Archive for November 21, 2013

Why Lorain- the Lilac City- the “paper” trail

Captain's Walk Artist Fran Cellozzi

Captain’s Walk
Artist Fran Cellozzi

It was a pleasant summer evening on Rich Robbin’s
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”.

Photo  Lorain 365 Blog

Photo Lorain 365 Blog

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 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.

Courtesy  Dan Brady/Dennis Lamont

Courtesy Dan Brady/Dennis Lamont


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.

Deeping Gate artist Fran Cellozzi

Deeping Gate artist Fran Cellozzi

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”.
Antiquity  Inn - Artist Kat Skye

Antiquity Inn – Artist Kat Skye

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

November 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm 7 comments



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November 2013