Posts filed under ‘Charleston Village’
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……….
This year’s Pride Day 2016 ( Lorain County)- thankfully – found the volunteers not having to fight Mother Nature , unlike 2014
However true to form we had Lorain Rotarians continuing their mission
“Phil Dore, a former president of the Lorain Rotary Club, was part of a contingent that undertook the sprucing up of Settlers Watch in Lorain. He said that the newly minted park is just up the road from his home, but the rotary club has been deeply involved in the park since the beginning.
“We’ve been doing this now since 2009,” he said while taking a short break from his work. “
Charleston Village Society http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/ is very fortunate in the continuing loyalty of our volunteers to the area known as Settlers’ Watch,
This is a huge green space- taken out of the rubbish dump and tangled growth of vacant lots .
The transformation could not have been even remotely possible without the partnership of the City of Lorain , the help of Lorain County Solid Waste and community donations and the volunteers from the neighborhood, CVSI Executive Board and so many others who quietly give back, including our constant gardener. Without Joe and his love of the space we would be in dire straits. Another successful Pride Day 2016.
Thanks to all the people who continue to help in so many ways. Take a walk and “smell the roses”- and a special thanks to Joe our constant gardener!!!!
Photos are also a collage of Lisa Miller and others with their phones.
How is it that “I” the discharging dangling- donspout” have to be connected in 6 days in the middle of winter
and my neighbor up the street, who has been “hanging” around for 10 years was up for debate on council floor and
River. “It doesn’t send a very strong message to the rest of the community.”
City inspectors for months have been waiting for action on the building, Ritenauer said.
City inspectors viewed the site and listed multiple violations during a review Sept. 25, 2012. A notice of violation was mailed out the following month.
In February officials from owner Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd. Co. asked for more time to make repairs due to weather. The city granted the deadline extension to June 30 and stated the property would be reinspected on Monday.
It was unclear if city officials went out yesterday or exactly what enforcement action the city will take.
However, violations still are visible on the building and it appeared no work has been done, Ritenauer said.
Some of the violations were aesthetic, such as growth of weeds and faded paint.
But the building also has broken windows and its parking garage is “in poor structural condition,” the inspection report stated.
“Columns show signs of deterioration,” the report stated. “Repair required or provide proof from structural engineer indicating otherwise.”
“That parking garage is falling apart right now,” Ritenauer said. “It is unsafe.”
“It’s a safety risk,” Schuster said.
The building’s facades facing Broadway and Erie Avenue also are in need of repair. The building has an exterior net around it.
Ritenauer and Schuster said they would support any reasonable plan to restore the site.
“If it comes down or if it’s fixed, something has to happen,” Ritenauer said.
Then we waited for the development bus to stop at “Hairnet and Time”
AND we waited….. but apparently the wheels ( like the façade on my friend the Broadway Building) came off the bus
“About a year and a half ago, Spitzer entered into an agreement with ReTown to turn the building into market-priced apartments,” he said. “From there, the project was awarded a state historic tax credit of $440,203 as well as several federal tax credits, totaling a couple of million dollars.”
Giardini said that’s where the wheels came off.
Who is the “Driver” in all this wondering “Donspout wants to know”? You see my owner “fixed ” me in the allotted time- responsibility for one’s own “dangles ” comes to mind!!!!
And the Notorious Opponent of Exactitude Award goes to Spitzer / Giardini
I can’t believe I have lived in this old house for over 40 years . I was young , full of hope and dreams when we came to see this old house during a dark winter evening.
And now- we are the residents who have lived here the longest.
I strongly believe we have paid our dues over the years – remaining here on 4th Street!
We have seen the trials and tribulations of this block- lived through the motor cycle gangs, the drug dealers, any number of domestic violence calls – drug arrests – hmm and those were just in the one house!
We had the arsonists, the chop shop , the “family” burglars, a family gang ( that was just one family).
We have, along the alley way that connects Hamilton and Oberlin Ave, 4th and 5th streets, people shooting themselves and at each other ,drug deals , petty robberies and some not so petty , one tried for murder and condemned to death http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/filiaggi1071.htm one house being blown sky high ( as I drove past ) which was terrifying!
That wasn’t the first house either ( sigh) .
THEN there was the semi truck driver ( parked his truck and trailer on the street) whilst the 18 relatives lived in the three bedroom home. He built on the rear sunroom with a hot tub, this became the menagerie for caged snakes, tropical fish and the hot tub a duck pond.
The ducks routinely escaped, probably wanting to visit the chickens and much running around screaming at the ducks would occur. When the overflow from the house became too much large tents were put in the front yard. Eventually the home was foreclosed upon – “once again”- and a pattern that was followed at least twice more.
There are a lot more stories on the 4th street block – too many- looking back I wonder why we stayed -Oh that is right! I loved this house and the friends we made and now it is my “sanctuary”.
Luckily , not all was doom and gloom we also had some great neighbors who kept up their properties throughout the years and so we didn’t give up the ship!
I have changed however, turned from one full of dreams and hope to an “old” curmudgeon , cynical and getting through what life is left to me. I have learned you can’t legislate respect for others. To be honest I have just wanted to pull my shrubs up around me and disappear from life in Lorain . I am tired and overwhelmed with grief.
One thing that has NOT changed is my philosophy of putting my money ( or time and effort) where my mouth is and following through on what I said I would do . It was something I always taught my children and yes especially my son and he used the concept in his adverting concept – ironically he used a RED DUMP TRUCK in the ad!:
The lot next door-1125- was always a problem from the very first. On this lot was a little brown house ( probably an in- law home at one time) as it was on the same lot along with a larger home. That larger house, a few days after we moved in, was in the process of having her wrap around porch demoed and downstairs windows on the west side covered over and a picture window added to the front – well it was the late 70″s after all. However, what once looked very similar to this
became a big blue box- nothing architecturally pleasing or even a remembrance left of what she once was. Then the house was foreclosed!
Eventually a new situation with the “less than loved” happened, one that totally blind sided us – who would have thought it would become a drive through ? The little brown house ( once on the architectural register ) had to be demolished and it became the City of Lorain’s property – at least I knew the grass would be cut and it was . BUT then it became the “through way” for those using the alley as a cut through not being bothered to go to the alley end- just drive through to 4th street using “highway” 1125. It also became a parking lot!
Time and time again I watched as cars and trucks made the property their own personal driveway and over flow parking lot for residents, visitors, boats and construction businesses parking.
This traffic flowed without any thought to the newly poured concrete sidewalks etc. they routinely ran over.
I have to admit this situation of having boats and ski-doos parked on the front lawn of did annoy ( although the shrubs thank goodness hid a lot of eyesores) .
I was woken many morning with the backing up of a dump truck and its high pitched warning beep beep! beep beep! Watching cars going by under the den window or the antics of those trying to make the turns with the long trailers ( funny as it was to watch) was not amusing in the long run because this situation was not a one off. It was happening almost every day!
removing me from the sight of garbage cans left to overflow on the front porch next door until it would eventually blow into my front yard.
Then we had to come to a decision ….
To be continued….
Sitting in my drafts is a very long post about “Money where your mouth is”
, something I have tried to live up to all my life. You will see this neighborhood/ block in a different light than the historical aspect than I usually present.
I have lost faith in the system, maybe because over the years I have “used” the system and found not only do the wheels turn slowly but the accountability is nothing more than a slap or a letter!
Lorain’s policy of the
“we want to abate the issue not punish”-
All well and good but although the violators know this the majority of Joe Public (JP) is unaware. JP on the whole thinks there is accountability for the issues that contravene the laws.
You see we think that when an arsonist is caught he won’t be coming back to the neighborhood; not here – back home in two days and “community service”- the stench of the burning rubber still hanging in the air. We (JP) think we call with a” valid “complaint the situation will be taken care of to the satisfaction of the complainant but……. life in Lorain is not Home and Garden TV! Far from it we have had an instance where a business woman on a city board threatened a city official and the Mayor with “bean spilling” if he didn’t follow her wishes- only for her to get elected a precinct person ( a liason between the party and the city) for her chosen party – how wonderful the thinking in parts of Lorain is totally mind boggling imho.
How many times have I heard when grumbling out loud and on facebook as to situations-
call the city – call the inspectors-
It is a shock when you realize the hoops that have to been gone through. The complaints resolved are usually done so by people who care , who have respect for the system . BUT what happens when they are ignored – Prime example
“on August 5th I noticed that one homeowner in Lorain was cited for his outdoor showroom. He was found guilty and the terrible punishment after 4 YEARS of citations and a plethora of lawnmowers $150.00 and court costs.
I drove past two weeks ago even MORE vehicles were stored than the above pictures from August. …..
Or the retaliation game comes into play- after this post I had better add more cameras !!!
My recent go around, chasing my tail, is with neighbors who wish to put an above ground pool in their front yard ( garden to the English readers)
I got very upset when told of their plans ,as you will read in the draft post when published. I was told by all and sundry from bottom to top-
No! not allowed, can’t do that, etc. etc.
You would think I would be relieved by those words, EXCEPT I have lived here too long seen the lack of respect breed more lack of respect and why not we haven’t had any real accountability with their next door neighbors.
Why wouldn’t my neighbors of the “planned pool” believe they can have a “water feature ” when for the past nearly two years their neighbor has used city property for storing construction vehicles, Rv’s on the front lawn.
Oh! there were complaints made for the parking of these vehicles around the neighborhood and they were told to move them. They did to other parts of the area and when it seemingly calms down the Construction LLC with apparently nowhere to park their equipment moves back. What is the point, can’t legislate respect for others or the codes? This young man and his family “know the codes” know they are contravening those codes but in my opinion have no respect for those codes or the neighborhood.
This “business” being run from a neighborhood zoned R3 , they can run a business from their home office – lots of people do!
One has to ask themselves is this fair to other construction companies in the city of Lorain whose overheads include storage and parking??? Shouldn’t a business ( commercial/ industrial) setting up in Lorain meet certain requirements- like storage, parking etc. Maybe they do and that is being ignored as well- who knows just another system??? So once again the view from the den window is what it is ‘ just bloody lovely!!!! ( that is me being sarcastic)
So why vent once again….. it doesn’t do any good…. Well Lorain will not get any respect from outside Lorain when her citizens do not respect the codes , others in the neighborhoods.. and USE and ABUSE the system.
This area of Ward 2 is one of the only locations in Lorain that can expand and has available land – a developer worth his salt coming down the street seeing out-door showrooms , non compliance and general lack of caring by the residents will be less than impressed. We paid a lot of money in 2008 for a lovely report DUH!!!!!
The Staubach Company
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
Maybe we should turn this area and downtown into a RV park!
And when you are told “call the city” – no point…..no accountability at the end ….. just another day of chasing ones tail…….
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!