Digging Dover

Historic Cooley barn wood, contents to be salvaged

A familiar sight to Westlake and Bay Village residents was the vegetable farmstand inside the old red Cooley barn on the east side of Dover Road across from the Porter Library drive. Robert Power Sr. was the proprietor who grew produce on the fertile land behind the barn. The vegetable stand is now closed due to the declining health of Mr. Power. His son, Rob Power, who owns the property, has had the circa 1828 Asher Cooley house, the barn and 2.3 acres of property for sale for several years.

Preparations to remove the barn started several weeks ago. The property can be divided into at least two lots once the barn is removed. The barn siding wood will be upcycled into large, stylized American flags by an artisan. The artisan is exchanging his labor to remove the barn for the wood siding and timbers he is salvaging. Some of the contents of the barn are to be donated to the Westlake Historical Society for future display at the Lilly Weston museum of early Dover history.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:17 AM, 01.23.2018

A look back at Captain Penny's time in Westlake, Bay Village

Like many younger baby boomers I have fond memories of children’s syndicated television personalities Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and others. Closer to home, broadcasting from the WEWS-TV studio were pretty Miss Barbara and her Magic Mirror and handsome, likable Captain Penny and Bobo the Clown. Miss Barbara had a typical bouffant hair style of the day and Captain Penny was dressed in railroad engineer attire. Miss Barbara, Norwalk native Barbara R. (Bowen) Plummer, died in 2010 at 80 years old, still a Cleveland area resident.

Captain Penny, Elyria native Ronald A. Penfound, unfortunately died at the young age of 47. While on screen he presented a wholesome, clean-cut image, off screen, like many young men of his era, he had been a cigarette smoker and succumbed to lung cancer in 1974. I was intrigued by a recent article about Captain Penny, which stated that he resided in Westlake during his TV days. The Captain Penny show ran from 1955 to 1971 so I was curious as to where he lived.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:01 AM, 12.19.2017

Meet the Clagues, Part I

As mentioned in a previous article, the Clagues of Westlake may have been inspired by the Cahoons of Bay Village to donate their land and home for use as a public park and library. It seems to me that Ida Cahoon and her sisters may be better known to the residents of Bay than the Clagues are to Westlake residents. Hopefully this continuing series of articles will rectify that.

The Clagues were from the Isle of Man. Readers may be familiar with the Manx cat, a tailless breed which harkens from the same island. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, The Isle of Man is one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea, situated off the northwest coast of England. The island is only approximately 300 square miles in size (Cuyahoga County is larger, at approximately 450 square miles).

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:33 AM, 12.05.2017

Clague Memorial Park, Part II: WPA funding turns farmland into park

Second in a series of articles on Clague Memorial Park.

Two weeks ago, Issue 53, a 25-year extension of an existing one-eighth of 1 percent income tax to fund recreational facilities, passed by a 2-to-1 margin. The extension will pay for $34.5 million in new and renovated recreational amenities throughout the existing city of Westlake park system. Included in these amenities is a new $7.4 million family aquatic center to replace Peterson Pool in Clague Memorial Park. All but the existing water slide tower will be demolished at the pool site. Ballfields and parking lots will be improved in the parts of Clague Park on both the east and west sides of Clague Road.

Westlake adopted a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2015 which will guide these and other changes to Clague Park. Myself and James Bedell, Westlake’s planning director, served on the advisory committee gathered by the consultant to help in preparing the new plan. When Clague Park was discussed, possible plans to tear down Clague Cabin were mentioned. Jim and I convinced the consultant and committee that Clague Cabin is a Westlake landmark that deserves to be saved.

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Volume 9, Issue 22, Posted 9:54 AM, 11.21.2017

Clague Memorial Park: Westlake’s first public park

First in a series of articles on Clague Memorial Park.

If you are a Westlake voter, you are familiar with Issue 53, the proposed continuation of the existing one-eighth percent income tax to pay for capital improvements for the recreation center, a new community services center and parks and other recreational facilities. This is the way a mature, forward looking, suburban community deals with addressing the recreational and social needs of its citizens.

One hundred years ago things were very different. There were no municipal income taxes and parks and recreation for citizens in Westlake (Dover) were dependent on the goodwill and largess of the Clagues, much as the Cahoon Will had created the foundation for the park system in Bay Village a few years earlier. It was 1917 when 65-year-old spinster Ida Marie Cahoon bequeathed land to establish Cahoon Memorial Park in Bay Village.

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 10:00 AM, 11.07.2017

New columnist aims to bring local history to life

My name is William R. (Will) Krause. I am the assistant planning director for the city of Westlake. I have worked for Westlake for 28 years, lived in Bay Village for 17 and now Westlake for five years. I served on the Bay Village Planning Commission for five years. I was the chair of the Bay Village Historical Society’s Preservation Committee and a member of the Reuben Osborn Learning Center Steering Committee. I am currently a board member and historian for the Westlake Historical Society and chair of the Membership Committee and Lilly Weston Committee. I am a trustee of the Western Reserve Architectural Historians.

As you can tell from the above, I am passionate about local history and historic preservation. My basement and garage are full of parts of great old houses that have sadly come down in Bay Village and Westlake over the years. I am an advocate for those that remain.

I have been writing for the Westlake | Bay Village Observer nearly since its inception, penning 40-plus stories over the years. The editors have given me the opportunity to have a regular column.

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 10:02 AM, 10.17.2017