SCENIC BYWAYS TOUR of NORTHEAST LORAIN COUNTY, 9-9-06

HISTORY SPEAKS!

Join the Lorain County Historical Society and Local Historical Societies for a guided

SCENIC BYWAYS TOUR of NORTHEAST LORAIN COUNTY

SEPTEMBER 9, 2006 10 AM TO 4 PM

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

You are Invited to an 18-mile historic tour of northeastern Lorain County's Scenic Byways Detroit Road in Avon and Sheffield Village and Lake Road in Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake.

All you need is your Scenic Byways Passport, a vehicle, and the map/guidebook included with your Passport and you are on your way. Tour Guides will greet you at each of the seven stops to lead you on a fascinating and enlightening tour of the features found there.

You can join the tour at any one of the stops and travel in either direction between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm on September 9, 2006. Stops include:

Sheffield Village Hall (1883) & Garfield Cemetery (1851)

Burrell Homestead (1820) [oldest home in Sheffield Village]

Shell Cove Park [Sheffield Lake, home of the famed "Terrible Fish"]

103rd O.V.I. [Sheffield Lake, Civil War Regiment Camp Ground & Museum]

Thomas Folger House (1902) [Avon Lake, restored historic summer home]

Old Town Hall of 1871 [Home of Avon Historical Society]

Avon Isle Park (1925) [Avon, famed dance pavilion and park]

Avon's Fall Festival 2006, 9 am - 5 pm Saturday, September 9, and 11 am - 5 pm Sunday, September 10.

TOUR ARTICLE from The Sun By Mary Davies

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

Donation: $15 per person or $23 for two Passports.

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

Passports may be obtained at any of the Stops on September 9, 2006.

Order Your Passport & Guidebook from the

Lorain County Historical Society
The Hickories Museum
509 Washington Avenue
Elyria, Ohio 44035
440-322-3341

Scenic Byways Passports may be ordered on-line by credit card at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. The passports will be delivered by U. S. mail.

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

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NORTHEAST LORAIN COUNTY SCENIC BYWAYS TOUR

Welcome to an 18-mile historic tour of northeastern Lorain County. The NORTHEAST LORAIN COUNTY SCENIC BYWAYS TOUR follows Detroit Road in Avon and Sheffield Village and Lake Road in Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake.

All you need is your Scenic Byways Passport, a vehicle, and the following map/guidebook and you are on your way. Tour Guides will greet you at each of the seven stops to lead you on a fascinating and enlightening tour of the features found there. You can join the tour at any one of the stops and travel in either direction between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm on September 9, 2006.

Four Ohio Bicentennial Historic Markers are located along the Scenic Byways Tour route, one in Avon, one in Sheffield Village, and two in Sheffield Lake. These markers commemorate early pioneers, outstanding individuals, heroic soldiers, and natural features associated with the tour route. The inscription on each of these plaques is reproduced in this guidebook at the corresponding stop description.

In addition, the Lorain County Historic Landmarks on the tour are the Folger House/Veteran's Memorial Park; the Avon Isle; the Garfield House; and the Avon Lake Shore Cemetery.

For example, starting the Scenic Byways Tour at the Sheffield Village Hall (4820 Detroit Road (State Route 254) the tour route progresses in the following fashion:

Stop No. 1:

Sheffield Village Hall & Garfield Cemetery (4820 Detroit Road) at Mile Point 0.0. West on Detroit Road to East River Road; turn right (north) at Mile Point 0.3. North on East River Road (Sheffield Pioneer Cemetery at Mile Point 2.4).

Stop No. 2:

Burrell Homestead (2792 East River Road, Sheffield Village) at Mile Point 2.6. Continue north on East River Road to Colorado Avenue; turn left (west) at Mile Point 3.1. West on Colorado Avenue to Lake Breeze Road; turn right (north) at Mile Point 3.4. North on Lake Breeze Road to Lake Road [Rt. 6]; turn right (east) at Mile Point 5.3. Continue east on Lake Road.

Stop No. 3:

Shell Cove Park (Lake Road, Sheffield Lake) at Mile Point 6.6. Continue east on Lake Road.

Stop No.4:

103rd O.V.I. (5501 Lake Road, Sheffield Lake) at Mile Point 7.6. Continue east on Lake Road (Peter Miller House at Mile Point 8.2). Continue east on Lake Road (Avon Lake Water Filtration Plant at Mile Point 9.0).

Stop No. 5:

Thomas Folger House (32770 Lake Road at Rt. 83 junction) at Mile Point 10.4. South on Avon-Beldon Road [Rt. 83] to Chester Road; turn right (west)13.5 West on Chester Road to Center Road [Rt. 83]; turn left (south) at Mile Point 13.6. South on Center Road to Detroit Road [Rt. 254]; turn right (west) at Mile Point 14.1. West on Detroit Road (Avon Mound Cemetery at Mile Point 14.1).

Stop No. 6:

Old Town Hall of 1871 (36995 Detroit Road, jct. Rts. 254 & 611) at Mile Point 14.9. Continue west on Detroit Road.

Stop No. 7:

Avon Isle Park (37080 Detroit Road, Avon) at Mile Point 15.0. Continue west 3.6 miles on Detroit Road to return to Stop No. 1.

Stop No. 1:

Sheffield Village Hall & Garfield Cemetery at Mile Point 18.6, which is also Mile Point 0.0.

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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.

STOP NO. 1 (Mile Point 0.0)

SHEFFIELD VILLAGE HALL (4820 Detroit Road, Sheffield Village)

Built in 1883 as a schoolhouse, this structure is distinguished from typical late-19th century one-room schools in that it has elaborate Queen Anne style wood trim, especially at the peak of the front facade and in the ornate cupola. The brickwork is attractive, as seen in the hood moldings and patterns at the eaves. Designed by architect E. Terrell, it was one of eight red brick schools that served Sheffield Township before school centralization was initiated in 1920. Since 1933, when Sheffield Village was organized, the building has served as the Village Hall and office for the adjacent Garfield Cemetery. This structure, including Garfield Cemetery, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

GARFIELD CEMETERY (4820 Detroit Road, Sheffield Village)

The residents of Sheffield Township established this burial ground in 1851 when they purchased one acre of land from Milton and Tempe Garfield for $16. A monument stands in the cemetery for Sheffield's first settler Joshua Smith. Mr. Smith, a veteran of the War of 1812, was the first resident to die in the township in 1817.

Many members of the early pioneer families are buried here: Austins, Burrells, Days, Garfields, Moons, Roots, and Smiths. George F. Smith's monument commemorates his Civil War service in both the Union Army and Navy, 1861-1865. Captain Aaron Root, credited with transporting many runaway slaves across Lake Erie in his schooners to freedom in Canada, is buried here.

Although not open for visitation during this tour, three historic houses are located across the street from the Garfield Cemetery and their architectural features are easily viewed from the highway. Built during the period 1833 to 1854, these private residences demonstrate Greek Revival Style and the transition to Italianate Style.

Douglas Smith House (4759 Detroit Road).

This 1833 Greek Revival farmhouse is typical of those built in Lorain County in the early 19th century with its two-story main section and one-story wing at the side containing a recessed entrance porch. The house is distinguished by the excellent proportions of the heavy entablature over the main section. Douglas Smith was the son of Captain Joshua Smith, who brought his family to Ohio in 1816 from Sheffield, Massachusetts when Douglas was a boy of 17. Douglas became an accomplished carpenter and he built a number of early homes in the area, including this one in which he lived. This structure has been recognized as a Century Home by the Lorain County Historical Society.

Milton Garfield House (4921 Detroit Road).

This is a large, impressive Greek Revival house built in 1839 for Milton Garfield by Ezra and Roswell Jackson of Avon. The interior of the house was the work of Milton’s sons, Henry and Halsey Garfield, except for the elegant dining room, which was completed by the Ezra Jackson.

The general design of this two-story house is a balanced or symmetrical scheme with one central chimney at the rear and two others, one each on the outer sidewalls. The front entry enframement has two recessed half-columns on each side of the door. The elegant doorway and fine exterior treatment is only a prelude to the exquisite fireplaces and ornamental detailing of the interior.

The great fireplace is one of the few in the Western Reserve in which warming and bake-ovens are found intact. One of the most interesting features of the house is the main stairway—the newel was made by hand from a single piece of native black walnut and is securely anchored in place by being mortised and keyed into a floor beam. The handrail is also made of walnut, and the spindles of native wild cherry. The detailed work on the stairway indicates that the builders were skilled craftsmen.

Milton Garfield walked from Tyringham, Massachusetts in 1815 and was one of the first settlers on North Ridge. This house has is considered one of the most notable historic homes in the County (Lorain County Planning Commission) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as recognized as a Century Home by the Lorain County Historical Society.

Halsey Garfield House (4789 Detroit Road).

This elegant Greek Revival house was built by Douglas Smith for Halsey Garfield and his wife, Harriet [Root] Garfield, in 1854. The house is distinguished by the raked capitals on the corner pilasters of the main section, which demonstrates the transition from Greek Revival to Italianate style that was occurring here in the mid-19th century. The main entrance is impressive and exquisitely detailed. Halsey Garfield, a merchant and farmer, was the son of Milton Garfield and Tempe [Williams] Garfield, original settlers of Sheffield and Avon, respectively. This structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been recognized as a Century Home by the Lorain County Historical Society.

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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.

BURRELL HOMESTEAD (2792 East River Road, Sheffield Village)

Five generations of the Burrell family lived in this elegant Federal Style farmhouse from 1820 to 2001. The Lorain County Metro Parks now owns the homestead and operates it as a museum. The Bicentennial Historic Marker, located in the front yard, tells the story of this family and their important role in the Underground Railroad.

Text of the BURRELL HOMESTEAD Historical Marker:

``In June 1815, Captain Jabez Burrell settled this land after coming from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Five years later the brick homestead was constructed. Five generations of the Burrell family occupied the homestead continuously from 1820 to January 2001 when Eleanor B. Burrell passed away. In 1836, the racially integrated Sheffield Manual Labor Institute, a branch of Oberlin College, was established at the Burrell Homestead, but the Institute closed the next year because the Ohio Legislature refused to grant its charter unless it excluded black students.

From 1837 until the start of the Civil War, the homestead was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Runaway slaves were hidden in the grain barn until Robbins Burrell could arrange for captains in Lorain, such as Aaron Root, to hide them on vessels for the trip across Lake Erie to freedom in Canada. [dedicated on June 15, 2003; members of the Burrell family and Captain Aaron Root are buried in Sheffield's Garfield Cemetery]''

Sheffield Pioneer Cemetery.

At mile point 2.4, a short distance south of the Burrell Homestead, a small historic cemetery commemorates the early settlers of Sheffield Township. Only ten graves are located in this memorial plot founded in 1825, including the original settler Henry Root and his wife Mary Day Root, and the Captain John Day family.

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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.

STOP NO. 3 (Mile Point 6.6)

SHELL COVE PARK (Lake Road, Sheffield Lake)

This relatively new Sheffield Lake city park offers visitors a marvelous vista of Lake Erie from a raised observation deck. The park also features a playground and picnic areas. The shale cliffs which flank the observation deck are famous for yielding rare fossils of placoderm fishes which once inhabited the Devonian Sea which covered northern Ohio 360 million years ago. An Ohio Bicentennial Historic Marker tells the following story of the region's geologic past:

Text of the JAY TERRELL AND HIS "TERRIBLE FISH" Historical Marker:

``Around 1867, along the shale cliffs of the lakeshore of Sheffield Lake, Jay Terrell found fossils of a "terrible fish" later named in his honor as Dinichthys Terrelli.

This animal, now known as Dunkleosteus terrelli, was a massive arthrodire (an extinct, joint-necked, armor-plated fish) that lived in the Devonian sea, which covered much of eastern North America some 354-364 million years ago. Dunkleosteus was armed with an incredible set of shearing jaws and was clearly the top marine predator in the Devonian Period (the "Age of Fishes").''

Morocco Dunkleosteus
Source: Hamar L'ghdad, Morocco

This is a cast of Dunkleosteus, a Late Devonian Placoderm Armored Fish from Morocco. This armour plated fish grew to some 20 feet. Dunkleosteus was one of the earliest jawed vertebrates, and one of the largest of the placoderms.

Click here for a larger view.

Violent predator may be an understatement for Dunkleosteus and its cousins. While lacking true teeth, it had two long and bony blades that were self-sharpening and could slice and dice most any living thing, which apparently it did.

The Placonderm family evolved in the Silurian and perished in the late Devonian, leaving no descendants living today. As fierce as they were, they persisted only 50 million years, which pales in comparison with the 400 million year history of sharks. Some researchers believe Dunkleosteus may have been among the earliest animals that physically mated as male and female.

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STOP NO. 4 (Mile Point 7.6)

THE 103rd O.V.I. (5501 Lake Road, Sheffield Lake)

On the bluffs of Lake Erie, at the northeast corner of the City of Sheffield Lake, exists one of the oldest yet least publicized historical sites in Lorain County, an active organization which was founded by veterans of the Civil War and is still carried on by their descendents.

At the end of the Civil War, a group of men who had served in 103rd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry decided to build a place to hold reunions during the summer to renew old friendships and enjoy the comradeship of the men who had endured the war years together. Eventually the site in Sheffield Lake was selected and in 1907 four acres of land was acquired.

The veterans decided that membership shares in the 103rd O.V.I. Memorial Foundation would only be veterans, their wives and children, and descendants of the children, Soon the veterans began building cottages so that that the families could spend more time on the grounds under more comfortable conditions, and eventually a kitchen, mess hall, dance hall/community building was added, including space for a Regiment Museum. An Ohio Bicentennial Historic Marker details the following history of the organization:

Text of the 103rd OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY Historical Marker:

``The 103rd O.V.I. was recruited for the Civil War from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Medina Counties. The Regiment was organized at Cleveland in August 1862, and served until 1865 in campaigns at Cincinnati, Knoxville, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and the Carolinas. 103rd veterans and their descendants have held continuous, annual reunions since 1866. The organization is believed to be unique in the nation. Descendants live on these grounds today.''

Peter Miller House (Lake Road at Miller Road).

The Scenic Byways Tour route passes by this graceful circa 1830 Greek Revival Style farmhouse located near the lakeshore at Miller Road Park at the western edge of the City of Avon Lake. Peter Miller was the son of Adam Miller, the first permanent settler along Lake Erie in Avon Township in 1819. No early settlements were made between the North Ridge (Detroit Road) and the lakeshore because this was one vast swamp.

As a young boy, Peter was chased up a tree by a black bear. The bear followed him up the tree and managed to catch and scrape his ankle. Then both Peter and the bear fell out of the tree. The bear took off. Peter walked to the nearest home where the injury was treated.

A different version of this story was published for the Lorain County Sesquicentennial (1974), written by Milburn Walker: As a young boy, Peter was chased up a tree by a black bear and forced to stay there all night until he was rescued in the morning by a group of men who had been searching for him through the night.

The Miller family cleared the forested land near the house and raised wheat, corn, flax, and beans. At this time the center for trade was the gristmill and tavern at French Creek in Avon. The house and grounds are now operated as a museum.

The Peter Miller House Museum and Gardens (Lake Road at Miller Road), circa 1830 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be open on 9-9-06; and you are invited to stop. This house and its gardens tell important sories about the earliest settlement of Lorain County.

Avon Lake Water Filtration Plant (33370 Lake Road).

The Scenic Byways Tour route also passes by this exquisitely designed Italian Renaissance Style structure built in 1926. The red brick walls are set off by green tile roofs will widely overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets. The central facade door and windows are arched and feature keystones. The east and west wings have tabular projections of the gable above the roof line that is reminiscent of Dutch Colonial Revival Style.

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STOP NO. 5 (Mile Point 10.4)

THOMAS FOLGER HOUSE (32770 Lake Road, Avon Lake)

Overlooking Lake Erie in Veterans' Memorial Park, the Folger summer home was built in 1902 by Thomas Folger, avid grape grower, founder of the Lorain County Grape Growers Shipping Association, and mayor of Elyria (1903-1909). The Village of Avon Lake acquired the house in 1926 and through the years the house has been used as a village office, teen center, municipal court building, and mayor's office.

In October 2001 the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society saved the Thomas Folger House from demolition and in March, 2002, the Society secured a lease from the City of Avon Lake and began the process of restoration.

The Avon Lake Lake Shore Cemetery is owned by the City of Avon Lake. This small Cemetery has nearly 200 graves with family members and military personnel from the War of 1812 through WWII.

The earliest gravestone with documentation is for Joseph Moore, a private in the Continental Army, Massachusetts. The Cemetery has graves for two sailors from Commodore Perry's fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie.

When the Lake Road was moved to its present location in 1882, the Folger family sold land for an entrance to the Township for $10.00. The last burial was in 1956. The internment shelter was painted and rehabilitated by the V.F.W. Avon Lake Post 8796 in 2002.

Avon Center or Mound Cemetery.

At Mile Point 14.1 (southeast corner of the intersection of Routes 83 and 254), you will pass a unique feature of the landscape; its origin is believed by some to be a burial mound constructed by the Woodland Indians and later used as a cemetery by white settlers.

The former sexton of the cemetery, Alfred Walker, reported that he had recovered several Indian skulls and some beads and arrowheads from the mound in 1900); however, no formal archaeological investigations have been conducted at this site and the mound’s origin may simply be that of a sand dune behind the shore of the ancient glacial Lake Warren.

This cemetery, the largest in Avon, is also noteworthy for the graves of Revolutionary War soldier John Prentiss Calkins (1752-1836) who served with the New Hampshire Regiment, several War of 1812 veterans, and Dr. Norton S. Townshend (see Heritage Square below). Many of the first settlers of Avon are interred on the mound and the oldest gravestone (1818) marks the burial site Lydia Williams, age 15.

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Old Town Hall of 1871
The Dr. Norton S. Townshend Historical Marker is in the foreground. The Old Town Hall of 1871 is in the background.

Click here for a larger view.

STOP NO. 6 (Mile Point 14.9)

OLD TOWN HALL OF 1871 (36995 Detroit Road, Avon)

This building is a small, simple town hall that resembles a typical one-room schoolhouse of the late 19th century. Little ornamentation exists on the exterior. A small stone circle, set into the front facade proclaims the building's original purpose and date of construction.

The land for the Avon's town hall was purchased by the Township Trustees from Clemens Alten for $400 in 1871. Bates and Dunning built the town hall in the Italianate style the same year for $800. The building was next owned by the Village of Avon (incorporated in 1917), and now by the City of Avon (1961). It housed the Avon Public Library starting in 1958 until it became the home of the Avon Historical Society in 1977.

Heritage Square (Gazebo) at French Creek (37001 Detroit Road).

This cozy downtown park lies at the intersection of Ohio Routes 254 and 611 in Avon, across the street from the Old Avon Town Hall (1871). The park features an elaborate Victorian-style gazebo (1999) and an Ohio Bicentennial Historic Marker dedicated to the accomplishments of Dr. Norton S. Townshend, a leader in progressive agriculture:

Text of the NORTON S. TOWNSHEND, M.D. (1815 - 1895) Historical Marker:

``A progressive farmer, physician, and legislator, Norton S. Townshend lived in Avon from 1830 until his death. His introduction of field drainage tile significantly increased the productivity of Avon farmland. A well-educated country doctor, he served this district as a U.S. congressman (1851-1853) and later as an Ohio state senator.

As a legislator, Townshend, a member of the antislavery Free Soil Party, espoused civil rights for women and free blacks. Later he was instrumental in the founding of the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in Columbus, serving on the first board and as first professor of agriculture. In 1878, this land-grant college became The Ohio State University, where Townshend Hall stands in honor of his founding role. He is interred in Avon's mound cemetery. [dedicated on May 6, 2001]''

Clemens Alten House (36976 Detroit Road).

This 1830s Greek Revival house, located across Detroit Road from the Old Town Hall, is believed to have been built by the Alten Family (owned by Clemens Alten in 1874) and stands on the northeast corner of Ohio Routes 254 and 611. This is an early Greek Revival structure, as indicated by a highly detailed Federal-like fanlight near its front peak. A massive wrap-around porch, made of faux stone, was added in 1905, as well as a large wing to the east.

Hardwood floors are used throughout the house, and all main interior walls are solid brick. The floor joists between the first floor and the basement are huge 12- to 14-inch logs. The roof rafters are supported by solid wood trusses about six inches square. The building is now the home of an Italian/American restaurant.

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STOP NO. 7 (Mile Point 15.0)

AVON ISLE PARK (37080 Detroit Road)

This city park is highlighted by a historic dance pavilion built in 1925. The pavilion is a charming blend of Neoclassical and Italian Revival Styles. A cupola is centrally located on the Italian style roof and possesses operable windows for ventilation and natural lighting. A porch extends across the entire length of the facade, about 5 feet above ground level, and features a hip roof supported by Doric columns. French Creek meanders through, and nearly encircles, the park as it flows over gentle riffles created by the Berea Sandstone bedrock. These rocks were deposited as sand beds in an ancient Paleozoic sea some 330 million years ago.

From Stop No. 7, continuing to the west on Detroit Road (Route 254), Stop No.1 at the Sheffield Village Hall is reached at Mile Point 18.6, which is also Mile Point 0.0.

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Avon's Fall Festival 2006

What:

  • Flea Markets and Yard Sales throughout the City

  • Avon Garden Club Plant Sale at Countryside Antiques, 36290 Detroit Rd.

  • Rib & Chicken Barbeque at the Senior Center, 36784 Detroit Road.

  • Scenic Byways Tour of Northeast Lorain County, September 9, 2006, 10 am to 4 pm.

    When: 9 am - 5 pm Saturday, September 9, and 11 am - 5 pm Sunday, September 10.

    Where: French Creek District.

    From Cleveland: Go west on I-90. Exit at SR 83 -- Avon Commons -- or at Ohio 611 (Colorado Road/Stoney Ridge Road).

    Go south to Detroit Road. The French Creek District extends from SR 611 to just east of SR 83 -- Vintage House Cafe

    For information: www.frenchcreekdistrict.org

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 7-13-06, by Jill Sell, Special to The Plain Dealer

    ``Local history adds appeal to French Creek antiques

    Yes, French Creek flows through Avon. That's what everyone asks the residents and shop owners.

    And yes, the French Creek District is known for its antiques stores. That's what many antiques hounds already know.

    A number of artists, craftspeople and boutique store owners also have made the historic area their home, says Paul Burik, president of the nonprofit French Creek Development Association. It's a fact that members of the association, which formed in 1995, would like Lorain County residents, Northeast Ohio tourists and shoppers to realize.

    "There are many miniparks with benches and landscaping to make the district more pedestrian-friendly," Burik says. "And the architecture of new buildings is consistent with the traditional character. Our purpose is to create an enjoyable, friendly downtown core area as opposed to settling for the more commonplace suburban sprawl."

    Some stores are clustered, but to visit the entire district, you'll want a vehicle. Parking on the street and in small lots adjacent to the stores is free.

    Many people who like antiques also are interested in local history. The area's old homes (many of Greek Revival or Colonial Revival origin), businesses and landmarks give the French Creek District its personality. Stroll through the district's Centennial Plaza with its decorative cast-iron clock in front of the Avon Police Department, at 36774 Detroit Road. Also, the restored Old Town Hall of 1871 at the corner of Detroit and Stoney Ridge roads is worth a view; it's where the Avon Historical Society meets.

    1. Shinko's Country Store, 2536 Stoney Ridge Road.

    [ Images of America: Avon is on sale at 2536 Stoney Ridge in The Country Store, which is shown on the cover of the book when the store was May Webber's Millinery Shop. Call 440-934-6119 to make sure books are in stock.]

    Don't let the old wringer washer and stained pedestal sink in front discourage you from entering. Lois and Bob Shinko have owned The Country Store (what the sign on the building says) at the corner of Detroit and Colorado roads since 1973. With two other dealers, the couple has filled the store with an amazing assortment of furniture from the 1850s through the 1940s, vintage and newer garden accessories, glassware and memorabilia. (The Shinkos also own the house next door. It holds larger items, including tables and dressers.)

    Some of the wood flooring in the 110-year-old building slants down, reminiscent of a funhouse floor. The store also has the look and feel of your eccentric great-aunt's house, where sorting and upkeep haven't been a priority. But that's exactly why this antique store is genuine and where treasures can be found.

    Recently spotted: a graceful 1910 mahogany ladies desk ($189) and a round 1890s walnut drop-leaf table that seats four ($295). Don't forget to peek into a closet filled with lace and embroidered doilies, table runners and linens.

    Collectors of tins, crocks, frames and collectible cereal boxes ("Cherrioats") and good local anecdotes as told by the owner will find something of value here.

    Lois Shinko has a connection to the 1896 Italianate-style building -- her ancestors operated Weiler's General Store and May Webber's Millinery Shop, both early Avon businesses, there.

    11 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday and noon-5 pm Sunday; 440-934-6119.

    2. Long, Long Ago, 36929 Detroit Road.

    If anyone is having a good time, it's Mary Ann Furey. As soon as a customer walks into her shop, Furey offers free pretzel rods, nuts or candy. She sings and hums along with the old songs playing in the background. And she'll tell you she was an art and photography teacher for 40 years before she opened this venture in 2004. The shop features eight dealers, four of whom were tenants in an antiques store that no longer exists. Located in a small strip shopping center, the shop was once a library, preschool and game room.

    The store is heavy on glassware and figurines bearing well-known names, including M.I. Hummel, but you'll find a little bit of everything. Think vintage hats, jewelry, toys, books, old Christmas decorations and small-scale furniture. Items are moderately priced. A set of six bentwood chairs in fair condition is $420, while an oak smoking stand goes for $50. A Goebel Co. figurine of a panda bear and a Royal Doulton pitcher, resembling Winston Churchill puffing on a cigar, are tagged at $35 each.

    Furey sympathizes with spouses who may not share a love of antique hunting. A sign that reads "Hubby Seat" is taped to a long oak bench, and the stack of automobile and sports magazines on it gives sitters something to do.

    11 am-5 pm daily; 440-934-4777.

    3. Tree House Gallery and Tea Room, 36840 Detroit Road.

    Owner Ron Larson says he sells "a blend" of items that include antiques, collectibles (especially those associated with sports and the military), new and traditional folk art, jewelry and handcrafted woodwork. Wisely and fairly, he doesn't call the business strictly an antiques shop. If you don't know how old an item is, ask. Reproductions and distressed furniture are just what some people are looking for, but those who seek authentic antiques should keep in mind, as Larson suggests, that this is "a gallery of eclectic items."

    In some ways, that makes hunting for the 100-year-old and older items in the attractive shop even more of a challenge. Shoppers may discover a green-painted dry sink from the 1800s ($625) or a small vintage accordion ($89) nestled in the middle of objects born long after the 19th century. Another find: a two-compartment, free-standing wooden seed drawer ($95), which could hold bags of microwave popcorn in the kitchen or correspondence in the office.

    Larson's business includes a wine shop and tearoom that offers not just black currant and raspberry rooibos teas but also sweet potato lentil soup and a number of luncheon dishes based on his mother's Swedish heritage.

    Larson's enterprise is in the Mathias Alten Home (also known as the Alten-Casper House), built about 1850. The brick Georgian Colonial-style house was built on a 35-acre farm owned by German-born Mathias Alten. Alten and wife, Gertrude Weber Alten, raised 12 children. In the early 1980s, a physician bought the home and used the first floor as his office, according to the Avon Historical Society.

    Today, the Tree House Gallery and Tea Room is one of several businesses that make up the Olde Avon Village complex, a mix of restored 1850s homes, barns, a train depot and new shops.

    10 am-6 pm Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 pm Tuesday and Thursday; tearoom: 11 a.m.-2:30 pm daily; 440-934-1636.

    4. Jameson Homestead Antiques, 36675 Detroit Road.

    Thanks to local preservationist and antiques dealer Mary Ann Brown, the site of the former Joseph Jameson Family farm is not a shopping mall or housing development but Jameson Homestead Antiques. The business includes the lovely home with a big front porch and white pillars built in 1906 and an even older barn (date unknown) that many years ago was moved closer to the house. The barn still has a row of small original windows and a sign indicating the name of its first owner.

    For 28 years, Brown (and now 32 other dealers) has filled the three floors in the house and the cleverly renovated barn with antiques, primitives and architectural elements. Dealers - including Ceil Zander and Ann Dilliard - have tastefully decorated rooms in the farmhouse. Recent items for sale included a pink Roseville vase with pine-cone motif ($675), a "very old" (according to the tag) alligator purse with head ($89) and a vintage tin wall match holder ($10). White baby dresses (about $18 apiece), each hanging on a red hanger against a green wall, make a delightful display.

    When Brown isn't in her small workshop on the property doing furniture restorations, she might take a visitor around the barn, pointing out the former granary or horse stalls. When Brown bought the barn, she found wood planks in the rafters that she recycled for the store's floor.

    "I tried to leave whatever I could in the barn," says Brown, pointing out a nifty wooden twine roller (think bales of straw) still attached to a beam.

    Recently spotted in the barn: a black Victorian piano stool with carved legs ($75), a pair of cast-iron railings with a grape theme ($40), a flatback cupboard with glass doors ($350) and elbow-length ladies gloves in pink and lavender ($8 to $12) ...

    11 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday and noon-5 pm Sunday; 440-934-6977.

    5. Countryside Antiques; 36290 Detroit Road.

    The Shinko's, owners of The Country Store, also own Countryside Antiques. The 1923 dwelling, built on the Knight Family homestead, features 10 dealers of "affordable heirloom furnishings." The mostly vintage and collectible items include a good selection of original framed art and prints as well as linens and glassware. Hundreds of old utensils and cooking gadgets fill the original kitchen cupboards and cabinets, which makes shopping here more like buying at an estate sale than at an antiques store.

    This is where you'll find a metal hand grater ($10); an old, round brass fire bell ($145); a 1950s kitchen dinette table with yellow Formica top ($72); and a 7-foot-tall wooden curio cabinet with glass doors described on the tag as "shabby chic" ($269).

    "If you're a dealer, it's hard to show things you're not interested in," says Arlene Evans, one seller. "That's why if it's a multidealer shop, you'll have a lot more variety."

    11 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday and noon-5 pm Sunday; 440-934-4228.

    Sell is a free-lance writer in Sagamore Hills Township.

    To reach Jill Sell: homes@plaind.com ''

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    TOUR ARTICLE from The Sun, 8-24-06, By Mary Davies, Staff Writer

    ``Tour shows off historic sites

    Most northeastern Lorain County residents probably can give directions to the nearest Wal-Mart or Target, but it's a safe bet few know where to find the closest Civil War regiment campground.

    Those who don't know might be surprised to learn the latter is off state Route 6 in Sheffield Lake. History enthusiasts from the Lorain County Preservation Network hope their first Scenic Byways Tour will inspire those who know little, and even those who know a lot, about their history-rich communities to spend a day exploring them. "We have a lot of history here. It took a lot of hard work to get to where we are, and those stories are worth telling," said Charles "Eddie" Herdendorf, president of the Sheffield Village Historical Society.

    Representatives from 10 local historical societies and parks boards are organizing the event, set for 10 am to 4 pm September 9, 2006. It will include guided tours at seven attractions located in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake and Sheffield Village. Driving distance to complete the entire tour is estimated at about 15 miles, Herdendorf said.

    Stops include Sheffield Village Hall and Garfield Cemetery;

    Burrell Homestead (oldest home in Sheffield Village);

    Shell Cove Park in Sheffield Lake; [About 1867, along the shale cliffs of the shore of Sheffield Lake, Jay Terrell found fossils of a "terrible" fish later named in his honor as dinichthys Terrelli.

    Marvelous views of Lake Erie can be enjoyed from this observation deck in Sheffield Lake. The shale cliffs which flank the deck are known for yielding rare fossils of placoderm fish which one inhabited the Devonian Sea, which covered northern Ohio 360 million years ago.]

    the 103rd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry in Sheffield Lake; [This military museum in Sheffield Lake is among the attractions on the tour.]

    the Thomas Folger House (restored historic summer home) in Avon Lake; [The Scenic Byways Tour route also passes by the graceful Greek revival style farmhouse, circa 1830, near the lakeshore at Miller Road Park, at the western edge of Avon Lake. Peter Miller was the son of Adam Miller, the first permanent settler along Lake Erie in Avon Township in 1819. There were no early settlements between North Ridge (Detroit Road) and the lakeshore because it was a vast swamp.]

    Old Town Hall of 1871; [Avon's historic Town Hall resembles a typical one room schoolhouse of the late 19th century. Township trustees bought the land in 1871 from Clemens Alten for $400.

    Norton Townshend, a member of the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, promoted civil rights and helped found the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in Columbus, now The Ohio State University. He is buried in Avon.]

    and Avon Isle Park (famed dance pavilion).

    "We're kind of using the slogan, History Speaks," Herdendorf said. "We thought having guides there who are experienced and know the sites and can tell you about the site would be a different expierence."

    Several volunteers from historical societies will be at each stop to enable tourists to travel among the sites at their own pace. The $15 cost includes a tour map and guidebook describing the attractions and suggesting other points of interest at or near each site.

    Marilyn Fedelchak-Harley, manager of the Lorain County Preservation Network, and umbrella organization for the county's local historical societies, said network members came up with the Scenic Byways Tour recently to generate funding and promote the history groups. She said support for the project from local historical societies is strong. "Everyone is so excited," Fedelchak-Harley said. "We hope it will be a model so next year we can do a tour of southern Lorain County, and so on."

    The network, working closely with Lorain County Historical Society members, chose to feature the northeastern part of the county first because of active participation in local historical societies there. Also, the area has two Ohio Scenic Byways - state Route 6 (Lake Road) and state route 2. Avon Historical Society members are seeking state-designated Scenic Byway status for state Route 254 (Detroit Road).

    The Lorain County Historical Society is dispensing tour maps and guides for those who donate $15 or more. Call (440) 322-3341 or visit the society's Hickories Museum, 509 Washington Ave., Elyria. Proceeds will benefit the Lorain County Preservation Network and ... local historical societies and park groups supporting the event.''

    Donation: $15 per person or $23 for two Passports.

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

    Passports may be obtained at any of the Stops on September 9, 2006.

    Order Your Passport & Guidebook from the

    Lorain County Historical Society
    The Hickories Museum
    509 Washington Avenue
    Elyria, Ohio 44035
    440-322-3341

    Scenic Byways Passports may be ordered on-line by credit card at www.frenchcreekmedical.com. The passports will be delivered by U. S. mail.

    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 availale at each of the Stops on 9-9-06.

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