Deborah Rossman's blog

Mystery Solved! by Laura Ploenzke

The individual who recently donated a book of local significance to the Westlake Porter Public Library has made himself known.

Tim Vilyus of Bay Village contacted the library shortly after an article appeared on the library’s Web site about the book Facts for Farmers, an agricultural reference book published in 1864 that contained three signatures of the library’s founder, Leonard Porter. He brought the book to the library’s used book room in January of this year, but staff members were preparing for closing and did not have time to get his name.

Facts for Farmers by Laura Ploenzke

A book that may be more than 120 years overdue at Westlake Porter Public Library and that once belonged to the library’s founder recently arrived back at the library.

“Facts for Farmers”, a 1,034-page reference book edited by Solon Robinson and published in 1864, was donated to the Friends Book Nook in January by someone who had been cleaning out a relative’s attic and found the book, according to Peggy Gambrel, a volunteer at the Book Nook.

New Westlake Book!

The new Arcadia Publishing book about Westlake is available now in the library gift shop. Call 440-250-5477 to order a copy!

If you would like to know more about the book, please read the following article written by Kevin Kelly, WestLife Newspaper reporter: click here.

Westlake (Arcadia Publishing's Images of America Series)

A Webcast of Deborah Rossman's talk on her book, courtesy of Kevin Kelly, The WestLife Newspaper:

Grave Robbers

By 1820, 19th century doctors were eager to distinguish themselves from midwives and quacks. Patients of the era wanted to be treated by physicians who understood the body's inner workings. And so it was that anatomy instruction became essential to medical education.
Burial and respect for the dead mattered deeply to Americans. The laws at that time limited doctors’ use of corpses to condemned murderers and the “unclaimed” bodies of people without family or friends to bury them. Regardless the laws, in the quest to find cadavers to practice on, early doctors made the practice of robbing graves quite common.

The Crocker Family

Jedediah Crocker was born in 1762. He served in the Revolutionary War on General Washington's staff. Jedediah married Sarah Gifford in Berkshire, Massachusetts in 1782. They had seven children: Noah, Jedediah, David, Sarah, Samuel, Elizabeth, Polly, Philena, and Aurelia. In June of 1811, Jedediah moved his family to Euclid, Ohio.
The Crocker family came to Ohio on a mission to found a new Congregational Church. On May 25, 1812, Jedediah purchased 1950 acres for the sum of $3900 from Nehemiah Hubbard, Jr. and Joshua Stow, members of the Connecticut Land Company. The land was located in Dover Township, Ohio.

The Lake Shore Electric Interurban

The Lake Shore Electric interurban made the first trip on July 18, 1893 from Sandusky to Milan, illuminating sparks and electric arcs along its path, and sounding a shrill bell. The Lorain & Cleveland Railway Co. and the Sandusky, Milan & Norwalk Railway together became the Lorain & Cleveland Electric Railway, reaching from Cleveland to Toledo-Detroit, a 116 mile path. By 1907, the line operated 114 cars and 196.2 miles of track and carried over 5 million passengers. The entire trip took six hours, traveling at a speed of between 60 and 80 miles per hour.

Call for Pictures!

We are gathering images right now for an Arcadia Publishing book about Westlake, Ohio. Our mission is to share information and images that reflect life in our community the way it used to be. Can we borrow a picture from you?

Any individuals and organizations with content relating to the history of Dover Township and the Westlake area.

Booze to Books

According to a January 17, 1932 article in "The Cleveland Sunday News," the frame building which housed the Porter Library was originally used as a saloon.
"Way back in the (18)80's, the gay young blades of Dover thronged the building for a drink of this, that or the other. Many a night the good townsfolk were kept awake by the roisterers. Then a literary society decided to take matters in hand. The saloon was a menace that had to be dealt with drastically."

An Invitation to Westlake Porter Public Library’s Ice Cream Social

A visit to Westlake Porter Public Library on July 23 finds hometown tradition thriving. The town’s Ice Cream Social has been a library event since 1882 when a group of local young people created the Dover Literary Society.
The Society’s Constitution stated the following: “Wishing to form an effective organization for the purpose of mutual help and improvement and as one of the means to this end to establish and sustain a Library.” In 1884 town-builder Leonard Porter bequeathed the sum of $1000 to establish a library, and what had been a wish became a reality.