"Captured!" A World War II Memoir

Before shipping out to European battlefields in the late summer of 1944, a 23 year old Clevelander and Cathedral Latin graduate named Hugh O’Neill had paid a visit to his mother and extended family who lived in a large 4-plex on East Blvd near University Circle. By September 1944 he was training near Cherbourg and waiting for his 3rd Army infantry unit under the command of General George S. Patton to start their march across France. O’Neill subsequently fought, and had survived many consequential battles such as the attack on Metz, the Battle of the Bulge, and the siege of Bastogne.

While on a counter-reconnaissance mission along the German Siegfried line in January 1945, Sgt. O’Neill and the men with him took shelter from the cold winter night inside what they thought was an abandoned Nazi bunker. It turned out to be a ruse. The Germans returned and attacked the bunker so savagely that 20 Americans lay dead within it. Sgt. O’Neill, himself wounded, was dragged unconscious from the bunker, but alive! This is where his story begins.

The details of O’Neill’s ordeal at the hands of the Germans were unknown and untold until a personal and unpublished manuscript he’d written his POW experience in the early 50’s was discovered after his death in 2001. Now, for the first time, his story has been preserved in a new book titled: “CapturedA World War II Memoir.” This same story has also found a permanent home in the Library of Congress-Veterans History Project.

What makes O’Neill’s POW story stand apart from other WWII POW stories is the nature of his captivity. Rather than being summarily executed or placed in a POW camp (which were overflowing by then), O’Neill and hundreds of other Allied prisoners were forced on a 4-month long “death” march across the roads of southern Germany without proper clothing, food, or shelter. Meanwhile, Germany's armies, its infrastructure, and its civilians were being destroyed all around them. 


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Volume 20, Issue 4, Posted 1:44 PM, 02.21.2024

A Restoration Appreciation: The Warriors Club And Tournament Time

Progress has little sentimentality, and it's sometimes surprising how easy it is for the brain to forget and adapt, especially to that which is no longer seen. In the hamlet of Lakewood, churches have become CVS. The Detroit Theater a McDonald's. Miller's Dining Room an Auto Zone. And Lakewood Hospital...there was one? 

Tides turn. Cliffs crumble. Youth eventually ellipses and dissolves... 

Then, on a thick, gray Tuesday morning in February, while traveling on Detroit onto Granger then a left on Northwood, you happen by an old haunt, the grade school through middle in which much of life's template was created and unfolded, friendships made, dreams un-spooling and drifting toward the some day. And on this February day, the lights are on in your classrooms. Those warm long ago nooks.  There's something going on in all those lighted squares. Even after all these years. 

It brings a smile. And quiet thanks, volleyed toward whomever felt that this place was worth preserving, worth providing a new life for. You don't often see such. 

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Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Lakewood of My Youth - Revisited

“I believe I will go to my grave without seeing any significant change to my old neighborhood in Lakewood.”  This was the first line in a November 2006 article I read in the Lakewood Observer titled “Lakewood of My Youth.” The author, Mike Reilley, who grew up on the corner of Edgewater and Abbieshire, wrote of life in his neighborhood in the sixties, recalling the families on the street and the memorable experiences they shared. At the time, I lived on the same corner, having similar experiences with my family, but 40 years later.  I saved the article and vowed to share the Lakewood of My Youth – Revisited, sometime down the road.

My wife Nancy and I raised our four children and assorted pets on the corner of Edgewater and Abbieshire for 28 years from 1986 until we moved in 2014. (Actually, our first home was next door on Abbieshire, and seven years later webought the corner-house because we were so fond of the neighborhood).

When the author walked down the street in the 60’s, he recalled the families that lived on the street. 40 years later, three of the families he mentioned - Mrs. Jenson, the Schubert’s, and Gerlach’s – were still there. But by 2006, most the houses had turned over to a new group of homeowners - the Velcios, Millers, Boratos, Morans, Monts, Vigliancos, Kramers, Rowells, Singletaries, and Shaikhs – whose families grew up on the street in the 90’s and 2000’s. Many are still there.

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Volume 19, Issue 2, Posted 12:31 PM, 01.18.2023

104 Years Inside A Basement Wall: This Week In History

The basement walls of my century home are getting some much needed maintenance. I found a section of the mortar that was more like sand than cement. I went at it with an old paint scraper: bits of mortar were released followed by a nearly disintegrated wad of yellowed old newspaper. 

Newspaper is certainly an unusual item in masonry. Studying the few legible words of on the bits of paper painted a pretty good story: the hardware stores would again be open on Tuesday Nov. 5th following the closing restrictions due to the Spanish Influenza. Having been in this situation recently I can only assume that a stir-crazy homeowner took the opening of the hardware stores as an opportunity to tackle some home maintenance projects. A week old wadded up newspaper would supplement the limited supplies available. Unmixed cement has a limited shelf life, and the materials probably sat unused at the hardware store for an extended time, which would undermine the life of the mortar joint.

While I wasn’t able to find any information on what year shopping restrictions would have ended in the Spanish Influenza, or even much history on this pandemic I did find another bit or story on the paper which both overshadowed the pandemic and fixed the year with certainty: another bit of legible print describes the capture of 300,000 Austrian soldiers by Italians forces in Dalmatia, which is recorded in history books and unquestionably sets the year: 1918. These were the final days of the First World War, with the last armistice signed by Germany and Allied forces just one week from this news story.


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Volume 18, Issue 21, Posted 1:41 PM, 11.02.2022

Grace Presbyterian Church Celebrates 100 + 1 Years

 The congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church looked eagerly forward to a year-long celebration of its one hundredth anniversary, scheduled for October 2020. Each month was to celebrate one decade of Grace’s life in the church; each month, during the worship service, a “speaker from the past” would address the congregation; each month, music of the decade would be featured by the choir. A museum of the decade was to be featured in the parlor. A history book would be published; an original play, called “The Decades Speak,” was presented during the kick-off celebration; a grand finale banquet was booked. And then, in the third month, the third decade… COVID.
     The church closed its doors and the celebration ground to a halt. But the activity inside the quarantined homes never ceased. There would be no public performances but the work of the committees continued. The research into the history of Grace Church intensified, ending in a book of nearly forty pages.
     Grace Church began in 1920 as a mission church, branched out from Lakewood Presbyterian Church on Marlowe and Detroit. The members who lived on Madison Avenue, if they had no car (few did), would have to take a streetcar down to 117th street, transfer to Detroit Avenue and transfer again to the church. In the summer it was inconvenient; in the winter it was a disaster. The Madisonites petitioned to purchase land for a mission church on the present site at 1659 Rosewood Avenue.    

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Volume 17, Issue 21, Posted 3:04 PM, 11.03.2021

Lakewood Historical Society To Host Miniatures Show this Fall!

Whoever coined the phrase, “Good Things Come in Small Packages” will delight in attending the Lakewood Historical Society’s Small Wonders Miniatures Show! Pull out your magnifying glass and head over to the Nicholson House at 13335 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, to take in this captivating exhibit of over 60 dollhouses, room boxes and miniatures. 

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Volume 17, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

Southern District Of Clifton Park Listed In The National Register

The Historic Preservation Group, LLC and John S. Pyke, Jr. are pleased to announce that the southern district of Clifton Park has been listed as an historic district in the National Register of Historic Places, joining the northern district of Clifton Park listed in 1974.

Located in the northwest corner of Lakewood, Clifton Park was created in the early 1890s as a master-planned, single-family residential community. It featured curving streets, irregularly shaped lots, park areas and a beach on Lake Erie set aside for the exclusive use of Clifton Park residents. The plan included minimum investment requirements and uniform set-back lines for residences but allowed property owners freedom to design their residences.  The result in Clifton Park is an eclectic mix of architectural styles popular in the first third of the twentieth century.

In the mid-1960s Clifton Boulevard was extended through Clifton Park to the east bank of the Rocky River, and then across Rocky River Valley over a new bridge. This project divided Clifton Park into northern and southern districts.

The northern and southern portions of Clifton Park merited listing as historic districts in the National Register for the historic significance of its community planning and architectural quality and diversity.


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Volume 17, Issue 10, Posted 12:15 PM, 05.05.2021

Demolition of Lakewood Hospital

After photographing the demolition of our hospital I came across the front and quickly snapped a photo. Added a little caption !!!

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:19 PM, 08.21.2019

Memories Of Lincoln Ave.

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.

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

Salvage Items Available At Historical Society's Fall Sale

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.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.17.2017

Winterhurst Ice Skating Rink

“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.” 

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 8:12 PM, 01.10.2017

Saving Lakewood's History, Love And Respect Is The Way

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.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 5:02 PM, 06.07.2016

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.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 12:14 PM, 03.16.2016

Nicholson House Designated Local Historic Property

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.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:28 AM, 03.01.2016

Your Walls Can Talk

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.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:28 AM, 03.01.2016

Architecture Is Art! This Place Matters!

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?

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

Lincoln School Memorial Prints Travel To Illinois

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 4:01 PM, 08.18.2015

City-Wide Scavenger Hunt

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.12.2015

Curtis Block Eligible For Historic Property Designation

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.12.2015

Historic Designation Sought For Curtis Block

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.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 6:10 PM, 04.14.2015

1967 Rangers Ponder What Might Have Been

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.

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Volume 10, Issue 18, Posted 4:26 PM, 09.02.2014

Did President McKinley Hatch Panama Canal Plan In Lakewood?

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.  

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 11:21 AM, 04.29.2014

The Muther's Oats Rocked '60s Lakewood

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.” 

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 2:19 PM, 02.18.2014

Lakewoodites Always Leery Of Regional Attempts

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 8:12 PM, 10.03.2013

Lakewood High Graduate Marks 43 Years in NFL Front Office

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 15, Posted 10:38 PM, 07.24.2013

Ohio Chautauqua In Lakewood 2013: Witness To Western Frontier history

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 8:59 AM, 07.10.2013

Under Our Feet

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."

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 8:59 AM, 07.10.2013

The Storm Of '69

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 13, Posted 11:03 PM, 06.26.2013

Steam Through Lakewood!

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:39 PM, 04.30.2013

LHS Grad Bobby D Marks 35 Years As Tribe Executive

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.  

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:58 PM, 02.05.2013

Dr. Paul Droste-Lakewood's Gift To TBDBITL

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 9:24 PM, 01.08.2013

Early Work By Faith Communities Lays Foundations

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 9:24 PM, 01.08.2013

Lakewood's Clifton Lagoons And The Missing Scotch

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 24, Posted 1:17 PM, 11.28.2012

Ohio Chautauqua Returns to Lakewood in 2013

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 22, Posted 1:55 PM, 11.01.2012

"Spirit" of Lakewood's Catholic Parishes Celebrated At 90-Year Mark

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 5:44 PM, 10.16.2012

Vintage Varieties

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 20, Posted 8:58 PM, 10.02.2012

60s Highway Construction Changed Lakewood's Landscape

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.”

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Volume 8, Issue 20, Posted 8:58 PM, 10.02.2012

Lakewood Historical Society House Tour: Two Gems In 17863 Lake Road, And St. James Church

“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.

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Volume 8, Issue 18, Posted 9:58 PM, 09.05.2012

Lakewood Sends First Female Delegate To A Democratic Convention

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 10:20 PM, 08.07.2012