Archive for July, 2013

Veterans MEMORIAL Park- “Faulty Memory”

Washinton ave park one

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge

Part One \

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

We once again fast forward back in time to the late 1970″s early 1980″s when it seems after the “renaming of Washington Avenue Park- to Lorain Memorial Park ” .
Mr. Jack LaVriha, the associations he headed and the various affiliated organizations went back to the then city administration and the council to “fix up” the park.

ED NOTE: We are still searching for dialogue and correspondence from that era.

But according to the Plain Dealer article July 16th 1990 ( more later on that article)
it states:

1970s' quote

How did we get to the Plain Dealer article of 1990- with Jack LaVirha -just 5 short years after hundreds of thousand of dollars were spent- calling the park


In 1983 the first “emergency ordinance” we have found so far states:

ordinance 1983 res

Not to exceed “$170.000
Full PDF file found here

The “news” paper trail starts here : Chronicle Telegram
Sept 13 1983 and then a week later
Sept 20th 1983 cropped

NOTE: Somewhere in between 1966 renaming of Washington (Ave) Park to Lorain Memorial Park , the ordinance in January of 1983 still calls the park “Washington Park”- the September 13th newspaper account refers to the name as Veterans Memorial Park

Erie ave Washinton park one

So the question then begs to be answered when was the official name change???? May 22nd 1984 finds yet another article and more money?

PDF file of newspaper found here

MAY 22 1984
May 194

and then it starts to get interesting that amount of no more $170,000.00 is growing like topsy and the blame game starts :

From the Chronicle Telegram : June 26th 1984 PDF file found here JUNE 26 1984

June 1984vets

City Council members are angered by the amount of time it has taken to rehabilitate the park, and also are discouraged with the Lorain Veterans Council for Civic Improvements, which originally said it would help finance construction. But according to Safety Director Anthony Murello, also a member of the veterans group, the council believed the city had the necessary funds for the completion. “We were led to believe by Frank Mason (former Community Development director) that we had all the money,” Murello said.
HE SAID that the veterans were told this during a public meeting in March 1983, adding that the meeting’s minutes can- not be found. Murello said the park’s condition should be blamed not only on the veterans, but also on the former City Council and Mason

ED Note Frank Mason was the Community Development Director during the early 1980’s due to the firing of Sanford Prudoff

July 3 1984: The Chronicle Telegram once again follows the story – PDF file found here JULY 3 1984

July 3rd 1984

But Skimin believes Council was “had” by the Lorain Veterans’ Council for Civic Improvements, a group of men who originally said they would help finance the park. “I think it ought to stay there as some sort of monument of Council being gullible,” he said. “What we heard from them was not true.” Skimin believes that because council was “had” it should investigate why a promise “never came true.”
OTHER COUNCILMEN agreed with Skimin, saying they do not like to see so many federal dollars going toward a park with the veterans’ name on it. Ross was the only one who supported Skimin with a vote, saying “It should be called Block Grant or Community Development park.”

ordinance 6th5 1985

In May of 1985 yet more money was given to the park and to the Vets Council yet another $50 thousand


ED NOTE: Once again thanks has to go to Dan Brady for all the newspaper articles and to Nancy Greer ( Clerk of Council) for the ordinances and minutes


July 31, 2013 at 11:11 am 3 comments

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- The Veterans Council speaks


Part One \

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Once again it is with thanks to Dan Brady and his research as to the not so “swinging sixties” for what was up until this time Gilmore/Reid , Public Square, Washington Avenue Park ( Washington Park )
Dan Brady wrote about the World War Two Monument here
and what happened to the World War Two Honor Roll in the mid sixties

Not only were changes being made in the park it seems Jack LaVriha in his capacity of Chairman of the Lorain Memorial Association disagreed with an objection at a public hearing on changing the name of Washington (Ave) Park to LORAIN MEMORIAL PARK- he stated the Lorain Memorial association was comprised according to him of 14 Veterans Association , auxiliaries , churches schools, patriotic organizations and of the 5,000 veterans had 100% backing to change the name and that is apparently what happened according to the minutes


(Ed Note – Once again thank you to Nancy Greer Clerk of Council for her help in tracking down these minutes. Unfortunately we cannot seem to find the next name change ordinance a fact we will explore in Part 7)

So in 1967 a new monument to those who served in “ALL WARS” was erected with much respect and ceremony.
Courtesy of Dan Brady

How sad that same monument is being allowed to be used as a urinal a few decades later –

ED NOTE:where are the Veteran’s organizations, churches , schools and patriotic organizations today????

Jack LaVriha

And now we moved on to the next decades where there was much ado and much money involved……… and at the center of this movement was Jack LaVriha and the various organizations …..

July 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm 1 comment

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- history tear down

park 1937
Original photo of arial view 1937 courtesy Dan Brady

Part One :

Part Two:

Part Three:

Thanks to the research of fellow blogger Dan Brady and his interest in the “civil war statue and fountain ” we know what happened to George Wickens “Pride”.

The fountain was still a feature in 1908

However roll on a couple of decades and this :

tear down

and they were so “proud” of what they had done-


The poor old soldier went on being “spruced up” through the 50’s – in 1951 and 1959- and some bright spark painted him –

civil war collage and not to be outdone local vandals decided that since someone had already stolen the rifle he should be holding something so literally a “babe in arms”


ED NOTE – Please read Dan Brady’s posts on the Park and the soldier for the rest of the story.

Needless to say eventually we were left with “nothing but a flower bed”. But in 1964 the Veterans Council started to take an interest…….

You can also find the story of the disappearing and appearing monuments on Dan’s blog
VP6 Daughters of Union Veterans monument

Sadly now, in a forlorn little “public square of “memory” , is an urn which once stood near to where the fountain once stood, – erected by the Daughters of the Union in 1930- it stands still today a little unkempt but someone cared to plant flowers. The little urn is the only remembrance left of a civil war and of General Quincy Adams Gilmore ( yes! son of the same family who first gave part of their acreage to a little settlement on the river for a public square and whose homestead is now Lakeview Park) is only remembered in letters posted upon this blog

Sorry George !


July 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm 1 comment

Veterans MEMORIAL Park- The Englishman commeth


Part One :
Part Two:


Dan Brady of Brady’s Bunch Blog did a series of articles on George Wickens and Veterans Memorial Park and they can be found here


George was an “Englishman” born south of London in a town called Basingstoke. Maybe he brought with him the Englishman love of gardens, order, culture, and “class” . Who knows? I would like to think his background had something to do with the fact he “noticed things and did something about them”- Pride Day back in the Day- attributable to George Wickens

“If the suggestions of the board of trade are carried out, Lorain will have regular days set apart each fall and spring as holiday clean-up days. Health Officer Hug, at the meeting last night spoke of the necessity of such a move. “To those who have occasion to pass the alleys and back yards about the city it becomes at once apparent that the conditions are decidedly unsanitary, unsightly and very offensive to aesthetic natures.

AH the precursor of Lorain Pride Day!!!!

ED: NOTE- We could be speaking about TODAY in Lorain- OH GEORGE WHERE FOR ART THOU GEORGE?

Clean-up days was a hobby with George Wickens, and a mighty good one, too, and I think it would be an advisable thing to have the city carry out his suggestions. Clean-up day should become a regular institution each spring and fall.””

The suggestion by Dr. Hug was to be presented as a resolution to Mayor King. ED NOTE: OH NO! I WONDER WHAT GEORGE AND MAYOR KING WOULD SAY TO THE STATE OF MAYOR KING’S HOUSE ?????


In May 1901, Lorain’s Public Square was a weedy, unkempt mess – and George Wickens, the former mayor and now a member of City Council, was unhappy about it. As reported in mid-May in the Lorain Times-Herald, Wickens stated that the park was a disgrace to the city, and he felt that it should be fixed up before the Fourth of July. At Wickens’ urging, a motion was passed by City Council to take money from the park fund to accomplish this goal.

Work began on the Public Square at once. The grass was mowed, and plans were prepared by Chief Engineer Loofbourrow for paths to be built, curving from each corner of the square and meeting at the bandstand in the center.
STATUE_sm copy

The soldiers monument and fountain
as it appeared in the J. L. Mott catalog

But Wickens thought something else was needed for the Public Square: a fountain. He began to try to get Jason B. Hoge, a former resident of Lorain (and later a director of the Lake Shore Electric Railway Company) to donate one. Hoge was about to order a fountain when the Lorain Post of the Grand Army of the Republic made it known that they wished to combine the fountain with something they also felt was needed: a soldiers monument.

Mr. Hoge offered to contribute one quarter of the amount of a fountain and soldiers monument costing not more than $1,000. The balance of the sum would have to be raised by the citizens of Lorain and turned over to the G.A.R. for the actual purchase.

It took a summer-long community effort to raise the money, but the fountain was finally ordered from J. L. Mott Company.

With much fanfare and an onlooking crowd of 5,000, the combined soldiers monument and fountain was dedicated on the Public Square on Labor Day, September 2, 1901.

Oh Dear George and what do you think they did with your idea?

Part four to be continued…….

Note thanks to Dan Brady for the use of his jpgs.

July 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm 6 comments

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park-A pictorial reminder- today

As I am without my personal computer for a few days – yes I have blown through another one! I am without my files so part three of the series “An Englishman Cometh” is on hold until I can access my information. However, this picture thanks to Lisa Miller of Busters House and Lorain 365 Blog says it all.

One has to wonder looking at this photo objectively why spacers were put in and the damage left? I will ask! The juxtaposition of City hall and the park in this photo speaks volumes. Readers will realize, I hope, as we go through the centuries the story, how this little park and the various inhabitants of city hall are intertwined. In fact how the city’s fortunes reflect upon this little green space-

Over the weekend the park once again hosted as community gathering – did they see what the camera sees and what did they think? Part three will continue as soon as the files are back in the meantime I present a picture of Veterans Memorial Park- ( REMEMBER???? as Public Square evolved into Veterans Memorial Park)

July 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm 5 comments

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- the Name Game


pioneer wester resv

1807- the beginning……..

This little park – Lorain’s first public square/ meeting place was so designated back in the days of settlement

” The Connecticut Western Reserve was land claimed by the Colony of Connecticut from 1662 to 1800 in the Northwest Territory in what is now mostly part of northeastern region of the U.S. state of Ohio. The Reserve was granted to the Colony, by King Charles II.

The western end of the reserve included the 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) Firelands or “Sufferers Lands,” reserved for residents of several New England towns destroyed by British-set fires during the Revolutionary War.”

Under the Harrison Land Act in order to attract settlers west smaller tracts of land were made available to settlers, more affordable.

As these settlers arrived they set up their communities along the lines of the “New England” towns they had left- beginning with a “communal town square” or “public square”.

This acreage once cleared was beneficial for calling gatherings together of the settlement , punishment ( the stocks) and usually consisted of a building for use for meetings, worship, schooling etc.

This is how our little public square came to be born into suffering” apparently and suffers still” , cut out of the wilderness. Two of the early founding families the Gilmore and Reid who donated part of their acreage for the little public square.

1812 the “public square” was deeded as a public square/park

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 Jan 19th 2006

In 1834 this little tract of land became the birthplace of Lorain ( then Charleston Village )

public square Charleston Village went through a lot of problems, greed and land speculation caused her shame and downfall – so much so they wanted to wipe her off the map-
Do You Deja V5

“during the interim of filing for a proposed nameless town site and that of the Village of Charleston, three years later. This feeble infant was born under an unlucky star, lingered to the end of the Dawn Era (1871 approx), 35 years later then died of inanition“

It was in 1834 that the Ohio Legislature granted a franchise to build and operate a railroad from Painesville to Sandusky .

Accutated by the viewpoint that no community along this projected line had better facilities for lake or inland traffic than this almost unknown settlement at the mouth of the Black River , it must appear quite plain why the county surveyor was procured to dot this patch of woodland with stakes and the plot recorded as being in anticipation of commerce” J.J Meyers

In 1815 you could buy an acre (including lake front) for $3.25 per acre but just 20 years later due to land speculation regarding the coming railroad, was going for $1,000.00 an acre.

The Elyria Republican (N.B. Gates) states that in 1836 State Engineer Dodge came in from Coshocton

“As the engineers came down real estate went up …. All the Black River clerical force was again employed writing land contracts…. We all dabbled in city lots more or less, and nearly everybody in Black River and a good many in Elyria got rich – on paper- in a very short time. H.C Stevens claimed to be worth half a million- in fact we were all rich”

In 1836 the village was honored by the legislature with a corporation charter by the name of Charleston and in the spring of 1837 the first and only charter election under that name was held. (page 213 History of Lorain County, Ohio)

The Ohio Railroad scheme resulted in total failure for this community. Such was the shame attached to such speculation that the people wished to revert back to the name of Black River and to thereby blot from record and memory the event.

Major Hammond wrote in the Black River Commercial
“It (Charleston) died without a struggle. It’s hotels were practically closed, it’s merchants departed, it’s warehouse were almost given away to farmers for barns and fences, and even it’s corporate organization was abandoned; it’s name blotted out by common consent, and it’s memory placed in the category of western paper city failures

But two hundred or so souls continued to gather around the public square and her port to eke out a living .

1874 found the “blighted Charleston Village” renamed and incorporated under the name of Lorain
reed house

We will fast forward now “back in time” to 1877 According to the ordinance posted at the post office at Reid’s – the newly incorporated -Village of Lorain – decided it was time for a clean up of “Public Square

It seems the village council decided to appropriate the princely sum of $10 dollars for improvements to Pubic Square = the funds to be used for plowing and grading and to be done under the supervision of the Committee of Public Buildings and Improvements.

1877 ordinance

The members of council in 1877 decided that if they were going to appropriate 10 dollars for the improvements they were not going to have the public square used and abused violators would be charged THREE TIMES THE AMOUNT OF THE COST OF IMPROVEMENTS !

They were no longer allowing ( without council consent ) the citizens hitch ox and horses to wagons , the exhibition of merchandise or agricultural implements etc. etc.

10 dollars in 1877 would be worth approximately $222 in today’s money not a lot! However, the fine of $30.00 would be he equivalent of $666. Wow hefty fine even at today’s prices.

So it seems even the newly incorporated Village of Lorain had an issue with spending tax payers monies for improvements and held accountable those same taxpayers to keep the Public Square to a standard !


ED NOTE.. many thanks to Clerk of Council – Nancy Greer for her help in finding these and other ordinances and minutes.

To Be Continued

July 17, 2013 at 11:37 am 11 comments

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- a neglected disgrace AGAIN!


Part One:

What is it about this park the citizens , government and even the veterans ( who claim this space, at least by the signage) continually let this oldest park in Lorain, the place from whence Lorain was “born”, become so forlorn time and time again? She has a history, this first and only remaining public green space from “days of settlement) 1807

This little park, who should be taking pride of place in a downtown shows the unhealthy attitude of decay and dereliction with just a few sparks of her former glory just as the buildings of downtown we are exploring.”>

public square

This park the first town square- public meeting place- the living part of Lorain’s history. This park should be like a polished gemstone of culture pride and longevity . She is the icon of how this community struggled from 1807 .

When in 2006 Jon Veard, Sandy Prudoff, Craig Foltin and John Cole wanted to rip her guts out and put up “Condos for Cole” I, along with others, fought for her. At the time Cole’s main argument was she had become a “piss park”.

“On the 7th of September 2006 I wrote – Silent Witness
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

It seems the usage of Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park has once again been allowed to deteriorate.

Under the Krasienko Administration I walked through the park with Service Director Gilchist , we were assured the benches would be taken care of , the park always ready for events such as Lorain International- Concerts in the park , Light Up Lorain etc. but the benches and the lighting never did get fixed…WHY???

This pride of historical place was being used as recently as September 2012 as an example of what we didn’t consider a good fit for our downtown with the addition of a Family Dollar store on its east corner-

Can you imagine my chagrin and shame walking the representatives through the park explaining how “their design would not make good planning and design and therefore not a good fit” for this historic park when I saw what they were seeing the benches, the graffiti, the damage , the vagrants who had gathered for their evening slumber party ?

This bench is NOT an example of the ‘SHABBY CHIC” Design
VP4 weathered bench

As for the rather “dangerous” what is left of the light poles VP11 light post 1

well we could turn them into planters I suppose


I was ashamed I had to defend her past glory to these gentleman who obviously were taking into account the neglect and destruction they were seeing as we walked along as I was babbling about history and its worthiness. I could see by their faces they were probably putting me into the same category as John Cole once did. “history bonehead”

I am going to explore how we got to this shameful place – it seems one group or another over the centuries have had “ideas” and we will start with the most recent history and work back

vets sign
The Veterans Council in 2006 wanted to walk away and head on down to Black River Landing . You see they took ownership at one time but in 2006 with wheeling and dealing behind the Foltin curtain said

“no we don’t want the park anymore , Veard will move our monument and you can have the park for condos.”

The Veterans Council at that time seemed to forget they were not the “owners” of that green space; we the community of Lorain , the government of Lorain who were given the responsibility of her but back in the day when Washington Park was renamed ” Veterans Memorial Park” there were “promises made” which we will explore . Are we sitting comfortably – then we will begin……

***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 Jan 19th 2006

Minutes from City Council at the time of the “dismantling” for Condos for Cole-
Minutes Vets Park City Council June 5th

Given: I received a few emails this week regarding Veterans Park across the street. Residents of Charleston Village still believe the administration or other parties are still involved in conversations to demo the park or sell it off to outside interests. I would like to hear comments on that and also have an explanation on why the fountain has not been turned on.

MAYOR FOLTIN: Did you get the letter I sent to the rest of Council a few weeks ago? It summarized it and I will paraphrase it for the audience. It isn’t in the city’s hands now, there has been no formal proposal brought to us. The Veteran’s Council, if they like what is being worked upon with Mr. Veard, then Mr. Veard at the appropriate time will bring it to this Council for some discussion. Unless I hear anything different from them, it is going to be as it is. I probably will contact the Veterans Council, they meet the third Thursday of the month and after that meeting I will call President Work and see what direction they feel they are heading. If they do not feel it is even worthy to discuss with Mr. Veard and present to Council, then we will come to Council to fix the fountain. There are some pumps broken at a cost of $20,000 and we will move forward with the cost of fixing the pumps, we didn’t want to move forward with that if there was any chance of discussion about switching of Veterans Park.

MR. GIVEN: This Council unanimously made a decision with comments that we would under no circumstances entertain giving that park to Mr. Veard or any developer. It was also clear during that conversation that although we call that park Veterans Park, it is still a city park. If the Veterans choose to pick up their monuments and move them down the road, that would be fine and we would assist them in any form or fashion we could. However, that park would still exist as a city park open as green space for all the public to use. To have any conversation that any plan would be sufficient for us to move forward, I think is misleading to all parties involved especially since this Council voted unanimously to not allow anything to happen to that park.

MRS. TAVENNER: As Chairman of Parks Recreation Committee, a unanimous vote was taken. It is Veterans Park but is also is a city park. We heard the cry from the community and they don’t want that park rezoned, changed, sold, etc. and want it to remain a city park. I think the administration or who ever is working on this should stop it or nix it now. We have spoken and I don’t think this Council will change our stance on this matter.

MR. SCHUSTER: As Vice Chairman, I also support her sentiments and my vote will also be no.

MR. EDWARDS: We took a stand and if he wants to lead the developer down the road it is up to him. If he wants to bring it back to us – it is dead before it even gets started.

MR. GIVEN: To end this conversation, since Council is stating we will not allow the park to not exist, I would like to hear the Mayor’s position on how he will get that fountain running. It is my understanding it is not a fountain issue, it is a waterline issue.

MAYOR FOLTIN: It is a plumbing issue. I believe there is money in the Parkland Trust and I think we discussed it last year. I do want to at least give the respect to our Veterans Council and ask if that is in fact their choice. If they want me to present the case to you, I respect the Veterans Council for all they do in this community and I would do that for them. Before we go forward and fix the fountain, I will make another contact with the Veterans Council and if they feel strongly they would like this proposal to come before you and have them plead their case, I will do so. However, if they are content and do no foresee that happening, I will fix the fountain.


MR. GIVEN: Mr. Foltin, I think one thing you need to take back to the Veterans Council is that City Council does not agree with the dismantling of that park. That was Washington Avenue Park prior to calling it Veterans Park and putting in the fountain. If the Veterans wish to have their park somewhere else, that is fine and we will try to assist them in their endeavors. However, Washington Park in its current fashion will continue to exist under the auspices of City Council. If you are going to take anything back to them, you should take that back.
MR. EDWARDS: I ask that the Mayor get his repairs for the fountain to Council so we can look at that. It is still our park regardless if the Veterans move out or not and we must repair it.
MAYOR FOLTIN: I think everyone is in agreement they want the fountain fixed and it is under $25,000 threshold and money is appropriated in the Parkland Trust. Let me talk with the Veterans Council and we will get right on that if they do not want to pursue.

MR. GIVEN: I don’t understand your rationale but will let it go since I do not feel I can clear that up with you this evening. About the fountain, it is my understanding it is not the park or the pump, it is the waterline. If that is the case, I don’t think we should pull money from Parkland Trust, it is a utility function. Before we fix it, this Council would like an unbiased view of what the cause of the problem is.

MR. MILLER: The $20,000 was a quote from a local plumber to subcontract out the work. We reviewed the blueprints with the water distribution department. The problem is on the wall closest to the Antlers and West Erie. About 12 feet down is plumbing and it has settled down and come apart from the outer joints and is leaking. In order to repair it, it looks as if we need to remove an entire section of that concrete, dig down, raise the plumbing up, and redo it. I hope that we can pick up that wall, put it back, and do it in-house. I don’t know if we can and may end up subcontracting it out. I hope that the $20,000 is a good price but I wish to be clear on what the problem is and we will obviously do it the best and most economical way we can.

Moved by Mr. Given, supported by Mr. Schuster and Mrs. Tavenner, to authorize the Clerk to forward a copy of these minutes to the Veterans Council to allow them to better understand City Council’s position on Veterans Park. Motion carried.

ED Note – it WAS the water line…….
“Planned Blight”???????by the Foltin Administration


AHHHHHHH the Fountain in its 3rd reincarnation….

To be continued…..

July 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm 10 comments

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