Revisit Lorain and her women

August 20, 2008 at 10:49 am 3 comments

by Loraine Ritchey
The CRA people are talking and I am glad , although it seems the litigation duo of Chandra and Stewart aren’t- well we aren’t surprised are we?? It means I can start thinking about Lorain of old in Olde Lorain and the people who came here because the enticement wasn’t a 15 year tax abatement but land , freedom and place to call home.

The summer heat has really got to me this year, I spend hours just watering the plants, wearing as little as decently possible, make-up non existent- as it washes away in the torrents of water that rush down my forehead. My mind wanders to the women of this settlement , they had no airconditioning to run into to escape the heat, chores could not be put off as it was the only time they had to get ready for the coming winter and their very survival depended upon their work in the summer months.

If I am not talking to Misty then I am talking to the hose – I hate hoses, they are either too heavy or they tangle and I am forever having to undo the kinks, griping and moaning to this green “animate” object ( as if it really would be listening to me any more than Misty does) has been one of my behaviours this summer. Then shamefaced I remember in the not so long ago the women who frequented this village had more to put up with than I .

Lorain had no waterworks in those days, and water was carried from the lake,often a distance involving miles, and this was the work of the women.


Their dress was hot and restricting and how they managed this added burden to their lives I cannot possibly imagine, let alone how they remained sane with the course itchy fabric and mosquitoes. I find them to be absolutely heroic and remarkable. So as I head for another early night of “pjamas” and a cool ice filled drink to keep me company maybe Mrs. Root’s words deserve to be read once more

In Early Days – by Mrs. H.G. Root

Having promised to tell you something of this busy little city in its past fifty or sixty years, I can only rely upon memory for facts which may interest you in the telling

If we had only known in those long gone years that our little village of three hundred souls would become this beautiful ”Queen City” of the Lakes we might have kept a correct record of her most wonderful development, for we may forget things we will wish we had remembered.

There are not many of us left to tell the story of our quiet village like, of how we lived and loved, how we rose to eat, and toiled and slept that we might rise and eat and toil and sleep again – for that truly seemed to be our daily life in those quiet days.

There was not the rush and hurry of the present time. The little village seemed to lie in stupor waiting for the great moving hand of time to arouse her into life.

Not that there was not life and in interest of in every day but things were so different then. One can hardly think that such change could come in fifty or sixty years as this small city has seen. Please go with me as memory takes us back to our earliest years in the little village of the Black River.

This is the same old Lake Erie, which is tonight tossed and lashed into fury by the winter winds, by which we merry children played, gathering the shells or hiding our little brown feet in it’s shining sands, the same spot of earth we knew as our happy home then, but Oh! how changed.

Our little village lives only in memory, in its stead there stands a thriving busy little city known and spoken of from he Great Lakes to the Gulf, her industries giving employment to thousands.

From its earliest history Lorain harbor has been a shipping and shipbuilding point. My first memory is of the big side wheel steamer which was built on the east side of the river, know known as Gawn’s Beach, where the fish house stands today.

The steamer was built in the fall and winter of 1844 by W.A. Jones and named the ”Hendrick Hudson”. This was not the first steamer by any means built at this harbor, but the first I remember personally, and we little folks thought her wonderful. There is a record of boats built as far back as 1818

Entry filed under: city of lorain, history.

Paula Ponders- Iron Ore Pellets Muley has an update on Firefighter John Volak

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. renee dore  |  August 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Great comparison story Loraine!! I think the women of the old settlement era have gotten more press in the past year than ever in the History of this city and deservingly so. Their men would be off building and sailing ships and there they’d be- toiling at home in conditions so well described. And your right- the mosquitos. They must have been horrible here because the Black River area was very swampy so it’s said.
    Yes- when we think we have it tough- read a story or two about the women who helped sustain this area 150 years ago. Oh- have to go – the dryer stopped- don’t want wrinkles in the clothes. Renee Dore

  • 2. John Kovacs  |  August 20, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Wonderful article. On the link to the original posting there was a comment about 7th grade history class and spending time learning about the city. I remember that class myself, having gone to Whittier Junior High School from 1975-1977. I have a copy of the actual book used to teach the class – it’s a spiral bound manuscript. If anyone is interested, I could scan it and e-mail it – just give me some time.

    They don’t teach much history at all in school anymore and I think it is a crying shame.

  • 3. A revisit- How will we answer? « That Woman’s Weblog  |  April 20, 2009 at 12:02 am

    […] Root’s article has been published by me on two occasions but I think a reminder may be due as we go into the 175th year of Incorporation and take our […]

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August 2008