Saturday, April 29, 2006

Landmark nominations attempt to influence new bridge

The Gillota Building and the remnants of the historic Central Viaduct, immediately south of the east approach to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, are being touted for designation as City landmarks, in an attempt to influence the routing and design of the proposed new I-90 bridge over the Cuyahoga. (Tom Breckenridge. "Structure in way of new bridge gets boost." Plain Dealer. Friday, April 28, 2006. Page B-3.) In 2002, we used the roof of the Gillota Building as a site for a panoramic photo matching another one taken from there around 1918 to display the amazing contrast in how Cleveland's downtown has changed in 90 years.

P.S. Eco-City Cleveland's new Green City Blue Lake site discusses the planning of the new bridge and lists the names of the committee and its charge.

Bedford to demolish historic railroad station

The City of Bedford has decided to demolish one of two historic railroad stations, as it has been too much altered to be worth trying to save, despite it having hosted Abraham Lincoln's visit in 1861. (Thomas Ott. "Aged depot not worth cost to restore, Bedford to hear." Plain Dealer. Friday, April 28, 2006. Page B-5.) Note: A railroad history fan had some problem finding this station, as the route taken by the old Cleveland & Pittsburgh is somewhat at variance from today's trackage.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Old home on Carnegie burns

On the way into work this morning, I noticed thick black smoke roiling out of upstairs windows of an old, boarded-up frame house at 7410 Carnegie. Fire equipment had not arrived yet, but the WEWS news site had pictures showing the fire department battling flames that had broken through the roof since I passed. The house looks like one that Craig Bobby would have been interested in, being one of two large, nineteenth-century structures, each with a turret in the upper front corner.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Linn "Barnaby" Sheldon dies. No word on Longjohn.

Beloved TV icon Linn "Barnaby" Sheldon has died at age 86. For those of us who grew up in his era, it's like finding out that Peter Pan was mortal after all. ("Barnaby creator Linn Sheldon dies." Plain Dealer. Monday, April 24, 2006. Front page. ALSO: Tom Ferran. "Linn Sheldon, Barnaby, dies at 86." PD. Same date. Page D-1. ALSO: Dick Feagler appended a tribute to Linn Sheldon at the end of his column: "Airlines lift greed to a higher plane" PD. Wednesday, April 26, 2006. Page B-9.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NEO Bridge site set up to battle ODOT's plans

The manner in which the Ohio Department of Transportation has been approaching the Inner Belt Bridge Project has caused critics to create a website,, to campaign against what they see as violations of state-mandated procedures for public input.

[This has nothing to do with this bridge, ODOT or even Ohio, but this all makes me recall a time in the mid-Seventies when I served on the Pima County Animal Control Center Advisory Committee, representing the SPCA of Arizona. We'd been charged by the County Board of Supervisors to be the official body gathering citizen input on a proposed new animal licensing ordinance and were to conduct the mandated public hearing on the subject. We sat in the Supervisors' chambers for two and a half hours one evening, listing to citizens come up to the microphone and give their opinions -- often strenuously -- on the subject, pro and con. Immediately following the close of the hearings, we retired to a back room and the deputy county administrator distributed forms for us to sign, verifying our recommendation that the legislation move forward. Until I objected, the rest of the advisory board was perfectly willing to sign off on it without so much as five minutes of discussion about the 2 1/2 hours of testimony we'd just heard. I don't think I had a disagreement with the legislation to speak of, but the manner in which the County was proceeding certainly made the time and efforts of the citizens attending the hearing a total waste of their time. ODOT shouldn't be hung for something that happened in Tucson, Arizona, thirty years ago, but that experience has made me somewhat cynical about "public input" opportunities ever since and I think it behooves all government agencies to avoid even the appearance of solely pro-forma citizen input.]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another eleventh-hour preservation appeal

Activist Ed Hauser has asked the Cleveland Landmarks Commission to designate as historic landmarks the Broadway Mills Building and the remnants of the old Central Viaduct, which now lie in the path of the planned northern route for ODOT's widening of the I-90 bridge. (Tom Breckenridge. "Activist challenges Inner Belt plan." Plain Dealer, Tuesday, April 18, 2006. p. B-1. Also: NewsChannel5 version)

P.S. This city really could use a more rational approach to managing its historic landmarks than addressing them only when they have one foot in the grave. The Huletts should have taught us that much!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Geauga County Seeking Historic Eagles

In 1906, organizers of the 100th birthday party for Geauga County commissioned the making of 10 plaster of Paris eagles, each about 3 feet high and 4 feet long. Afterwards the eagles were put in storage to await the bicentennial this year, but now they're nowhere to be found and County officials have put out the call for help in locating them, if they have survived. (John Horton. "Geauga mystery: Where are the eagles?" Plain Dealer. Friday, April 14, 2006. p. B-3)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Presentation on Hudson Native's Historic Polar Explorations

(press release)

On Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. polar explorer, educator, photographer, writer and lecturer Will Steger will help celebrate the 80th anniversary of Hudsonite Lincoln Ellsworth’s flight over the North Pole in the dirigible Norge . Steger will give a presentation on the contributions of Lincoln Ellsworth and the current state of polar exploration.

Steger, a past National Geographic Explorer in Residence, is an internationally recognized explorer, author and pioneer in polar exploration. In 1986 he made the first confirmed unsupported journey to the North Pole leading a team of eight people with 50 sled dogs. Two years later he guided the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history, a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland. In 1995, he led a 1,200-mile expedition between Russia and Ellesmere Island, Canada, via dogsleds and canoe sleds with a team of five educators and scientists. This project earned Steger the prestigious National Geographic John Oliver La Gorce Medal, awarded only 19 times since the founding of the Society in 1888. Steger joins Roald Amundsen, Amelia Earhart, Adm. Robert Peary, and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in this honor. Steger is a recognized authority on polar environmental concerns and has testified before Congress on polar and environmental issues.

Lincoln Ellsworth was born in 1880 and spent a large part of his youth in Hudson where he attended Western Reserve Academy. He worked as an engineer, gold prospector and surveyor and was fascinated by early 20th century polar explorations. In 1924 he led an expedition to make a geological survey across the Andes Mountains. The next year he was part of a failed and near fatal attempt to fly over the North Pole by airplane.

In May of 1926 he and explorer Roald Amundsen were successful in flying a dirigible, the Norge to the North Pole. They are credited with being the first people to have sighted the geographic North Pole. He also made important flights over Antarctica in 1935 and 1939. In 1931 he was part of the Trans-Arctic Submarine Expedition. His plane, the Polar Star, is in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Collection. Ellsworth is the only Hudson resident to have been honored with a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp.

Lincoln Ellsworth died on May 16, 1951 at age 71 and is buried in Hudson, Ohio.
The Lincoln Ellsworth polar exploration commemoration with Will Steger is free and open to the public. The program is being partially underwritten by the Lighter than Air Society, and the Byrd Polar Archives. No registration is required.

For more information please call Gwendolyn Mayer, Acting Archivist at 330/653-6658, ext. 1017.

African American Historical Societies and Cultural Centers

I-Open, the innovative local economic development group, has been studying whether Cleveland's Midtown area could support some version of an African American Cultural Center, incorporating the African American Museum, which is re-examining its future. I-Open's "Midtown Wednesday" blog this week discusses such a cultural center in Greensboro, a topic which will be the program for the group's weekly meeting at the Myers University Chester Campus, 3921 Chester, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., this Wednesday the 12th.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Trip to the Akron Book Fair

Today being a nice day for a drive, I went down to the John S. Knight Center in Akron and attended the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society's 24th annual Akron Antiquarian Book Fair. Accompanying me was Rich Morgan, he of the amazing Morgan Library of Ohio Imprints, and his grandson.

The NOBS Book Fair has recently been held in Cuyahoga Falls on Good Friday and Saturday, but a ceiling collapse last year led to this change of venue, which also necessitated the change in weekends. But the change has a big upside in the Knight Center, which is so much pleasanter a place than the rather shabby (but affordable) places the fair has been hosted in past years. The big question now is whether the Downtown Jinx of all urban events will prevent the fair from achieving the numbers the Cuyahoga Falls locations saw. It's a shame that Akron and Cleveland events suffer from suburbanites' decisions to stay away from "downtown" venues (excepting perhaps sports stadiums and arenas), but it seems to be a fact of life. I hope the Book Fair proves to be an exception, once its supporters adjust to the changes.

I got to visit with old friends and fellow NOBS board members and purchased a few items. So many have closed their stores and are conducting business on the show circuit and/or the Internet that I don't get to socialize as frequently. The Book Fair remains one of the few places where I get to see these folks anymore. As I wandered from table to table, I could visit with people like patriarch Frank Klein, The Bookseller, and his daughter Andrea; Dave and Dan Harbaugh of Bay Books; Bill Owen, of North Coast American (who originally introduced me to NOBS in the early '90s); Jim Best, the Bookman of Kent; Bob and Marianne Novak, of After Five Booksellers; NOBS President Larry Rakow, of Wonderland Books; Mike Lahey, The Reading Doctor; Ellen Strong, the binder; Wes Williams, of Publix Books; and Kate McCormick, of Orbis Maps. I'm sure I'm leaving someone out, as there was a host of out-of-town dealers set up and people I know who I just missed. Also set up at the show were representatives of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, the Kent State University Press, the Summit County Historical Society and even Cara Gilgenbach, Special Collections Librarian at the Kent State University Library.

It would be very difficulty to find a friendlier, more literate and nicer group of people all in one place and in this increasingly more impersonal, on-line world, it was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Oh yes, and I acquired some nice items in the process, including a sales brochure on the Euclid Heights Allotment of 1896, on which subject I did my masters thesis a decade ago.

Heights programs for National Historic Preservation Month

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society and Future Heights are joining forces to offer a series of events celebrating National Historic Preservation Month in May. Between April 27th and June 15th, these two organizations will present programs on "History of Cleveland Heights," "Maintenance and Efficiency for Your Old Home," "House History Workshop," and "Painting Your House: National Historic Perservation Month Lecture."

Oberlin Heritage Center program at Kendal at Oberlin

(press release)

The Oberlin Heritage Center invites you to a special presentation by Oberlin residents Elizabeth and Daniel Goulding of “Fun in Oberlin, Past and Present” which incorporates lighthearted excerpts from many Oberlin Oral History Project interviews conducted from the 1980s to the present. Among the Oberlinians, past and present, whose stories will be included are Millie Arthrell, Marvel Fields, Marianne Cochrane, Jack Cochrane, Mary Wright Fisk, Maynard Gott, Mildred Haines, Marion Bradley Kelly, Carl Kinney, Bill Long and Bob Thomas. Following the Gouldings’ presentation you’ll learn more about the ongoing work on the Oberlin Oral History Project that is being conducted by Oberlin Heritage Center volunteers. This Oberlin Heritage Center program is free and open to the public and will take place in Heiser Auditorium at Kendal at Oberlin, 600 Kendal Drive, on Monday, April 24th at 7:15 p.m.

Elizabeth Goulding studied at London's Royal academy of Dramatic Art as a Fulbright Scholar and received a Master of Dramatic Arts degree at Ohio University. She has enjoyed two Oberlin careers: as a theater director, she directed the highly successful Oberlin Community Theater for which she was named Oberlinian of the Year in 1978; and later as director of Meetings and Expositions with the National Association of College Stores. Since her retirement she has contributed to the Oberlin Heritage Center/O.H.I.O. by serving on its board and writing for its newsletter. Daniel Goulding, recently retired professor of Film Studies, Theater Arts, and Chair of the Art Department of Oberlin College, he is the author and contributing editor of five books and numerous critical essays and articles. A revised and expanded edition of his critically acclaimed book on Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema has recently been published in both paperback and hardcover editions. Dan continues to maintain a full schedule of guest teaching and participation in both national and international symposia, scholarly panels and film festivals.

For more information, contact Pat Murphy, 440-774-1700, e-mail:

Friday, April 07, 2006

David Goldberg promoted to full Professor at CSU

The Cleveland State University publication On Campus announced new promotions in rank, including David Goldberg, who is now a full professor of History. Dr. Goldberg received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966 and his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1984, the year he joined the CSU faculty.

Cozad-Bates House donated to UCI

Good news for preservationist fighting to preserve the historic Cozad-Bates House on Mayfield came when the University Hospital Health Systems donated it yesterday to the non-profit University Circle Inc. for possible use as a museum. (Olivera Perkins. "Backers save Underground Railroad stop in Cleveland." Plain Dealer. Friday, April 7, 2006. p. B-1)

P.S. The Plain Dealer subsequently gave the University Hospitals Health Systems and the Cleveland Planning Department a big "Cheers" for engineering the rescue of the Cozad-Bates House. (PD, Friday April 14, 2006. p. B-8)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Growing up in an eastside parish

The Cleveland Memory Project has posted Parish, James Heaphey's highly readable account of growing up in the 1950s in the St. Aloysius parish, in the East 114th and St. Clair area of Cleveland's east side. He started Parish as a family history project for his younger generations, but was wiling to give Special Collections a copy if we wanted one. Once we read it we not only wanted one for our collection, but wanted to digitize it and add it to the e-books in Cleveland Memory, which Mr. Heaphey graciously consented to.

CSU librarian Janet Mongan transformed the word processed document into the finished ebook. This is one of her final acts as a CSU librarian, as she's retiring in June after 32 years.

Historical perspective on immigration reform

WCPN ran a program on immigration reform on its "90.3 @ 9" program. Case professor John J. Grabowski, a notable local expert on immigration history, was one of the two guests discussing this topic, which is available on WCPN's website as an MP3 download for listening.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Restoration of University Circle historic hotel

The Fitch Group has been selected by the City of Cleveland to oversee a $28.8 million renovation of the old Park Lane Villa, Chester and East 105th, into luxury apartments. City Architecture will assist in the renovation of this National Register listed property. (Angela D. Chatman. "Down-and-out hotel set for new life of luxury." Plain Dealer. Sunday, April 2, 2006. p. B-1.)

Taylor Chair Co. moving factory after 116 years

Long profile of this Bedford firm, started in 1816 and owned by the same family ever since, which will be moving into a new factory after 116 years. (Emily Hamlin. "Companies' success Taylor-made." Plain Dealer. Sunday, April 2, 2006. p. G-1)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Historic Preservation Masters Program at Ursuline Announced

The first historic preservation masters degree program in Ohio is opening at Ursuline College, the PD reports. ("Ursuline College will offer historic-preservation master's." Jennifer Gonzalez: "Higher Learning" column. Plain Dealer. Saturday, April 1, 2006, p. B-2)