Preservation Network

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  • 7-20-07: North Ridge Scenic Byway within two weeks?

  • 7-21-07: Save the Avon Center School!

  • 8-1-07: Avon Isle dances one step closer to becoming a national landmark

  • 8-24-07: NORTH RIDGE SCENIC BYWAY DESIGNATED

  • 2-7-08: A Case for Preservation

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 4-18-07, By Rachel Holzaepfel

    ``County puts low-interest Heritage Home improvement loans on hold

    If you want to preserve a piece of history, it's going to cost you. At least that's what historic homeowners in Lorain County have realized.

    The Lorain County Preservation Network, which began in early 2003, set one of their top goals as creating a Lorain County Heritage Home Loan program, according to Marilyn Fedelchak Harley. Harley is a member of the LCPN and the Lorain County Historical Society and has worked on getting a Lorain County version of the loan program since 2003.

    The Heritage Home Loan program sets aside money for historic homeowners to restore and upkeep the interiors and/or exteriors of their 50-plus-year-old homes. The loans are set a maximum of 10 years, with an interest rate set at 3.5 percent. Cuyahoga County has offered the program for more than five years and has given more than 300 loans.

    Another member of the Lorain County Preservation Network and also the executive director of the Lorain County Historical Society, William Bird, has also worked to see the Heritage Home Loan program become a reality.

    "(The loans) improves housing stock," Bird said. "There's a trickledown effort. Neighbors see others improve their homes and they might be inspired to fix up their property. In the whole neighborhood, you might give out two loans, but six to 10 homes improve. It has very, very much worked that way."

    The Lorain County Preservation Network were inspired by the renovation efforts in the Cleveland area and saw the number of homes in Lorain County that could benefit from a low-interest home restoration loan. The loan program requires "an entity to put up a pot of money to support it," Bird said. For Cuyahoga County, the pot involves funding from the county, the municipalities and the Cleveland Restoration Society.

    The Lorain County Preservation Network committee members presented the loan program to the Commissioners Betty Blair, Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski. Bird said ... the Lorain County Preservation Network ... wasn't able to convince the commissioners to fund a pilot version ...

    With the commissioners' rejection, the door closed on historic home loans for Lorain County. "As of right now, we've temporarily abandoned efforts," Bird said ...

    The Web site http://Nationaltrust.org offers information on tax incentives, select financial assistance programs and other resources for historic homeowners ...

    EDITORIAL from The Press, 4-18-07

    ``Home Improvements

    ... Lorain County Transit witnessed a 50 percent slash in funding, but even that dims to the 100 cut taken by the never-left-the-ground Heritage Home Loan program. While the program is not mandated for funding, it warrants a closer look before being permanently placed in the discard pile.

    It's no secret that scattered throughout Lorain County, including Avon and Avon Lake, are homes that are in dire need of updating. In cities such as Avon Lake, where there is no exterior building codes, it is especially imperative to allow homeowners a viable option for improving the exteriors of their homes.

    Not only is it a smart investment in one's home, it's a smart investment in the neighborhood as well as the city. Good homes = good property values = more taxes.

    Several years ago in Cuyahoga County, we witnessed street after street put low interest Heritage Home Loans sponsored by the county to good use. Owners of older homes were offered loans with rates as low as 3.5 percent for updating homes. Soon, neighbors who may not have been applicable followed suit, and in the best way meant, updated their home to keep up with The Joneses.

    The net result of the program, still in place, is huge. Property values went up, and with it, cities involved images and land valuations.

    The Press sees a need, and a want, for this type of program in Lorain County. We don't buy the rhetoric that there was "little interest;" instead, this may be a case of the information not being passed along to a public in need of some low-cost loans.

    Too often we hear about the "sorry state" of some homes in Lorain County, as our reputation lags behind others. Creating a desirable county to live in starts with schools and homes and this is the perfect opportunity to improve the image of the county and the cities within.

    It's a shame, and unfortunately believable, that the county commissioners couldn't find the funding to offer this program this year. Hopefully we'll see this program one day come to fruition. It's the type of program where everyone wins.''

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    Marilyn Fedelchak Harley wrote on 7-10-07;

    I am delighted to welcome two new groups to the Network: Weltzheimer-Johnson House at Oberlin College and the Southern Lorain Historical Society/Spirit of 76 Museum. This brings the number organizational participants to 15 and we are very pleased to have them.

    There have been three new groups in the past 12 months, which is on ongoing testament to the relevance of the Network. The other exciting news is that the Weltzhiemer-Johnson House has invited us to have the October 25th meeting at the house--so if you have never been to this Frank Lloyd Wright house, plan to attend this meeting at a special location.

    As many of you know, three individuals in Wellington (David Davies, Helen Dronesfield and Will McCracken) began last fall discussing, researching and contacting indivuduals with related interests about the possibility of creating a federally-recognized Lorain County National Heritage Area [NHA].

    Then in late winter and early spring several well attended meetings were held. These discussions were fruitful in beginning the process of identifying resources in the county and researching the NHA creation process.

    Then in late May we learned that Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Youngstown, Akron) had successfully incorporated into the NHA Act of 2006 authorization for the National Park Service to undertake a feasibility study for a 14-county Western Reserve (Youngstown to Erie to Ashland counties) National Heritage Area (WRNHA). This bill, which created 10 new NHA's, authorized the study but did not fund it -- that will have to be accomplished in this congress.

    You can learn ALL ABOUT this at the Network meeting on July 25th [2007] at noon at The Hickories [on Washington Ave. in Elyria].

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 7-18-07, by Ben Norris

    Historical society aims for new center

    ``ELYRIA -- The Lorain County Historical Society is making progress toward its $1.6 million goal to fund an ambitious project aimed at creating a countywide historical center, said Historical Society Executive Director Bill Bird.

    Bird said the society is about $400,000 short of the goal, which will fund the purchase and renovation of the oldest house on Washington Avenue. "We are going to develop a museum inside the house," Bird said. "We have raised about 75 percent of the funds we need ... "

    The house, built in 1857, once housed Horace Starr, who founded a department store that Bird said was the 1860s version of Macy's. The plan is to purchase the Starr house and surrounding property at 284 Washington Ave. [The proposed location of the Lorain County Historical Society is just north of the Elyria Library, at 284 Washington Ave.]

    Bird said renovations will include repainting and renovating the property, adding new equipment and installing an elevator. Part of the house will also serve as historical society headquarters with computers and other office equipment. The current historical society headquarters will remain open as a house museum focusing on Elyria's heritage.

    The museum will remain part of the county historical society but may be operated by the Elyria Historical Association, a new group trying to increase its membership base in Elyria.

    So far, the society has raised an estimated $1.2 million, including from members and from the Elyria Rotary Club. Bettcher Industries also matched $150,000 in grants.

    Bird said the new center will initially be staffed by current historical center employees and by volunteers, although more staff members may be hired depending on how many people visit the center. Bird estimates it will be another year-and-a-half before all funding is raised and the building is ready to house the museum and historical society headquarters.''

    Contact Ben Norris at bnorris@chroniclet.com.

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 7-20-07, by Rania Shakkour

    Route 254 gets push for 'scenic byway' title

    ``AVON -- Almost 200 years of historical settlements and houses still stand on Detroit Road, and two local historical societies are pushing to designate state Route 254 in Lorain County as an Ohio scenic byway.

    The Sheffield Village Historical Society and Cultural Center and the Avon Historical Society submitted a request to the Ohio Department of Transportation to designate the 10-mile highway in Sheffield Township, Sheffield and Avon as a [scenic] byway and hope to hear a final answer within two weeks.

    "We'll probably be one of the shortest, but one of the most spectacular," Ed Herdendorf said, president of Sheffield Village historical society. Herdendorf lives in the house his great-great-grandfather built in 1839 on Detroit Road. The Milton Garfield House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized with a heritage plaque from the county.

    "The reason we thought it (the road) was important is because we have well over a hundred historic homes on the byway," Herdendorf said, adding that the houses date back to the 1830s and the settlements to 1815.

    To become a scenic byway, the road must be at least two lanes and five miles long, promise the management and growth of businesses and provide scenic, historical, recreational and agricultural sites -- all documented in a 200-page proposal, mostly of pictures, which was submitted.

    The road also cannot have any billboards -- the easiest to verify since Sheffield and Avon have ordinances that ban them. The Metro Parks, Garfield farm, Victorian-style homes, historical cemeteries dating to the War of 1812 and [archeological] sites dating back 3,500 years contribute to the rich heritage of the road.

    The most astonishing detail is that 12,400 years ago, when Lake Erie was bigger and deeper, Detroit Road was the lake's shoreline, according to the request.

    There are 25 designated scenic byways in Ohio, including four national byways and one All-American road. The Lake Erie Coastal Trail, a national byway, is the only other byway in Lorain County. If approved, the road, between state Route 57 and the end of the county line at Westlake, would be listed as the North Ridge Scenic Byway in Ohio tourist maps.''

    See Scenic Byways Tour

    Contact Rania Shakkour at rshakkour@chroniclet.com.

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    FEATURE ARTICLE from The Press, 5-9-07, By Rebecca Turman

    At 92, former student recalls Old Schoolhouse days

    ``AVON -- Jessie Root remembers her days learning at the Old Schoolhouse in Avon as if they were yesterday. "My folks moved here when I was 6," she said, adding that they had relocated from Cleveland and were vegetable farmers.

    Mrs. Root, of Avon, said she originally went to first grade at a school on Hale Street, in Avon, but in second grade she was moved to the Old Schoolhouse on Detroit Road. Mrs. Root is believed to be one of the few surviving students who attended school at the Old Schoolhouse. She said she couldn't remember exactly what the school was called then.

    Mrs. Root, 92, still vividly remembers her first day of school there. She remembers sitting down at her desk and putting her schoolbooks in it. "They fell flat on the ground because there was no bottom," she said with a chuckle. "I was so embarrassed." Mrs. Root said she learned that the students normally put their books on the floor next to the desks.

    Mrs. Root quickly recalled fond memories of recess time while she was at the Old Schoolhouse. "I liked to run," she said. "At noon, teachers would take us out to lunch and we would do races." The children would also jump rope during recess and play other games, Mrs. Root said.

    "Going to the cemetery was positively one of the biggest things we did," she said. There, Mrs. Root and her classmates would play hide-and-seek among the early settlers' graves. "I remember one tall headstone," she said, unable to recall the name on the tombstone. "That was always the one everyone ran to."

    Along with the school-age games, Mrs. Root also has an excellent memory of the schoolhouse in general. She thoroughly remembers the building's layout. "There were two separate rooms with a cloakroom in the middle," she said.

    The west side of the building housed first through fourth grade, and fifth through eighth-graders were taught in the east classroom, she said. "You'd be amazed at how much you could absorb with children all in different grades," she said of the learning capabilities in the combined classrooms. She reminisced about the subjects that were taught then, including geography, arithmetic, history, spelling and handwriting.

    Just as schooldays are very regimented for today's students, the schooldays at the Old Schoolhouse were very routine, and Mrs. Root was quick to remember the everyday occurrences.

    First off was the ride to school, which Mrs. Root described as an "interesting one." "This 'school bus' was pulled by horses and a wagon," she said, adding that her "bus" hauled about 20 kids to school every day. Explaining that she lived on Detroit Road near Moon Road at the time, she said she would watch every day “as they (the bus driver) came up on Moon Road, then came west."

    Once at school, Mrs. Root said the teacher's first task of the day was to make sure the building was heated. "It had a big old stove," she said, of the schoolhouse, explaining that it was the teacher's job to make sure it was lit each morning.

    Another requirement at the school was having handkerchiefs handy at all times, Mrs. Root said. "We always had to have a clean handkerchief," Mrs. Root said, explaining that the handkerchief always had to be placed on the corner of each student's desk every day. The teacher would walk by each student and examine their hands to make sure they were clean. "That same handkerchief was used day after day until it got pretty dirty," she said.

    Mrs. Root said she couldn't remember any particular incidents when students acted up and were punished by the schoolteacher other than students throwing notes to their friends when the teacher wasn't looking. "There were too few of us to be too antagonistic," she said. "In those days, you better behave yourself or your folks took care of it."

    Currently, the future of the Old Schoolhouse is in question, as Greg Romes, owner of Lake Pointe Construction, who currently owns the Old Schoolhouse and the property it sits on, has applied for a demolition permit [on 2-15-07]. At the same time, Ron Larson, owner of Olde Avon Village has pledged to preserve the structure and move it to Olde Avon Village should Romes no longer want it on the property.

    Mrs. Root offered up her opinions about the controversy. "I think it would be nice to preserve," Mrs. Root said of the Old Schoolhouse. "In Europe they save their buildings forever and ever and here, we just tear them down. "It is brick and it can be moved. I really feel that it should be preserved. It doesn't mean it should be turned in to a library or something like that. An art and music gallery -- I think that would be nice."

    Perhaps the schoolhouse has a sentimental value to Mrs. Root because she was a schoolteacher in Elyria, having graduated from Bowling Green State University. She was also a substitute teacher after she got married. She explained that at that time, once you got married you couldn't teach anymore and your job was given to a younger, unmarried teacher.

    Today, Mrs. Root said she is very supportive of her family when school events pop up. "I go to everything," she said, adding that she has four grandchildren (one being Avon Fire Chief Frank Root III) and seven great-grandchildren.''

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    LETTER TO THE EDITOR of THE PRESS, 5-2-07, By Jessie M. Root

    The letter in The Press about the Old Schoolhouse brought fond memories to me. My family moved to Avon in 1922. I was 6 and now I am 92. The first school I went to was at the south end of Hale Street. A large two-story brick building; there was a horse shoeing shop on the west lot. We always had to go see the horses.

    In the second grade, we were transferred to the [Avon Center School]. The front door led right in to the cloak room. Girls on one side, boys opposite. There were two large identical classrooms: teacher's desk in front, water bucket with a dipper in the back on a table. On the east side was the heating system: a big wood stove. The teacher's first job was to get the stove lit.

    The outhouses were at the rear of the school yard one for each sex. The desks were connected in a row. Every morning we had to put a handkerchief on our desk plus [have] a clean hand inspection by the teacher.

    Naturally there was a bell to call us back to our classes. Each teacher had four grades to teach. The cemetery was west of the school and naturally the kids spent a great deal of time playing over there.

    Our transportation was a covered school wagon pulled by a team of horses. My next school was back to Hale Street. In 1925, I skipped a grade and that made me eligible to go to our new school on Detroit Road, from where I graduated.

    I shall not express my feelings as to the future of the Old Schoolhouse as we voted city officials to take care of us Avon folks.

    Jessie Root, Avon

    For more on the Root family, see A Letter to the Editor by Jessie Root, wife of Frank Root I

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 4-23-07, by Michael Baker

    ``AVON -- The century-old schoolhouse that sits on the southern side of Detroit Road in Avon is living on borrowed time. In February [2007], Lake Pointe COnstruction owner Greg Romes applied ... to demolish the old schoolhouse ...

    Romes porposes to build out 22 acres on the southeast corner of state Route 83 and Detroit Road for a commercial retail center. The bulldozers are just waiting for the go-ahead. And yet, the one room schoolhouse still stands ...

    Historic building owner Ron Larson said he is willing to move the schoolhouse to Olde Avon Village. Larson developed Olde Village, which consists of 3 acres of historic building on Detroit Road. He has transported five other historically significant structures to the property over the years. There, the old schoolhouse could be preserved in the form of a shop or restaurant, according to Larson.

    And although Larson is taking the necessary steps to secure the move, he, too, expressed his desire for the schoolhouse to stay where it is. "Any preservationist would want it to stay in place," he said.

    Larson would gain the rights to the building if Romes were to donate it to the historical society which, in turn, would give it to Larson. "If all else fails, I would stand up and try to save the building," Larson said. While Larson didn't provide an estimate on the cost of moving the building, he said it will be significant ...

    Facing extinction is nothing new for the old schoolhouse. Built in 1910, the schoolhouse -- known then as the Avon Center School -- was a one of 11 other one-room schoolhouses in Avon. But by 1924, with the automobile revolution and the advent of the school bus, ... [Avon] moved from small one-room schools to the larger consolidated school [now the Village School on Detroit Rd.] ...

    "One became a slaughterhouse, some were just torn down, and a few have been re-sided or renovated pretty thoroughly," Jack Smith, Avon Historical Society, said. "I don't even know where they all are." But he does know where the former Avon Center School is: on the brink of destruction. "All it would take is a half hour with a bulldozer," he said.''

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    LETTER to the Editor of The Press, 4-11-07, By Tim Bresnahan, Tom Berges, R. Clark Perrin, Jon Pinney

    When is Enough, Enough?

    Quoting from the newspaper of April 11, "Initially Romes said he would preserve the Old Schoolhouse, but he recently said that preservation was contingent on the rezoning of property that he had requested for his City Centre commercial development on Detroit and SR 83, which is still pending."

    The City has already granted Mr. Romes C2, French Creek District zoning, on the northern parcels of the property located at Detroit and SR83. This zoning revision exceeds the recommendations of Mark Majewski of North Star Planning and Design, a professional planner retained by the City. The southern parcels remain R2 residential.

    Mr. Romes continues to demand commercial zoning for the southern parcels or he will demolish the old Schoolhouse adjacent to the cemetery at Detroit Road and SR83. It is noted that the southern parcels are surrounded on 3 sides by R2 residential property.

    The current City Council should not surrender to Mr. Romes's demands. Last November [2006] the electorate sent a clear message regarding commercial development south of I-90 and Detroit Road (Charter Amendment -- Issue 18). If the Council begins to doubt the people's commitment, then the Council should put this rezoning issue on the ballot and allow the electorate to speak directly to Mr. Romes ...

    When do we, the voting residents and our elected officials have a say in what our town looks like instead of non-resident developers and their attorneys?

    When is enough, enough?

    Respectfully, Avon Citizens Committee 2006 Founders

    Tim Bresnahan, Tom Berges, R. Clark Perrin, Jon Pinney

    Email us at acc2006@centurytel.net

    [Why, in 2006, did the Avon Council rezone land on Detroit and SR 83 from residential to commercial for Greg Romes without a legally binding agreement to preserve the Avon Center School?]

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 8-1-07, By Rebecca Turman

    ``Avon Isle dances one step closer to becoming a national landmark

    AVON -- The city of Avon may soon have another piece of history to add to the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Avon Historical Society and the group's summer intern, Rhonda Newman, have been working hard to get Avon's once hopping dancing hot spot -- Avon Isle -- the historical recognition it deserves.

    According to the [unofficial] Avon Historical Society Web site, Avon Isle was built in 1926 by F. J. Roth and was originally called the Dance Pavilion.

    If approved, Avon Isle would join the city's three other landmarks on the national list: The William E. Hurst Home and the Henry Harrison Williams home, both on Detroit Road, and the Wilbur Cahoon homestead on Stoney Ridge Road.

    But the road to recognition is much longer than the group and Newman had anticipated, Avon Historical Society President Taylor "Jack" Smith said.

    The process to get Avon Isle recognized nationally started years ago, according to Smith. "Originally, this was discussed as a city of Avon project because the city owns the property," Smith said. "The mayor was in contact with Steve McQuillin (a local building preservation consultant), and he considered hiring him to go through the steps to get it on the register, but it didn't materialize. About a year ago, we decided we were going to get it on the national register."

    Ralph White, vice president of the historical society, got the ball rolling, Smith said. "He got deeds, ownerships -- the nuts and bolts of background that you have to have," Smith said ...

    "First of all, we have to fill out an enormously long form," Smith said. "We have to go through the state of Ohio, which we've done, and they said, `yes,' we do qualify (for landmark recognition). We qualified for a Lorain County designation as a landmark, which was done a year ago. We've taken those steps -- recognized by the county, recognized by the state."

    "We are making a big push," Smith said of the application process. "The main push has been to get some oral history," he said, adding that residents from Avon and Sheffield Village have been interviewed.

    "It's a formidable task," Smith said of the process, adding that a lot of information, including a description of the building, previous ownership over the years why it's suitable to be on the national register, needs to be collected.

    Currently, Smith said Newman, a student at Baldwin-Wallace College, is working on the statement of significance for the National Register application. "She's doing a top job," Smith said of Newman's work.

    Newman was connected with the society through Leadership Lorain County, Smith said. An Elyria resident, Newman said she had never heard of Avon Isle before the project had begun to unfold, so her first priority was to get to know the city's landmark.

    "I had been up and down Detroit Road many, many times, but it's so tucked away," Newman said. "There's no graffiti, no broken windows, no vandalism at all. It's a beautiful little park setting."

    Newman was impressed with Avon Isle's interior as well as the exterior, she said. "That dance floor is gorgeous," Newman said. "And when I say gorgeous, I mean gorgeous because I can see what it was (when it was popular)."

    Conducting interviews to provide oral histories of Avon Isle has been "tremendously fascinating" for Newman, she said. "Everyone I've mentioned this (Avon Isle) to, they are very happy to talk about it," Newman said. "They have only happy memories about this place," she said adding that she's heard many people describe the Isle as "community focused' and "family oriented.' Even though some dance halls had a bad reputation, Newman said the Isle is definitely not one of them.

    "I spoke with (92-year-old Avon resident) Jessie Root," Newman said. "She was telling me how you went there (to the Isle) and everybody knew everybody. It's just been so heart-warming (researching information about the Isle)."

    Aside from the interviews and observations, Newman said she's been "super-involved" working toward achieving landmark status for the Isle. "Right now I'm working on the statement of significance, explaining to the board why we feel the property is significant and should be listed," Newman said. "We are using the criteria that states our building is associated with events, so you kind of have to tell your story on how the property demonstrates that."

    The process of applying to get an item on the National Register list is so involved Newman said there is a book to explain how to complete the registration form. Even though the project can be overwhelming at times, Newman said White has helped her every step of the way. "He has been dedicated to this whole process," she said. "I would have been a fish out of water without him. I talk to him at least once a week and we meet every 10 to 14 days. The people at the Avon Historical Society have been very supportive."

    According to Newman, Avon Isle's application should be completed by the end of the summer. "There's a preliminary board, and more than likely they will kick it back and want to tweak some things," she said, adding that the Society could wait up to 24 months to get the national landmark approval. "It could be a very lengthy process," Newman said. "I'll stay on as a volunteer when my internship is up. I have an emotional attachment now. I want to see this get done. You want people to understand that the community loves this building."''

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    NORTH RIDGE SCENIC BYWAY DESIGNATED BY ODOT

    Dr. Charles E. Herdendorf, President of the Sheffield Village Historical Society, announced today, Thursday, August 23, 2007, that the Ohio Department of Transportation has officially designated State Route 254 throughout Lorain County as the NORTH RIDGE SCENIC BYWAY.

    James G. Beasley, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, signed an Executive Order on Tuesday, August 21, 2007, proclaiming the 9-miles of Ohio Route 254 within Lorain County as the North Ridge Scenic Byway. From west to east, this Scenic Byway corridor passes through the communities of Sheffield Township, the Village of Sheffield, and the City of Avon.

    A 175-page, full-color proposal to establish the North Ridge Scenic Byway was prepared by the Sheffield Village Historical Society and the Avon Historical Society, and was submitted to the Ohio Department of Transportation in December 2005.

    The proposal was endorsed by the mayor's of Sheffield Village and Avon and by the trustees of Sheffield Township. The Lorain County Board of Commissioners, Lorain County Engineer's Office, Lorain County Historical Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, and several area citizens also submitted letters of support.

    On July 19, 2007, County Commissioners Betty Blair, Ted Kalo, and Lori Kokoski issued the following Resolution No. 07-518 on behalf of the North Ridge Scenic Byway:

    ``In the matter of Supporting the proposal to establish a North Ridge Scenic Byway along SR254 for Lorain, County, Ohio submitted by Sheffield Village Historical Society & Cultural Center and the Avon Historical Society:

    WHEREAS, Charles E. Herdendorf, Ph.D., Sheffield Village Historical Society & Cultural Center; Ralph D. White, Avon Historical Society; and Thomas Hoerrle, Lorain County Historical Society prepared a proposal submitted to Ohio Scenic Byways Program, Ohio Department of Transportation to establish a North Ridge Scenic Byway along SR254 for Lorain County, Ohio; and

    WHEREAS, this North Ridge Scenic Byway known as North Ridge and Detroit Roads passes through a diverse assemblage of agricultural, residential, commercial, and natural settings as it traverses the northernmost beach ridge of Lake Erie's glacial predecessor; and

    WHEREAS, the communities of Avon and Sheffield are rich in human history that begins several thousand years ago with Native American Indian settlements on North Ridge and later the Burrell Fort on French Creek which flows through both communities; and

    WHEREAS, the proposed North Ridge Scenic Byway seeks to engender public awareness of the cultural and natural attributes associated with the Ohio Route 254 corridor through our communities; and

    WHEREAS, this proposal encompasses the entire 9-mile segment of Ohio Route 254 located in northern Lorain County -- from west to east Route 254 begins at the intersection with Ohio Route 57 in Sheffield Township (midway between the cities of Elyria and Lorain, Ohio) and runs in an east-northeasterly direction to the Cuyahoga County line. This highway traverses the following political subdivisions: Sheffield Township, 1.25 miles, the Village of Sheffield, 1.75 miles, and the City of Avon, 6.0 miles.

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Lorain County Board of Commissioners that we hereby Support the proposal to establish a North Ridge Scenic Byway along SR 254 for Lorain County submitted by Sheffield Village Historical Society & Cultural Center and the Avon Historical Society.''

    The Historical Societies of Avon and Sheffield Village appreciate the outstanding support of the Board of Commissioners, as well as the assistance of many organizations and citizens that have made the designation of the a North Ridge Scenic Byway possible.

    In the coming months the communities look forward to placing signs along the Scenic Byway, and the Historical Societies will produce brochures and guidebooks to assist travelers in their enjoyment of the many features along the Scenic Byway.

    Contact: Dr. Charles E. Herdendorf at (440) 934-1514 or Herdendorf@aol.com

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 8-2-2007,

    By Bryan Story, Staff Writer

    ``Historical societies apply for scenic byway name

    AVON -- Route 254 could soon take on a new name. If the Avon and Sheffield Village historical societies have their way, the road soon will be known as the North Ridge Scenic Byway for a 10-mile stretch between the eastern border of Avon, through Sheffield Village and into Sheffield Township.

    The two historical societies submitted a roughly 200-page application to the Ohio Department of Transportation to give the route the distinction of an Ohio scenic byway.

    The honor means that the route would be listed as a scenic byway on tourism maps. "I think that this will bring a sense of community pride, having a scenic byway in Avon and Sheffield Village," Avon Historical Society president Taylor J. Smith said.

    According to Smith, is it simply the beauty of the route and its surroundings that merit the honor of being added to the state's list of just 25 scenic byways.

    Smith cited the large number of century homes, the mix of commercial, residential, and agricultural surroundings, as well as the proximity to the Loarin County Metro Parks, as the things that make Route 254 stand out.

    "I love making the drive from the [east] edge of Avon west into Sheffield," Smith said. "It's just such a beautiful drive, and there is so much history there."

    Avon lists nearly 100 sites on Route 254 in its Survey of Historical Properties, published in 2004. Among these buildings are churches built around 1900, Avon's former city hall, old school houses, historic cemeteries and dozens of ancient homes ...''

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    A Case for Preservtion, by Joe Richvalsky

    Minutes of the Landmarks Preservation Commission

    ``January 9, 2008

    Avon City Hall-Caucus Room

    Commission Members: Carol Hartwig (Chair), Bob Gates (Vice Chair), Lois Shinko, Joe Richvalsky

    ...

    8) Comments: Remarks about Houses located at 2748 and 2732 Stoney Ridge Road, by Mr. Richvalsky -- Mrs. Hartwig intends to send these remarks, and attached drawings, to various Avon officials ...''

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    ``Landmarks Preservation Commission, Avon, Ohio

    St. Mary's Houses
    A view from the road for Houses located at 2748 & 2732 Stoney Ridge Road

    Presentation by Joe Richvalsky

    Houses located at 2748 & 2732 Stoney Ridge Road

    December 12, 2007

    I. Why save these buildings?

    Both buildings are registered as significant historic structures in Avon, per the vote of the citizens of Avon in 2003.

    Both houses form the fabric, and enhance the character of the Stoney Ridge Road street-scape in the St. Mary's neighborhood. While each building on its own may not appear significant, the collection of small houses and bungalows along this stretch of Stoney Ridge Road creates a unique and distinct "cottage-district." This is one of the few remaining historic neighborhoods in Avon. Some of the others are along Hayes Street, and the short stretch of houses just east of the Avon High School.

    Both houses are representative of the agricultural roots of Avon. Humble in scale and ornament, they share the traits of the vernacular Avon farmhouse. Both houses have front porches that should be restored; the front porch as an architectural form is unique to the American way of life in the 19th and 20th centuries. The porch represented neighborliness, and connection to the community.

    The house at 2748 is an Arts & Crafts bungalow, and very similar to several of the same style on the North side of the St. Mary's church. It is in good condition for renovation.

    The house at 2732 is a classic foursquare structure, with some Arts & Crafts style detailing. It too is in good condition for renovation. It is possible that this house is an historic "Sears & Roebuck Prefabricated House." These house “kits" could be ordered by catalogue in the early 1900's, sent to the site, and fully constructed within a few weeks. The ideal was that every American could own a quality, well-built home, usually for a few thousand dollars.

    The preservation of the buildings would:

    Set a positive example for the community that history is important

    Be environmentally responsible, and an example of the importance of "green-architecture."

    Preserve the scale, and character of the neighborhood.

    Reflect and respect the "vote of the people" of Avon, that historic preservation is important.

    Maintain, and even upgrade the property values of the neighborhood.

    Be a unique feature for St. Mary's and it's future expansion.

    II. Preservation Solutions:

    Stoney Ridge Road
    St. Mary's Houses
    Site Plan for relocation of Houses now at 2748 & 2732 Stoney Ridge Road

    Safeguard the buildings from demolition.

    Involve those people who are interested in history. Form a committee to specifically manage the plans for the buildings, whether it is to re-use them on site, relocate them off site, or donate them to another party.

    Set up a separate fund-raising effort for the preservation of the buildings.

    Relocate the buildings to a temporary location on the property so that they do not inhibit the progress of the school expansion plans. Relocate the buildings and renovate them once a permanent location has been determined.

    Relocate the buildings onto concrete pads, but do not renovate them until specific funds have been allocated.

    Relocate the buildings in front of the existing convent, and setback from Stoney Ridge Road to align with the existing school building.

    The advantage of this scheme is to strengthen the sense of enclosure, at the set-back distance from the street, with buildings. This will repair the "neighborhood fabric", where currently there are too many “holes" in the continuity of the building/street edge. This is most evident to the south of the school building that faces Stoney Ridge Road where the existing convent is set back too far from the street. See drawings #1 and #2, enclosed.

    Relocate the buildings off site.

    Place a notice in the church bulletin, and local newspapers, etc. regarding the historic buildings. Donate or sell them with the provision that they are to be moved off site, and preserved as historic structures.

    Form a group of volunteers to disassemble the houses, with the assistance of an experienced person, in which the components of the structure are labeled, stored off site, and then reassembled once a permanent site has been established. This was recently been done successfully with an historic home adjacent to Huntington Beach Park in Bay Village.

    Relocate the buildings on site, renovate them, and: Adapt them for income producing ventures: rental meeting rooms, rental business offices, rental apartments, etc.

    Adapt them for additional school related spaces: administrative offices, apartments for visiting clergy and guests, storage space, school supplies and book sales, committee meeting rooms and offices, art activities, etc.

    Adapt them for charity related purposes: apartments for the disabled, apartments for the needy, soup-kitchen/ dining rooms for the needy, temporary housing for the needy, etc.

    Adapt them as permanent residences for clergy, retiring clergy, etc

    III. Next Steps:

    The Landmarks Preservation Commission has many contacts with people in the historic preservation fields, and we will gladly assist St. Mary's in any way that we can to save these historic structures. The critical point to consider is that if the houses are demolished, they are gone forever.

    We hope that St. Mary's will consider leaving the future of the houses an open-issue for further discussion.''

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