The Lakewood Historical Society
Our meeting this year was held in the newly opened Cove Community Center, at Clifton and Cove, on April 20th at 7:00 PM. We received a tour of the beautifully repurposed facility as well as a historic recollection of what came before on this site, the houses – the forested wilderness that came long before them – and the church congregation that built the wonderful building that’s now the Community Center.
2022-23 was an exceptionally full year for the Society, and it was be a special pleasure to remember it together with a presentation of everything we’ve done this year We held our annual business meeting with the election of the 2023-24 Trustees and some special recognitions for the year.
Ohio Heritage Summer Camp will return July 10th - 21st
We had such a wonderful Ohio Heritage week last summer that we're expanding it this year to run from the 10th to the 21st of July, all morning sessions.
We're delighted that Emily Bundy will return as our teacher. All the important subjects, from making butter to making corn griddle cakes with butter in the batter and then doing the washing, making your own ink and your own quills for writing with it, making pierced metal lanterns and learned to weave and sew will remain in the syllabus! And who know... the campers may even meet another one of the Nicholsons (as in the Nicholsons who lived in the Nicholson house 150 years ago) in person!
There'll be lots of games, all week, and numerous visits to the Oldest Stone House Museum for a thorough immersion in 1830’s life in Lakewood. Special thanks to our Museum docents who literally bring the house to life for the campers.
We're looking forward to it already. Think about volunteering for a morning or two. It's a wonderful program with great kids and awesome volunteers. Plan on having a very good time - and you'll master cooking apples and carving soap before you know it!
Preservation of the Curtis Block & the Lakewood Hospital Site Redevelopment Project
Request for All LHS Membership to continue to provide Public Input
Call your Councilperson!
It came to our attention in late March and early April of 2022 that the final redevelopment plan included the demolition of all but the Detroit facade of the Curtis Block which we've spent more than a decade working - successfully, up to now - to preserve. The project is now paused, pending identification of a new anchor tenant for the envisioned office building.
The new overall plan for the site is quite different from what was originally envisioned and championed for the center of downtown Lakewood, both in its aesthetic and utility. The consensus of those of us attending the meetings over the last couple of months has been that the impact of undistinguished, in-fill style architecture, very limited public space and a parking garage with a large concrete wall to dominate the Belle Avenue's frontage are of serious concern in the project moving forward as proposed. The plan also comes with a $17,000,000 cost to the City, along with almost no residual ownership and revenue rights, and final numbers have not been presented.
Be in touch with your Councilperson. Community input is pivotal in this. Call and speak directly to your Councilperson, if possible, or email them. https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/lakewood-city-council/
A few words questioning the plan to raze most of the Curtis Block and a request that the overall project return to being the major enhancement to the character of downtown Lakewood that it was originally intended to be are what every Councilperson needs to hear and know. It is absolutely an option for the project not to move forward as currently proposed.
As always, thank you for your support. It makes all the difference.
When you have a minute also take a look at the article Hilary Schickler wrote for the Lakewood Observer when the Curtis Block was in the process of landmark designation almost exactly seven years ago: http://lakewoodobserver.com/read/2015/04/14/historic-designation-sought-for-curtis-block. It's a well written summary that will refresh your memory about the preservation we've worked long and hard to sustain, and it's a great introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the building and its historic importance.
The Fall Exhibit was Amazing!
"We go to museums all over the country, including historic homes managed by the National Park Service and these displays are better than what they have!"
And we had a Fabulous Fall Sale!
“A Peek into the Past”
Lakewood Historical Society has just celebrated the 70 years since its founding in 1952 with an exhibition of rarely seen items from its Permanent Collection. “A Peek into the Past” is an anniversary showcase brimming with treasures curated, catalogued and carefully stored by the Historical Society over the last 70 years.
Visitors had an amazing opportunity to “peek into” wonderful things dating from the 1800s to the 1960s! Included are Victorian dresses, children’s clothing of the late 1800s, flapper dresses dating from the 1920s, woolen swimsuits from the early 1900s, men’s vests made by a Cleveland tailor, and a selection of hats, umbrellas, walking sticks, jewelry and purses. The best of both both women’s and men’s clothing items over 160 years!
A Victorian parlor furniture set, owned by a prominent Lakewood family made its debut appearance. And a marvelous array of antique toys, kitchen gadgets, and quilts created by community members over a century ago completed the exhibit.
“A Peek into the Past” was held on Saturdays and Sundays, September 24 and 25, October 1 and 2, and October 8 and 9at the Nicholson House, 13335 Detroit Ave., Lakewood.
Proceeds from this exhibition went towards the preservation and storage of the items in the Permanent Collection.
From Jim Robinson, Board President:
Winter is officially over ....at least according to the calendar!
And our efforts to preserve the Curtis Block are paused, for now. But you can very much continue to help with the Curtis Block preservation and the preservation of Downtown Lakewood's character. The developer's intention is very firmly and explicitly to at best retain the north and east facades of the Block. Nothing is currently being done to maintain the structural integrity of the now several years empty and unheated building, with roof leaks. And there has been no discussion of how the back, the roof and the core of the building will be removed to preserve the facades as part of the building project. The best things you can do are to be directly in touch with your Councilperson to voice your support for preserving the Block, and to ask questions about the current maintenance of the building and whether there are any plans for how to successfully remove most of the building and keep the facade walls standing during construction. Ask those questions. You'll find the link to One Lakewood and the Council member's email addresses in the Curtis Block section below. Our collective voices are always the most effective tool we have.
We ended last year with a Fall Exhibit to be proud of for a long time to come: A Peek into the Past! ...an Anniversary Exhibit of some of the most beautiful and fascinating treasures in the Permanent Collection has just concluded its scheduled weekend hours. And it was a triumph. A full video of the exhibit will be available here next week, and will become part of our Archives. We have a fascinating collection that's very rarely seen because of space availability, and this was the first instalment in our plan to regularly share these treasures with the community, as Margaret Manor Butler intended when she set up the Society seventy years ago, and as our charter requires. Lakewood is unbelievably fortunate to have had a Historical Society curating a Permanent Collection of historic items on this scale. We're both grateful and delighted to have the task of continuing to present them for everyone's enjoyment and education about our past. Now we'll wait to see what the Collections Committee may have in store for this year ...it hasn't been announced yet...
We're receiving loads of wonderful donations for this year's Sale on the Grounds on our drop-off Saturdays. Thanks for your support with that! Look forward to confirmation of the Sale dates. As of now we're planning on something new - and without quite as much chance of rain - June! The Sale is to be the weekend of June 22, 23, 24 & 25.
Many thanks, as always, for all your support.
Enjoy all the daffodils poking their heads out!
Our fully furnished 1838 house accurately interprets the everyday lives of the people living in Lakewood from 1838 to 1879. There is no charge for guided tours of the house and its collection.
Winter visits are by appointment. Please call the office (216) 221-7343 to arrange. Regular Sunday and Wednesday afternoon opening hours will resume in the spring!
VISIT LAKEWOOD'S OLDEST STONE HOUSE MUSEUM
Invite friends who've never seen the house, and come along with them!
Council Again Contemplates the Future of a City Landmark:
The Curtis Block Building
Look Inside Lakewood
Many and great thanks to Vicky and Lauren Smigelski and to their incredibly talented and effective team for an outstanding success with the 2022 House Tour!
Call for current opening schedules of our buildings.
Our buildings have officially reopened. Feel free to call the office at (216) 221-7343 as we continue to update schedules over the coming weeks. The office is staffed Monday -Friday.
A "Home of Our Own" Capital Campaign Reached! We Crossed the Finish Line.
Since the Haber Family Center for History opened as the Society's headquarters only a few years ago we have been able to serve researchers, students, family historians, and curious community passers by. Our collection is settling in to its new space with more complete and accessible cataloging and storage. We've been very grateful for the help of volunteers and interns, especially our very skilled volunteer Curator.
Your support took us across the finish line in our Capital Campaign. Thank you!
New National Historic Districts in Lakewood!
Thank you to the Ohio CARES Act from the Ohio Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts for your support.
Thank you to the Ohio History Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant from the Ohio History Connection.
Thank you to the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Ohio CARES Act Grant for your support.
Read More About the Curtis Block Discussions - Click to Expand
On November 24, 2020 Lakewood City Council began a discussion about the current status and future of the Curtis Block building located at the corner of Detroit and Marlowe Avenues. In 2015 the City designated the Curtis Block as historic under City of Lakewood Ordinance Chapter 1134 ,you can read the designation HERE. When the City took possession of the former Lakewood Hospital site in 2016 the Curtis Block was included in that transfer. At that time an assessment was done of the property. In the subsequent four years there has been dramatic deterioration due to unaddressed roof and foundation issues that were exacerbated by the demolition of the hospital.
While the assessment presented to Council was a drudgery of images and descriptions of deterioration and failures with large dollar amounts tied to them, this is only one assessment of a very complicated issue. One that had a large range when discussing potential costs. When the City took possession of the property there was an opportunity to mitigate some of these issues but with the project tied to the hospital site development many of those manageable issues have spun into larger crises. Hope is not lost. Intervention now can revitalize this Lakewood treasure and sustainably reuse the property.
On Monday, December 7, 2020 Council will again discuss the condition of the Curtis Block and what they will be doing as the owners of this neglected property. We encourage all concerned residents to contact their council person to voice their wish for the City to stabilize and revitalize this Lakewood Landmark. Those that would like to express themselves in person at the meeting should contact council to be added to the meeting credentials. Contact City Council through their site HERE.
Curtis Block Links
Nice to be at home? We think so too.
Check out our "History at Home" page. We have activities and tidbits for all of our history lovers that are "staying home," particularly our students as well as he whole family.
Lakewood Historical Society recognizes all homes 100 years and older housing stock with this wonderful celebration program!
Look forward to a whole new Ohio Heritage Summer Camp next summer!