Local History

Our county’s great treasure: the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

When our nation went to war with itself in 1861, as North fought South, Bay Village and Westlake (Dover Township at that time) sent its sons to fight for the union, as did every community in the country.

While these men, and others, are honored every year on Memorial Day, those who served in that “War of Brothers” from our county are honored every day with the historic tribute to them that stands on Cleveland’s Public Square – the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument.

All of us who grew up in this area have seen and or visited it as it proudly stands in the heart of Greater Cleveland, artistically reminding us of the sacrifices made for our freedom in every war. This unique and wonderful monument – perhaps the finest in the country - was completed in 1884 and features a 125-foot spire made of polished black Quincy stone with six bronze bands listing the names of 30 battles in which soldiers from Cuyahoga County fought. It’s surrounded at its base by a Memorial Room and walkway of Medina red sandstone.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 6:33 PM, 05.28.2010

The story of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. The day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan. It was observed later that same month on May 30 by placing flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, all northern states had recognized the day. After World War I, the holiday changed from only recognizing Civil War dead to those fallen in all American Wars. In 1971, Congress changed the National Holiday to the last Monday in May.

Today, Memorial Day is celebrated with many local parades and observances including the placement of American Flags on the graves of fallen service personnel. Arlington National Cemetery currently places American Flags on all 260,000 graves, and has since 1948. They then patrol 24 hours a day over the weekend to insure that each flag remains standing. 

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 9:41 PM, 05.14.2010

Westlake-Dover history housed at the Clague Museum

Located at 1371 Clague Road is a beautiful stately old home that was restored by the Westlake Historical Society. Robert Clague originally came to this area from the Isle of Man and purchased 78 acres of land around 1830. The Clague House, built in 1876, followed a log cabin and then a small frame house first constructed on the property.

Robert and his wife, Margaret, raised nine children and were known for being a very close-knit family. The last two surviving members of the Clague family, Walter and Sophronia, donated their land to the Village of Dover (now Westlake, Bay Village, and part of North Olmsted) for a park, with the provision they be allowed to live in the family home until their passing.

When the Clagues finally deeded the family land and home to the Village of Dover in 1929, Victoria Clague was against the idea and fought the dedication. As a result, her name does not appear on the Clague Family Monument located in the park across the street from the Museum. 

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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 10:10 PM, 04.30.2010

Looking back: Hometown heroes

Like U.S. Presidents, the state of Ohio has given birth to more than its share of astronauts – reportedly 24. While Neil Armstrong and John Glenn are the most notable, Westlake's own Col. Robert Overmyer is a distinguished member of this proud group.  

Although born in Lorain in 1936, Overmyer always considered Westlake his home. Young Robert's family moved to Canterbury Road, and he entered Westlake schools in the first grade. Overmyer graduated from Westlake High School with the class of 1954.

During the summertime of his high school years, Robert worked at Dean's Greenhouse on Porter Road. The income from this summer employment made it possible for him to attend college after graduation.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 12:23 AM, 02.20.2010

Looking back... Fashion in the 1890s

The Westlake Historical Society is proud to present "Clothing Styles in the 1890s" by Dr. Marie Albano, D.D.S., Museum Clothing Curator.

The 1890s brought delightful fashions for women after restrictive fashions of the 1880s. Clothing became softer and more practical. The 1890s brought a whole new entourage of exciting new things. Authors such as H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw were popular. The safety razor was invented and Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Freud was writing his papers, Marconi invented radio telegraphy, and Ford was building cars. Eastman had perfected the Kodak box camera. Edison's electrical lamps were lighting homes.

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 8:50 PM, 01.10.2010

Looking Back: Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at the Clague House Museum

Christmas in the late 1800’s was not commercial – it had more to do with family, food, and the exchange of handmade gifts. Christmas trees in that time period were more simple. People often made homemade ornaments such as cornucopias of paper filled with fruit, nuts and candy. Strings of popcorn and berries were draped across the branches of trees. Beautiful shaped cookies were hung for treats on Christmas day. Often the gifts were also wrapped and hung from the branches. Also popular were molded wax figures of angels and children.

Many ornaments were made of cotton-wool wrapped around an armature of metal or wood and trimmed with embossed paper faces, buttons, gold paper wings and "diamond dust," actually powdered glass. You can experience a traditional Victorian Christmas Tree at Westlake’s Clague House Museum.

Bring your family and friends for an opportunity to enjoy the beautifully decorated tree. Bring your camera and capture a new family tradition. The Clague House (located at 1371 Clague Road) is open every Sunday through December 20th from 2 – 4 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, check our website at www.westlakeohiohistory.org or call 440-471-4090.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 10:05 PM, 12.03.2009

Looking back... Clague Monument reaches milestone this month


How many times did you go to Clague Park this year? Maybe your family enjoyed the swimming pool, played little league baseball, or enjoyed the playground equipment. Maybe you enjoyed the super 4th of July Fireworks presented by the City of Westlake. Why is the park known today as Clague Memorial Park? 

Robert Clague and family originally came to Dover Township (now known as Westlake, Bay Village, and part of North Olmsted) around 1835. They purchased a 78 acre parcel of land and built the Clague Home in 1876 which stands today at 1371 Clague Road. The Clagues were farmers that became very successful selling apples, berries, and various fruits far and wide. They were also known for helping others, and able to lend money when necessary. 


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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 6:52 PM, 10.20.2009

Cemetery walk

The Westlake Historical Society will be joining the Porter Public Library to host a cemetery walk on Oct 25, 2009. We will meet at the Evergreen Cemetery, 29535 Center Ridge Road, at 2:00 p.m. and enjoy a guided tour of some of Westlake's notable citizens. Mr. Mel Maurer will lead the tour as well as our own Dr. Marie Albano, who will share about the Clague Family. Mr. Maurer will end our tour with a concentration on the life of Mr. Porter. We will arrive back at the library for further conversation and refreshments. Please join us for this very informative and historical afternoon. Please feel free to call the Westlake Historical Society for more information at 440-471-4090

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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 6:52 PM, 10.20.2009

A look back... School days

As the last days of summer wind down, I’m sure many of you have noted some of our local trees have already begun to change to the beautiful hues of fall. The sun is setting a little earlier each day and a new school year is already underway.

Before the City of Westlake was established, our area was part of a larger area known as Dover Township. This area included nearly all of what is today Westlake and Bay Village, and a few square miles of North Olmsted.

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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 1:53 PM, 09.22.2009