A Lesson in Lilacs- Lilacs Past- Crumbling Concrete- Lorain

January 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm 15 comments

memory oflilacs
We have all heard reasons and excuses for the decline of parks and beautification efforts in Lorain.

Oh! loss of industry , poor economic times.

The City of Lilacs – garden clubs and hoopla post World War One. Then the rebirth in the 30’s 40’s and so on and so forth bringing us to the 1980’s


PD opening

Monies being thrown at Lorain’s oldest park – founding greenspace- that tore out the Lilacs to put in the concrete bunker amphitheater in the 1980’s and three years after spending the equivalent of 1.5 million in today’s money the recipients of that money threw up their arms and walked away.

The park has been left in shambles and decay- far from the beauty and ambiance envisioned by Lorain’s founding fathers as they platted this town from its corner

Well poor economic times etc etc. there are always the excuses and apparently when times are “good” that too was the problem in Lorain . June 10th -1960 an editorial from the Lorain Journal throws a different spin on WHY things have gone beautifully bad in Lorain-

forgotten Lilacs

I seems that in 1960, at least, LORAIN’S SUCCESS was the culprit


Whether the spin is lack of success , growth and poor economic times or the fact Lorain was too successful it seems there are always excuses as the why Lorain lacks the beauty so many had envisioned , fought for and “tried to bring” to her streets.

We are left with the fact that it is just not that important, apparently, to the citizens and various administrations throughout the over 200 year history of Lorain in times of bad or in times of good . It seems the lack thereof of beauty and pride has made good copy for editors through the years but that is about all that has come from their words, a rally round the ideas and then PHUTT!!!

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

and yet another time another editor

Aug 22 1930 first ed

Beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder.
VP11 light post 1


And 54 years after the 1960 editorial? It seems to me the last thoughts of that editor back in 1960 still hold true today

lilaclast word

and definitely one that outlasts administrations and editors.

You can see the whole editorial here ( click on jpg to enlarge) and once again thanks has to go to Dan Brady for the research

June 10 1960 Lilacsres


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

Jan. 3rd- The Three- Chris Ritchey Charleston Village Annual Report- People Power

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dennis Lamont  |  January 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    When the wind chill improves take a short walk from the park east until you cross the old railroad tracks. Take a look around and see what planning, progress and pride can make out of an industrial wasteland. When the tours start again take a run up the river and around the harbor and imagine the potential as the building blocks for a great waterfront come together. All this supported by the public. A gem to the west and a gem to the east and a forgotten setting in the middle. Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication ????

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 7, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    that is true Dennis but there has to be an overall Plan…..even if plan is the other 4 letter word 🙂

  • 3. Renee Dore  |  January 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I started to comment but have so much to say it won’t fit here. Now I hear that the plan that was drawn up and decided upon for Oberlin ave replacement trees isn’t going to happen. I saw the concept and was excited because I thought the new street trees would add some charm and beauty along that barren looking corridor after the waterline replacement. There is not a desire to have decent urban forestry along our streets-not practical. So just like the lilacs-once the trees are gone -they’re gone not to be replaced leaving blight and loss of property values in the wake. The push to become a Tree City USA city should be made-that might be a start in urban beautification. Something needs to be done-there’s no excuse for areas to look like they do. Looks like history keeps repeating itself here, doesn’t it? Volunteers can only do sooo much! But in the meantime when we drive through neighborhoods in Vermilion, Amherst, Rocky River, Strongsville, Westlake, Huron, Bay Village, Sandusky, Norwalk, and Avon Lake-charm and beautification are evident along their streets in in their parks and neighborhoods.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    did you see the third paragraph up from the bottom of the editorial how it seems even in 1960 the growing of trees on TREE lawns was to be discouraged??? Why do hey then call them TREE LAWNS???

  • 5. Dennis Lamont  |  January 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    History, History, History First the Chestnut Trees, then the Dutch Elm Trees. Cities across the country replaced these as they died in the thousands. It takes a lot of work and effort to put the right tree into the right location to provide shade and cover and not cause maintenance and utility headaches in the future. The inner suburbs of Cleveland are prime examples of full growth city landscaping. When I lived in Cleveland Heights there were trees that had been there when Moses Cleaveland visited. The outer suburbs are still replanting the forest they cut down. Tree lawns used to be just that until they became traffic hazards for careless drivers as roadways became wider, fix the drivers, impossible, cut down the trees. I was indirectly involved in two major disasters in Cleveland where storms took the big trees down and took the utilities with them…the roots brought up sidewalks gas and water lines and really hampered the relief efforts. These suburbs used to have tree departments and city arborists that kept them healthy and replanted when necessary. My own opinion is that I prefer shade to sunlight and the beauty of full scale landscaping. I am probably the only person in the area that likes leaves and has a use for them.

  • 6. Renee Dore  |  January 8, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Thanks Dennis for you comments & I agree. And-There are trees/shrubs/greenery that could be planted in many areas of the city that would be compatible on the tree lawns with what is below them. I think If the decision was made to not put ANY trees back ( after time was taken to design a PLAN initially) then some sort of beautification greenery needs to be put back and yes it is the city or utilities responsibility to do so. It is obvious in surrounding communities that streetscape/urban forestry is an important value to the look of the community-it visible when you drive thru the communities where they have done replacements of some sort. If it works for them why not here? It is obvious when you are in a Tree City USA city. It’s obvious we are not. Not yet anyway…..

  • 7. muley  |  January 8, 2014 at 7:56 am

    No matter the plan, if you don’t have the right people, the right group, no plan will ever come to fruition. And Lorain hasn’t the right group in place yet….some day, the odds keep getting better, the right group of people will come together and not restore, but re-invent my home town.

  • 8. Dennis Lamont  |  January 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Very Good Point ! What does Lorain want to be ? What does it take for Lorain to become what it wants to be ?

  • 9. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    ownership in a community………

  • 10. paula  |  January 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    All good points I see the disparity as:
    Ownership in Community/Citizen Involvement vs Government/Politicians
    Can’t have one without the other to complete the project?
    Citizens can’t do it alone.
    Politicians….let’s wait till the next election and see what springs up.

  • 11. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I just don’t think there are enough “citizens that care or want to be involved and government in this city has been piecemealing it for centuries 🙂 bit like Tarzan swinging through the trees grabbing hold of any life line that dangles down in front of him as he swings through the forest of “years” and his apes just keep beating on their chests – there is a visual for you 😉

  • 12. Renee Dore  |  January 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    And… we’re back to those trees again-see how important they are 🙂

  • 13. paula  |  January 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    And why do you think the citizens don’t care or are “un”involved?

    You know the routine… pay them lip service, let them come to the Mic, smile and nod ……. thank them ……. then nothing.

    Plus people are afraid/intimidated or just too busy caring for their own lives and family.

    Would they react if their property of family were affected directly?

  • 14. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I don’t think after looking at Lorain from her beginnings ( Black River- Charleston Village – Lorain) really ever knew WHAT she wanted to be every generation it seems had a “different idea” from settlement days on…… the thing I keep coming back to is those that settled here were looking for a “home” whereas in this day an age do those moving here or living here on the whole are not looking at this city as “home” but either a stopping off place to move on…. a place of commodity …… just a thought………

  • 15. Dennis Lamont  |  January 9, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Just another thought: Over the last ten years I watched the hostility of Lorain drive Developers away, 7 people raising a stink and given unwarranted precedence by the local media drove the last one away. The large blighted hole remaining doesn’t have much hope.

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