Archive for June, 2016
The 501C3 of which I am Co – Chair ( Charleston Village Society Inc) ( if you have been reading this blog has been around since the late 1980’s and a 501C3 since 1993) was invited to meeting on grant applications etc. for historic preservation funding
CVSI is completely reliant upon donations, cash and in kind. We are an ALL volunteer organization.
Introductions were made in that crowded room ( they weren’t expecting such a large turnout)- boding well for historic preservation one would think. The list of communities with “Historic Preservation Districts” included Lorain- I don’t believe 90 percent of those attending “knew” where those are – BUT I can tell you where at least one district is found. The state designation encompasses the area of Lorain’s oldest neighborhood and the area Charleston Village Society oversees ( AN ALL VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION) IN PLACE BEFORE THE STATE DESIGNATION.
My optimism changed quickly to DEJAVU – as the power point presentation got started. Wait a minute! I have seen the same sort photos, different years and different locations , the same power point presentation , even the same jokes when people filled Lorain City Council Chambers in 1993.
The historical rhetoric continued -how to apply – what you need to do, what the benefits are etc. Yes, same spiel I heard nearly a quarter of a century ago. We were excited then, the state was excited there was already a “community based preservation group”( Charleston Village Society Inc) – fully involved with city leaders and the county . The speech I heard today by JEFF SIEGLER
DIRECTOR OF REVITALIZATION
Jeff attended Ohio Wesleyan University where he received his bachelors degree in economics management. While working for a historic tax credit developer In Richmond, Virginia Jeff completed his Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in urban revitalization. Prior to becoming the Director of Revitalization at Heritage Ohio, Jeff worked as the Director of the Lancaster Special Improvement District and Main Street Lancaster.
I had heard in essence heard before – you see we had his predecessor of long ago Kevin Kuchenbecker “talked” us- the BOD of mainstreetlorain”- into joining a Main Street program that was unwieldy , in 1999/ 2000 and was not designed for the area , Lorain is an entitlement city- which means we can’t get the same benefits non entitlement cities can access ( Funny that was never brought up when we were being “courted”)- “mainstreetlorain” organization 1996 had already encompassed an area far bigger than what a Main Street usually covers and I and my Co – Chair Rich Robbin did bring that up and told
not to worry it would be handled!
. Oh the problems were surmountable we were informed ( only they weren’t)
Maybe a time to revisit that piece of history as Charleston Village Society Inc was a founding member of mainstreetlorain and on the board of the Main Street program in Lorain and at one time I was a volunteer director for 7 months so the organization didn’t go belly up. Main Street ( Lorain) eventually became Lorain Growth Corporation http://www.loraingrowth.com/ .
I have been involved up to my eyes in Lorain
but it was almost insulting to see that nearly a quarter of a century on these “historical preservation ” way forwards are stuck back in the last century and can only regurgitate the rhetoric
a healthy down -town has to have a healthy neighborhood and vice versa-
now what decade in the past was that ever mentioned??? ( sarcasm ) ,
you have to work together with local officials
To people who have, over the decades , been there done that, worked with 8 administrations, countless number of council people , not to mention police chiefs, fire chiefs civic organizations, educational institutions, we are not any farther ahead than when we met in the meeting room of the Broadway Building with Heritage Ohio in 1999/2000 and in 1993 when we went under the architectural review. In fact, we have lost a lot of significant homes and buildings and our downtown- well what can I say Channel Five said it all
So let us see what benefits we, as a neighborhood ,have derived from being in a state recognized district for these many years.
Oh and yes one with a hairnet controversy -Broadway Building, another with promises not fulfilled as the rain comes down – Eagles Building – look at them now (with fresh eyes).
How can that be? What doesn’t seem to be told or at least made very clear is that IF PRIVATE MONEY IS USED to rehab , tear down, paint a building pink there is nothing “Historical Preservation” can do!!!
The only time they have teeth is when “public monies” are used at any level. Have ANY of the historically significant homes in this neighborhood been cherished by the “Historians from Ohio”? We can’t even find funding to preserve the headstones of Lorain’s founding families in the little cemetery on 6th.
( not historically significant except for maybe the window connection and the artisan who came to Lorain )
Captain Wilford’s Home
There is the Captain Wilford House, which housed the Captain his wife Fanny Gillmore of the Gillmore Civil War letters
and we haven’t even touched on the rest of the Gillmore family although you can find the series here .
Just take a walk and look at that house now.
Admiral Kings’ birth place – you may remember Admiral King
( Gov. Kasich sent a lovely proclamation when we designated the “tribute site across from his birthplace Gov Kasich wished him well in his retirement – hmmmmm not sure his office staff knew the history of the Commander of the US Fleet (WW2) as he had been dead 50 years – can you retire from death??? We informed them of their error and we received another proclamation but without the fancy gold seal 😉
The little historic park- the earliest surviving green space in the county 1807 saved from condos ( you know the importance of a public square statement) not by Ohio but by a bunch of “history boneheads of Charleston Village Society” – history boneheads – designated by Editor John Cole (Morning Journal)
The only thing I can see we benefit from in being a state preservation district is the fact if public monies are used in our neighborhood to rehab then there are standards to be met eg. windows unless the house is historically insignificant and when the city or country needs to demo a property we ( CVSI) are usually asked to provide a letter stating why we as an organization ,whose mission statement includes preservation of the neighborhood, don’t object – see an example file here
CVSI Gow House
Then to be told by the speakers, Oh it is a local issue, get ordinances passed, accountability is local and you need to take before and after pictures etc. etc. well that was it- accountability HA!
I had to leave before I regurgitated…… I have 25 years for publicizing before and after and before and it has become “history’!
The Charleston Village Society Float in the international parade and the big blue box from 1992
Ah and 24 years later ……https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/money-where-your-mouth-is-part-one/
Time to get off the soap box.
As I have pondered the terrible events happening since I wrote part one- I have decided to stick by my opinions, not to be silenced by a barrage of obscenity and intimidation because of the lack of respect for others and laws of the city – even if it is on the block where I live. Documentation and catalogue of happenings have been sent to various entities so if I pop my clogs they will know where to start the investigation 😉
We raised our children and have grown old in this old house. Our world was rocked when our son died from Cancer. During the months that followed, I could have cared less what was happening in the outside world , the advocate for history and this neighborhood lay buried beneath the cruelty of disease and the cruel aftermath perpetuated upon this family by his “bride” and her family- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/december-11th-the-beginning-of-the-beginning/
To be honest, the world could have come to an end outside these windows and I wouldn’t have cared. Months and now years have come and gone, the pain still is as strong- you just get better at holding it back in public- well for the most part.
The property at 1125 had become an issue, truth be told, it was really an issue for the 40 years we have lived here along with the big blue box. As stated in part one, the hedges, shrubs and the huge maple shielded me- for the most part- from at least the visual happenings.
We had made enquiries to the City of Lorain, once the house was demolished, as to purchasing the property. Three years went by and then the announcement property owners adjacent to these vacant lots could apply for purchase. We actually thought long and hard about this as we are ourselves fast approaching our “sell by date”. We knew this was not going to be an easy or cheap project to take on, with all its other problems, there was one “underlying ” challenge.
This old house sits above the lot next door by a few feet – just how high above wasn’t noticeable until the shrubs and trees were removed. The surprise -was a good 5-6 feet above the lot next door.We are literally on the bank of the ravine .
There is an underground rivulet/stream at the bottom of a ravine which actually used to come out of the ground by my garage and headed north east toward the lake.
“The Charleston River” ( my name for it) and its ” topography” – trench were noted on the 1837 Map ( Ohio Historical report)
The old river bed shows in the middle 1800’s hand drawn pencil map from Peggy Gillmore’s estate ( now on display at Lorain City Hall)
We knew that after the Tornado the street scape changed. According to Peggy Gillmore, the last of the founding family of Gillmores in this city ,
she told me on the south corner of 4th and Hamilton ( home was destroyed in that tornado ) a friend’s grandmother would put out the milk cans in the stream to keep cool in the summer. Peggy said there was a small bridge where the old Irving School play ground now sits in order to cross but that was filled in before the tornado. The house on the opposite corner ( also demolished sat on the opposite bank of the ravine – and was known as The Bluffs.
This old house and the property next door to the west were built in the rebuilding time – after the tornado. The home that sat on the lot which was then 66 ft. was lost in the tornado.
There was a lot of “lot cut ups” after the tornado – probably to entice people to purchase and rebuild . You can see the before
and the old tax map showing 1912 showing the who and then the split lots from 66 feet to 33 after the tornado and that continued…..
now the lots are not uniform and over the years footage has changed hands
Some people, for whatever reason, purchased three feet and some 6 feet from their neighbor and one extended the back of their lot from the traditional 157 to 165 – maybe in lieu of giving up 9 feet from their 66 foot lot . I don ‘t know but what I did know was that we were going to have issues.
1. being the river still running underneath the lot (1125)
2. the fact the lot is over an old rubble landfill from the debris of the tornado
3. the expenses that would be incurred to make the lot attractive after years and years of neglect and abuse.
The added expense of taking down a huge 95 foot maple , sitting close to the house, you just knew that wasn’t going to be cheap.
Did we really want to take on a project this large and the proverbial pains in the rear this would entail at our age.
And then ,as I sat one day on the balcony trying to enjoy a summer morning, the vehicles were once again using the lot as their personal cut through, construction vehicles parked, dump truck full of debris, the noise and even more vehicles finding a place to park, peace shattered. I realized I did not want to spend my last remaining days looking at this situation? Since the city has very little accountability for those that do what ever they want – we had decided we at least needed some control over what was happening to “Highway 1125” . We started the paperwork……….
“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable , if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you”
Bad week ( more and more bad weeks piling up) – for many reasons, the past and 2008 – 2009 decisions made by others that impacted your family in such a devastating way. This old neighborhood , decisions and retribution being visited upon the writings that are my truth by pathetic, aggressive , actions to intimidate by those who read but do not comprehend.
Your dad watering the arborvitae , trying to bring back some loveliness to this old street, screamed at with venom and yes! your mother classified as a
“fu*%ing “white bitch”
. Your poor dad didn’t understand what the hell was happening -I did –it was me and writing yet another post about less than respectful behavior and the lack of accountability in this place you called home . Your sister making sure the incident was documented.
( Photo Source : http://www.rcosf.com/anger-management-do-you-need-a-psychologist/ )
Gavin and Braedyn bearing the brunt of my writings too. No longer am I comfortable having them here due the “the little man with the gun on his hip” another one – shouting obscenities at me on a glorious sunny day as those little innocents stood hand in hand with me showing defiance and protection of their Nog. Then an email full of filth and suggestions , oh and assumed name ( of course) but they forget still trackable to a source. Camera’s around the property ( including the lot that used to be 1125).
Why all the consternation and “waters beating against the bastions” – this blog – which is MY truth and MY writings causing fallout to the ones I love most and hold dear in this world. I feel like I am actually living in a society that has deteriorated to that of the barbarians at the gate.
I miss you Chris , I was deliberating on what I should do- make the blog private- stop writing about Lorain- after all what good comes of it- very little – no accountability – forget Lorain? I actually did forget for about 8 months after you passed -getting on with life in Lorain has not been “healing ” – far from it – has for the most part been depressing, aggravating and too many told you so (s) and putting up with Neanderthalic retributions.
I have failed to help make modicum of difference – too much negative glut diminishes the positive in these neighborhoods. I no longer believe there can be a positive outcome with the likes of the ” do what thou will” is the creed followed.
BUT I know what YOU would have said , because you said it so well
Speech can segregate you from everyone
Ah but I wonder if you would advise me to do this now as the “little man with the gun on his hip” stood there with your nephews spewing his filthy mind onto their little ears.
Yes! I think I know what you would still tell me because of who you were and are
I so wish I could reach out to you , find comfort in those brown eyes , deep voice and broad shoulders, tap into your sense of humour, once again to laugh. I love you and I believe in your words and your work BUT have I the right to put the rest of this family in the way of the cretins????? To BE CONTINUED ?????????