Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mesquito. - Anon.......A broken bone can heal, but a wound a word opens can fester forever. - Jessamyn West.....No man ever listened himself out of a job.- Calvin Coolidge......As I grow older I find that it's the loudest mouth that knows the leastest............rnt...............

November 17,  2018>VOL  900


SHOPTALK: Both desktop pix this week are of the beach at what was intended to be Vermilion’s Atlantic City. These pix show the area behind the clubhouse at Vermilion-on-the-Lake during the late 1930s.

THE STORY GOES: Just after the turn of the 20th century a marvelous agricultural experiment was conducted on the Werk Farm just east of the Village of Vermilion, Ohio that roused a great deal of interest from folks throughout the area. It was reported that a new-fangled contraption, or machine, called a tractor was going to be tried out on the farm. Some said it was destined to replace the horse on farms across our great nation. This event led many area residents to walk, drive (their horses) or to take the trolley to watch with operatic surprise this horseless machine rip into the previously uncultivated clay soil with extreme ease.

While it is not known if this experiment brought the aforementioned property to the attention of those interested in developing the land along the Erie shore, it is known that just a few years later a company of Cleveland businessmen led by Messrs. Martin C. Krogh and George Thome purchased the farm. And in May of 1920 they officially began the process of allotting the land.

By the summer of 1938 when Mr. Clewell Sykes, then President of the Vermilion-on-the Lake Company, and Mr. D. O. Lawrence, Treasurer of the parent company, The Sykes Thompson Co., flew over the area taking photographs of the lakeside resort it was near completion. Eleven and a half miles of streets had been built-enough it was said to have reached Lorain and beyond if laid end to end-and a majority of the 1674 lots lying between the Nickel Plate Railroad and the lake shore had been sold and cottage construction on them was either complete or near completion. A few were year around homes.

One of the initial improvements made by the V.O.L. Company was that of building a community center or Club House. The building was constructed at about the middle of their nearly mile long lake front property. An old barn that stood near the side was razed and many of the heavier timbers from it were used in the construction of the facility. Logs harvested from trees cut down while building the streets were used to finish the structure.

A concrete stairway led from the Club House on the bank to the beach and the board and concrete walk below. The building also featured a bath house replete with both necessities and luxuries alike; shower baths, large heavy white bath towels, mirrors, electrical connections, and even curling irons so that ladies could "doll up after a frolic on the water and beach". Full time life guards, Don Hazel and Arthur Engle home from college for the summer, patrolled the beach, and a launch to be used as a life boat always sat in readiness.

Inside the Club House there was a large dance floor and team room where Oberlin resident, one Mrs. Rawdon, would oversee private or lodge parties. The club house alone was valued at $100,000.

South of the Nickel Plate tracks and on both sides of what was then State Highway 12 (Liberty Avenue) were 1700 additional lots. Those directly abutting the highway were, designated for business. William McMillan of LaGrange was one the first to build a cottage and open a stand and filling station at the main entrance of the allotment.

The ideal location, along with water from the Vermilion Water Plant, and transportation and electricity furnished by the Lake Shore Electric Rail line, moved early promoters of the development to refer to Vermilion-on-the-Lake as the Atlantic City of Lake Erie.

And so it was; yesteryear.

Ref: The Vermilion News-April and December 1935 and July 1938 - This article was published in the Vermilion Photojournal 12-04-2003; Views Archive #311.


JESSE HAMMAN AND (LUCY) GERTRUDE WORDEN-HELFRICH: I wish I was gifted, but I guess one can’t have everything. It took me a good deal of time to understand the relationship between these two persons. The fella on the left is Jesse Hamman. The lady with him is Gertrude Helfrich.

Gertrude was the wife of Charles Helfrich who owned and operated the Helfrich Fish and Chips Café that later morphed into the famous McGarvey Restaurant. Jesse’s wife Lola was Charles Helfrich’s sister.

When Mr. Helfrich died (1934) Jesse stepped in and managed the cafe along with a Milan guy named Andy Dambach until the restaurant until it was sold to Charlie McGarvey in 1938.

VERMILION’S LIMEKILN & 4 CHILDREN ON THE BEACH: The Vermilion limekiln was located near (east of) Main street beach just a bit west of the river. It may have been in the area where Vermilionite Theodore “Ted” Dunsmore Wakefield (b.16 Aug. 1912 – d. 27 Oct. 1992) later built his house. This is only the 2nd pic I have with the kiln in it – and the first is a terrible photo.

The word “lime” in this case refers to neither the citrus fruit nor the tree, but rather to a white powder derived from limestone. For several thousands of years humans created lime in kilns, as they might have hardened pottery or smelted ore, and used the material for dozens of purposes. Now, it has largely been replaced by fossil-fuel by-products and was most commonly to create mortar for construction purposes.

I have no idea (real or imagined) as to how this particular kiln was actually used in Vermilion – but it somehow coincided with the days when folks were making iron from ore at Furnace Corners along the ridge south of town. That industry had begun sometime in the 1830s. I also don’t know when the kiln was removed. But if the names that I was given of the children in the photograph are correct it was still standing in the early years of the 20th century – at least until around 1904 or ’05.

The children are:

CLARA MABEL WAKEFIELD-HOFRICHTER (dark hair): (b. July 1888 – d. 14 June 1980); She married a fella named Albert Clifford Hofrichter (b. 24 May 1887 – d. 09 December 1953) on 4 June 1908. Early in their marriage Albert worked as treasurer for Wakefield Brass Co. Some years later he became a self-employed realtor in Baltimore MD.

ALICE MAY WAKEFIELD: (b. 1898 – d. 22 March 1918); I was somehow aware of the fact that Alice had been ill as a young person, but I don’t know what the problem might have been. It may have been related to the great flu pandemic of 1918, but that’s not something I know with any certainty. Let it suffice for me to say of her, however, that only the good die young.

RUTH MARION WAKEFIELD-STUTZ: (b. 19 Nov.1903 – d.18 Jun. 1974); married attorney Frederick Harold Stutz (18 Mar. 1900 – d. 20 Apr. 1985). Some may remember that the couple lived in a big house on the lakeshore just east of Main Street beach. That home was later owned by a local dentist named John Stack and his pretty wife Lil .

WILLIAM RALPH “BILL” WAKEFIELD: (b. 8 Apr. 1900 – d. 9 Apr. 1983); Married Hattie Mae Shoop-Quinlan (B. 1896 - d. 1 Dec. 1971) on 23 Sep.1936. Records appear to indicate that the couple eventually divorced.

Of all these people I only remember Bill. My father often spoke of him and seemed to like him a great deal. Perhaps it was because they were about the same age and shared first names. If I recall correctly Bill lived in a rather small, but very tidy, home on the south side of Darrow Road near Joppa Corners. Unlike many of his brothers and sisters he was not the type of person who stood out in a crowd. Oddly enough (and contrary to what appeared to be his elective attempt at anonymity), that may be the very reason I remember him. That is not intended to be, in any way, a criticism of anyone. It’s just an observation easily made from the distance of 114 years from a yesteryear when four happy children sat in the sun and sand on the beach near the old limekiln. God love ‘em.

Ref: Special Thanks to Margaret Wakefield-Worcester and her brothers, sister and cousins for the photo and names.

YESTERYEAR'S NEWS: The following clips are dictated transcriptions from past issues of The Vermilion News. I think you will find them both interesting and fun...

Vol. XIV, No.24 - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, November 17, 1910


What is the use of killing yourself working you can buy an electrical suction cleaner – that does all the sweeping and cleaning for one cent an hour. Call and see them work. – Guy S. Davis.


That $250 damages obtained by Mary Zilch against Catherine Ferber, for the wrongful issuance of an attachment should constitute a set off against the judgment of $722 on a promissory note was the decision handed down by Common Pleas Judge Reed Tuesday morning.

The detachment against livestock and household furniture obtained by Catherine Ferber in her suit on a promissory note was dissolved in a form of case. According to the statements of counsel only the interest on the instrument has been paid.

John F. Welkenshaw was sentenced to life imprisonment Friday, by Judge Washburn, for the murder of his wife, Mary Kelly Welkenshaw, at Lorain in August. He entered a plea to guilty of murder in the second degree.

The Sandusky Telephone Company secured a judgment by default for the amount of one $393.34 on a contract. The defendant was John Wahl.

S. And S. Home at Sandusky has been allowed $3000 for improvements to the boiler system.


NORWALK – George H. Darling, the oldest citizen of Norwalk, celebrated his 99th birthday anniversary last Wednesday. Mr. Darling, before coming to Norwalk many years ago was one of the best-known residents of Florence, Erie county, was engaged in the tailoring business. After coming to Norwalk he engaged shoe business with N. G. Sherman, a former resident Berlin Township. Mr. Darling is residing at the comfortable home of Milton Graves of this city, where the old gentleman wants are carefully looked after.

Walter Wellman received $35,000 for his attempted trip across the Atlantic in a balloon. Some people will think even this sum small for risking his own life as well as that of his companions, but just think how many men risk their lives every day for a mere pittance compared with this sum. For instance the railroad man at a few dollars a day never knows just when he may meet with death, and the same with many other occupations, of more or less hazardous conditions.

Norman Workman who left the hospital a few days ago returned to his home in Brownhelm was forced to return to the hospital for further treatment, as a result of complications settling in. Wickens ambulance made the run. – Lorain News.

The Wickens Company’s ambulance made a run to Brownhelm Friday to bring Ezra Baetz to St. Joseph's Hospital who was suffering from an attack of typhoid fever. Five other members of the family are also confined to their home with the disease and it may be necessary to remove them to the hospital here for treatment in a few days. Baetz is the brother of milkman Baetz in this city. – Lorain News.

Colorado has four women in the legislature.


BORN – to Mr. Mrs. William Boehringer, a son, Friday.

Thirteen births and seven deaths were reported in Amherst during the month of October.

Funeral services of the infant child of Rufus Bartner were held on Friday afternoon.

The funeral service of Mrs. Sandrock were held Sunday afternoon. She died at home the home of her son Henry Sandrock. The interment was made in the Cleveland St., Cemetery this place.


Mrs. Dalia Pelton is not gaining health.

Daisy Spratt is now able to sit up a while through the day.

Coon Grenzebach is gaining in health a little but is still quite a serious condition.

Bert Coleman who had his leg injured about 10 days ago was able to be out with the aid of a cane.

Aaron Kelly and his wife were pleased over the arrival of a baby girl November 7th.

One of the Didelius boys had his eye badly injured Tuesday by a stick flying up and hitting him while hauling wood.


Rabbit season opened with the woods and fields full of hunters. Rabbits scarce.

The little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Kishman has been quite ill past week.

Mr. Pauley is pushing his new concrete barn completion before freezing weather sets in.

A cross-country pedestrian passed through here Wednesday at 11:30 AM from Frisco to New York.

C. W. Kishman has sold three manure spreaders so far this fall, and has the promise of four more sales.

A large number of phone patrons in the West Vermilion have had their phones taken out because of the raises under the new contract.

Wm. Kishman sold a load of hogs Wednesday. Price down to 7 1/2c. It seems good to see old prices back where poor people can buy a little meat again.

It looks as if there would be a large sale of autos in this vicinity next spring. C. W. Kishman has the agency for the International with a few sales about closed Charlie can sell you anything on wheels.


Rev. C. W. Endly, agent of the Old Ladies Home Elyria was in town Saturday A. M. In the interest of the home.

A Loyal Temperance Legion has been organized in town and is under the leadership and direction of Mrs. Guy Sturdevant.

The Nimrods who have been up in Maine the past few weeks have returned and report ten deer added to their budget of wild game. They brought five home with them. Those of the hunting expedition were Messrs Brundage of Joppa, Boehn of Ceylon, Hess and Dr. Hines of this place.


Hunters have made known the opening of the hunting season during the past few days.

Mrs. C. Sperry is reported a little improved at this writing, though still confined to her bed.


Ezra Betz was taken to Lorain Hospital last Friday suffering with typhoid fever.

They have been making some cider at the Rugby cider mill, but will soon be running in full force, as the apples are about all in.

Burt Bacon is getting in a fine lot of poultry for Thanksgiving trade. You will do well to sell to Mr. Bacon because he pays all he can and more than lots of others.

There has been eight cases of typhoid fever started from the Dalzell home here in Rugby they have to nurses in attendance at present.


Monday evening the regular meeting of the school board was held. After the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting came the reports of the committees. The lavatories have been completed everything is in good order.

The board found that the contingent fund short and were obliged to borrow to cover the deficiency until the next distribution.

Melville Gross was appointed truant officer.

The matter of uniting the school library with the Subscriber library was mentioned and will probably be discussed at the next meeting.

After providing for the payment of bills and payroll, the meeting adjourned.


Fishing is said to be good but the weather has been anything but desirable. The unusual cold and storms of sleet making the work very disagreeable.

Mayor Williams spent Friday and Saturday in Toledo. When he returned he brought with him a fine canary, hence the children are delighted as the bird has proved to be a fine singer.

Mrs. Grisel who has been very ill during the past week again about able to out.

C. Schwensen is enjoying a hunting trip in the wilds of Michigan. One deer to his credit has already been reported.

Live Turkey given away at the Crystal Theatre next Saturday night at 8:30. Call.

Hunting season for rabbits began Tuesday.

Have you seen the picture show lately? Pictures are better than ever.

The Vermilion jail was inspected this last week by a lady inspector who expressed herself as being very much pleased with its condition, it being the cleanest and most sanitary she had visited.
A new stove has been installed and it has been made as pleasant as possible for those who are to occupy it by force of circumstances.





…time it moved northward to engage with the forces against General Lee. It took a prominent part in the Gettysburg fight, commencing July 1, and was engaged actively for that and the next day. The regiment went into the battle about five hundred strong, and its total loss in killed, wounded and missing amounted to nearly four-fifths of that number. This was a terrible fight for the One Hundred and Seventh, and their loss was in a measure offset by their capture of a stand of colors from the famous Louisiana Tigers. Having but a trifle over one hundred serviceable men left, the command joined in the pursuit of Lee's army, following it to Hagarstown, thence to Catlett's Station.

The regiment started by boat for Folly Island on the 1st of August, and remained at that place performing garrison and picket duty until the following February, when an expedition was made to Seabrook Island and Jones's Island. After that it went to Jacksonville, Fla., where it remained, except for about a month, until December, 1864. Its fighting days were now about over, nevertheless, until the latter part of March, 1865, it performed valuable service, and had a short, but sharp brush with the rebels at Sumpterville, capturing three pieces of artillery and a number of horses and prisoners. Afterward, at Singleton's Plantation, it captured a railroad train and a large number of stores and ammunition.

After Lee's surrender the regiment went to Charleston, where it remained on provost duty until July 10, when it was mustered out, sent home and discharged from the service.

Roster, Field and Staff.

Seraphim Meyer, colonel; resigned February 8, 1864, for disabilities.

Charles Mueller, lieutenant-colonel; resigned October 24, 1863.

John S. Cooper, lieutenant-colonel; mustered out with regiment.

George Arnold, major; resigned August 21, 1863.

August Vignos, major; resigned September 30, 1864.

Edward S. Meyer, major; resigned January 1, 1865.

F. C. Suhner, major; mustered out with regiment. Roster Company F, not Ofiicial.

Henry Bernhard, first sergeant; discharged March 2, 1863.

George Beck, sergeant; missing in action at Gettysburg July 1, 1863.

Justus Thornberg, sergeant; promoted to first lieutenant; wounded May 2, 1863.

Leopold Weinman, sergeant; mustered out with company.

Carl Groesch, sergeant; discharged December 22, 1862.

John Becker, corporal; mustered out with company.

Frederick Frey, corporal; promoted sergeant March 5, 1863; mustered out with company.

HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY OHIO With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich - Syracuse, N.Y. D. Mason & Co., Publishes 1889.

Visual Verification Image
* Required


TYPE FOR POSTERS: This is an interesting pic of the wooden type used to make posters at The Vermilion News print shop in years past. Wood has been used for letterforms and illustrations dating back to the first known Chinese wood block printing. Later in Europe, large letters used in printing were carved out of wood due to the fact that large metal type tended to develop uneven surfaces, or cracks, as it cooled.

At the News museum we have several cases of this type.


Marv, a local cop, recently stopped a woman for exceeding the posted speed limit. He asked the driver her name.

She said, "I'm Mrs. Ladislanyatv Abdulkhashim Zybkcicraznovskaya from the Republic of Uzbekistan, visiting my daughter."

Marv put away his summons book and pen, and said, "Well, uhhh, ok, but don't let me catch you speeding again."

Subscribe to the Views mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: After giving it much thought this link has been "put-down". During the last year most of the folks who used to use this page as a bulletin board have acquired their own and, consequently, no longer need this forum from "Views". I have, however, kept links (in the links section) to Larry Hohler's "Hope Homes" in Kenya - and to Bette Lou Higgins' Eden Valley Enterprises sites. They are historically and socially relevant projects. I suggest that you visit these sites on a regular basis to see "what's shakin'".

Pay particular note to the "Hope Homes" page during the next few months / years. They are constantly improving the lives of their youngsters and those around them. This is an exciting project accomplished by exciting people.

Although this Vermilion High School Class of 1959 reunion is over classmates may want to stay connected with each other through organizerROGER BOUGHTON. Ye can connect by mailing him @ 2205 SW 10th Ave. Austin, MN. 55912 or you can just emailRoger.

Persons interested in the history of the Lake Shore Electric Railway (which was the subject of a recent past podcast series) - "the greatest electaric railway system on the planet" may want to go to and purchase a book called "Images of Rail - Lake Shore Electric Railway". It was put together by Thomas J. Patton with the help of my friends DENNIS LAMONT and ALBERT DOANE. It'd make a nice gift.

Another great book with Vermilion Roots is, "Grandma's Favorites: A Compilation of Recipes from MARGARET SANDERS BUELL by Amy O'Neal, ELIZABETH THOMPSON and MEG WALTER (May 2, 2012). This book very literally will provide one with the flavor of old Vermilion. And ye can also find it at Take a look.

MARY WAKEFIELD BUXTON'S LATEST BOOK "The Private War of William Styron" is available in paper back for $15.00 with tax and can be purchased locally at Buxton and Buxton Law Office in Urbanna, ordered from any book store, or Brandylane Publishing Company. A signed, hard back edition may be purchased from Mrs. Buxton directly for $30.00 by writing her at Box 488, Urbanna, VA 23175 and including $6.00 for tax, postage and packaging.

THE BEAT GOES ON: This page is generated by a dreaded Macintosh Computer and is written and designed by (me) Rich Tarrant. It will change weekly ~ usually on Saturday. Bookmark the URL (Universal Resource Locater) and come back at your own leisure. Send the page to your friends (and enemies if you wish). If you have something to share with those who visit this page, pass it on. And if you see something that is in need of correction do the same. My sister, Nancy, is a great help in that respect. It only takes me a week to get things right. And follow the links. You might find something you like. If you experience a problem with them let me know. Also, if you want to see past editions of this eZine check the new archives links below.

If you're looking for my old links section (pictured) I've replaced it with a pull-down menu (visible in the small box next to the word "Go"). If you're looking for links to more Vermilion history check that menu.

How the old links menu looked

Links to additional Vermilion Ohio pages:

For Persons who would like to donate to the cause (to keep these "Views" on-line you can send whatever you would like to me at the following address. And THANKS to everybody who has already donated to the cause. I doth certainly appreciate it):
Rich Tarrant
P.O. Box 437
Vermilion, Ohio
Telephone: 440-967-0988 - Cell: 440-522-8397

or you can use PayPal: (NOTE: IT WORKS NOW)

"Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy, wealthy and dead." - James Thurber

Vol. 16. Issue 37 - November 17, 2018

Archive Issue #818

Vermilion Views Search Engine


© 2017 Rich Tarrant