The History Park- 1812- 201 hundred years – a recorded city park – Veterans Park Lorain Ohio

May 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm 9 comments

ED NOTE_ I wrote this last year as the park now known as Veteran’s Park was celebrating 200 years as a recorded park- I am not sure why I didn’t publish at the time – maybe I was in one of my “dark places in my other world where apathy for this life reigns supreme” – I don’t know but as we are coming up to Pride Day and Memorial Day I would hope there is no apathy from any of us for this little green space –

Two hundred years a deeded city property since 1812 – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY????

I started, yesterday afternoon, to write the recent history of veterans Park aka settlement meeting space, Lorain Public Square, Washington Park and Veterans Park , Lorain Ohio. – Oh! how easy it would have been to have gone back to January 2006 archives on the WoM Blog and list the links but that has disappeared and with it a record of a fight by a community to hold what was deemed worthy.

In the closing months of 2005 the Foltin Administration along with Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff, Jon Veard and Morning Journal editor – John Cole, in their infinite wisdom, decided the historic park should be condos. Foltin and Co started the wheels in motion to make this little park unworthy of its heritage .

Mayor Foltin quietly stopped work and maintenance on the park so that after a period of months the park and its infrastructure started to rapidly deteriorate. The fountain no longer was turned on, said to have major problems ( which turned out later to be a false statement)- graffiti wasn’t removed – only the grass was cut – the vagrants were allowed to use it as John Cole’s editorial stated as a “piss park”. In truth Craig Miller the Safety Service Director told me the park would be “blighted”. Events happened when Jon Veard let the plans out of the bag prematurely and I, along with others, started fighting to stop this fiasco of finance.

It was a nasty fight pitting Veterans groups and the community- I was the subject of editorials and nasty letters , name calling and ridicule but we fought for that park.

Thankfully city council ( who had also been kept in the dark about Foltin and Co’s plans ) stepped in and saved the park. Foltin tried to say the pumps weren’t working on the fountain and it would cost thousands to repair, walls would have to be taken down this was not the case. He tried to use the veterans as a tool to sway city council . You can find the council minutes here …..
Minutes Vets Park City Council June 5th

I have been down this path once before – No more turning a deaf ear and a blind eye and doing just enough- The maintenance on the park, the safety of this park the heart of this oldest neighborhood, an integral part of the port area and Broadway development should be a showcase. People and organizations have cleaned painted and honored their citizens in this park for centuries . We have to stop the rot NOW!!

Children should play under those trees not have to worry about who is doing what disgusting thing , people should sit on benches without having to move bedding , I should be able to sit a listen to a fountain and smell the perfumed breezes of flowers not of human excrement . ( check comments after the previous post). This little park is in fact not very large , some “upmarket” properties have more land mass. It is manageable!
On the 7th of September 2006 I wrote – Silent Witness

Nothing but a place for deadbeats and bums!” “ It has outlived its purpose” There is nothing historical about that park!” The city can’t afford to keep it up” It is a “piss park!!Nobody uses it, it is worthless!

So said John Cole and his editorials

The year is 1807 Azariah Beebe and his wife becomes the first family to settle in Black River Township. Nathan and Horatio Perry erect a house at the mouth of Black River and open a store for trade with the Indians. The area begins to be known as the Black River settlement.

“Of the first settlers, some men walked the entire distance from Connecticut and other places, some rode horseback part way, sharing the horse with others. Some rode in ox carts; some drove oxen; some came part way by land, and the rest by water; some came on sleds in mid winter; some plowed through the mud of spring or endured the heat of summer, some had bleeding feet and some serious illness.

Sometimes it was a bride and groom who started alone; sometimes it was a husband, wife and children; sometimes it was a group of neighbors who made the trip. Children were born on the way and people of all ages died and were buried where they died.
But after they arrived, their experience was almost identical.

A removal into the depths of the Ohio woods, where a man was directly placed face to face with primitive conditions, brought him at once to the practical contemplation of his problem and the solution was in his own hands; food, shelter, raiment. Here was the earth, whose soil was to furnish bread and clothing, but it was covered with a thick growth of great trees to be removed before it could be planted. Their trunks and barks must be converted into houses.

A temporary supply of food was carried by the immigrant with him. In making his way to his purchase he pursued the trail that led nearest to it, and, with his ax, opened the rest of the way. The point gained, the same implement cut down and prepared the tree trunks for the first cabin, which the hands of the whole party, women and children as well, helped to place in the low crude walls of the primitive structure, while the bark of the basswood and elm made the cover. Doorless, floorless, windowless, chimneyless, the pioneer eagerly took possession of his cheerless cabin.

Thousands of them within 70 years were built and occupied in the Lorain woods. Men and women lived in them there; and children – all the elders of the new generation – were born in them. Death came in them there; and there young women became brides and dwelt the happy wives of happy husbands
Of all the dwellings in the woods, scarcely the site of one can now be identified.
Next to the erection of their own cabin, the most important event was the arrival of another family in the woods and the erection of their dwelling received the joyous help of every male within 10 miles of it
No one born of later years can comprehend the strength and warmth of the bands of sympathy and fellowship, which united the first dwellers in the woods in wide neighborhoods.”

A History of Lorain J.B. Nichols 1924

In the next 5 years the little settlement grows all the while they struggle the new nation continues the birthing process.

1807 UK Leopard fires on the US Chesapeake and impresses 4 men
1807 September 1 Burr is acquitted of treason
1807 December Congress passes TJ’s Embargo Act banned all US trade to keep it neutral. Failure. Manufacturing N benefited. S and shipping hurt bad
1808 US bans the slave trade
1809 March 1 Non-Intercourse Act. repealed Embargo, open trade but not with UK&Fr
1810 Macon’s Bill #2;if 1 country accepts US neutrality US would trade
1810 Napoleon falsely repeals the Berlin and Milan decrees
1811 November WH Harrison’s troops ambushed by “the Prophet”
1812 state of US troops: ~12000. Commanders political appointees, weak
1812 June 18 US declares war on UK
1812 July William Hull (US) tries to invade Canada. rooted. Hull sentenced to death for cowardice. Madison pardons
1812 August-December the US Constitution and United States win sea battles, raise morale
1812 December Madison reelected. (every wartime president has been reelected)
1812 December UK blockade of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays

and in the little settlement , now Lorain, Ohio, they also contribute to the founding of a country , of a state of a city
1808 Ferry charges across Black River: hog and sheep (each) – two cents; footman – six cents; man and horse – eighteen cents; loaded wagon and team – sixty cents; and all other carriages – thirty-seven cents. On July 22, 1808 local groups petition Geauga County Commissioners to have Lake Road continued on toward Sandusky. Lake Road is surveyed by Amos Spafford.

1810 John S. Reid arrives to build a house, then returns to Newburgh (near Cleveland) to get his family. Daniel Perry and family settle west of Black River in early March of 1810. The Shupe, Quigley, Lyon, Kelso and Seeley families settle in or near the Black River Settlement. On September 24,
1811 John S. Reid’s family moves to the area. William Martin establishes a farm, three miles west of Black River, on the little stream once called “Martin’s Run” (which runs through what is now Columbus Park). Quartus and Aretus Gilmore join the Black River Settlement.

1812 Edmund Gilmore and family move to Black River. Edmund Gilmore builds county’s first barn. John S. Reid is commissioned Postmaster for “The Mouth of the Black River Post Office”, October 23, 1812. John S. Reid builds the Reid House Inn and Tavern. John S. Reid builds a ferry opposite his block house. Judge Nathan Perry, Sr., (from Cleveland, Ohio) passes away while visiting his son, Nathan Perry in Lorain. Azariah Beebe and his family left the Black River Settlement, relocating on the Huron River to the West. John Lyon is born. He is the first White child born in the Black River Territory. On August 15, 1812 the news of Hull’s surrender to the British fans rumors of a British invasion of Ohio. A “War Scare” is started by a false report of the burning and capture of Fort Huron by Indians. A Militia post is established at Black River to ensure citizenry that they could safely return to their homes and cabins.

***1812 recorded Lorain Public Square (According to Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick, the park has been a part of the plat of Charleston since 1812. Since that time, the county records show, the park has remained property of the city. Morning Journal Jan19th 2006
Battle of Lake Erie
1813 Guns of the Battle of Lake Erie can be heard at Black River on September 10,

1813. Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) planted apple trees in this area and informed settlers of the results of the Battle of Lake Erie.

The decades roll by; those who form this community are born and die, are greeted and mourned, are forgotten or are remembered in the pages of dusty history books. They all contributed, those who sat beneath the trees, played in the grass, watched as horse and buggy gave way to automobiles.

All through the wars and trials and tribulations stood a little place of green, sometimes forlorn, sometimes beautiful and cared for and then in the year, 2006 insulted and deemed worthless.

This silent witness who cannot speak for itself and so has to rely upon the sons and daughters of those that now call this “settlement “ home. Those who see the beauty and the living green memorial to those who through the years have founded a Nation- The United States of America- silent yet in it’s own way a testament of all that has gone before.

Lorain will not have any “formal ” celebration this year of the Battle of Lake Erie , as will other lakeshore communities, but the City of Lorain and her citizens can at least make sure the little green space who witnessed America’s struggle in 2013 is worthy of remembrance

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lest we forget, Lorain's Magical History Tour. Tags: , , , .

May 3rd- The gift- Chris Ritchey Mother’s Day- 2013- Memories Made and Missed

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May 2013

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