Archive for March, 2016
The Tornado of Lorain
took down homes, and with it lives as well as beauty . The people living in Lorain in the early 1900’s cared- they cared about quality of life of beautification, they were proud of their homes , we don’t see a lot of that in Lorain’s old neighborhoods nowadays.
Admiral King Home back in the day-
The Gillmore’s https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/general-gillmore-a-portrait-of-a-man-a-home-at-last/
at the end of my street, their home, now well over 100 years old , planted a tree . That particular tree grew through the decades, spared by the tornado, but age took its toll just as it does with all of us. The tree became a hazard and one day after a particularly bad storm in the early 2000 ‘s the tree fell across Oberlin avenue. Peggy Gillmore, was extremely upset about the loss of that tree planted by members of her family long passed.
When the little park at the end of the street, now known as Veterans Park
was cleaned after the tornado. The community planted trees to once again add ambiance and to honor those lives lost in the tornado.
On the right side of my property ( next door) to the west was a huge Maple tree- actually tied with iron rods at some time in its history)You can see it in the photo from the Lorain County Auditors site –
I believe that tree must have been young at the time of the tornado. The circumference of the trunk took up over a third of the small back yard- 33 feet . The property to the east side of my own 33 foot lot stood another very large maple – not as big as the one to the west – but gigantic in its own way.
This tree was probably planted after the tornado or perhaps grew from one of the maple seeds. Nevertheless , I could literally see it up close and personal from my den window, as it stood no more than 8 foot away. There have been times as I have watched “life ” in that tree. It hid a lot of “less than pleasant” sights through the decades as the properties on that lot and the one next to it deteriorated.”
Finally , the very large “pre tornado” tree to the right gave up and split where the crown met the trunk – sent one third of its branches crashing down.
This one “branch”- bigger than most trees- fell across our property and landing with a bang onto the house next door, which was luckily vacant and abandoned . The huge maple, on the lot to the east , just feet away from my home took the force and redirected the fallen limb away from my home leaving the tree damaged and lopsided.
That was January 2008–
A great deal has happened since then, not of all of it good. We put up with a lot of issues from the lot next door. The little historic house was killed by “pimping landlords” https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/for-rent-one-city-who-dictates-the-health-of-your-neighborhood/ who saw that little house as only a way to make money for the least possible outlay –
and the tree from two doors down finished the job. The house, after a few years, was finally torn down. A sigh of relief , no more vagrants and critters of the 4 and two legged kind hiding out.
Then it began -the parking lot from hell- lack of respect for another’s property- dump trucks, overflow parking and then the shortcut route from the alley to 4th- a cut through for traffic.
How many times did I watch the lot become a road way ( even as recently as last week) ? Luckily , the Maple tree, dangerous as it was, as it too suffered over the years, was large enough to stop two-way traffic and large vehicles from making it an even more convenient roadway.
That did mean however the reversing into the alley by the dump trucks etc. We would be woken by the sound of backing up construction vehicles – no bird song here. NOTE: it seems to me if you are running a business from a residence then you should have legal parking for your construction vehicles .This block is R 3.
Fortunately we were , at last , able to purchase the lot. This meant the tree which I had complained about to the powers that be and insurance company as a hazard had to come down.
The view from the window has changed – the Maple tree , by the very size of its trunk blocked a less than perfect view. I will have to do some creative landscaping so I see green once more and appease the birds and squirrels who are definitely NOT happy with the humans here on 4th!
I am extremely happy with the difficult job Tree Pro of Lorain ( 440-288-tree) did in taking down the tree. I would recommend them highly and you know readers coming from me that is not given lightly!
Readers will remember the tale of my dilemma of the portrait of General Gillmore.
The portrait, in my opinion, was obviously important and significant in the fact it seems to be a family piece of the General in his later years. Bearing in mind he passed away at the age of 63 in 1888 – I would say this photographic portrait was probably of the General in his 50’s. This portrait, in all likelihood is one of a kind or one of very few.
The wavy glass in the portrait is pre 1900 , this portrait could well be 130-140 years old. There is foxing and some condition issues with the photo itself . It had for many decades been in the sun and probably in an area of damp in Peggy Gillmore’s residence, which is over a century old home.
Of course the first thought of the family was to donate such a proud piece of Lorain’s history to the now Lorain Historical Society- ( used to be the historical society known as Black River Historical Society) in Lorain where of course the Gillmores were one of this city’s founding families.
However, Lorain Historical Society was less than enthusiastic and turned down the donation (sight unseen) . The family gave me the portrait and to the Charleston Village Society . Therefore, I approached and was approached by other historical societies and interested individuals as soon as the series of the General and his portrait hit the internet . A few out-of-state societies were very interested due to General Gillmore’s Civil War and engineering career which was of importance to so many
I reached out to the Lorain COUNTY Historical Society in Elyria, the Elyria connection being General Gillmore was also of great importance to the County of Lorain, he went to school in Elyria and indeed it was his nephew Attorney Quincy Alanson Gilmore ( of Elyria) who owned the portrait in the first place- maybe through his father Edmund –
“He was the son of Civil War General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s brother Edmund (named after his grandfather one of the founders of this settlement ( owning approximately 1,000 acres). This Edmund married Miss Adelaide E Gillmore daughter of Alanson(also a son of the original Edmund of Lakeview) and Evelyn ( Jones) Gillmore.
Edmund and Adelaide’s only child was Quincy “ALANSON” Gillmore , who ended up a prominent attorney in Elyria (Page 728- The History of Lorain County)-
Since Lorain itself was less than enthusiastic as to keeping the portrait and the documentation of events / clippings, the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society
and interested parties/members were asked to vote on the new home of the General’s portrait- 100% of those voting decided on the Lorain County Historical Society . It was felt they did not want to lose the portrait to an out-of-state historical society or to individuals but to keep the portrait locally .
Also donated is an 1890 print of the Storming of Fort Wagner (note the mention of General Gillmore in the small type underneath the print). This print was also found in the items donated to CVSI. This event was part of the movie “Glory”
1. We have also donated to your organization various photos from Peggy’s papers such as the “Genealogy of the Gillmore family” – the New Hampshire Line ending in 1954.
2. Various loose photos of the family the Gillmore farm in Massachusetts, the Gillmore home on Oberlin Ave and Washington Avenue and various correspondence
3. Folders of various family cuttings (some are repeats)
4. Commemorative Newspapers regarding the Civil War etc. (delicate condition)
5. Two maps depicting Lorain’s early days (in very poor and delicate condition)
6. A copy of the Lorain Centennial Program 1834-1934.
7. Two CD’s- one containing the posts written by Loraine Ritchey about the Gillmore family, the General and various posts on Peggy Gillmore. Also a CD with information on Geo. Wickens from a newspaper cutting found in the box from 1894. (The paper literally is in pieces) but scans are included in the posts in the CD. NOTE: Quincy Alanson Gillmore was Mayor Wickens attorney in the lawsuit.
NOTE: You can find the whole series of posts on the Gillmores linked in this post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/ the family went on to be a very important part of not only Lorain’s history but that of a fledgling nation.
There were individuals who wanted us to remove the photo from the frame so that it could be scanned, however I felt, as did the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society , we could not take the responsibility or risk due to the unknown condition of the photo beneath the glass. That decision will be up to the Lorain County Historical Society
The portrait, has at last found a home as well as many interesting bits and pieces from Peggy Gillmore’s “scrapbook” of Lorain’s early history. The basket and storage bin that arrived to this old house contained a love of Lorain by one of her founding families .
Some items are still being researched by two or three of our members, then they too will find an appropriate home!
Items that have already been donated include :
The damaged Pulpit Bible (Lorain Tornado) was returned to Christian Temple Disciples of Christ. A photo of the 1914 Lorain High Graduating Class was given to the Lorain City Schools. A panoramic view of the building of Terminal Tower was given to Dennis Lamont of Lorain’s Historic Railways (Street Cars). The architectural plans of Mayor Braun’s home 5th and Oberlin were given to Gary Fischer a local architect who is one of Lorain’s “history” people. A pencil drawn map of the early Village of Charleston / Black River was framed and donated to the City of Lorain- Mayor’s Office.
The General has found his home – no longer the visitor to my home, having said that, I will always thank him for providing me the energy and desire to document his story and that of his family. I hope Peggy would have been pleased.
The last couple of months have found me less than healthy, thanks to two little boys. Doesn’t matter how many times you wash your hands, hugs and kisses from the “carriers of cute” have now given me at least three different viruses.
Just when you think you are turning the corner you are laid low by the next ” home from school dreaded lurgy”. It has not been pleasant .
Every racking cough reminds me of you, Chris – those nights in the guest room of your apartment when I could hear your terrible gutting coughs – your lungs trying to expel the cancer that had found its way in, to no avail. Each bout of coughing went through me like hot knives.
I will never forget those nights – you choking on your own body. I would lay there, wanting so badly to help , to get you a drink, anything to ease the torture to take care of my son, as best I could.
But, you had a wife in that room and I waited for the sounds of comfort for you- they never came . You would eventually get up go to the kitchen , or to the bathroom to get the medicine to help you sleep. I used to stay overnight because your appointments were early in the morning at the damned Cleveland Clinic – the place of numbers before names- the cattle call of cancer.
I knew it would only be a matter of time when I could bear it no longer and I would have to reach through those walls and take care of you, causing you even more distress from an interfering mother. It was so bad I couldn’t stay in that room doing nothing to help you . So rather than stay I would get up at 4 am at home and drive the 50 minutes to your apartment to go with you to the tests and appointments . It was easier than the alternative, which was so hard to bear.
It was very, very difficult for me knowing what to do when I was now the “mother- in-law” as well as the mother. In hindsight I would have ignored protocol and taken care of you as I should have done on those nights. You should’ve been my first consideration !
I failed you more than once. Every time I have been hit with racking coughs these past weeks- it was you I thought of and your dying time – my heart and mind are still with you as well as my guilt. You are never far from me ………….