Posts filed under ‘history’
So what was most precious to Peggy – her family’s history – ( or what is left of it) resides in my dining room for the moment . The papers are fragile and faded , newspaper articles and hand written notes crumbling . How much more ended up in the garbage of house clearing doesn’t bear thinking about. What will happen to her house is in limbo for the moment. Some time in the next few days we will gather and go through what little was left to see what we can catalogue and keep.
It is par for the course as Lorain’s and Lorain County ‘s history makes another trip to the landfill.
Thanks to Col. Matt Nahorn and the New Indian Ridge Museum
not everything goes to the landfill. Little bits of history are carefully preserved -
Col. Nahorn stands in the space that the front door once occupied at the Capt. Aaron Root House.
Photo Source New Indian Ridge Museum
“We were able to salvage an original stair tread from the front main staircase; handmade bricks from a chimney; square nails; a couple of wood pieces from the wood lath; an old metal light fixture; a while porcelain door knob; some slate from the roof; some molding; and two oak thresholds from inner doorways.
Many of these items will comprise a new display at the Museum and act to document this local historic structure. We are very excited to report that we will be able to use the stair tread that we salvaged from the main staircase in the Capt. Aaron Root house, in the restoration project for the staircase in the Shupe house. (Of course, the tread will need much work with sanding, staining) So, soon we’ll be walking upon one of the steps that the Roots walked upon!”
There are so many houses now trucked off to the landfill whose significance and historical worth to this community are now buried with the plastic bags full of a throwaway society- all in the name of progress.
TO BE CONTINUED
Yet there is so much about Lorain, and the founding of Lorain then Black River, Charleston Village in those few lines
“Ms. Gillmore was a sixth generation member of the Gillmore family who came from Massachusetts to settle in Lorain in 1810. Peggy loved researching the history of her family and Lorain”
Yes, she was the last living descendent in Lorain of one of the founders of Lorain.
now known as Veteran’s Park” – first a parking lot in the 1970′s and then Condos for Cole and John Veard and Foltin in 2005-6.
I met Peggy when we moved into “my” “this old house” just 6 houses down the block.
We shared a love of history, neighborhood, theatre and art. I spent many hours over the years on her front porch and on the phone chatting about Lorain. Peggy, knew all the stories of these old houses , who was who and spoke of people long ago as if they still walked and lived in the neighborhood she knew so well.
Peggy wanted to do more and
“I must get to that trunk of papers in the attic” “I have to get this all down” I need to get this house on the Historical Register
but age and ill-health precluded her from accomplishing that goal . Her house has become just another old house destined for what is unknown- although Peggy wanted it maintained and kept in the family, it is now unclear if that will be the case.
So why should we , in Lorain, care about just another old house.
They , their links to heroism , contribution to country are not embraced by the majority of this community . They too, like the contents of previous owners lives are kicked to the curb.
Those items, precious to those that live with them and their memories, become just trash to be disposed of as quickly as possible. It broke Peggy’s heart to see what was happening to her beloved trees, in fact just few days after her death they came and cut down the ones she was fighting to save. Their stumps mute testament to her loss of the fight.
All was not lost, although I know there was and is probably so much more that has ended in a landfill, what is left is just a few items of Lorain’s history reverently guarded by the last of Gilmore’s of Lorain are taking up a small space in my dining room.
TO BE CONTINUED ……….
Changes , some happen quickly and some take years. I have given a lot of thought lately to this old neighborhood- old by US standards but just a baby in the life of other communities. 207 years isn’t very long in the grand scheme of “community history”- But that doesn’t make Lorain’s history any less worthwhile or fascinating than ancient or medieval history.
history (n.) “relation of incidents” (true or false), from Old French estoire, estorie “chronicle, history, story”
Modern French histoire),
from Latin historia “narrative of past events, account, tale, story,”
from Greek historia “a learning or knowing by inquiry; an account of one’s inquiries, history, record, narrative,”
from historein “inquire,” from histor “wise man, judge,” from PIE *wid-tor-, from root *weid- “to know,” literally “to see”
Readers of this blog, know for years I have been trying to get something done about an “old house” on 4th and Hamilton.
The house, empty and decaying for many decades, was still owned by the same family whose forefather built the structure approximately 130 years ago.
HIS story and those of the family are gone now. It was bitter-sweet as I watched the house from my den window being taken down – an empty shell that had met my gaze these 40 years . I watched, through the seasons, as time and weather took the toll on her. Finally once again, the land where she stood for 130 years is now as it was the day before her foundations were dug into the virgin earth as part of a growing village.
I wondered, as the bulldozers and dumpsters were positioned to receive this old home, why the owner had apparently not respected the home leaving it open to the elements and decay for decades . This dwelling was part of his story and history too apparently wasn’t important enough to preserve or care about. But then- I have also wondered why Lorain and her “story” is only embraced by a few and even then not until the late 70′s and 80′s did Lorain have any formal group gathered to preserve anything from her birthing.
I suppose coming from England, where it was part of my growing up, to know and be taught our history and local history – celebrate our “story”, the homes and dwelling places of our heroes and the not so heroic it is part of who I have become . I am part of the heritage of my kind and I have great pride in the story. .
Lorain has become for me on par with “American Tea”. Sorry, but maybe it was because you dumped the tea in the harbor and so it was considered “traitorous” drink :( Whatever the explanation the majority of Americans fail to make a decent cup of tea…. dunking tea bags and tepid water does not a decent cuppa make.
Lorain’s homes of “story” have become that beverage in my mind…..tepid water and weak – a mere semblance of what should be – preferring the new beverage of “moving forward ” coffee.
As more of Lorain’s “tangible” past disappears or is lost to memory and archives – I am saddened.
Recent events within this – Lorain’s oldest neighborhood – and the treasures of one becoming tomorrow’s trash to others both in my personal experience and also the loss of the last living history connection to one of Lorain’s founding fathers has deeply saddened me…..
To be continued …………..
Part Two- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/the-chair-and-the-captain-cvsi-lorain/
Part Three- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/the-captain-and-the-hat-cvsi-lorain/
Part Four- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/catching-up-with-the-hat-cvsi-lorain/
Part Five- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/the-hat-and-the-tour-guide-cvsi-lorain/
Part Six- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-hat-the-recent-history-charleston-village-soc/
Part Six of this series broke down our Annus Horribilis of 2005. I wont go into such detail for the ensuing years just our Highlights
The 2006 Charleston Village Annual report can be found here http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/feature.shtml?f=252
We raised the funds for the ” Archway Gates “ and had them made and installed for Charleston Pioneer Cemetery.
Stopped the importing of RSO’s for profit and one of the founding members of the Lorain Neighborhood Watch Council and more all with funding from the public , in kind donations and volunteers.
The annual report for 2007 found us even busier http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/feature.shtml?f=292
researching the saving of Veterans Park in 2006- we found this now, City of Lorain, Charleston Village and Black River Township ( settlement) was actually going to celebrate its 200th anniversary. In order to keep record and history “straight ” we chaired and formed a Black River Bicentennial for August 2007- 140 volunteers and dozens of organizations came together. Proclamations speeches and all sorts of happening took place on that August Day, including the first of the carvings at Settlers’ Watch You can find photos of the events here:
Diane Medina and Charleston Village Society won the Lorain County Beautiful Award for the Charleston Pioneer Cemetery
Community Revitalization Award – Any projects that are community driven and impacts neighborhood revitalization such as: Habitat for Humanity or downtown revitalization Projects:WINNER Charleston Cemetery, Lorain
Annual Report for 2008
As always all funds designated for each project received 100% of that designation
2009 report found here –
I was away dealing with my own Annus Horribilis and the loss of my son who designed our logos, street signs and so much more , but the Co – chairs took on board my jobs and commitments as well as their own commitments.
We held the opening ceremony on August 1 2009 for Settler’s Watch
To Be Continued
The Hat has learned the group/ organization of Charleston Village started with neighbors sitting on a front porch 25 years ago having a glass or two of wine. Twenty one years ago that same little group had grown and volunteers worked for and received a 501C3 status. They quietly tried to improve the neighborhood, Lorain’s oldest neighborhood, worked with city government and sister societies.
2005 found the society front and center on more than one front. Our Annual Report ( with a hat tip to Queen Elizabeth the 2nd ) called Annus Horribilis ( Horrible Year)
Can it only have been a year ago, it seems so much longer for those of us that have been at the “front”? The winter of 2004-2005 was drawing to a close; it had been a long, long, snowy and cold winter. This organization was looking forward to spring.
Renee , our Portside Chairperson the head of the Lorain Litter Council was gearing up her volunteers for the “Adopt a Spot program”. Rich was involved in the fundraiser for the Lorain Arts Council, Tracy heading up the block watch program.
Diane was busy getting the cemetery on 6th street cleaned and archived and hopefully the start of a fundraiser to at last put in the entranceway and hardscaping for the resting place of Charleston Village’s Founding Fathers.
OUTCOME = Project accomplished archways and fencing installed headstones being refurbished a flag pole installed – history uncovered and the recipient in 2009 of Lorain County Beautiful Award and also Lorain County Historic Landmark Status. Project still ongoing
We were all looking forward to pursuing our particular interests when on a cold February night the first round of body blows- “The Shawnee Shame of Lorain”,
Pd article on the beginning of that fiasco can be found here
Cashing In Easter Shawnee article
or the giving away of our lakefront to sovereignty for slots. Months of research and becoming educated in all things to do with gaming followed. http://www.aproundtable.org/news.cfm?NEWS_ID=755&issuecode=casino
OUTCOME= We fought long and hard knowing this was not a well thought out “Plan” but one that would get the Mayor as he stated “to the table with the big boys” .
Tribal casinos are tearing apart the profitability of the existing CASINO business because tribes have no obligation to share profits with local communities or the state. Any agreements made today can be easily broken by
the tribes in the future.The only people who would profit from such an enterprise are a handful of Eastern Shawnee Indians in Oklahoma, the wealthy developers backing them and a Republican consultant named Terry Casey
It also came to naught- one because of “sovereign Land and another reason being National Capital One were “guilty of Securities Fraud “
and the ‘option on the Port Land had to be renewed – thankfully Lorain City Council now aware of what “sovereign land” and all the facts denied this option.
If that wasn’t enough April when we should have been looking past the showers to the flowers found us dealing with the question of “Blight” “Eminent Domain” and all that entails with the “development “ of our neighborhood. Could we lose our homes on Portside, our history? Meetings with planners, blight study officials, attorneys, other neighborhoods, even a trip to Washington.
THE OUTCOME- THE FIGHT FOR THIS (a bit of a politicians fiasco not only thanks to the Kelo Case can you blight a neighborhood for “private development” but the URDA could not exist with a CRA area which this area had been since 1979. Also even though Foltin had them review the area twice ( at what cost) it didn’t meet the percentage of blight) But it was a struggle found here in the posts Bill of Blights
Part One and Two
Bill of Blights 1&2
Bill of Blights Part Three
Bill of Blights Part three
May 2005. The assault of two young girls on their way to the Middle school on 6th street, found us knee-deep in crime statistics, RSO and meetings on how to make our community safer. Young people breaking into homes I broad daylight. The abandoned homes and vehicles making it “safe” for the perpetrators of such acts to do their worst. More months of research, meetings and discussions. Murders and shootings. All the while the Shawnee are planning to lead the parade!
OUTCOME: It too, like the original Charleston Village died aborning , although we had initial success well….. read for yourself in the following link and below the quotes from that link .
We partnered with various groups ( 40 individuals in a Community Safety Forum ) to focus on a target area in order to turn the tide such as the Pilot Program for Community Safety, eventually centered in South Lorain under Father Thaden .
However, that particular pilot program failed after an initial success . The approach was one that needed a five pronged approach for success , Lorain Police Dept, Lorain Building Dept ( City of Lorain) Clergy and Social Service Agencies Lorain City Schools , Community ( neighborhood) surrounding the target area at the center of which was Lincoln School.
Sub police station – Lorain City Police
Pre School – Lorain City School
Information and Referral – El Centro
Employment – El Centro
Financial Literacy/ Housing program – El Centro
Senior program – El Centro
Youth Leadership program – El Centro
OUTCOME = Once again the effort failed due to the lip service of the then City of Lorain Administration- Mayor Craig Foltin and the withdrawal of the Lorain City Schools bricks and mortar.
Then came the floods, people dying being trapped because of rising water that had nowhere to go. Basements filled with raw sewage. More research, meetings and discussions. Although it has to be said Charleston Village did not suffer the brunt of the floods, but will suffer the brunt of the “cure” should the latest plan be implemented. !
Project “Dry Basement” –
OUTCOME= ONCE AGAIN HARD QUESTIONS WERE ASKED AND ANSWERS WERE FOUND WANTING – this gave rise to the Wom Blog -THE PROJECT DIED A QUIET DEATH- NEW SEWERS AND SYSTEMS ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED
Our little historic park at risk of being bulldozed for private development started a whole new round of meetings, discussions, research, bad feelings and insults. CVSI wasn’t even aware (along with Lorain City Council) that these “plans” were being implemented. The shock and awe of “plans for progress”.
OUTCOME: We saved the Park and the process of who is who and who takes responsibility is still ongoing
The latest of course is the laying waste to our trees, 19 of them for a start on 2nd street, because First Energy is in our opinion technology challenged. A tree falls in Parma and the whole of the eastern seaboard etc is blacked out. The solution gets rid of the trees! More discussions, meetings and diatribe will be taking place on this.
OUTCOME = SETTLERS’ WATCH 2009
TO BE CONTINUED …………………
The Hat curious as to what all the fuss was about with this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood and now very attached to Frank checked out the information on the brochures desk. He found the “Guided Tour Book” and realized “he ” would be available ( if he stuck with Frank) to give guided tours :
The Hat (tip) to Frank Sipkovsky and the Outreach and Promotions Committee of Charleston Village Society- should you wish a guided tour and a walk through a “history of settlement ” please call 440-960-2301.
To be continued ……….
1st stop was the CVSI – Out reach and Promotions Committee
On Saturday, October 19th The Lorain County Preservation hosted Preservation Exhibition at the Black River Landing, 421 Black River Lane, Lorain, OH This is an opportunity to showcasing and learning about preservation activities that are occurring around the County.
The Hat was glued to Frank at this event in the mix of meet and greet :
2nd stop October 24th -2013
The Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College and “Lorain County Reads” with 14 other Historical Societies and guest speaker Neil Zurcher promoting his new book Tales from the Road
Frank was still hiding out in November once again at Black River Landing and this time the International trees display for Light Up Lorain under the auspices of the Lorain Tourism Council ( Lorain Growth Corp) The Hat tries many heads
The Hat soon learned a lot about what had been happening in this neighborhood over the quarter of century Charleston Village Society has been trying to preserve the history and quality of life of this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood
To Be Continued
BUT before he went he met up with The Captain -The Chair was a little worse for wear at this time – he had traversed the world of politics , been involved in erroneous media reporting and no one comes out unscathed even “The Chair”.
The Captain was just starting his journey primed and ready to take his place- only the place was not ready.
So ,instead of a few weeks, it was nearly a year. The Captain sat bleaching on the hot concrete in full sun and “exposed” to all of the elements , until finally his home on the shores of Lake Erie – Settlers’ Watch was ready
One last look at the Lighthouse and a Lake Erie Sunset – memories of what once was and The Chair is hopefully at peace………
But The Captain’s troubles were just beginning .
To Be Continued……….
Nine and a half decades- what a great deal of life – my mother- truly a living history. Her 90th was to be celebrated by us all but life, the stem cell transplants and the resulting loss of Chris negated that celebration of life lived well.
And now 5 years later another milestone.
The loss of her only grandson
was as she said the worst part of her life even losing just about every family member – brothers, sisters, mother, father, nieces and nephew could not compare. But through all these years my mum has kept her optimism, she forgives easily harms done to her and is a kind and gentle soul, never wishes ill of anyone.Her sense of family is to be envied!
What a remarkable story she has lived, the hundreds and hundreds of people all over the world that have been touched by knowing her , eaten her special cakes, pies and shared her home when they had none.
She says it is lonely getting to this age as all your peers ( bar one Uncle John who is 102)
are no longer around to share the memories of youth, of weddings, births, war and peace. My mum still makes me smile, holds my hand when I am crippled with my own grief, makes a brilliant cup of tea and knows when a smile and a touch of compassion is needed.
She wrote memories of her life for her granddaughter when she was just a wee bairn and more when Christopher was born-
What indeed is the truth about any of us? A question most difficult to answer. The world will never know our innermost life and thoughts even if someone were to write and read one hundred biographies. The main facts of our lives are known and are likely only to be known to ourselves alone. Not only are there facts we do not tell but some that we ourselves do not know.
At best some small facet of the truth will catch the light and that I suppose, is what we must seize for there is much virtue in truth. Truth has almost a mystical power, like radium, it seems to give off its own energy and light that goes on forever
The memories of life, people and times of her years of “living history” there for the generations to come:
So where is the Beginning of it all? Upon reflection and trying to summon up the very first picture, there is a faint imprint there in my mind. Can a child of three really retain, retell the event so many years on? Could I really see six or seven human forms lying on a mattress of black and white ticking strung between wooden frames? The box like shapes, the harsh sound of human retching the pungent smell of oil and vomit that unpleasant fragrance still is in my nostrils.
Some photo of that time with its sights and smells must have embedded itself forever in my mind. I can feel still the roll and the steady beat of a noise below. I was huddled, warmed and comforted by another little body next to mine. I can see my mother lying stretched out a short distance away from us; her long dark hair was damp and lying untidily on the pillow. I knew somehow that she was ill too. My father was on his feet; I see his arms with dark shapes and lines on them holding a cup to my mouth. He was telling me “drink this, you will feel better” then oblivion and I remember no more.
Many years afterwards I made the discovery that my first recollection was that I was in a cabin of a troop ship traveling home to England. The ship was bringing soldiers and their families, who had been serving in southern Ireland where the troubles had broken out after the close of the Great War.
We used to walk or skip our way from Devonshire Road, it was quite a distance, and no bus passes in those days. If for any reason we were fortunate enough to ride on the little red single-decker bus Renee and I used to try to sit behind the Nuns from St. Vincent’s. St Vincent’s was a Catholic school further down the road. We were fascinated with their dark somber garments, topped with this huge white-starched headgear, domed in the middle with great wide bat like wings framing their faces. Bus tickets, bits of string, chewed up pieces of rubber, paper clips, anything that could be found in a child’s pockets found their way into the folds of these hats. I have a suspicion that these paragons of virtue from the convent used to know exactly what we were up to. They never ever chastised us or even by the slightest flicker of their eyes acquainted us with the knowledge that they knew what we were doing.
Love and War -
On that dreadful Sunday Sept 3rd, 1939 when war was declared and we heard at 11:00 a.m. the first air raid siren, the whole road seemed to appear at their doorways quivering with the unreality and fear of the unknown. We had been told at the exchange to report to the nearest exchange in the event of an air raid warning. I recall running all the way up Hendon Lane to Finchley thinking I was going to have to help out the war, only to be told I wasn’t required!
We were at war and ahead of us we knew not “what! The first few months were unbelievably quiet. We were waiting with uncertainty and a touch of excitement as well. Everyone was holding his or her breath, I volunteered for a situation, not knowing what it would mean. In a few days I found out. I was to go to the Ministry of Information, which was temporarily housed at Senate House, University of London, near Goodge St. We had triple forms to fill out, swearing us to secrecy, never to divulge or talk about anything we might hear there. We reported to an ordinary looking switchboard. but what a difference when the sirens were sounded . Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building; this was called the war room. A big square room, around the walls were telephone boxes which were connect with a direct line to all the important ministries for example, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Ministry of Supply etc. etc. In each telephone box sat a high-ranking official who would be in communication with his respective Ministry. The censors and press officials were they’re sorting and sifting through thousands of reports coming in from all areas of Britain and the world. These people were tremendous and treated the operators extremely well.
Lord Reith had taken on the job of Minister of Information; he had been head of the BBC. Winston Churchill, who was then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, used to come through on his direct line “ Good Morning, give me the Minister please” short polite and always to the point. The town clerks and mayors of today in local council could well take a lesson from those gentlemen of yesteryear. Sir Walter Monkton was there; he was a good friend of the Duke of Windsor who was in France at the time. The Duke would call quite frequently to have a chat with his friend. I enjoyed my work immensely it was extremely busy especially if any kind of action, naval air or army was taking place.
A few years after the war along came me and her troubles ( according to some really started) As our lives unfolded moving to Canada – the friends an relatives grew- back to England and more and more people my mum gathered to her heart. Finally retirement and back across the pond to Lorain, Ohio. These years have seen some of her happiest and saddest.
She has seen the abdication of a King, experienced the Blitz and the rebuild, the death of another King and the crowning of a Queen. Mum watched a wall go up and a wall come down- results of the atomic bomb, gone from only having a battery operated radio to having the first television on the street, private telephones, airplanes and jets, computers and Ipads – governments that come and go, countries whose names have changed, the rise and fall of Russia/ Soviet Union. More than one war
and she has kept true to herself and to her family through it all. My mother has written “birthday poems” for special birthdays for all her family- she doesn’t forget –
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – FROM THE IST , 2ND AND 3RD GENERATION OF THOSE THAT LOVE YOU!!!!! AND JUST SO YOU KNOW – GAVIN AND BRAEDYN DECIDED YOUR PRESENT – WE ARE ALL GOING TO MUSICAL DISNEY!!!!
Dan Brady ‘s Blog
As part of the celebration surrounding this book, my blog this week will focus entirely on Willis Leiter – his life, his work and even his former home on East Erie in Lorain. Plus, more about the book!
Click on images to enlarge:
The cover and back cover of the book depicting Lorain in its heyday
A new book about Lorain will be going on sale Monday January 27th 2014, published by Arcadia Publishing
Lorain: The Real Photo Postcards of Wilis Leiter, $21.99 will be available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www. arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665. I believe locally you will be able to purchase the book through what was Black River Historical Society – now Lorain Historical Society-(440)245-2563 – they will also be holding a book signing in March
This is a collaborative effort by authors Albert Doane, Bill Jackson Paula Shorf, Bruce Waterhouse Jr., and Mathew Weisman-
“Bill Jackson and Paula Shorf are longtime collectors of Leiter real photos postcards. They joined forces with Lorain historians Albert Doane, Mathew Weisman, and Bruce Leiter Waterhouse Jr. – a great-grandson of the photographer” …..
“Between the years of 1908-1915, Willis Leiter carefully composed and skillfully developed images of life in early Lorain. The authors explain ” This is Lorain in its heyday- business booming, citizens marching in parades, streetcars traveling up and down Broadway and Willis Leiter was there capturing it all through his photographs.“
ED NOTE:For those who “remember” and care for Lorain and her history or wish to get to know this old town, her people and places this is a terrific publication – 128 pages of a time gone by and yet still captured in the pages and in the hearts of the authors and hopefully the readers .
Ed: Note all information is derived from the publishers Arcadia Publishing and Mary Margaret Schley- Publishing Editor