Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- the Name Game
PART ONE :
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 )
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 .
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.
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 !
In fact to PROTECT THE PUBLIC GROUNDS.
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
Entry filed under: Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lorain's Magical History Tour. Tags: Charleston Village, City of Lorain, local politics, Lorain, Lorain City Council, real-estate, Veterans Park Lorain, waste not want not.