Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live

HARBOR LIGHT: One of the most photographed items in Vermilion's history is the light that guided sailors into the harbor from the mid 19th century until the early part of the 20th. Aside from the pictures my friend Fred Wetzler has of this original structure I've seen none better until I spotted this one. It's unusual, not only because of it's age, but because it appears to have been taken in the winter. Most are not.

Going into a new century it is apparent that Vermilion is in dire need of redefining itself. In that process one hopes that it would include paying some attention to it's harbor as being a great asset. It is very easy for folks to say that the town needs some industry. That's like saying the sky is blue. But that's not the question. The question is; What type of industry. As numerous photographs featured on my webpages literally illustrate - the river and the lake are (or can be) assets to the future of this community. I make not light of the idea so well pronounced in one of Shakespeare's plays that tells one that sometimes we can't see the forest because the trees are blocking our view.

The river, and the lake effected the identity of Vermilion. For many years various folks have fought tourism as an industry and development of the harbor has been all but forgot. It is time for a new vision.

It's right in front of us.

THE WEST GATE: The west gate out of Linwood Park that once led to "Cloudy" Noel's Ferry no longer exists but in pictures. The photo on the left was taken a few days ago of the area photographed on the right where the path led down from the park toward the river - although they were taken from opposing directions. The intent of the new photo was to see if the slow incline down the hill from Linwood still existed.

It, obviously, does not. But at the bottom of the existing slope there is a small gate (not very visible) in the fence. It is not working - but it is there.

This entire matter is of great historical interest because when Captain Barlow Sturgiss/Sturges, one of Vermilion's early settlers, lived in this area and ran the first ferry service this must also have been the path early travelers used to and from his Inn and ferry along the river.

When his daughter-in-law, Charlotte Sturgiss-Austin, describes in her narrative of early Vermilion pioneer life the comings and goings of travelers it seems that those descriptions would have been from this general vantage point. This narrative includes some mention of indians habituating near their inn (in the Linwood Park area), and of being able to see the lake from the inn.

Charlotte's narrative has been published several times - but it truly belongs in a book. It contains a wealth of information about early times in Vermlion, Ohio.

VISITING THE VERMILION LIGHT: This is a very nice view of the long catwalk to Vermilion's old lighthouse. Unlike recent times the pier/breakwall was very accessible to the public. "Viewers" will see (over time) photographs of substantial numbers of people who gathered on this breakwall to watch sailboat races, etc. It, undoubtedly, was a great place just to feel the lake breezes and watch the world go bye on a lazy summer days.

When the famous aviator, Glenn H. Curtiss, made his historic racing flight west from Euclid Beach Amusement Park to Cedar Point in Sandusky crowds of Vermilionite are reported to have gathered on this breakwall to watch and cheered when he dipped his wings saluting them as he passed.

As a youngster I used to go out on the pilings and swim over to the east side of the river just to say I could do it. Those were great parts of growing up in a place like Vermilion.

EAGLE SCOUTS: Somewhere in the 1920's two Vermilion boys earned the highest status in all of Boy Scouts of America. This, of course, is Eagle Scout.

The boy on the left is Louis Gegenheimer, and the boy next to him is Frank Blattner.

It is my intention to do a future article regarding them for Vermilion's Photojournal in the near future, but I can't help but talk about them here.

These boys may well have been the very first Eagle Scouts in Vermilion. This might be substantiated because the Boy Scouts of America was not formally incorporated in the United States until February 8, 1909. And as most folks may understand to attain the Eagle badge requires some time and intense work on the part of each scout.

To my knowledge the first troop in town was Scout Troop #2. It was begun by the Reverend Mr. Williams, the minister of the First Congregational Church about 1912. In addition it is also interesting to note that this scout troop (although differently numbered now) still exists. Local resident Larry Howell is the current scout leader, and has held that position for the last 30 years.

REVISITING THE HARBOR: This photo of Vermilion Harbor is used here essentially because it is pretty. Vermilion was, and remains,A Good Place To Live - and this photo is evidence of that fact. The photographic history of this little town is immense - and it's not due to the fact that everyone who lived here, or passed through, owned a camera. Were there nothing worthy of photographing there would be zero pictures. Vermilion is a very pleasant place (again) - a good place - to live.

THE HURON FLOODS: This photo was found by accident. I know very little of the Huron River, but this is a very interesting shot of the mouth at flood stage.

One of the interesting points (to me) is that the southern part of the breakwall is missing. Those who know this west wall also know that it is of substantial size. I would conclude from the picture that at one time the stone wall did not extend to the land. I'm sure that someone can better explain this photo. But it is very interesting.


Ray Beursken tells me that the VHS class of 1955 has scheduled their 50th class reunion on September 10, 2005 at the Boat Club. Class members of 1955 should put this date on their calendar. They're hoping for a good turnout.

Bruce Eldridge tells me that he and John Hunter just secured the Amvets hall for their 45th 60,61 & 62 class reunion. The reunion will be Sat. July 22, 2006. John Hunter, class of 1960, will be starting a web site in May or June of 2005. Bob Wolford, class of 1961, will be sending out a letter to all the classmates who attended our 40th class reunion asking them to update their E-Mail and help find other classmates.

A gal named Shelly from the Class of 1985 tells me that "the VHS class of 1985 will be having a 20 year reunion in the summer of 2005......no further details. The name of the organizer is Kim Schultz."

From Roger Boughton comes the following note: Thanks to Gail Lyon and Pat and Glenn Owen we have some additional pictures of our reunion held last October. Take a visit to our website and see what's new. Memories of this October are only a click away. Enjoy and remember.....if you send pictures we'll share with others on our website. Mary Ann is busy writing stories for her Virginia paper. You'll want to visit the site and read her thoughts on Liberty. Keep the pictures coming as classmates who were not able to attend are enjoying seeing "old" school mates. Also, you might want to send us news from and about your family and we'll include it on our web site. Our survey clearly indicated that most wanted our reunion held in Vermilion in 2009. Thus, we'll be celebrating our "special" occasion (50th Reunion) in September of 2009. Put it on your calendar and plan to join the fun. Remember our web site is located at: Class of '59 and I'll update it as as I receive enough new pictures and information from our classmates to make it worth reading. So send me any information that you would like to share with other classmates and we'll put it up for all to see and view.

I've visited Roger's website and it's fun.

Persons interested in having their VHS (and vicinity) reunion plans posted on this site are welcome to do so. I can't provide anyone with webpages to post their activities in depth, but I can provide a link to existing pages and/or post some activity items here. All anyone need do is contact me at my email address and pass along their material electronically.

I should add that some of the people who are noted in this part of the page are good resource folks for all types of information if one should be looking for some long lost friend. I won't give out contact information unless I have permission from those named, but I will contact them on your behalf if you desire.

As news regarding VHS reunion activities comes to my attention it will appear on this web page. There's not much going on right this moment, but stay tuned folks.

The Beat Goes On: The page is generated by the 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 bookmarks. 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.

Links to other sites on the Web

Vermilion Ohio Historic Pix
History of Linwood Park
Vermilion Community Orchestra
Vermilion Chamber of Commerce
Vermilion's Oldest Church
Vermilion Visitor's Advisory (Satire)
Gore Orphanage History
The Lester Pelton Story
The Wreck of The Niles #152
The History of Crystal Beach
Vermilion Views Archives

"Teacher is not a leper." ~ "Chalkboard" Bart Simpson

Vol.2, Issue 52, March 19, 2005

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© 2005 Rich Tarrant