Local History

Another piece of Dover history for sale: Limpertís Fruit Farm, Part 1

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 16, Posted 9:19 AM, 08.20.2019

Silent auction, pie contest will take place along with annual duck race

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 16, Posted 9:18 AM, 08.20.2019

Rubber Duck Race returns Aug. 24

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 15, Posted 10:09 AM, 08.06.2019

Westlake Historical Society yard sale marks spring arrival

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.16.2019

Pet photos with the Easter Bunny at Clague House Museum

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:41 AM, 04.02.2019

Two share title of Cutest Pet in Westlake

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.22.2019

Cooley historical marker contains error

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 24, Posted 10:03 AM, 12.18.2018

Westlake Historical Society placing holiday wreaths

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 23, Posted 10:18 AM, 12.04.2018

Santa returns to Clague House Museum in December

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!

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Volume 10, Issue 22, Posted 9:33 AM, 11.20.2018

Lilly Weston House restoration project update and fundraising

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 20, Posted 10:05 AM, 10.16.2018

Fall fun with the Westlake Historical Society

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:49 AM, 10.02.2018

Learn the true story of the Lake Erie shipwreck, 'The Success'

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:14 AM, 09.05.2018

Historical society has free BHS yearbooks

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:15 AM, 09.05.2018

Ready, set, duck! Annual rubber duck race returns to Westlake on Aug. 25

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!

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:43 AM, 08.07.2018

Meet the Clagues, Part II

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 14, Posted 9:56 AM, 07.17.2018

'Old Hurst Home' at 2004 Dover Center Road dates to 1854

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 9:36 AM, 05.15.2018

Westlake Historical Society yard sale ushers in spring

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 claguemuseum@yahoo.com. Letters of donation (for tax purposes) are available upon request.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:08 AM, 05.01.2018

Beloved artist and Westlake native son passes away

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:25 AM, 03.06.2018

The Asher Cooley house becomes the Power house

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:40 AM, 02.20.2018

Clague House Museum is struck by Cupid's arrow

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.06.2018

Corgi selected as Westlake's Cutest Pet for 2018

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.05.2017

Porter Library seeks veterans' stories

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:

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 10:01 AM, 11.07.2017

Local Questers chapter receives restoration grant

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 19, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.03.2017

Fall yard sale to benefit Lilly Weston House

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. 

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Volume 9, Issue 17, Posted 9:36 AM, 09.06.2017

Bay Men's Club celebrates centennial

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 16, Posted 10:16 AM, 08.15.2017

Owners of century homes get plaques

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 9:24 AM, 06.20.2017

The Lilly Weston House matters

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:20 AM, 06.06.2017

Summer kicks off at the Clague Museum

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:11 AM, 06.06.2017

Popular cemetery tour returns to Evergreen on May 20

The Westlake Historical Society is preparing to present our very popular Evergreen Cemetery Walk. It will be held this year on Saturday, May 20, 1-3 p.m.

Join historical past residents of our community, portrayed by historical society members and volunteers, as they help the cemetery to come alive! The tour will begin at 1 p.m. under the Evergreen Arch with the laying of a wreath at the entrance to the cemetery. It will end at the 200-year-old Moses Cleveland Tree in the back of the cemetery with refreshments. There is no cost for this community event, but your donations do help to continue the work of the Westlake Historical Society.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 9:35 AM, 05.16.2017

The return of Leonard Porter

Greetings to all my friends in Dover – oops, Westlake – from the Great Beyond. As great as the Beyond is – and it is, except for golf since everyone always gets holes in one – I always look forward to getting back to my home town every year for the Westlake Historical Society’s Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

I enjoy coming back, meeting with some of my former neighbors and fellow founding families above ground and meeting with the good folks who live in Westlake now. Someone once said, “It’s hard to know where you are if you don’t know where you’ve been.” That’s what history is all about – letting people know where their families have been, letting people know where their country has been and letting people know where the area they live in came to be and how it advanced.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 9:38 AM, 05.16.2017

The history of Detroit Road, Part IV: Straightening the curve

According to "The Lakewood Story" by Margaret Manor Butler, the last mayor of the hamlet of Lakewood, J.J. Rowe, when discussing his administration which was in place from 1902 to 1905, listed as his first accomplishments: “We abolished the old plank road on Detroit, that was laid before the Civil War … [and] abolished the tollgate at Warren Road and Detroit Avenue.”

Hadsell and Rutherford’s "History and Civics of Dover Village" states that Detroit Road in Dover (Westlake) was first paved with brick in 1908. There is a little patch of brick paving still visible if you know where to look for it.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 9:37 AM, 05.16.2017

The history of Detroit Road, Part III: Taverns and political symbols

Part three in a series about Detroit Road.

As earlier parts of this series on the history of Detroit Road explain, Margaret Manor Butler’s "The Lakewood Story" discusses in detail the construction of a wooden Plank Road from West 25th Street to five miles beyond Rocky River. Construction of it began in 1849 and it lasted for over 50 years as a toll road until 1901 when the gates were removed and the tolls abolished. Butler wrote that it was a great boon to produce farmers who made the trip to Cleveland and that although it eased travel, it had several drawbacks.

One drawback was noise! Butler stated that it was the end of peace and quiet on Detroit with a constant stream of wagons, carts, oxen and horses, clumping and creaking over the planks very early in the morning and making the same noise on the return trip later in the day. Sundays brought a steady stream of carriages from Cleveland, with the occupants enjoying an early version of the “Sunday drive.” The other drawback she mentioned was the increase in the number of taverns and the sale of alcohol along Detroit. Farmers returning home after a day at the market would stop for refreshment and if they stayed too long after dark would spend the night.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:35 AM, 05.02.2017

Bay Womenís Club Centennial: The second 50 years

The Bay Village Women’s Club is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Its first 50 years focused on children, community health and education, along with social activities of the era. The second 50 years evolved to support new essentials for the growing community and the changing role of women. Club support for Bay Village included:

  • Selling zip code books for the new five-digit codes (implemented in 1963)
  • Performing many needed tasks at the library by the Club’s literature group, eventually forming the Friends of the Bay Village Library
  • Refurbishing the Community House, including a “modern electric range with self-cleaning oven,” a soap dispenser in the restroom, and a railing outside (early 1970s), followed later by new furnishings, drapes and a sink
  • Spearheading the drive for a Bay Village Paramedic Unit which was the club’s Bicentennial Project (1975)
  • Assisting with Swine Flu shot drives in the 1970s
  • Contributing toward the Fire Department’s rescue boat (1977) and later a CPR monitor
  • Donating a recorder to the Police Department to trace calls (1980)

and the list continues.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:22 AM, 03.07.2017

Easter Bunny returns to Clague House for pet photos

Did you know that the Clague family were pet owners? Old pictures and family stories tell us they owned both dogs and cats, while living on the farm. Sophronia Clague was especially taken by both cats and dogs.

Many years ago, it was common to have pets working on family farms here in 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.

I can imagine if Sophronia were here today, she would enjoy seeing all the pets at the Clague House having 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, March 19, for pet photos from noon to 5:00 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:22 AM, 03.07.2017

Bay Women's Club Centennial: The first 50 years

The first in a two-part series on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bay Village Women's Club.

The Bay Village Women’s Club observes its 100th birthday this year. The Women’s Club is the oldest such organization in Bay Village. Mrs. Florence Whitney, a school board member, served as the Club’s first president. Beginning Jan. 5, 1917, she and four women called on every mother in the Village to attend a meeting on Jan. 25 in the little Red Brick School House on Lake Road. The response was overwhelming with an overflow attendance of 52 women.

According to notes on the early meetings, “Tea was made over a fire of coals and china was transported to meetings in a little red wagon. The ladies sewed, had musical recitals and, with the proceeds, bought footstools for the children to raise their feet from the draughty floors.” A neighbor’s outhouse was the only “facility” for the school house.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:48 AM, 02.21.2017

The history of Detroit Road, Part II: Bridging the Rocky River

Part two in a series about Detroit Road.

The first westward settlers traversing what became Detroit Road had to swim, wade or ford the Rocky River until a ferry service began in 1810. In 1820, Captain Rufus Wright, the owner of a tavern located where the Westlake Condominiums are now, took the lead in constructing the first bridge to cross the valley. According to "Rocky River Yesterday" by the Rocky River Historical Society, due to the capsizing of two stage coaches on the bridge in 1842, this low wooden span, which hung just above the flood-plain, was deemed unsafe due to deterioration and there were calls to build a new bridge and plank the road to improve travel conditions.

George A. Christensen wrote in "Incidents & Episodes: Tales of Rocky River and Rockport Township, Ohio" that the replacement wooden bridge, built in 1850 at a cost of $6,000, was constructed of oak timbers in the important parts of the structure, yellow pine, fir or ponderosa pine in the decorative area, with abutments of sandstone and a deck that was 24 feet wide. According to Christensen, the location of the mud ramp on the west side of the river came up behind the Westlake Hotel (now Westlake Condominiums) in Rocky River. He also says that the bridge was approximately halfway between the height of the water and the height of the natural grade on either side of the river.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 02.21.2017

Westlake Historical Society picks cutest pet

The Westlake Historical Society is happy to announce the winner of our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest: Iggy, a 2-year-old Shih Tzu. She was adopted from the Toledo Area Humane Society as a puppy and moved to Westlake with her owner, Sarah Howard, in 2015. When she was rescued, she was one of 35 Shih Tzus from a hoarding situation in Toledo.

Iggy was born without a tail, and has a 90-pound Aussie Doodle brother by the name of Bentley. They are the best of buddies, though Iggy is the boss. She also enjoys the company of two cats, Max and Louie, but the feeling is not always mutual. Her favorite toy is her pink Lambchop. She simply adores soft squeaky toys. She also enjoys running around the house with empty milk cartons or cardboard boxes. Iggy is a sweet and friendly dog who loves to play, but is also happy to curl up on the couch for a laid back evening at home. Her nickname is "Wiggles."

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:50 AM, 02.21.2017

The history of Detroit Road: From stumps to planks

Part one in a series about Detroit Road.

According to "A History and Civics of Dover Village" written by Hadsell and Rutherford in 1930, Detroit Road follows the shoreline of an ancient lake known as Lake Warren. At different geologic times lakes have formed four different cliff-like ridges at what today is Butternut Ridge in North Olmsted, Center Ridge and Detroit roads in Westlake (known as Middle Ridge and North Ridge roads in the early days) and Lake Road in Bay Village.

Hadsell and Rutherford go on to say that both Lake Road and Center Ridge were used as Native American trails (other sources say Detroit Road was an Indian trail as well) and that the early Euro-American pioneers used the ridges as the earliest roads. Stumps were left in place and the authors go on to say that there were people alive in 1930 who remembered when the main “highways” were rows of stumps. They also say that as the number of pioneers increased the number of stumps decreased to create more desirable dirt roads. Unfortunately due to our climate the dirt roads were often mud roads.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:36 AM, 01.24.2017

An old name in grocery shopping once called Westlake home

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. While to some that might sound like a new upscale boutique tea shop, others may recognize it as the full name of the old A&P supermarket chain.

Area grocery shoppers once had the option of patronizing an A&P store in Westlake. That A&P occupied a brick colonial-style building located at 27255 Detroit Road, on the southwest corner of Detroit and Dover Center roads. The same building is now home to the E&H Ace Hardware store. Being that same Ace Hardware store was mentioned in the Jan. 10 Observer article I penned recalling past and present Westlake / Bay Village lawn mower maintenance hot spots, this is a sort of follow-on to that piece.

Because the first ad I could find in the Plain Dealer archive listing an A&P at 27255 Detroit Road ran in the June 18, 1964, issue, and a want ad in the May 11, 1964, issue sought help for the “new Union Commerce Bank office” in a wing attached to the east side of the store, I believe A&P opened for business at that location in 1964.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:39 AM, 01.24.2017

Clague Museum celebrates Valentine's Day with party, candy bouquets

The first mailed valentine in the United States was sent in 1806. However, this most personal communication actually dates back much farther to ancient Roman times. 

In keeping with the Valentine tradition, please join us on Sunday, Feb. 12, starting at noon, 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 1371A Clague Road in Westlake. This annual party for the community began several years ago as a way to forget Old Man Winter, and enjoy an afternoon of crafts, sweet treats and museum tours.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:35 AM, 01.24.2017