronic text about greater Cleveland and its history (active since 1997).
  • The Cleveland Memory Project, a gateway to CSU’s Special Collections that includes an online database of digitized images (active since 2001).
  • Ohio’s Heritage Northeast that allows simultaneous searching of six area libraries’ local history collections online.
  • SDS@BGSU, one person’s account of the 1960s in Ohio.
  • Cleveland History Blog of comments and information about local history matters.
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Volume 2, Issue 18, Posted 3:32 PM, 08.23.2010

The Washington Lawrence Mansion

Washington Lawrence, who was born in Olmsted Township in 1840, attended Baldwin University in Berea, Ohio. He was an associate of Charles F. Brush, the inventor of the arc light and the lighting of Cleveland’s Public Square in 1879. By 1886, the National Carbon Company was founded by Myron T. Herrick, James Parmalee, and Webb Hays. A large plant was built on Madison Avenue near 117th St. on the west side of Cleveland. Washington Lawrence became President of the company and served until his death in 1900.

Washington married Harriett Collister and reared seven daughters. In the 1870s, he and his family enjoyed coming to the Dover-Bay Colony in Dover Township to summer in the fresh air. Washington decided to purchase three farms east of the Dover-Bay Colony. They were situated along the lake from Clague Road east to the township line and south to the railroad tracks.

In 1880, he came into the possession of the Dover-Bay Colony next door and invited several prominent citizens of Cleveland to erect cottages on the park grounds. By the summer of 1892, life was going strong at the Colony with the addition of a golf course. In 1889, Washington built a clubhouse so the group had a place to congregate.

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Volume 2, Issue 18, Posted 2:03 PM, 09.01.2010

Hometown Heroes: Jack Miner

In 1944, United States newspapers were publishing eulogies and paying tribute to the fifth-best-known man in North America behind only Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, and Eddie Rickenbacker. The man receiving this tribute was Jack Miner, a noted naturalist and lecturer who was born in Westlake (then known as Dover Center, Ohio) in the year 1865.

Mr. Miner was one of 10 children living in a small frame house that stood near the intersection of Dover Center and Westown Blvd. Jack's English-born parents made a meager living in a brickyard located across the street from the family home. As a boy, Jack chose to work long hours in the brickyard instead of attending school because he was teased relentlessly about his fiery red hair and freckles. He only returned to school at the age of 12 because he was urged to return by friends Jack Rublin, Jack Klotze, Herbert Pease and George Hubbard.

During the years Jack was not in school, he spent hours learning the lessons of nature. The creek that ran near his home was both a play yard and a laboratory. Jack spent a great deal of time studying the creatures that crept and swam there, as well as the lessons he learned about bird life that would become his life's work.

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Volume 2, Issue 17, Posted 7:33 PM, 08.20.2010

Bay Bicentennial Committee picks 'Letters to the Future' winners

The Bay Village Bicentennial Committee has selected the winners of its "Letters to the Future" contest. Bay Village residents were challenged to write a letter of 300 words or less to the 2110 residents of Bay. Judging took place after the contest closed on July 10, and winners were chosen in three age groups: 16 years and younger, 16 to 64 years, and over 65 years. The letters will be placed in the city's 2010 Bicentennial Time Capsule which will be sealed on December 31, 2010, with an open-date of October 10, 2110 – Bay's 300th birthday.

The Observer will be printing each winning letter, beginning with this one by Caroline Dannemiller, winner of the 16 and under age group.

Dear Reader,

I hope you will enjoy my letter
In it will be some description, complaint and positive things about Bay Village.
Almost everyone here right now loves soccer.
Never use weed killer companies on your grass (they ruined my garden.)

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Volume 2, Issue 17, Posted 4:25 PM, 08.20.2010

The water tower in Huntington Reservation

At the turn of the century, many wealthy Clevelanders had homes in the city and beautiful estates in the country. Huntington Reservation, on the shores of Lake Erie, was the former country estate of John Huntington (1832-1893), a prominent Cleveland industrialist and philanthropist.

John Huntington was born in Preston, England. His father was a mathematics teacher in the English school system. He made sure John had a good education. In 1852, John immigrated to the United States and Cleveland, Ohio.

He went into the roofing business with his brother, Hugh, and was successful. He soon became a respected Cleveland businessman, and his company was contracted to roof an early oil refinery by John D. Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller offered the brothers payment in cash or stock, and John, daring to adventure a little, accepted part payment in stock. He acquired considerable wealth by this venture and eventually a partnership in the Standard Oil Company.

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Volume 2, Issue 17, Posted 9:27 AM, 08.18.2010

The Peterson Family Buildings on Dover Center Road

As you sit at the traffic light facing east on West Oviatt and Dover Center Roads in Bay Village, your eyes see a two story brick building with a sign that reads “Bay Hair.” To the north is a wooden building with a garage behind.

Today, these buildings belong to the John Peterson family. William (Bill) Blaha, who built the buildings, was John Peterson’s grandfather. William Blaha married Mary Januska in 1908 and their daughter, Marie Blaha Peterson, was John Peterson’s mother. In 2007, Marie’s beauty parlor became the longest continuing business in Bay Village when it celebrated 80 years. Five generations of this family have made Bay their home.

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Volume 2, Issue 16, Posted 7:44 PM, 08.06.2010