I took a ride up the street on which I grew up, Lincoln Ave. It's funny, I never noticed before the interesting architectural features of its homes, all built at the turn of the 20th century. I came up to the house at 1590, where I lived from the age of 1 to the age of 17, and man, the ghosts were out this afternoon. I pictured my mom and dad sitting on the porch, on a warm summer night, eating ice cream, most likely butter pecan (I still think of that as old people ice cream). Or my mom sipping an iced tea and my dad drinking a beer, most likely Duke or POC. Maybe they are joined by my brother Mike, or Uncle Jim, waiting for my sister Betty to walk up the street, getting off the Franklin bus, from her job at the Westgate Higbees.
Need to replace a door? Stop by and see if there may be an appropriate solution for your century home. The Lakewood Historical Society’s fall sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 21 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the skate house at Lakewood Park (14710 Lake Avenue). The sale will feature a variety of items recently salvaged from Lakewood homes that have undergone remodeling or are scheduled for demolition. Items include interior and exterior doors, hardware, windows (leaded and stained glass), as well as other pieces. These items, which were destined for the dump, have been reclaimed through the hard work of our volunteers.
Property Description: 2 large format photographs, Hiram Preparatory Conference, 1932-1933; signed by Lakewood Participants. 1 Sunday School certificate, presented to Mrs. Harry E. Garner for her service.
“In this photograph, workers uncover the refrigeration pipes beneath Winterhurst ice rink before the skating season begins. Winterhurst, the largest outdoor refrigerated ice rink in the country for its time, was built in 1931 by the City Ice and Fuel Company. It was converted to an indoor rink in 1975. Winterhurst is located at 14740 Lakewood Heights Blvd., Lakewood, OH.”
While the Westtown CDC works to save their local theater, the Variety, we lost most of ours, only the historic Phantasy Theater still stands for the time being.
A few of us have worked to keep some of Lakewood's historical highlights that have been cast aside, unloved and rejected. There are virtual Lakewood museums all over town, not just at Lakewood Historical Society, which is the chief collector of Lakewood History and deserves all of our support. However in many yards, gardens, and even offices, you can see bricks from schools torn down, old stained glass, lamps, pews from churches, popcorn machines, even furniture and fireplaces that helped define many a historical moment in Lakewood and nearby.
Curtis Block Finally Receives Historic Designation, My Two Cents On Historic Designation And Preservation
Lakewood’s Planning Commission finally took action with the second vote required to designate the Curtis Block at 14501 Detroit Avenue historic under Chapter 1134 of local code. The property was deemed eligible for designation in May. A full eight months later, designation was unanimously approved at January’s Planning Commission meeting. The structure is now protected under local ordinance, adding it to the growing list of designated structures in our community. Per local code, designation requires two votes; the first vote is based on eligibility and the second is to actually approve designation. The ordinance was changed to this two-part process in part to address situations where an owner does not support the designation of their properties. As seen throughout our country, property rights can be the reason for a lively debate.
It was there before the street that bears its name.
That’s the Nicholson House, which in December was designated a Local Historic Property by the Lakewood Planning Commission. Built by pioneer Lakewood Settler James Nicholson c. 1835-1839, the frame colonial residence shares honors with the Honam (“Oldest Stone”) House as Lakewood’s two oldest extant structures.
Located at 13335 Detroit Avenue, the Nicholson House is a center-hall colonial build in the characteristic Western Reserve style epitomized by architect Jonathan Goldsmith. Living and dining rooms opened off either side of the central entrance hall, with a stairway leading to a second–floor bedroom and weacing room. Rooms were added to the rear of the house by the family, which maintained occupancy into the 1940s.
Ever wonder who lived in your house before you? Ever wonder what they were like? What did they do for a living? Did they have kids? What were their interests? Well, you’d be amazed what you can learn with a little on-line research.
Next year in July, 1095 Homewood Drive turns 100 years old. Maybe it was this impending event that stirred me to find out more about the homeowners who preceded me. With some guidance by the Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board and a few hours on the Internet, here is only a small amount of what I found out.
Eight families have owned the property, including us. Three of those families lived here in excess of 23 years. The families before us have hosted weddings, harp recitals, garden club meetings, even a wake. Some locally notable people were among those with ties to the home.
Were you at the Lakewood Arts Festival this year? Did you happen to see the Lakewood Historical Society’s awareness campaign going on in front of the Curtis Block building on the corner of Marlowe and Detroit Avenues?
As the dust motes settled in the halls of Lincoln Elementary School last June, two more items needed to find a home. Demolition of the venerable brick school was on the calendar and students were to be housed elsewhere until a newly built school on the same site, the corner of Summit Avenue and Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood, Ohio, was completed.
During a conversation with longtime library media assistant Sue Cernanec, my counterpart at Lincoln, who knew of my keen interest in local history, I was introduced to a set of framed prints which had been in storage at the school for many years. The subject matter, a young boy and girl in Spanish garb, were vintage images from the 1940s and 50s, but did not seem to relate to Lincoln School history. BUT, the small metal plaques on the base of each print made that a different story entirely.
Test your sleuthing skills as you navigate Lakewood to find unique architectural details! Join the Lakewood Historical Society on its 6th annual National Historic Preservation Month scavenger hunt.
The Planning Commission at its Thursday, May 7 meeting unanimously determined that the Curtis Block met the Lakewood preservation ordinance criteria to be nominated an Historic Property. At its next regular meeting on June 6, the Commission will consider whether to designate the Curtis Block as an Historic Property. The Curtis Block is a two-story commercial/residential building located on the southwest corner of Detroit and Marlowe Avenues.
The next time you are walking down Detroit Avenue, just east of Lakewood Hospital, stop for a minute and look up. What will you see? Above the store fronts and beyond the clay tile roofs on the second and fourth bays windows, you will be able to glimpse horizontal stone tablets inset in the parapet that read “CURTIS” and “BLOCK.” Diamond-shape stones are inset in raised brick surrounds further ornament the parapet.
The number one ranked 1967 Lakewood Ranger football team was among the best Ranger teams ever. Coach Robert Duncan’s purple and gold ran up substantial winning margins on their way to an impressive nine win season. Yet, because of the absence of an Ohio high school football playoff system, we will never know how they would have stacked up against statewide playoff competition.
Lakewood’s Eliot Ness Lived the Life
Sounds farfetched? Although improbable, the ingredients for such a scenario clearly exist.
Lakewood Park was, prior to being sold to the City of Lakewood in 1918, the lakefront estate of prominent residents Robert and Kate Castle Rhodes.
According to Lakewood historian Margaret Manor Butler, the Rhodes home, known as "the Hickories," was “a rendezvous of a celebrated company where gathered on many occasions all the members of the Rhodes and Hanna families and close friends, among them the McKinleys and the Garfields.”
Robert Rhodes’ family consisted of a brother and two sisters. His brother, James Ford Rhodes won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1920. A Cleveland High School is named in his honor. One of Rhodes’ sisters married Marcus A. Hanna, who joined the family mining business which eventually took his name and became M.A. Hanna Mining Co. of today. In addition to his duties with the family international mining and shipping business, Mark Hanna was also deeply involved in Republican politics.
Hanna, a high school classmate of John D. Rockefeller, was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1897 and was known as "the kingmaker” and the man behind the political ascending of fellow Ohioan President William McKinley.
Feb. 7, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America. British music and cultural influence would become a major force in America over the coming years.
The History Channel says, “The Beatles first American tour left a major imprint in the nation’s cultural memory. With American youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the Beatles, with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift.”
Regionalism and the centralization of County services and government are subjects that are very much in the news today. Yet, these issues have been debated for nearly 100 years by area leaders and local residents.
Louis B. Seltzer of Lakewood was editor of one of America’s great newspapers, the Cleveland Press, for 38 years.
Chuck Cusick, 1969 Lakewood High School graduate, will call it quits after a career in the National Football League that began 43 years ago. Cusick, currently Vice President of Operations for the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, began his career as a summer intern with the Browns in 1970.
“I contacted the Cleveland Browns while a freshman student at the University of Tennessee inquiring about an internship which were uncommon at the time, a real shot in the dark. The Browns asked me to come in for an interview when I was home for the summer. I was hired to assist answering telephones at training camp and for general PR assignments under the direction of Nate Wallack the V.P. for Public Relations,” Cusick said.
Browns training camp in 1970 was located at rural Hiram College in Portage County. “In order to beat the boredom of Hiram, Ohio, I would assist the trainer, Leo Murphy and Equipment Manager Morrie Kono after hours. Long story short, I did enough to impress and was asked if I would consider transferring to a local school to allow me to continue to assist Leo and Morrie during the 1970 season,” Cusick continued.
More than 2,000 people journeyed back in time over the course of five nights during Ohio Chautauqua 2013: "When Ohio Was the Western Frontier" in Lakewood Park June 25-29, sponsored by the Lakewood Historical Society and Ohio Humanities Council. The big red and white striped tent in Lakewood Park drew hundreds of people under its flaps each night and brought a festive spirit to the city, despite several nights of rain and even thunder and lightning.
“The event was again an overwhelming success this year,” said Ohio Chautauqua Committee Chairwoman Ann Bish, who brought the idea of Lakewood hosting the Chautauqua to the Lakewood Historical Society for the first time in 2011, and again this year.
Each night under the tent, local musicians -- many students from the Lakewood City Schools -- regaled the audience with musical pieces from the Revolutionary War period and later. Groups included Lakewood High’s Vive L’Four singing quartet; the Webb Trio; Will Crosby, Diane Virostko and Duncan Virostko; Four Seasons String Quartet; Luke Lemmeier and Grace Lazos; Foster Brown; and Lakewoodite Gary Rice on the banjo.
Few residents realize that Lakewood and Rockport Township were home to hundreds of working gas and oil wells. According Mark Bruce, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), “Rockport Twp. has 874 producing wells, only eight of which are producing, the rest are plugged, abandoned, or in the final restoration state or in another non-producing state.”
Bruce added that three permits have been granted for Rockport Twp. (Lakewood, West Park, Rocky River, Fairview Park) in the past three years.
According to writer Ralph Pfingsten’s book, “From Rockport to West Park,” "the first discovery of natural gas in the area was reported by the Cleveland Leader in 1885. Henry Mastick developed a well at Rocky River and J.M. Glasser put one into production for lighting and heating his greenhouse near Phinney’s Corners. However, because of the sparse settlement of the area, there was no market to justify exploring the resource. By 1913 however, things had changed. Gas was widely sought after and the first of the Lakewood wells was drilled in January. So successful was the venue that within a year 33 wells had been drilled in Lakewood. By 1915, the boom had spread to West Park. Six hundred sixteen wells were eventually drilled in Rockport, and in the 1913-1915 period it was one of the top producing areas in the Midwest."
Certain events, such as Sept.11, 2001, the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, or Hurricane Katrina, are so powerful they are defining moments for those who experienced them. For these events, many vividly recall details of the event years later. For longtime Lakewood residents, July 4, 1969 is such a day.
About 8:00 in the evening on that Independence Day, a sudden and powerful storm, known as a derecho, swept off Lake Erie into a crowd of nearly 20,000 at Lakewood Park. It was a tragic quirk of misfortune as this abrupt storm occurred at the busiest time of the busiest day at the busiest location in the City. A Hollywood horror movie could not have scripted such an ill-timed tragic event.
Norfolk Southern Railway has announced the tours of two steam locomotives on its lines this year as part of its 21st Century Steam Program. One will be coming through Lakewood on Mother’s Day, May 12. It is Nickel Plate Road #765, a 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 2-8-4 designation of a Berkshire-type locomotive indicates it has 2 pony or leading wheels, 8 large driving wheels, and 4 trailing wheels. Standing 15 feet tall, the Berkshire is capable of speeds over 60 mph.
In February 1979 convicted bank robber and heiress Patty Hearst was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran by overthrowing Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlav. The Cleveland Indians were eagerly anticipating the upcoming season with a quality lineup that included players such as Andre Thornton, Toby Harrah and Tom Veryzer, and in the front office Bobby DiBiasio began his career with the Tribe.
Thirty-five years later, DiBiasio, a 1973 Lakewood High School graduate, is Senior Vice President of the Cleveland Indians. His duties include being Team Spokesperson, Team Ambassador, head of the Indians Alumni Association and President of Cleveland Indians Charities.
The History Channel’s highly acclaimed television mini-series, "The Men Who Built America,” features two men especially important to Lakewood.
The Pride of the Buckeyes and arguably college football’s finest marching band has a special relationship with Lakewood.
The Ohio State University Marching Band, keeper of college football’s greatest tradition, Script Ohio, was led for fourteen years by Lakewood born Dr. Paul Droste.
Dr. Paul Droste was director of the Ohio State University Marching Band from 1970 to 1983. Prior to leading the TBDBITL (The Best Damn Band In The Land) he was the orchestra director at Lakewood High School from 1964 to 1966 and taught string instruments at Lakewood’s ten elementary schools during the same period.
In April 1922, Bishop Joseph Schrembs established eight new parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland. Two of these were in Lakewood, OH – Saint Clement and Saint Luke. The following details the very early efforts of determined and faith-filled clergy and parishioners to bring these communities to life.
“The Loving Hands and Hearts” of St. Clement
In the months after the parishes were named, the appointed pastor of St. Clement, Father Schmit, received partial lists of the families living within the new boundaries of St. Clement church. Without a church building in which to congregate, Fr. Schmit began to reach out day by day to individuals and families, bringing them together to plan and worship informally, laying the foundations for many of the programs that would serve the parish in years to come. He brought together those who would become the first lay leaders and active supporters of St. Clement Church.
The perceived evils of alcohol led America to pass the 18th Amendment, commonly known as the Volsted Act, which banned the substance for thirteen years between January 16, 1920 and the Act’s repeal in 1933.
Despite it being illegal, many Americans found ways to either make or import alcoholic beverages. Lakewood residents and Clevelanders were no exception.
One of the main avenues for the illegal bootlegging trade was through the Great Lakes, and Lakewood’s Clifton Lagoons, located at the mouth of the Rocky River and Lake Erie, have a colorful past in this regard.
On June 10, 1921, according to writer Alan May, a Canadian boat, the Tranquillo, was anchored at the base of Clifton Park Hill with between 2000 and 2400 bottles of Johnny DeWar Scotch. Three days later based on a tip, the Lakewood police boarded the suspicious boat. Initially the police found everything in order, but after spotting three shadowy figures lurking nearby, the police put the craft under surveillance. When the figures returned again later and apparent gun shots were fired, a more detailed inspection of the boat revealed the unlawful cargo.
The big red-striped tent of Ohio Chautauqua will return to Lakewood Park in June 2013. The five days of programs from June 25-29 will feature five historical figures from the period when Ohio was the Western Frontier of the growing United States. The Lakewood Historical Society is excited to bring this living history program back to Lakewood. As before, all programs are free and open to the public.
The early 1900's brought rapid growth in the city of Lakewood, bringing to life the dreams and aspirations of its first determined residents. In the same era, Lakewood’s Catholic community grew through acts of perseverance and sacrifice by its early clergy and parishioners. Established in 1922 by Bishop Joseph Schrembs, the parishes of St. Clement and St. Luke were built out of the great faith and pioneering spirit of their first members. In the beginning, no churches had been built, yet these communities grew. The stories of these two parishes, while very unique in their journeys, share a common beginning and a vision by Catholics eager to create their spiritual home in Lakewood.
The Lakewood Historical Society’s third annual Vintage Varieties is Saturday, October 13th, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Skate House, behind the Oldest Stone House at 14710 Lake Avenue.
This sale features vintage and contemporary small furniture; lamps and light fixtures; a huge variety of artwork, mirrors and picture frames; home décor; lawn and garden; tools; hardware (including glass door knobs) and fall decorations. Ready for a fire in the fireplace? Need a new screen or andirons? You'll find them here.
Of special note are items to put away for the kids for Christmas—you won’t find these things at any toy store! Among the selections are two doll houses, a vintage high chair, two tiny metal folding chairs, a sturdy retro tricycle, and a miniature but realistic wooden kitchen cupboard.
Massive new highway expansion forever changed the face of the United States, Ohio and Lakewood during the 1960s and 70s.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower had, in 1956, signed into law the Federal Aid Highway Act, which funded the construction of 41,000 miles of four-lane, interstate highways at a cost of $25 billion.
Prior to interstate highways, many roads connecting cities were simply two lanes. Almost all of them traveled through small- and medium-sized towns and were the main commercial streets in these municipalities. As a result, a drive from Cleveland to Columbus along Rte. 42 was a six-hour journey replete with numerous traffic lights and stops. Today a driver zips to Columbus along adjacent I-71 in two hours.
Eisenhower, according to History.com, said construction of the modern four-lane highways would “eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes, traffic jams and all other things that got in the way of speedy, safe travel.” Other highway advocates argued, according to the same site, that the new highways would, “in the case of atomic attack on our key cities … allow for quick evacuation of target areas.”
“My fondest memory of growing up at 17863 Lake Road was the family Christmas Day procession,” John Pyke, Jr. remembers. “On Christmas morning my sister and I were not allowed downstairs until my father gave the signal. The empty milk glass and cookie plate would be on the fireplace mantel; presents would be heaped under the lighted Christmas tree next to the fireplace in the living room, and my grandparents would be standing in the center hall with my mother.”
“When my dad began playing Christmas music on the record player, my sister and I would be directed to march in time with the music down the few steps from the second floor to the large landing between the second and first floors and then down the stairs from the landing to the center hall, when we were free to rush to the presents.”
Pyke’s former home at 17863 Lake Road is one of six homes, two businesses and St. James Catholic Church on the Lakewood Historical Society’s 11th biennial house tour, “Come Home to Lakewood,” on Sunday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 6 p.m. This year’s tour includes a lakefront home, a Tudor, a Clifton Park Arts and Crafts, the former Pyke home, a Colonial Revival, a Carlyle condo, a two-bedroom gem, and two businesses, all with lush gardens.
On September 3rd until September 6th the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. There will be delegates from each state, including hundreds of women delegates.
But on June 28, 1920 when the Democratic Party convened in San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium, there was one lone woman delegate…...Lakewood’s Bernice Secrest Pyke.
According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Pyke, a member of the Lakewood Board of Education, was the first female to be a delegate to a National Democratic Convention.
Hidden in plain view are many items of Lakewood’s past.
Every day, at the heavily travelled intersection of West Clifton and Clifton for instance, hundreds of cell phone-locked motorists text their way past such an item.
If one looks closely, there is a concrete flower bed planter located on the north side of Clifton, near the crosswalk. But this item had a life prior to being a flower bed... as a horse trough.
Most of us are aware that longtime Cleveland Indians owner Richard (Dick) Jacobs was a Lakewood resident. Jacobs owned the Tribe during the glory years, 1986 to 2000, after which he sold the team to a group headed by current owner, Larry Dolan.
From 1967 until 1972, the American League Indians were owned by Lakewood resident Vernon Stouffer, founder of Stouffer Foods, Inc. In 1972 Stouffer sold the team for $10 million to another local group headed by former Lakewood attorney and City law director Nick Mileti. In addition, Mileti was part of a group that purchased a National Basketball Association expansion franchise that became the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Milieti, in turn, owned the Indians from 1972 to 1976.
Prior to Mileti’s purchase of the Indians, another former Lakewood resident made a strong bid to purchase the team. This resident, some local residents may not be aware, was George Steinbrenner, who eventually purchased the New York Yankees.
A former Atkins Avenue resident and 1969 Lakewood High School graduate has brought thousands of worldwide listeners the firsthand accounts of sixteen Olympics Games.
Jack Briggs, correspondent for Associated Press radio, has covered every Olympics Games from 1980 to 2008.
“My first Olympics were Lake Placid in 1980 and my last was in China in 2008. At every Olympics I served as both a reporter and anchor. At its height AP radio had over 1,000 affiliates and we were heard on Armed Forces radio.” recalled Briggs.
Melissa Winter-Bently, who was born and raised in Lakewood, plays an important role in bringing real life drama to American homes.
Winter-Bently, after a coast-to-coast odyssey, has returned to the area as an associate producer for ITV Studios, creators of the award winning A&E show The First 48.
The First 48, one of the most-watched non-fiction investigative series on cable television, is in its thirteenth season on A&E. The show’s location is set in several locations throughout the United States including Miami, Dallas, Harris County, Texas; Charlotte and Cleveland.
Lakewood resident, Margaret Manor Butler, chronicled the names of many of Lakewood’s streets in her book, “Romance in Lakewood Streets,” published in 1962.
According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Mrs. Butler, born March 1, 1898, was native to Cleveland and was educated at Smith College. She and her husband Clyde moved to Lakewood in the 1920s. The Encyclopedia further states that during the gas rationing implemented by the government during World War II, Butler, along with her sons, began to stroll the streets of Lakewood. She noted and researched the names of many of Lakewood’s streets and included them in her book.
Lakewood resident and businessman Gary Schmitz has recreated radio of the past by reconstructing one of greater Cleveland most loved and listened radio stations, WIXY 1260.
City, State and Federal Building Codes are essential pieces of legislation that help to ensure the safety and health of building owners and residents. These rules and guidelines, and the penalties for noncompliance, play an important role in today’s society by protecting the owners, occupants, and even the structures themselves, from unnecessary harm or loss.
One of the most popular consumer brands in America has strong Lakewood roots. Stouffer Foods was founded by Lakewood’s Vernon Stouffer who has never enjoyed a Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza.
Jeff Kinzbach was a broadcaster and spent nearly thirty years in the radio business. For twenty of those years he was the morning personality at WMMS in Cleveland, Ohio that earned record high ratings. Kinzbach and the rest of WMMS were major players in the drive to bring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland. He is a member of the Radio Television Broadcaster's Hall of Fame and now lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and daughter. This interview is dated Dec. 22, 2011.
Again, I don't want to take a lot of your time:
As a youngster growing up in the 60s in Lakewood, Ohio, how did you first become involved with WMMS?
I was always interested in radio as a kid. I built everything from crystal sets to shortwave radios from kits. I would put up large antennas so I could listen to shortwave radio stations from all over the world. When I was 9 years old my Mom bought me a cheap little tape recorder. She was a single Mom raising 3 kids by herself so we didn't have much money. But that kit enabled me to put together sounds which later led me into radio. When I went to Horace Mann Jr. High, in 8th grade, I met 2 kids that became my best friends, Tom Kelly and Steve Lushbaugh. We liked music and we all liked radio. We all became members of the Television Crew at Lakewood High in 10th grade. John Newland was the instructor and he was great. We learned a lot and we became involved with an internship program at WUAB-43 in Parma. My sister, who was 5 years older than me, married a TV director from WTOL in Toledo. So I was hooked.