Archive for November, 2013
And so it started – the next May 1931 -found the City of Lorain proclaimed City of Lilacs, contests were held for artwork, songs, competitions for the best lilacs , Queen of the Lilacs – both floral and in human kind, Lilac courts . In fact the Lorain Journal now ran the fact Lorain was the City of Lilacs across the front page of its paper
It was certainly Lilac Time in Lorain-as Mayor Paul Goldthorpe so proclaimed
That first year Mrs. C.E Kent of 1601 9th Street and her lilacs were proclaimed the finest in Lorain– Unfortunately I can no longer find the address 1601 9th street or for that matter 1310 the winner of the poster gone with the way of the Lilacs one would presume.
You see , what was at first the saving of Lorain by Lilacs, pronounced international and national recognition due to Lilacs, faded like the Lilacs of July.
What started with so much anticipation slowly died a death- by 1935 no longer was the Lorain Journal proclaiming Lorain the Lilac City on its banner, the event came to be “Bi-annual” – In 1939 The Pittsburgh Press announced :
Possiby the winds of war or at least Lilac apathy may have paid a part in the loss of the Lilacs- at least the festival, if held, no longer made the Lorain Journal with the vim and vigour of past festivals . At one time roses substituted for the event. Once again Lorain reinvented herself or tried to. About the same time a town LOMBARD , ILLINOIS also decided upon the Lilacs as a theme
Since 1930, Lombard has hosted an annual Lilac Festival and parade in May. “Lilac Time in Lombard,” is a 16-day festival ending in mid-May. It starts with the Lilac Queen coronation and her court. Many lilac themed events take place, including concerts, a Mothers’ Day Brunch, an arts and crafts fair, and tours of the park. The grand finale is Lombard’s Lilac Festival Parade
Lombard succeeded where Lorain failed and crowned their queen for the 83rd year in 2013 http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130504/news/705049885/
NOTE: I could only find the name of the 1993 Lilac Queen
Jean E. Wilms http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2008/03/30/jean-e-wilms/
NOTE Update:: I received the following jpgs from a reader
returns as the Sesquicentennial Lilac Queen
Within two short months of the Journal editorial, the City of Lorain and all her organizations, were meeting the train to unload the first 5,000 Lilac on November 11th 1930. It had taken just a month to get the project up and running- and they did it without STUDIES or the internet for communication just the newspaper of the day and word of mouth.
Click on jpg to enlarge
Without all our “modern conveniences” flash drives, power point presentations , visual aids galore these “movers and shakers of Lorain in 1930 managed to move faster than we do today. The fact Lorain had a myriad of social service clubs at the time had to help and Lorain City schools came on board after the Chairman of the project Carl Robinson spoke to the 1,000 junior high children attending Hawthorne
Mayor Goldthorpe had the Parks department prepare all city parks to receive 700 of the 4 ft. high shrubs and trees. In fact St. Josephs Hospital, gas stations, businesses and private gardens were all going “lilac”.
Plans were made for the parks and in October an expert came to Lorain – Jean Henri Nicolas
Jean Henri Nicolas was born in 1875 in Roubaix, France, permanently moved to the U.S. after meeting his wife here (and promising her father he would not take her back to France), and died in New York in 1937. Although his love affair with roses started as a hobby, he became a world-recognized expert and gave up a business career to make his living in rose horticulture. In addition to writing three books on roses, his accomplishments included serving as the first Director of Research for Jackson & Perkins Company (when it was among the largest rose growers in the world), and before that served as a researcher for Conrad-Pyle / Star Roses. He was a Trustee of the American Rose Society, Vice President of the National Rose Society of England, and was frequently honored by the Rose Society of France and the German Rose Society. He held a doctorate in natural science for his accomplishments in creative horticulture, was a Knight of the Merite Agricole, Officer of the Academy of France, and Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. And to top it all off, he was also a gourmet. As the French rosarian Francis Meilland once said of him, “He was everything all at once, a man of fine letters, a fine speaker, a good writer, a wonderful diplomat and a surprising geneticist
AND HERE IS THE LORRAINE FRANCE CONNECTION: IT WASN’T THE LILACS THAT WERE DONATED TO LORAIN AFTER THE TORNADO- THE LILAC, COINCIDENTALLY IS ALSO THE “NATIVE” FLOWER OF LORRAINE, FRANCE after which Herman Ely named the county and subsequently Postmaster Vorwerk re named Charleston Village after the county when she was incorporated in 1874 https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/this-old-house-aint-got-or-has-it/
and from whence hailed THE EXPERT JEAN HENRI NICOLAS
IT WAS THE EXPERT WHO CAME – NOT THE LILACS 🙂
Click on jpgs to enlarge
Amazingly, ( considering what it takes in this day and age to get anything done) two years later the business district was back and as mentioned in part two so was the surrounding neighborhood.
Yes! that would be the pride of Broadway ( The Broadway Building) being built- I wonder what they would say to its worth today- a man-made tornado of destruction that is known as “NEGLECT”
Miss Harriet Root- 3535 E. Erie Avenue
More on the Root Story here
The one thing that was very important to communities ( world-wide) in decades past was the newspaper. I would imagine, for those early residents of “Black River”- then Charleston -then Lorain the importance of newspapers was it was one of the few sources of communication with the outside world. Now of course, we are in information overload with our internet scanning of websites of today with their ersatz sound bite news.
The newspaper back in the day , was just that, a paper full of news connecting people and communities. It was tangible, you could discuss the news of the day over breakfast or evening meal, decide how your day would be as far as business, or use it to put under carpets for padding or in drafty places to keep the house warm or light a fire, a source of bedding for animals , to clean boots and in England wrap your fish and chips. A newspaper, was indeed very important part of community. A strong newspaper helped to strengthen the community!
Lorain’s first newspaper was the Lorain Monitor and its editor, reporter, ad man, printer and distributor was a 16-year-old. This young entrepreneur went on to become one of Lorain’s finest citizens before the tragedy that wiped out 9 of Lorain’s then movers and shakers . You can read about Lawler and the Leo in the series here
Editors of newspapers held great power and sway -as some still do- it is their connection to the public , the ability to reach into the homes and minds of the general population. They have been courted by politicians, kings and queens, merchants and groups of all kinds just to get into print or in some cases “stay out of print” .
So is it any wonder when an editorial on August 22nd 1930 in the Lorain Journal called together the civic-minded groups of the day to embrace the idea of a city flower , especially when comparing Lorain to Washington DC and the cherry blossoms and by doing so was going to spread the word and market Lorain nationwide ( where have we heard that before 😉 ) a gathering of Lilacs commenced
Click on to enlarge !
The power of print caused Lorain, as Dan Brady http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/(the researcher for these posts) observed to go Lilac -looney. But again, you have to hand it to those citizens when they got on board with something they went all the way – you see this was seen as a way for “Community Development “. Just one day later the Lorain Journal ran the story – you will see in the article familiar organizations of today.
“the commission expressed itself unanimously of the opinion that the adoption of a community flower will doubtless contribute to a more beautiful atmosphere to Lorain and play no small part in furthering the growth and development of the city , even so with regard to our industrial development
Whew! a lot riding on the backs of those Lilacs…. more to come ! OH has anyone found the missing “red lantern on Reid” 😉 To be continued ……….
front porch sipping wine with other neighbors over 2 decades ago, there in lies the tale of the start of Charleston Village Society Inc – some woozy neighbors sampling the grape . We had a lot to learn those first months about the “history of Lorain” – Charleston Village. Two thirds of the group were transplants from other far away communities- a bit like the original settlers when you think of it!
However, we did hear from someone- I can’t remember whom ( wine has that effect) the Lilac was the flower of the city and there were festivals, songs and queens. We heard the stories of how after a devastating tornado Lorraine , France sent over Lilac bushes to beautify this devastated city – sounded reasonable and so we carried on perpetuating the “myth”.
In the past few weeks Charleston Village Society Inc. Outreach and Promotions committee took on the task of decorating one of the trees for the 2nd Annual International Trees and Model Train Display at Black River Landing as part of the Light Up Lorain Festivities .
We chose to decorate the tree with Lilacs and history. As we were decorating the tree, other participants asked Why Lilacs? and we realized we really didn’t know the whole story of how the Lilacs of Lorain came and “went”.
Thanks to Dan Brady of http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/ who was absolutely brilliant in his detective work with so much documentation from 1930 through 1939 we have at last separated myth from fact.
The story of the Lilacs of Lorain is one of coincidence , civic pride, leadership and the fact, no matter the decade, we tend to reinvent the wheel. Part Two will put paid to the myth of Lorain/ Lorraine but let us just go back in time to a time of devastation by Mother Nature.
This community had very little left to her after that dark day in 1924. You have to hand it to those citizens at the time, who in just a few short years, managed to bring back a community. They obviously took it upon themselves to get stuck in with apparently no federal help to rebuild.
My own house sits on a lot that had the previous structure destroyed and yet just TWO years later ( 1926) this was the result- a Mock English Tudor and a Mock Cape Cod were built over the cleared rubble of destruction – a mother and daughter occupied the now “split lot”.
Is it any wonder after the effort of rebuilding a city from the muck and mire there was just 6 years after the tornado a call for beautification….. to be continued
The recent post about my Granddad Hines and World War 1
brought to the surface other memories , of my Nanny Hines ( his wife and my Nanna) tucking me into her lovely feather bed as she told me stories of my mum as a little girl, spoke of poems and sang the songs of my childhood. .
One particular poem, she would say was just for me – Meddlesome Matty. I was the “curious grandchild” the one who seemed to always be in the thick of any event from apple scrumping, climbing over the high walls that were covered in broken glass- set into the top to keep out the villians, in the middle of any altercation-
a lonely little petunia in a onion patch
my dad used to say. The trouble was I always wanted to see why I was being kept out! or what was going on. This little girl was always with her boy cousins getting into mischief, being the one who would be first to crawl through the boarded up doors of bombed out buildings – and the excuse
” I just wanted to see”
I have a strong feeling Braedyn has inherited the trait.
Meddlesome Matty was recited often as a “lesson” to me as was
There was a little girl
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
One ugly trick has often spoil’d
The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
One ugly trick possess’d,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.
Sometimes she’d lift the tea-pot lid,
To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.
Her grandmamma went out one day,
And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
Too near the little maid;
“Ah! well,” thought she, “I’ll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone. ”
Forthwith she placed upon her nose
The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
The snuff-box too she spied:
“Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I’ll open it,” said little Matt.
So thumb and finger went to work
To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.
( If you wonder what ‘snuff’ is, it is ground up tobacco leaves flavoured with fruit or flowers or spices. People put it up their noses )
Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.
She dash’d the spectacles away,
To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
Her grandmamma she spies.
“Heyday! and what’s the matter now?”
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.
Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore.
And ’tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.
(30 January 1782 – 20 December 1866 / Colchester, England)
Unfortunately, I made no such promises –
– I have been burned by reputation, http://web.archive.org/web/20090108004352/http://thewomblog.com/?p=296
sneezed at by the powers that be
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/non-quixote-tired-of-tilting-at-windmills/ on so many occasions,
plowed in where angels feared to tread
I have smarted with the pain of “people” –
become dizzy with the spin of government and legalese
And still it seems I haven’t learned the lesson my Nanna tried to teach me – time for Meddlesome Mattie to grow up me thinks before I “snuff” it
For more poems by Ann Taylor
As a follow-up : Rick Payerchin and the Morning Journal expanded coverage of Tuesday nights meeting ( you know the one where I threw a wobbly)
The Morning Journal coverage Wednesday morning
had more to say today
Lorain housing study draws praise, but citizens frustrated
The study included a photograph of “my icon house” at 1034 W. 4th St, said Loraine Ritchey of the Charleston Village Society, which seeks to preserve the city’s oldest neighborhood in central Lorain.
The house has been vacant and falling apart for 40 years, said Ritchey, who moved into her Lorain home in 1973. She added she has bugged eight administrations and the building department about it for decades, and credited former mayor Joe Koziura, who at least made the owner repair the roof.
“It’s a disgrace,” she said about the structure.
“You have let this city deteriorate, all of you, all of us, because we talk,” Ritchey said. “I’m not saying you’re doing that now. I think you’re trying to use the tools in order to get money to help.”
Stronger building codes are needed, she said, not just standing on the sidewalk making inspections.
Ritchey also disagreed with the “niceness” of the report and said she believed the city’s housing stock is in worse shape than the report stated.”
What I didn’t say was that I have been complaining ( in this complaint driven process – AT LEAST THREE YEARS , IF NOT LONGER, THAN THE CURRENT MAYOR HAS BEEN ALIVE AND WHEN DAN GIVEN( mentioned in the article) WAS STILL IN GRADE SCHOOL.
How these “departments’ etc, because administrations come and go but the “departments such as Building Depts and inspections as well as Community Development or whatever name it now has are constant with each administration, can sit there – faces blank – the first we have heard of it glaze– knowing that since 1975 complaints have been made….
WHAT DOES IT TAKE IN THIS CITY TO GET OFF THE STUDY CYCLE TO ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING?
“It’s time to take the house down,” Husky said. “That’s like one of the worst houses in the city. I’ve seen a lot of other nicer houses that could have been fixed up that you tore down. I don’t understand why this house is still standing”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE? I suppose my latest frustration with this city is the fact that we as citizens have done what we were supposed to do, followed protocol and procedure – this house is not a one-off……. it is the icon of what is wrong with Lorain– citizens ignored through Republican and Democratic Administrations and the “allowing” of deterioration by those that are PAID a very decent salary to carry out the will of the people when it comes to their quality of life.
AND THE THERE SHE WAS IN ALL HER GLORY ON THAT BIG SCREEN – with the warning that houses like this “F” House will impact the A and B and C housing in Lorain-
January 31ST 2008 I WROTE:
THERE IS A SURPRISE – ( after we had spent $90,000.00 on yet another study and report:
There was nothing really new in the report from Staubauch except “time lines”. Basically the developers will know we have a mess but that we intend to take care of it, and how and when will be needed to be part of the package that is sent out with the RFP.
Get rid of the Urban Decay –
Clean up the entranceways and gateways to downtown
Fix the existing commercial and building facades on Broadway
Get rid of the Transmission Lines
Move the sewer plant
City Hall is taking up valuable real estate
Take advantage of your “history”
Bring in the Arts
Get rid of the eyesores
Camouflage the existing industry on the river and lake front
HAVE A TIME LINE for completion, a plan and how it will be financed
The faces in the room told it all
“ We have been saying the same things for years”,
However, maybe now, a $90,000 opinion will be listened to by our leaders
Oh and just incase you think well maybe the powers that “B” (make that an F) don’t read this blog I will share one of the many emails about the Icon House
From: Loraine Ritchey
Subject: Gow House 4th and Hamilton 1034 4th Street
To: “tony krasienko” , email@example.com, “phil dore” , “Richard Klinar”
Cc: “Cathy Deangelis” , “Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 3:35 PM
For 34 years I have looked at this home deteriorating because for 34 years this house which was one of Charleston Villages oldest homes has sat empty I have attached a photo taken in 2002 by the County Auditor and another one taken in 2006 –
However windows have been broken out and it sits falling into further decay rapidly . This property is now open to the elements and to anyone who wishes to “use ” the property for nefarious means.
When Mr. Miller was the Safety Service Director he had it secured as undesirable activities were taking place – people using the property for criminal activities. This property is across the street from Irving Elementary School. Whilst we had great hopes last spring that the property was being purchased and rehabbed that deal apparently fell through and “nothing” has happened with that house for months except being open to the elements and becoming even a further eyesore.
Ideally we would like to see this property which was known as “The Bluffs” in its heyday rehabbed but something HAS to be done now- I believe a house that has been vacant for 34 years is rather a long time for us in this neighborhood to be patient Every day I look out my window at this picture of sadness and decay and I am not alone . I have written more than one article on this home . It is now 2009 and it is time for the owner Mr. Gow of Amherst to do something . Thank you Loraine Ritchey
And Dan Given , who as of Tuesday night had finished grade school, high school, college and beyond since I first started my “complaints “ and has had to put up with those complaints ,as he as part of the “legislative branch, sent them on the to “right” departments – along with others of his ilk stated :
“I’m still going to spin this thing back; the way we’re doing it now is broken,” Given said. “Issuing citations to property owners now, we might as well be writing them on toilet paper.”