History Mystery- one man’s tourism anothers flower bed

October 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm 22 comments

The original Civil War Soldier and fountain- Veteran’s Park
I find it a bit of a mystery as to the reasoning for neglecting one’s history .
The Tear Down
Granted here in the USA the history is fairly new as opposed to Britain, but if you take Britain for instance their history is fairly new as compared to the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians etc.
The Flower Bed– (which also didn’t last long………..)

Someone in their infinite wisdom decided to preserve, back in the day, the homes, buildings and yes, castles and even the ruins that make up British history.

In fact in Germany they went even further they rebuilt history. On that terrible trip up the Rhine it was disclosed the centuries old castles were actually rehabs of only about 150 years old

So there was not only a patriotic spirit, but also an economic incentive, behind the “reinterpreting” of castles in a romantic style. A few short decades later, Walt Disney made the fairy-tale castle his trademark, and (“authentic” or not) the rest is history.

What travelers see today is a muddle of Middle-Age bunker-mentality and 150-year-old romantic renovation, which also happens to be real.


WHY – money and tourism definitely came into play and thanks to the English heritage sites in Britain well those old “buildings ” are also doing their part for the economy

English heritage sites ‘thriving’

Pumping money into the historic environment of an area, such as public squares or old markets, can generate an extra £1.60 for every £1 invested locally, the report said.
It said investments over five years in 72 historic visitor attractions created 3,600 jobs and safeguarded 6,900 more, with each site generating almost £3m of additional expenditure.

The survey also found more than half of all foreign tourists visit a built heritage site during their trip, and a third say the attractions are the main reason for coming to the UK.

In total, 24.8 million adults visited two sites in England last year – up by more than a million in 2008.

I wonder how many of them are from Ohio? American tourists really love history as evidenced by the bus loads of them everywhere in Europe on any given day.

Photo Mark Teleha- For more of Mark’s photos of Washington DC
click here

Why do people go to Washington DC – certainly NOT to see the politicians me- thinks? No, it is the architecture and the events that formed a nation -its history- Gettysburg, Williamsburg etc- they come to see and touch and hear the stories.

But here in Lorain , there are just a small group of people trying their utmost to keep alive Lorain’s history.

I remember the first week I was here in Lorain, I had to go to city hall for some reason, we were living in a newly built apartment on the lake ( which has now become ……well………. not a place I would now choose to live). ( past its sell-by date)

As I passed the derelict hotel ( Antlers ) I saw this lovely little white cottage clapboard house, it was charming and I instantly fell in love.

Sketch by 11 year old G. Wickens ( Charleston Village) 1891I asked around and found out the land belonged to the city , now being young and romantic I thought

I could live in that house, it just needs work

I called the city and asked about the little house and would they be willing to sell it?


came the reply, this in a time when you could buy a decent house on the lake for much much less than $90,000.

A few weeks later the house was demolished. I have found out since it was one of the original Gilmore homes of the founding fathers of this community. And yes, it turned into a parking lot!

Thanks to “history boneheads” ( as coined by John Cole in an editorial when a group of us were trying to save Lorain 200-year-old public green space( known now as Veterans Park) ) I have found so many interesting places and stories of the history of this old town Lorain.

But they are disappearing faster than their worth is uncovered.

Why do people who will travel to Europe and DC not care their history is just as appealing.

Ironically listening to the discussion re building the new school at site three the “life expectancy of the new building is 75 years. “ The sell -by date already factored into the deal- worthless after 75 years.

I wonder if the builders of the past factored in a sell- by date when they built their schools. buildings were meant to last- to be there for generations- a monument to the skill of the architects, builders, homes meant to last for hundreds of years. Now we have the fast food of bricks and mortar ( mortar the MORT seems built-in doesn’t it?)
A neighborhood school in my old neighborhood ( one of which you may have heard Harrow – 1572) I wonder what date they factored in for its sell- by date? I don’t think it crossed their minds.

I have mentioned on more than one occasion the house of Captain Wilford, his story and that of his wife, Fanny and her relatives is fascinating. Michigan thinks so too, but his lovely home , now for sale and divided into apartments will probably go the way of his wife’s grandparents, that little white cottage clapboard house I so fell in love with.

And what of the house next door – Capt Gilmore’s house also landmarked- will it see its worth preserved?

How many other significantly “his/hers story” places and homes will never be available to future generation here in Lorain? Will Lorain’s history be nothing more than a few photographs on a computer disc stored in a building that has a “sell- by date” built in !

Capt. Flints house _ Gone-

Photo Mark Teleha
Indian Ridge Museum

I would put the adventure, the trials and tribulation, the stories of this area’s pioneers, and worthiness of the citizens of this community up against any , anywhere but why I am just one of the few who thinks so ( including government agencies, from the local to the state to the national level) is a mystery to me.

To those that have stayed the course for Lorain such as the – Black River Historical Society– Moore House Museum , Indian Ridge Museum and all their “volunteers” etc.

Thank you –

Entry filed under: Brit take, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lorain's Magical History Tour, personal opinion. Tags: , , .

An open letter – “Mama Sue” Lombardi LCS- Jim Smith- Letter

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grammy  |  October 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    When we first returned to the east side of Lorain to live, there was abeautiful “older” home on the corner of Idaho Avenue and East Erie Avenue. A stately older home with so much character. (I thought someone told me once it was the home of a founding family.) Anyway, along comes progress, it was purchased and torn down to make way for an eyesore apartment building that has gone from bad to worse. I wish it was still there, it was so very charming.

    To lose our past is to lose ourselves.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Probably Grammy……. the reason the Charleston Cemetery was covered over was also for progress…….. they ignored their own creed in doing so…..

  • 3. Mark  |  October 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Well put, Loraine and, as always, thanks for using the pics!! Much appreciated!!

  • 4. Dennis Lamont  |  October 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Streetcars & Interurbans have been gone for 72 years. Whats a streetcar ??? Whats an Interurban ???Why is there a steel plant in Lorain ??? What is Jaybird ??? Why is there a South Lorain ??? What was the Oberlin Avenue Belt Line ??? Who was Arthur Moxham ??? What did Pierre DuPont have to do with Lorain ??? Find a photo of Max Suppes ??? Why is Penfield Junction ??? Who was Dolores ??? Green Line, Yellow Line ???

    BTW It was interesting to hear 75 years for a school building when the active life of a shopping center is 15 years. Remember this is a throwaway society (and not recycle either)

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 18, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Actually I can answer some of those and it isn’t even my history …….. 😉

    Is there a street car named “desire” 🙂

    and where do the swamp lillies grow?

  • 6. Renee Dore  |  October 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    At best our heritage and historical sights will be chronicled in a book someplace for people to take off a shelf or out of a drawer and look at. seems as so . I could type and type on this subject, too. Our lakefront transformation will soon be almost what the pioneers discovered- a blank “slate” to begin a new horizon for themselves. There is no recall to the shipbuilding days, the industrial days -a time when our city was important not to just here and Ohio but to the world.

  • 7. Renee Dore  |  October 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    It’s diffiucult care about something you know nothing about.

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    It seems Jim Smith is concerned that the new buildings won’t even last 40…. let alone 75 years…. ya think it is a built in insurance when we do these things .

    (well it isn’t permanent ( the decision whatever it is) and we can revisit our decision in the next few decades in case we made a “balls- up” this time around 😦 )

    Jim said
    ” I do not know where the 75 years comes from but the school buildings recently built, and those under construction, have a planned life of 40 years. Some already have leaking roofs and falling plaster. I doubt they will even last 40 years.”

    If you want to add my comments to your web site be my guest.

    Jim also said
    We are a throw away society and one day our society will also fade into history with nothing left standing to show that we were here. How sad!

    How sad indeed ….. not even 3 score years and 10 just 2 apparently

  • 9. Dennis Lamont  |  October 18, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    “and where do the swamp lillies grow?”

    My favorite place to stay in Lorain! right across the swing bridge to Glens Beach for roller skating.

    ‘Tis a shame but most of the school buildings in the 60s were built with almost flat roofs and require constant maintenance, on the other hand they are easy to demolish and would never be missed. I don’t think the way we teach , what we teach and how we teach it will survive anyhow. When I think of the screamers …. we didn’t need all that junk when we went to school…. I think how obsolete the old buildings (and the screamers) are.

  • 10. Mark  |  October 18, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    The house you referred to in the sketch, looks like the one at the corner of Hamilton and 4th.

    Did I win???

  • 11. Grammy  |  October 19, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Sounds like the old school buldings we had torn down we better off then the replacements we got. Seems lots of us tried to tell them that in the beginning, before they tore down historical buildings. What a shame that our investment in the latest and greatest buildings that would increase scores are already leaking and not giving us the promised results.

    So sad . . .

  • 12. Grammy  |  October 19, 2010 at 1:13 am

    “were better off”

  • 13. Carolyn  |  October 19, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Great article Loraine. We don’t know who to talk to anymore about saving these historical builidings. They sit idle for so long with no attention and then they say too costly to repair–tear it down. The Broadway Building–hotel will be the next victim. So much history lost already. So sad because like you said history is a tourist attraction but very few in Lorain want to agree with that statement.

  • 14. Dennis Lamont  |  October 19, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “So sad because like you said history is a tourist attraction but very few in Lorain want to agree with that statement.”

    My blood pressure rises when I hear politicians promise jobs, jobs, jobs when they are dreaming of big industries appearing out of nowhere paying thousands. At my presentations I show a press release from Kenosha County, WI stating that in 2006 the tourist business was worth over 200 Million Dollars….and yet Lorain keeps throwing opportunities away (or tearing them down). All the resources are there and very few see them!

  • 15. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Mark NOPE that is not the one keep looking 🙂

  • 16. thatwoman  |  October 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    and they put up a parking lot…………… sigh

  • 17. Renee Dore  |  October 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Has anyone been to the refurbished Gordon Square area on the near west side of Clevleand?? It’s around w. 65th and Detroit Ave. There’s a very nice restaurant on w 65th st called StoneMad. It was an old Italian club-from the last century- must be 100 yrs old. very nice now. I think there needs to be a core area downtown including a few immediate side streets developed- from w. Erie to about 6th st to start. might be good to try at first

  • 18. Dennis Lamont  |  October 20, 2010 at 11:54 am

    We have relatives that live in the condos on W69th overlooking Edgewater Park. They have a wonderful neighborhood setting with a lot of amenities within walking distance. Thru the tunnel to Edgewater Park, they love it! If you cruise the streets along the lake front just about everywhere that has a view of the lake has a new residential something on it. HINT HINT
    Sad about the Harborwalk Auction.

    Harborpark Kenosha WI
    this is a place that was visited by LPA, CD & others …we have watched this place grow into a 250 million dollar waterfront development that is still expanding. Great Downtown brought back to life ….Commuter Rail, everything connected by streetcar. 100% public access to water. Historic District, two great museums, lighthouse, waterfront festivals, pride of place, the whole schmear !

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October 2010

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