John Edwards writes about the Scenic Byways Tour

Stop 1: Sheffield Village Hall and Garfield Cemetary

Stop 2: Burrell Homestead

Stop 3: Shell Cove Park

Stop 4: 103rd O.V.I.

Stop 5: Thomas Folger House

Stop 6: Old Town Hall of 1871

Stop 7: Avon Isle Park

Coffee Break

Dunklie Day

Help us preserve our century homes, historic buildings and other landmarks which add beauty and meaning to our lives.

Join the Lorain County Historical Society and Local Historical Societies for a SCENIC BYWAYS TOUR of NORTHEAST LORAIN COUNTY SEPTEMBER 9, 2006 10 AM TO 4 PM

Tour guides will greet you at each of the seven stops and show you the fascinating and enlightening features found there.

For more information: www.avonhistory.org/tour6/tour6.htm or call the Lorain County Historical Society at 440-322-3341

Listen to History Speak! and Support Your County and Local Historical Societies

Children 18 and under free if accompanied by a parent or grandparent.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports are also available at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Order Passports one-at-a-time ($15) or two-at-a-time ($23) or for a group of 10 or more people at $10 each please contact French Creek Medical at 800-274-6163

Passports will be available at each of the Stops on 9-9-06.

TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 7-26-06, By John Edwards

``Historical Society heads plan September 9 Scenic Byways tour

AVON -- There's really a lot of history in northeastern Lorain County, though not everyone knows it.

On September 9 [2006], between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the Lorain County Historical Society will sponsor an 18-mile, guided tour of seven historically significant places in The PRESS' coverage area. The interactive tour will feature seven stops in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield and Sheffield Lake.

Working closely with the Avon and Sheffield Historical Societies the Lorain County Historical Society is offering the first of what is hoped to be many future tours of Lorain County's historic highlights. First up is the Northeast Lorain County Scenic Byways tour, featuring seven sites on Scenic Byways SR 254 Detroit Road and SR 6 Lake Road

Avon Historical Society President Jack Smith, Sheffield Historical Society Director Charles E. Herdendorf and Lorain County Preservation Network Director Marilyn Fedelchak-Harley met with Lorain County Historical Society Board member Terry Wacker last Thursday evening at the Avon Historical Society office in the old Town Hall of 1871 on Detroit Road at SR 83. (Fedelchak-Harley is also a member of the Lorain County Historical Society Board.) They met to finalize the "Passports" which will enable residents to take part in the 18-mile tour loop.

The Passports feature multiple color photos of the seven historical sites with capsule commentary on their significance. Minimum donations for passports are $15 each. Donations benefit the Historical Societies, which will provide tour guides at each of seven locations:

1) The 1883 Sheffield Village Hall and 1832 Garfield Cemetery;

2) The Burrell Homestead in Sheffield Village;

3) Shell Cove Park in Sheffield Lake;;

4) The 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campground in Sheffield Lake;

5) The Folger House and Veteran's Memorial Park in Avon Lake;

6) The Avon Old Town Hall of 1871 and Avon Heritage Square; and

7) The Avon Isle Park.

Four of the sites have Ohio Historical Markers, one in Sheffield, two in Sheffield Lake and one in Avon.

You can join the tour at any of the seven spots and learn a lot from the tour guide. You can drive the 18-mile loop in either direction taking Detroit Road to Lake Breeze Road to Lake Road and back to Detroit Road or vice-versa. Or you can choose to visit some stops but not others. At each stop a tour guide will fill you in on the historical details. For a preview of the Scenic Byways Tour go to www.avonhistory.org/tour6/tour6.htm Passports are available from the Lorain County Historical Society's Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 440-322-3341.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports will also be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

The PRESS will feature the tour sites in a series of articles beginning with the Garfield Cemetery in today's issue.''

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Sheffield Town Hall
After the Civil War, the railroads came across the land. in 1872 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroand cut across the southwest corner of Sheffield Township. In the 1880's the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad went across the northern section of the township. In 1882 the building pictured on this page was built. It was the District 2 Schoolhouse; then it became the Sheffield Village Hall.

Click here for a larger view.

TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 7-26-06, By John Edwards

``Garfield Cemetary

Sheffield Village's Garfield Cemetery is located next door to the old, 1883 one-room schoolhouse at 4820 Detroit Road, that became Sheffield Village Hall in 1933. It is now the Clerk-Treasurer's office and repository of cemetery records. Both the ornate Hall and the Garfield Cemetery will be featured as Stop #1 on the Northeast Lorain County Scenic Byways Tour, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. September 9. (See related story in this issue of The PRESS.)

The tour is sponsored by Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The "History Speaks" tour guide at Stop #1 will be well supplied with historical, genealogical and demographic data gleaned from an on-going effort to archive every aspect of information relevant to the old cemetery. That project is being done by Cemetery Superintendent Cathi Gentile, a former member of Village Council, former volunteer fire dispatcher and all-around history buff. Gentile is being assisted on the archival effort by former Cemetery Supervisor and Village Administrator and current Councilman Leo Sheets and Dr. Charles E. Herdendorf, Director of the Sheffield Village Historical Society.

Herdendorf, an Ohio State University Professor Emeritus, lives across Detroit Road in the Milton Garfield House, another of Stop #1's historic sites. Herdendorf gave The PRESS a capsule version of the history being recorded on computer from well over a hundred years of cemetery record keeping. All the information will be made available on physical maps so people can easily use them to locate the graves of their ancestors and relatives.

That information includes maps with details of all 1700 cemetery plots (747 unused), based on cemetery maps made in 1930, showing the names and locations of those buried there, complete with copies of weather-worn gravestone inscriptions, terminal dates, often causes of death, even the type and color of the stones. Herdendorf said the information will be made available on disc and will be posted on Sheffield's web site as soon as possible after the project is completed.

"My great-great grandparents, Milton and Tempe Garfield, sold an acre of land to the citizens of Sheffield, for a cemetery, for $16 in 1851," Herdendorf said. "People had been buried on that site previously, so it was already a cemetery. There's one monument in there to Joshua Smith, a War of 1812 veteran who was the first of Sheffield's founding settlers to die, in 1817.

"You can see the names of many of Sheffield's first settlers, including Austins, Burrells, Days, Garfields, Moons, Roots and Smiths," Herdendorf said. "Some of the stones are headstones, some are foot stones, all of which we're recording in the archives. Sometimes two people were buried in one plot, often one was a baby. So far we've determined that 36 of 953 burials were babies or stillborns. In addition to grave locations, our map will show names, dates and military service, plus the cause and place of death, all color-coded to indicate family burial plots.

"We're creating bar graphs to indicate the number of deaths by decade, from the 1760's to the 2000Ős," Herdendorf said. "We're also working on indicating births by decade. Old burial permits, death certificates and other records were stored in the old Village Hall for all these years. It's almost a miracle that a lot of these things survived. The Village originally was to keep them only for six years. We'll end up with a database that will run over 100 pages.

"I want to thank Mayor Darlene Ondercin for permitting me to take these delicate old records home so we could computerize them," Herdendorf said. "The earliest known burial in the cemetery, other than Joshua Smith, was Luther Bedortha, who was born in 1771 and died at age 46. The cemetery is the final resting place of 45 veterans, including two War of 1812, 18 Civil War, two World War I, 12 World War II, four Korean War and one Vietnam veteran. We've also found seven graves with indications that they hold veterans, but not the dates of their service. "Sometimes first names can be deceptive," Herdendorf said. "There are at least two men named Shirley buried here, Shirley Walker and Shirley Garfield, both of whom served as cemetery superintendents. This is a gold mine of historic and demographic information.

"The first big wave of settlers came from Sheffield, Massachusetts in 1815-1817. The Root Family House still stands in Sheffield, Mass. It was built in 1750 by Aaron Root, a Colonel in the Revolutionary War, who was the grandfather of Captain Aaron Root, who is buried here. He sailed many runaway slaves across Lake Erie in his schooner during the Underground Railroad days. The second big of settlers came from Germany in the 1840's. An extraordinary number of people died in 1854, including 10 members of the Caley family. What better repository of Sheffield history could there be? This project has kind of taken on a life of its own. When we finish this, Cathi and I are planning to start archiving the cemetery at St. Teresa's Church."

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Burrell House
In September of 2000, the Friends of Freedom Soc., Ohio Underground Railroad Assoc, sent a marker flag to the Burrell Homestead, The Burrell Homestead was the last station in Lorain County.

Click here for a larger view.

TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 8-2-06, By John Edwards

``Historic Burrell Homestead is Scenic Byways Tour stop number two

SHEFFIELD VILLAGE -- How far would you go to tour a historic, Federal-style farmhouse? One that was an important way station of the Underground Railroad? That was built by a pioneer family, members of which occupied it continuously from 1825 until 2001? A house that's been preserved as a cultural museum, a virtual time capsule of 18th and 20th Century Americana?

Not far at all, if you take the tour on September 9 [2006].

The oldest house in Sheffield, the historic Burrell family homestead, 2792 East River Road, will be Stop #2 of the "History Speaks" Scenic Byways Tour of historic sites in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Village and Sheffield Lake from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. September 9.

The tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

Back on August 15, 2002, the Board of Park Commissioners and Lorain County Metro Parks staff unveiled plans for the future of the historic Burrell Homestead and farm. Metro Parks Director Dan Martin and Naturalist Matt Cocsis said rumors of an auction of the contents of the Burrell House were false. Instead, the two-story brick homestead's contents would be studied, cataloged and eventually opened to the public for limited tours and on special occasions.

The September 9 tour is one of those occasions. A guided tour of the Burrell Homestead is included in the $15 donation. Anyone can get a tour 'Passport' at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Other tour stops include: the Old Sheffield Village Hall and Garfield Cemetery; the Huron Shale deposits at Shell Cove Park and the Civil War 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campgrounds in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; and the Old Avon Town Hall of 1871 and Avon Isle Park in Avon.

The homestead was given to the Metro Parks by the Burrell family under a life-estate agreement in 1969 but was not taken over until the last surviving member of the Burrell family passed away in 2001. Built in 1824-5 by Jabez and Lavinia Burrell (after they moved from Sheffield, Massachusetts to Sheffield, Ohio around 1815), the 15-room brick homestead replaced a two-room log cabin the Burrells called home for their first eight or ten years as Ohioans.

The house was gutted by fire in 1842 and the interior was rebuilt in the style of the 1840's and 1850's. Other renovations were made in the 19th century, including reconstruction of the western and southern exterior walls of the house. The north and east faces of the house, which can be seen from East River Road, are still the original 1825 brick. Some other changes were made in the twentieth century. The house was electrified, for example, in the early 1940's.

Most of the furniture in the house dates back to the 19th century. Efforts were made to preserve the artifacts contained in the house, including providing climate control in rooms chosen to house documents, ledgers, genealogies, correspondence, photographs, daguerreotypes and books written by various members of the Burrell family over the span of two centuries.

The homestead received an Ohio Bicentennial Historical Marker on June 15, 2003, the two-hundredth anniversary of Ohio Statehood. The marker recognizes the Burrell Family, Sheffield's pioneer heritage, and the site's importance in the history of the Underground Railroad. Before the Ohio Historical Marker was placed, local historian Thomas K. Hoerrle verified that the Burrell Homestead was an important station on the Underground Railroad in the 1840's, '50's and during the Civil War itself. Hoerrle said he had personally back-traced the Underground Railroad route to the Burrell homestead as far south as Columbus.''

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Cleveland Dunkleosteus
This is the image is of a Dunkleosteus fossil at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH). Peter Bungart of Avon with others collected this fossil (CMNH 6090). CMNH 6090 is not on exhibit, but it is on the cover of an Ohio Division of Geological Survey publication titled "Fossils of Ohio."

Click here for a larger view.

TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 8-16-06, By John Edwards

``Scenic Byways Tour stops at park where Devonian Era fossil was found

SHEFFIELD LAKE -- The Huron Shale deposits visible at Shell Cove Park will be Stop #3 of the Lorain County Historical Society's "History Speaks" Scenic Byways Tour of sites in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Village and Sheffield Lake from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. September 9.

The geologically significant shale is a "prehistoric' tour stop, the site of the discovery of a huge "dinosaur fish' that ruled the warm, shallow seas that covered Ohio during the Devonian era, 300 million years ago. The other tour stops are informative of local history, with guides sharing tales of events and people who made history in northeast Lorain County in the 19th and 20th centuries. At Shell Cove Park the tour guide will add a bit of "prehistory speaks."

To be sure, a significant event took place there in the late 1860's--mid 1870's: Jay Terrell and friends (including Oberlin College professors George Nelson Allen and George F. Wright, G.K. Gilbert and A.W. Wheat) discovered well-preserved fossils of huge, monstrous-jawed fish that swam in the Devonian Sea. It was an important, if mostly forgotten moment in Sheffield Lake's history, but a momentous event in the history of American paleontology.

Terrell and company discovered remarkable fossils in the ancient Huron Shale outcroppings, including huge-jawed fish that swam in the sea that covered this part of North America long before the appearance of dinosaurs. The monstrous fish, Dunkleosteus Terrelli (formerly Dinicthys Terrelli), is named for Jay Terrell.

But the Huron shale remains, and some of it can be seen at Shell Cove Park, though most of it lies underwater. Shell Cove Park, one of a few places on Lake Erie where ancient Huron shale can still be seen, is the focal point for grant applications for an underwater fossil preserve. The ancient and fossil-rich Huron shale deposits generally lie below much younger and far more common shale deposits that are visible along the south shore of Lake Erie.

A Longaberger Legacy Initiative grant helped secure Shell Cove Park's Ohio Historical Marker. Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Geologist of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and author of the book "Fossils of Ohio," and Dr. Michael Williams, curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History assisted Sheffield Lake's independent Park Board in winning the grant.

The text of the marker was written by the curator of vertebrates at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the marker's rendering of the prehistoric fish with the monstrous jaws was done by the museum's graphics department, so both are as accurate as possible.

The tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The September 9 guided tour of Shell Cove Park and its rare Huron Shale deposits is included in the $15 donation. Anyone can get a tour "Passport" at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341;

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Other tour stops include: the Old Village Hall, Garfield Cemetery and the Burrell Homestead in Sheffield; the Civil War 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campgrounds in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; and the Old Avon Town Hall of 1871 and Avon Isle Park in Avon.''

Passports will also be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

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TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 8-16-06, By John Edwards

``Descendants keep Civil War memories of 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry alive

SHEFFIELD LAKE -- The 103rd O.V.I. Campground and Museum is Tour Stop #4 on the Lorain County Historical Society's Scenic Byways "History Speaks" Tour.

The 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Campground, at 5501 Lake Road, is one of the oldest, yet least publicized historical sites in Lorain County, founded by veterans of the Civil War and carried on by their descendants. It is dedicated to promoting patriotism as well as preserving relics and memories of the Civil War in general and of the 103rd O.V.I. in particular.

An Ohio Historic marker on the grounds details: "The 103rd OVI was recruited.from Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina Counties. The Regiment was organized at Cleveland in August 1862 and served through 1865 in campaigns including Knoxville, Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville and in the Carolinas. ..veterans and their descendants have held continuous annual reunions since 1866. The organization is believed to be unique in the nation..."

Like many Civil War units, the regiment was an all-volunteer outfit and elected its own officers. The men, mostly farmers, soon became familiar on a first-hand basis with commanding General William Tecumseh Sherman's description of war as "hell." In the crucible of the Civil War those ordinary farmers became extraordinary. The 103rd O.V.I. is depicted, in action, in the statuary of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Cleveland's Public Square.

The veterans held their first reunion in 1866. Camp Week, their traditional August reunion, has been held for 140 consecutive years. In 1907 the veterans and their families purchased this land, not far from where the regiment underwent basic training. The camp week tradition is maintained by the Sons and Daughters of the 103rd O.V.I. Every August descendants and their families, 350-400 strong, come from as far west as California, as far east as New York, as far north as Minnesota and as far south as South America to attend Camp Week.

They incorporated the non-profit 103rd O.V.I. Memorial Foundation to perpetuate memories of the regiment. The Foundation helps to house, preserve and display Civil War relics in their campground museum, and to promote and encourage patriotic programs and services. Many actual weapons, uniforms, letters, diaries and other personal items carried by the infantrymen are displayed in the museum, along with paintings and other Civil War memorabilia.

You or your spouse must be descended from a member of the regiment to become a member of the Sons and Daughters. But any patriot or Civil War buff may join and contribute to the Foundation. The Sons and Daughters built 28 cottages, a meeting hall and a mess hall on the site. The "barracks," which today houses the museum, was built in 1907 by four of the surviving veterans of the regiment. Now 17 families live year-round in the cottages. Folks attending camp week stay in unoccupied cottages but many pitch tents to carry on the camping tradition.

The tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The 15-mile historic tour is open to anyone with a "Passport," available for a $15 donation at The Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria (322-3341).

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports will also be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

The Passport includes descriptions and color photos of the tour's seven historic sites in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Village and Sheffield Lake. The tour takes place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, September 9.''

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TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 8-30-06, By John Edwards

``Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour will visit Veteran's Memorial Park, Folger House

AVON LAKE -- Stop number five on the Lorain County Historical Society's Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour includes the Folger House, Veterans' Memorial Park and Avon Lake Shore Cemetery.

Veterans Memorial Park is dedicated to all U.S. Military veterans of all wars, past and future. The Park features a floodlit array of the flags of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, all surrounding a taller flag pole from which Old Glory and a P.O.W.-M.I.A. flag are flown. In addition to the Folger House, Veterans' Memorial Park includes the Lake House at its west end. It features a playground, a sandy public bathing beach, and a cliff-top boardwalk offering panoramic vistas of Lake Erie.

Avon Lake Village acquired the Folger House, including the land for Veterans Memorial Park and more, in 1926, long before Avon Lake became a city. Avon Lake voters approved a $56,000, 30-year bond issue to buy the house and 50 acres of land from H.G. Barker, one of several owners of the property after the Folger Family.

According to Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society (ALLPS) President John Earley, that 50 acre parcel stretched along the lake shore from what's now the Avon Lake Boat Club (in the creek mouth adjacent to the cemetery) eastward to the first private home east of the Lake House. Earley said the 50-acre property, which in 1926 was still a vineyard, included land south of Lake Road where Avon Lake's City Hall, Senior Center and Blesser Park are now.

The land was planted in grapes because master vintner and Elyria Mayor (1903-1909) Thomas Folger, who built the house in 1902 as a summer home for his family, knew the lake shore was a prime grape-growing location. Folger was also founder of the Lorain County Grape Growers Shipping Association. In 1882, the Folger family sold some land for an entrance to Lake Shore Cemetery to Avon Lake Township for $10. Since 1926, Avon Lake has used the Folger House as a village hall, municipal court, city offices, mayor's office and, briefly, a teen center.

Earley said that recently retired municipal court Judge John Mackin was the last judge to hear cases in the Folger House early in his career, before muni court was moved to City Hall. Mackin's tenure spanned the court's residence at 152 Avon Belden Road, until after muni court was moved to its current location in the Walker Road Justice Center. Former Mayor Vince Urbin was the last to keep the mayor's office an office in the Folger Home, Earley said.

AALPS, which is in the process of restoring the home, leases the house from the city for $1 per year. The beautiful Henry Ford room (once the courtroom), with a capacity of 50 persons and a panoramic lake vista, is available for banquets and other gatherings. The room got its name after Ford Motor Co. donated $50,000 to the AALPS restoration effort. The Lake House is also available for parties, wedding receptions etc. Call the Parks & Rec Department for rates.

The city-owned Avon Lake Shore Cemetery is far older. The compact plot is packed with local history. The earliest documented gravestone (with some of the engraving still legible) is that of a Revolutionary War veteran, Joseph Moore, who joined the Continental Army in Massachusetts before moving west. Several veterans of the War of 1812, including two who sailed with Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie, are buried there, along with veterans of the Mexican War, the Civil War, both World Wars and the Korean War.

The last burial in the 200-grave cemetery took place in 1956. There is tall pavilion dedicated to the memory of veterans in the center of the cemetery, with engraved bricks bearing the names of Avon Lake war veterans, built by VFW member John Robertson.

The Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The September 9 guided tour of the Folger House and Veterans Memorial Park is included in the $15 donation for a tour "Passport." The Passport contains color photos of the stops. Participants may drive the 18 mile loop at their leisure, in either direction, and spend as much time as desired at each location. Tour guides will provide info and point out details at each stop.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com.Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports are also available at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Tour stops include: the Old Village Hall, Garfield Cemetery and the Burrell Homestead in Sheffield Village; Shell Cove Park and the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campgrounds in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; the Old Avon Town Hall of 1871 and Avon Isle Park in Avon.''

Passports will also be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

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TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 8-30-06, By John Edwards

``Avon's Heritage Square gazebo and Old Town Hall recall area history

AVON -- Stop #6 on the Lorain County Historical Society-sponsored Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour includes Avon's Heritage Square and Old Town Hall of 1871, including an Ohio Historical Marker detailing the accomplishments of Norton S. Townsend, M. D.

Dr. Townsend was without doubt Avon's most important resident of the 19th Century. He was an Avon resident for 65 years, from 1830 until his death in 1895. Although he was a medical doctor, Townsend is perhaps best remembered as an agricultural innovator. His introduction of the use of field drainage tiles in Avon greatly increased the productivity of Avon farms and was a historic innovation that helped Ohio become an agricultural giant in the 19th century.

A prominent member of the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, Townsend was elected to and served terms both in Congress (1851-53) and in the Ohio Senate. In 1870 Townsend was named a founding Trustee and the first professor of agriculture at Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in Columbus. In 1878 Ohio A&M College became The Ohio State University. One of the OSU Campus' most beautiful old buildings is named Townshend Hall in his honor.

Heritage Square also includes the Clement Alten House, a prime example of the1830's Greek Revival movement in architecture. Built by the Alten family, and named for Clement Alten in 1874, the house is one of Avon's oldest structures. It features a highly detailed Federal-style fan light in the front of the roof peak and original hardwood floors throughout the house. All the main weight-bearing interior walls are built of solid brick, and the main floor joists, visible in the basement, are the original 12-14 inch thick logs. Its roof rasters are secured by solid wood trusses about six inches square. The east wing of the house and its wrap-around porch were added in 1905. The Alten House, 36976 Detroit Road, now houses a restaurant, the Nemo Grille.

Across the street, at 36995 Detroit Road, is the old Avon Town Hall, which has been the home of the Avon Historical Society since 1977. The town hall was built by the firm of Bates and Dunning for a total of $800 on land the township trustees purchased for $400 from Clemons Alten in 1871. It's simple, unadorned style is typical of a late nineteenth century one-room schoolhouse, similar to the old Sheffield Village Hall featured in Tour Stop #1.

The Avon town hall, though, has none of the intricate woodwork that adorns the peak of old Sheffield Village hall. Instead, a small stone circle set into the peak of the front facade gives the building's original purpose and 1871 date of construction. It later became the seat of government for the Village of Avon (1917) and is currently owned by the City of Avon, a city as of 1961. It was the home of the Avon Public Library from 1958 until 1977.

Heritage Square Park is completed by the lovely, Victorian-style gazebo that stands in the small park just across Stony Ridge Road from the Avon Historical Society. While it completes the nineteenth century look of the intersection, the gazebo, built in 1999, is not nearly as old as it appears to be. Near the gazebo in the "cozy" little Heritage Square Park is the Ohio Historical Marker, placed in 2001, that proclaims Townshend's many accomplishments.

The Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The September 9 guided tour of Heritage Square and the old Avon Town Hall is included in the $15 donation for a tour "Passport." The Passport contains color photos of all of the stops. Participants may drive the 17 mile loop at their leisure, in either direction, and spend as much time as desired at each location. Tour guides will provide info and point out details at each stop.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports are also available at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Passports will also be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

Tour stops include: the Old Village Hall, Garfield Cemetery and the Burrell Homestead in Sheffield Village; Shell Cove Park and the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campgrounds in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; the Old Avon Town Hall and Avon Isle Park in Avon.''

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TOUR ARTICLE from The Press, 9-6-06, By John Edwards

``Tour Stop #7: Avon Isle

AVON -- The Avon Isle Pavilion is still there, hidden by trees, south of Detroit Road. The grand old hall stands as if waiting to be rediscovered. You can see it if you use the slightly rickety, pedestrians-only wooden bridge to walk across French Creek. There is a small parking area along SR 254, and more parking will be available September 9, just next door to the west at the Avon Bird and Animal Hospital. Now little girls learn dance, baton and pom-pom routines in the unique Pavilion, but once it was Lorain County's hottest dance venue.

Generations of revelers kicked up their heels on the hardwood dance floor of the Avon Isle ballroom. A lot of square dances were called there. A lot of polkas and waltzes were danced there. Many jitterbugs were swung in the decades when travelling big bands made Avon Isle a regular stop on their tour circuit. Dances were held there every weekend for decades. The floor was especially crowded on Sundays during the years when Lorain and Elyria "blue laws" forbade Sunday dancing, even in the "roaring" 1920's when the Pavilion was built. The Pavilion even served as a literal nickleodeon, showing Charlie Chaplin movies for five cents admission.

Avon Isle's history goes back much further, though. The peninsula, surrounded on three sides by French Creek was literally turned into an island in 1854 when a new creek channel was dug to power a sawmill on the site. Prior to the War of 1812, when Avon was in Indian Territory, native hunters used the area to dress game. Arrowheads are still sometimes unearthed there. Legend says French and Indian War military buttons, muskets and hardware were found there years ago. In the 1870's, the Avon Isle was used as a Fairgrounds where fruits of Avon's agricultural prowess, thanks to field tile and other innovations of Dr. Norton S. Townshend, were displayed.

The Isle's beautiful dance floor fell into disuse in the latter decades of the 20th Century, though. In the 1960's the dance scene switched to rock'n'roll clubs and bars and discos. Then the rock bands were, in turn, displaced by deejays purveying canned music.

The Avon Isle Pavilion was also the site of quilting bees, clambakes and bingo games. The spacious lawn was always a natural gathering place and popular picnic area. It was the site of war bond sales drives and charity fund raisers. In the 1970's amateur boxing matches. Golden Gloves competitions as well as bouts staged as charity fund-raisers, were held there.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith boxed in some of those charity matches as "The Clipper Kid." "I never was in the Golden Gloves but I did box in some charity matches," Smith said. "I was past my prime then, 26 or 27 years old. I had run amateur track for years and took up boxing late in life, as a way to keep on training through the winter. I had fun, but I got my face beat in."

Smith said the city will put restoration of the Avon Isle building and bridge in the budget, possibly as soon as next year. Smith said he estimates it will cost as much as $100,000 to make the bridge safe for cars again, and more money will need to be found to refurbish the building, especialy its foundation. Virtually all of the Neoclassical wooden structure, built in 1925 and 1926, including window panes, siding and doric porch columns are all original. Its cupola windows have been boarded up. The City of Avon bought the Pavilion and four surrounding acres for $385,000 in 1997 with the intention of preserving this unique piece of Avon history.

The Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

The September 9 guided tour of Heritage Square and the old Avon Town Hall is included in the $15 donation for a tour "Passport." The Passport contains color photos of all of the stops. Participants may drive the 18.6 mile loop at their leisure, in either direction, and spend as much time as desired at each location. Tour guides will provide info and point out details at each stop.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports are also available at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Passports will be available at the tour stops on 9-9-06.

Tour stops include: the Old Village Hall, Garfield Cemetery and the Burrell Homestead in Sheffield Village; Shell Cove Park and the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum and Campgrounds in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; the Old Avon Town Hall and Avon Isle Park in Avon.''

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TOUR COLUMN from The Press, 8-30-06, By John Edwards

``Coffee Break

Spend a day in the area's past; take the tour September 9

Did you know you're living at the northern terminus of one of the Underground Railroad's main lines? A place where fugitive slaves made their way from the Ohio River to the tunnels beneath Columbus and eventually to the Burrell House, hid there and in other area locations,'til they could board Captain Aaron Root's schooner by night and cross Lake Erie to freedom in Canada?

Lorain County was a "hotbed" of abolitionist sentiment. Local soldiers fought the Civil War with freeing the slaves in mind, their minds uncluttered by arguments about 'states rights?' That one of the most significant advances in American agriculture was devised by an Avon physician? That the whole area was once covered the Devonian Sea?

You could learn a lot by taking the tour September 9. The Scenic Byways "History Speaks" tour is sponsored by the Lorain County Historical Society and Historic Preservation Network, the Avon and Sheffield Village Historical Societies, the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Lorain County Metro Parks, 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Memorial Foundation, the City of Sheffield Lake Park Board, the City of Avon and Village of Sheffield.

But it is really the work of local historians Taylor Jack Smith and Dr. Charles (Eddie) Herdendorf, along with Lorain County Preservation Network Director Marilyn Fedelchak-Harley and Lorain County Historical Society Board member Terry Wacker. They devised the "Passports" which will enable folks to take part in the self-driving tour. Herdendorf, president of the Sheffield Village Historical Society and Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society both worked especially long and hard to make this unique event become a reality.

There is a $15 donation for a tour "Passport." The Passport contains color photos and brief historical accounts of all of the stops. You can drive the 18.6 mile loop at leisure and take as much time as you like. Tour guides will provide information and point out details at each stop.

Passports may be ordered on line (pay by credit card) at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. Passports ordered via the internet will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.

Passports are also available at the Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Avenue, Elyria, 322-3341.

Tour the Old Village Hall, Garfield Cemetery and the Burrell Homestead in Sheffield Village; Shell Cove Park and the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum in Sheffield Lake; The Folger House and Veterans' Memorial Park in Avon Lake; and the Old Avon Town Hall, Heritage Square and Avon Isle Park in Avon.

It's a unique chance to take a look at our area's past and learn a lot more than most of us know about what happened around here a century or two (or 300,000,000 years) ago.

Did you know, for instance, that everything west of the west bank of the Cuyahoga River was Indian Territory from 1778 until 1812? That much of the War of 1812 was fought right here? That the original U.S. Army Rangers, founded during the Revolutionary War by the famous Captain Samuel Brady on Gen. George Washington's orders, operated to protect northern Ohio pioneers from British-allied Indian Tribes? You can learn a lot more about northeast Lorain County History by taking the tour Saturday. $15 is quite a bargain.''

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Order Passports one-at-a-time ($15) or two-at-a-time ($23) or for a group of 10 or more people at $10 each please contact French Creek Medical at 800-274-6163

Passports will be available at each of the Stops on 9-9-06.

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COLUMN from The Press, 9-27-06, By John Edwards

Coffee Break

``First Annual 'Dunklie Day' successful, thanks to Museum of Natural History

"It all started 350 million years ago ... in Sheffield Lake."

That was the slogan on tee shirts featuring a graphic illustration of the Dunkleosteus Terrelli fossil's head that were sold (and a few given away as door prizes) at Sheffield Lake's third annual all-city picnic Saturday. Proceeds of the tee shirt sales will go to next year's bash, "Dunklie Day 2." The first two were called "Party in the Park," and were held at Community Park.

The weather was damp, but did not dampen anyone's spirits. The fossil was appropriately monstrous (a Devonian Era shark-eater with armored eye sockets and jagged, self-sharpening jaws.) What impressed me most is that the Cleveland Museum of Natural History provided one of its actual Dunkleosteus fossils to display, because the cast being made for the city was not yet finished. CMNH cares a lot about good PR. That's why SLPD officer Chad Cantu stood guard; it wasn't a casting, it was the real thing. When the casting is done, it will be displayed at City Hall.

Hundreds of Sheffield Lake residents and non-residents alike turned out Saturday as the city's third annual picnic was dedicated to a celebration of a 350,000,000 year old fossil fish. A trolley, a paleontologist and the reconstructed head of the ancient, monstrous, fossil fish and free picnic food were the day's highlights. Many augmented the free pizza, hot dogs and soda with fresh roasted ears of corn, sold by Sheffield Lake's Boy Scout Troop 303 as a fund raiser.

Curious folks filled the LCTS trolley again and again, to ride along Lake Road from West Shore Park, where the Community Center is located, to Lakewood Beach Park, Community Park and Shell Cove Park. Shell Cove Park is the site (or is, at least, very near the site) where Dunklie's namesake, Sheffield Lake resident Jay Terrell, found his famous fossil back in 1868. Terrell's actual fossil is in the British Museum in London, now. While they rode, folks heard Park Board Chairman Lenny Smith extol the city's efforts to improve public access to Lake Erie. Also guiding the trolley tours was Cleveland Museum of Natural History Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology, Dr. Joe Hannibal.

Hannibal was a fount of information about Dunklie and other local fossils. He told me he was impressed to see so many people of all ages so interested in learning about the area's geology and paleontology, the Devonian Sea [see below] and Dunklie, its top predator. Hannibal spoke briefly (and humorously) at the unveiling of the fossil between bus trips. After getting a laugh with the many ways to pronounce Dunkleosteus (including "Dusty-osteus," a reference to the ancient fish's entire skeleton that hangs from the Natural History Museum ceiling) Hannibal referred to Smith's spiel on the trolley: He extolled the city's efforts to open up its lakefront to residents' use.

"Lake Erie belongs to the people," Hannibal said. "There are 10,000 interesting geological things to look at every day if you walk along the beach around here." As to the Dunklie itself, Hannibal noted that it was the premier predator of its day and dined on sharks. But to the dismay of those who like to swim off the coast of Australia, sharks are still with us. But 350,000,000 years later, Dunklie is gone. That should tell us something about evolution."

Doug Dunn, another CMNH employee in attendance Saturday, said the Museum has five Dunklie fossils; the city will get a cast of the head of the largest one, found in Rocky River shale. The head displayed Saturday, Dunn said, was the mid-sized fossil. It looked awfully big to me.

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Doug Dunn comments:

1 - The name of this arthrodire ("jointed neck") is Dunkleosteus terrelli. The genus name is always capitalized and the species name is always small case. This applies to all organisms -- plant or animal, fossil or living. Also, if you can get them to italicize the name that would be nice, as scientific name(s) of organisms should be differentiated from the usual font style used in the text of an article.

2 - Use the phrase "...Devonian sea...", not "...Devonian Sea...". The word Devonian is just describing the age of the sea, like the word deep or shallow would describe its depth. In this usage it (the word sea) is not part of a proper name, like the Black Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, etc.

3 - We have a life size model of a Dunkleosteus hanging from the ceiling, not an actual skeleton.

4 - We have 5 three-dimensional mounts of the head and body armor of Dunkleosteus in the collection and many more partial and unmounted specimens ranging from bone fragments, partial bones, whole bones, partial individuals flattened as when found, to complete, flattened individuals. Currently we exhibit 4 specimens-the big mount (CMNH 5768) which you will be getting a cast of, 1 of 2 small mounts, a flattened individual, and a right lower jaw. CMNH 5768 is the mount we sell casts of to other museums.

5 - The big mount, CMNH 5768, was found in the Cleveland Shale along the Rocky River, not the Rocky River shale.

6 - The mount that was displayed at Dunklie Day, CMNH 7054, is 1 of 2 medium size mounts we have. It is about the same size as CMNH 6090, which is on the cover of the 1996 Ohio Geological Survey Bulletin 70, Fossils of Ohio. [Peter Bungart of Avon with others collected fossil CMNH 6090.]''

Douglas Dunn
Assistant, Invertebrate Paleontology Department
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Dr.
Cleveland, OH 44106-1767
http://www.cmnh.org

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