The Lakewood Historical Society


Holiday Sale Times

Saturday, 12/3, 10 AM - 4 PM

Saturday, 12/3, 10 AM - 4 PM

At the Nicholson House, 13335 Detroit Avenue

See the Holiday Sale page for great sneak peeks into what Santa's elves have ready for you!!

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 that the final redevelopment plan includes 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 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.

City Council Meetings, October - November:

  • 11/7, 7:30 - 9:30 PM

  • 11/21, 7:30 - 9:30 PM

Board of Building Standards/Architectural Board of Review Meetings:

  • 10/26, 5:30 - 6:30 PM

  • 11/3, 4:00 - 6:00 PM - Pre-Review Meeting

Planning Commission Meetings:

  • 11/3, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

      • all meetings in the City Hall Auditorium, enter through the east parking lot entrance. There's an elevator right inside the door.

Join us for Curtis Block related meetings at City Hall. The agenda for the 11/7 ABR Meeting: https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/BBSARBAgenda_111022Amended.pdf

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” will be held on Saturdays and Sundays, September 24 and 25, October 1 and 2, and October 8 and 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. each day, at the Nicholson House, 13335 Detroit Ave., Lakewood.


Proceeds from this exhibition will go towards the preservation and storage of the items in the Permanent Collection.

October Greetings!

From Jim Robinson, Board President:


What a marvelous way to end summer!

The Fall Exhibit: 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 breathtaking 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.

We have a matter of serious ongoing importance: please continue to do what you can to help us with the Curtis Block preservation and the preservation of Downtown Lakewood's character. It is very much a twofold concern. 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 attend meetings as you're able. You'll find the schedule of meetings for the rest of the summer in the Curtis Block section below, as well the link to One Lakewood and the Council member's email addresses. Our collective voices mean a great deal - they're the most effective tool we have.

Many thanks, as always, for all your support.

Enjoy the unusually beautiful fall -

Jim

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 this year's House Tour!

Ohio Heritage Summer Camp

We had an absolutely wonderful Ohio Heritage week!


Led by our new teacher, Emily Bundy the week was a great success, with thirty children attending the morning sessions for the week, and a smaller group in the afternoons. They learned to do everything from making butter to making corn griddle cakes with butter in the batter and then doing the washing, they made their own ink and their own quills for writing with it, they made pierced metal lanterns and learned to weave and sew, and they even met Betsy Nicholson in person!

With lots of games and several visits to the Oldest Stone House Museum everyone had a really thorough immersion in 1830’s life in Lakewood, and a very fun week. Thanks go to Linda Barbero, Randy Bishop, Kathy Haber, Kristina Kirkland, John and Norine Prim, Ann Schleckman, Greg Sent, Anne Varano, and even Betsy Nicholson (who some of the kids mistook for Julie Warren!) who were on hand, helping our wonderful new teacher, Emily Bundy! And thanks also go to Chris Newton and Charlotte Partlow for all their help preparing supplies, as well as to the Oldest Stone House Museum docents who were at their absolute best, making the house come to life for their young visitors.

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!

Clifton Park South National Historic District

Lakewood Downtown National Historic District

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.

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.

Featured Pages

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!

Visit our online marketplace!