History Q & A

Question: Is that a lighthouse at Huntington Beach?

Answer: No. It was a water-pumping house for the 100-acre John Huntington estate, which was located directly to the south, on the other side of Lake Road. Huntington was in the roofing business and once roofed an early Standard Oil refinery. John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil, offered him part payment in Standard Oil stock, which he accepted, and he eventually became a partner in the company. He served on Cleveland City Council for 12 years. Creative and inventive, he patented several improvements in oil refining methods. He built his estate in the 1880s; he built the pump house to look like an oil-drilling rig. The tower was built with a cupola that had round shuttered windows to make it look more like a lighthouse. That cupola was blown off in a storm in the mid-1980s and never replaced. His carriage house and horse barn became Huntington Playhouse in 1959.

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Question: Were there Indians living around here years ago?

Answer: Yes, and no. A few bands of Erie Indians lived around this area when the white men first explored. About 1650, however, the Eries were completely wiped out by their powerful neighbors to the east, the Iroquois tribe. The Cuyahoga River was then the western edge of the Iroquois lands; Bay Village and lands west were "no-mans land." Later on, the whole territory as far west as Sandusky became the chief hunting grounds, trading lands and seat of wars of the six Indian nations on the lakes. Indians passed through this area frequently; Lake Road was once a buffalo and Indian trail along the lake. All native peoples needed flint, for arrowheads and other tools, and a natural outcropping of flint was located near Lima, Ohio. Native Americans considered this area neutral ground; no fighting was allowed there. The Indian tribes did not give up their official claim to this area until 1805, when they signed a treaty, receiving $19,000 in silver and several thousand dollars' worth of tobacco, rum, bread, meat and other presents in return for some three million acres of land.

Native Americans would bend saplings over and tie them down to indicate trails through the woods, and several of these ancient, bent-over trees can be found in Bay Village and neighboring communities. On a side note, there are more deer in Ohio today than when the settlers came through in the early 1800s.

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Question: What are those concrete structures in Cahoon Park and the Metroparks?

Answer: Those were bridge supports for the Lake Shore Electric Railway, which ran from Cleveland to Toledo and Detroit. These street car-like vehicles ran frequently along these tracks, halting every mile or so at numbered stops to pick up or drop off passengers. The tracks crossed Dover Center Road where the driveway by Play in Bay is located; the swimming pool is built partially on old interurban right of way. Bay Village has two streets named Electric because they were built atop the old right of way. You can generally trace the route of the tracks by following a group of overhead electric lines, which still follow the original route. Also, in Huntington Park just north of the fire station, you can walk along the old cinder-covered roadbed. A tragedy struck the interurban on July 4, 1926, when a group of picnickers, trying to get back to Cleveland, were killed when a half dozen of them decided to walk the Cahoon trestle back one stop in order to get a better seat. Two trolleys coming from opposite directions met on the trestle, and the motorman in the eastbound trolley, blinded by the approaching headlight of the other train, did not see the picnickers on the track. The last train ran over the tracks on May 15, 1938.

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Question: Why is Cahoon Park closed on Sunday? Why are alcohol and gambling prohibited in the park?

Answer: The founding family of Bay Village was the Cahoon family. They were very religious, devout Rhode Island Baptists, and when the last surviving family member, Ida Maria, who died in 1917, left the 115 acre family homestead to the City of Bay Village, it came with the following stipulations: "That no boating, bathing, games or sports shall be permitted on said Park or property on Sunday," and also "That no intoxicating liquors shall ever be brought, sold or used upon said premises nor shall gambling in any form be permitted or allowed thereon." Consequently, the municipal swimming pool and Bay Boat Club, both located in Cahoon Park are closed on Sundays.

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Question: What is that big brick, red-roofed building in the middle of the Cashelmara condominiums on Lake Road east of Clague Road?

Answer: That building was once the summer estate of industrialist Washington Lawrence. He was president of the National Carbon Company, the forerunner of Union Carbide, until his death in 1900. He and his wife had seven daughters. In 1885 they purchased all the land east of Clague Road to the township line. They lived in a small frame house while their grand mansion was being built. It was finished in 1899, but not completely furnished when Lawrence died. The daughters married and lived either in the mansion or in summer houses nearby. The house had eight bedrooms on the second floor alone. The third floor contained a ballroom, two bedrooms, an enormous linen closet and the servants' quarters. There were seven servants, including gardener and handyman. The mansion had its own power plant on the northwest side of Sperry Creek. When the last daughter died in 1948, the property became the Bay View Osteopathic General Hospital, owned by the Sheppard family. The father and three sons were resident doctors. The hospital closed about 1979 and was converted into the main building of the Cashelmara ("Stone House" in Gaelic) condominiums.

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Question: What is that old cemetery on Lake Road west of the park? When was it founded?

Answer: Lakeside Cemetery was established 1814. The first public burying ground in Dover Township, Lakeside Cemetery was formed in 1814 when settler Reuben Osborn (1778-1860) donated land to bury two of three persons who drowned attempting to cross the Rocky River by boat: his sister-in-law Rebecca Porter and her infant son. Additional land was purchased later to bring it to its half-acre size. Internments were not recorded until 1879. There are about 270 known burials in the cemetery, including two Revolutionary War soldiers, five from the War of 1812, seven Civil War veterans, one from the Spanish American War and two from World War I.

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Question: I heard there used to be a golf course in Bay Village. Where was it and what happened to it?

Answer: Washington Lawrence, who built the mansion on Lake Road east of Clague Road that became the central building of the Cashelmara condominiums, built the oldest golf course in the county and State of Ohio about 1895 on the land across from his home. It was five years before a course was built east of the Cuyahoga River. There was a clubhouse and many homes surrounding the nine-hole course. There also was a dance pavilion, which was demolished in 1943. The course operated through 1956, when the property was sold for development.

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Question: Where was the Sam Sheppard house?

Answer: The Sheppard house, at 28944 Lake Road, located three parcels west of Huntington Park on the north side of Lake Road, no longer stands. It was torn down in the mid-1990s.

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Question: Where did George Steinbrenner live?

Answer: He grew up in the large, country-style home at 29357 Lake Road.

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