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Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live

Current time in Vermilion -


SOME DAYS ARE SILVER...: F.Y.I. her name is Elyse Ferber - and she owns the local Curves exercise franchise in Vermilion, O. Her husband (I gather) is a physician. She and a friend (Mrs. Proctor), on occasion, volunteer as a delivery-drivers for our local Meals-On-Wheels program. That's how I met her. And though I was aware of the fact that she and her husband own a home on Vermilion Road (south of town)I didn't know exactly where. That didn't really matter; but nonetheless, I was curious.

As it turns out she and her husband purchased what was once "Camp ISS-SEE-KES" (Thanks for the right spelling Myrna) on Vermilion Road just a hop, skip, and a jump south of the Lorain County Mill Hollow Metropark Reservation. And, as ye can see, the sign that once marked the entrance to the camp remains. They, obviously, perceived it to be both charming and useful as it pertains to having folks unfamiliar with the area find their home.

The property is, understandably, private and protected so uninvited visitors are not (again understandably) welcome. But that's not real important. The sign, itself, is enough to generate pleasant memories for a significant number of persons; those who spent a week or two at camp. It was sponsored by the Elyria YMCA for many, many years.

Elyse said that most of the artifacts they came across which were related to the history of the camp they gave to the Elyria "Y". And that's as it should be. But I'm glad they kept the sign. Were it not for the landmark sign the place could have easily been forgotten. Although I've been told that one local school principal can still sing the camp song if someone asks.



CEYLON JUNCTION: This is a photo-sketch made from a photograph given to the Vermilion Area Archival Society by Vermilionite Alice Buell - and it's a beaut.

You wouldn't know it now, but Ceylon was - once upon a time - a busy place. Located amidst the hustle and bustle of an agricultural community the steam railroad stop was not only important shipping mecca, but was also an important passenger hub; especially in the the days preceding the electric rail system and the advent of the "horseless carriage".

Today places like Ceylon, Axtel, and Florence Corners in the "Fire-Lands" are missed by travellers who happen to blink twice as they pass through them. This is just a great photograph.


FLYING HIGH: There are only two Vermilion faces in this pic. I am one. (The handsome guy - middle front - in the dark vee-neck.) It's when "I touched the face of God".

Officially I was a Mental Health Technician in a special public school program for youngsters with "severe behavioral handicaps". But unofficially I was just a young man who, unlike a billion others, had found something he was good at and loved. And "I touched the face of God".

I worked with high school youngsters. These shadows were captured after we finished our 1980 Annual Christmas "Gong-Show" at Edison School on Lake Avenue in Elyria, O. The students - all - were good kids. For whatever reason(s) they had been bounced by their home schools (in Elyria, Avon, Avon Lake, and Vermilion). Some were school phobics; some were supposedly violent; some suicidal; and some were just generally uncooperative in their home school environments. I suppose, in some ways I was one of them. And "I touched the face of God".

Looking back now I better understand what my role in their lives really was. In essence I acted as a hospice provider for these youngsters and their respective families. The teachers and technicians provided them with an environment of peace and hope. And "I touched the face of God".

In time we all went our separate ways. I don't doubt that some of the kids did okay in their lives afterward. But some did not. And I sometimes wonder - had I stayed - if things might not have been different for them. But that was not to be. All I know is that this was the most fulfilling job (if you want to call it a job) that I ever had. It's where I very sincerely was able to reach out and "touch the face of God".


“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the trembling mirth of sun-split clouds
– and done 100 things you have not dreamed of
– wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.

Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept hills with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;

And, while with silent, lifting mind, I trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God!”

John Gillespie Maggee

Few persons have been as fortunate.

"For years it was thought that Pelton was born in a home along Risden Road approximately one mile south of West Lake Road."

LESTER PELTON'S PUZZLING BIRTHPLACE: Last Saturday I received a postcard from the Camptonville (California) Historical Society inviting me to attend their “Next History Gathering” on June 21st in Camptonville. These “Camptonvillians” appear to take their history seriously. The card reads that “Oral Histories and Photo Sharing will Begin at 10:00 a.m.” I guess they like early starts. Good for them.

I don’t know much about the history of Camptonville - and it is 3000 miles away. So I won’t, of course, be attending this function. And I don’t really know anyone in their historical society. My association with them was established, electronically, over the years because Camptonville CA. was once the home of a man born in Vermilion Township in 1829. His name is Lester Allan Pelton.

Mr. Pelton’s name and accomplishments are old news to long time readers of this newspaper. He has been the subject of several essays written (by this author) over the years. But to briefly reiterate: He is considered to be the father of modern day hydroelectric power.

His invention, the “L.A. Pelton Water Wheel” - patented on August 27, 1889 (No. 409,805) was conceived, and developed, while the young inventor lived and worked in Camptonville. Camptonvillians being very interested in their historic heritage were, and continue to be, very interested in knowing what folks who live in Mr. Pelton’s birthplace know about his early years. So it was, purely by chance. that I became a prospective link to those years. Unfortunately there is not a great deal of information about them - at least not currently - available.

Local historians know that Lester was the only son of Allen and Fanny (Cuddeback) Pelton; that he attended the Cuddeback School, a one room schoolhouse, on the southwest corner of Risden and West Shore Roads about a mile west of the village; and that in the spring of 1850, when Lester was about 20 years old he, and and perhaps 10 local boys including William and David Johnson, and Charles Parker headed for gold country in California.

One item that was not widely known until now (you are, in fact, reading it here) is the exact birthplace of the inventor. For years it was thought that Pelton was born in a home along Risden Road approximately one mile south of West Lake Road (see inset photo). However; while it is an accepted fact that the gifted inventor spent his boyhood there - it was not his birthplace.

Thanks to intensive research accomplished by Vermilionites Tom and Jean Beach facts show that the Risden Road property was built after his birth. We now know that the house in which the future architect of hydroelectric power first opened his eyes to the world was built and owned by Lester’s Uncle Josiah Pelton. That home, (pictured c.1896-97) is located about 2 miles northwest of Lester’s aforementioned boyhood home on the shores of beautiful Lake Erie. It is currently the Beach Family residence.

This tidbit of information will, no doubt, be of great interest to the Camptonville people when they get together in June as they proudly celebrate their heritage. After all, Camptonville was the home of “the father of hydroelectric power”; Lester A. Pelton. That Vermilion is the birthplace, boyhood home, and final resting place, of this world renown personage - but occupies a rather insignificant place in the minds and lives of local citizens - is most certainly one of local history’s most puzzling mysteries.

Ref: Tom and Jean Beach; the Vermilion Area Archival Society; and the Camptonville (CA.) Historical Society; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 5/8/08; Written 5/4/08 @ 10:57 AM.

"Out of the two hundred forty-nine Congregational churches
in the state of Ohio, but twenty-one have a longer history than this one.."

THE FIRST 100: Having nearly completed a new website featuring the text and pix contained in this document it's makes little sense for me to portion part of it out each week in this spot any longer. I do have a few "tech" details to work on before I've finished the site - at least to my satisfaction - but tis there for those who are interested.

It's called The First 100 Years of Vermilion's First Congregational Church. As I've mentioned in the past "this is a historic - an important - and useful document" for persons interested in history whether it be local or national. And I've got to say that I'm very happy to have been able to make it available to the public.

You're welcome...

"...Sometime thereafter [1937] a substantial bandstand - made of brick was constructed just ot the east of the stone..."

VICTORY PARK: Persons often confuse them (I know I have); Vermilion’s Exchange and Victory Parks. This may be because Exchange Park (a.k.a. “Rubberneck” Park where folks like to sit and watch “passersby passersbying”) has forever been the place where some monument or another honoring local war veterans has been located. Victory Park - on the other hand - has in latter days become more of a market place for the “exchange” of goods for money. It has no cenotaphs extolling the sacrifices made by those who served our nation during war; nor does it have cannons very ostensibly protecting Vermilion's harbor. Ergo; the names of the parks are, quite understandably, confused now and then.

Of the two parks Victory is by far the oldest - at least in conceptual terms. It was central to the place that would come to be incorporated as the Village of Vermilion, Ohio. It was a planned public square. Eventually the first church (1843) in the community, and, later, the Vermilion Township Hall (1883) were built across Division Street just to the west of the square. [Note: It may be of interest to know that both the park and the church existed before the first steam railroad ran through the village about 1853.]

Precisely how the square was used by citizens during the 19th and very early 20th centuries is not well known. But by 1937 the square appears to have been firmly established as a major village gathering place citizens called “Victory Park”.

1937 marked the 100th anniversary (March 14, 1837) of the village. The festivities that took place from August 11th through the 15th concluded with a parade that ended at the park and a formal ceremony during which a Founder’s Stone was officially unveiled. The stone - with a dedicatory plaque - still sits near the walk that crosses the park.

Sometime thereafter a substantial bandstand - made of brick was constructed just ot the east of the stone (photograph). And for a good number of years thereafter all official public ceremonies were conducted from it. On Memorial Day and the 4th of July all parades ended at the park. From atop the red brick and concrete platform, ‘neath the verdurous umbrella of large maple and oak trees, speeches were made, and the vigorous strains of John Phillip Sousa marches echoed throughout the village.

In between those times the structure served as a play stage for many youngsters grown tired of the old swings that once hung between two large wooden poles near Ohio Street. Beneath the bandstand was a room that was apparently used to store sundry items. It was both a source of innocent curiosity and inevitable disappointment to any child brave enough to venture down the cold wet stairway only to find a padlocked door without a window through which to peek.

I don’t remember the precise yesteryear when the old bandstand was razed. Nor do I know the reason. Perhaps it just became unfashionable. The structure always seemed to be very solid. But I suspect that it probably was not. So it likely needed to be disassembled. Too bad.

Victory Park has changed a great deal over the years - as has the rest of the community. But two things remain the same: The park is one of the most peaceful in Vermilion; and more than a few people still confuse it with Exchange Park.

Ref: Vermilion Area Archival Society; Kniesel Family Photo Collection, Courtesy Barbara Feiszli; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 7/17/08; Written 7/13/08 @ 1:43 PM.

Still Recognizable

SOMETHING OLD - SOMETHING NEW: This is something new beginning in "VV" this week. Basically it was the product of an idea given me by Vermilionite Scott Dommin. (Scott's great photogaphs (which I truly admire) have appeared in past editions.) But, in any case, I had mentioned my intention of publishing a book of historical photographs of Vermilion last week, and Scott asked if it might be a "then and now" type book because he enjoys that sort of thing. So in thinking about it (both the book and "VV") I agreed that it might be a novel thing to do. Ergo this "Now and Then" feature was added to "VV".

As for a book I need to find a publisher I can afford. A print book is one thing. A picture book is quite another. And I don't want to produce an inferior product. I want to do something that people will keep. But until I find a printer (the Vermilion News Presses would have been perfect were they still in working condition) this will have to do.

"The personal appearance of this strange character
was in keeping with the peculiarities of his nature."

JONATHAN CHAPMAN: In reviewing text for this spot during the week I came across the following piece that I found to be very interesting. I've footnoted part of it to enlighten thee re: Johnny's religious ideaolgy. But other than that it's a pure document. It's a rather long thing so I'm presenting it here in two parts. I hope you like it.


No history of New Haven township could be complete which failed to bring into prominence that eccentric man and great public benefactor. Jonathan Chapman, known more commonly by the sobriquet of Johnny Appleseed. If the man who causes two spears of grass to grow, where but one grew before, is deserving of the meed of praise, "Johnny Appleseed " should receive the thanks of hundreds of thousands of people, whose homes are upon the fertile farms of Ohio and Indiana, for he not only caused the wilderness to blossom as the rose, but to bear fruit for the pioneers' children and their children's children.

Jonathan Chapman, supposed to have been born in Boston. 1775, first made his appearance in the territory of Ohio in 1801. and about ten years later we find him living with Caleb Palmer in the township of New Haven. He remained here much of the time during the war, though he was freqently absent upon pilgrimages to various parts of the country. The great mission of Jonathan Chapman's life was the preparation of the wild western country for the pioneers and their succeeding generation, and through a strange monomania that possessed this singular man, his beneficent feeling toward mankind found expression in only one form and effect: the planting of apple orchards or nurseries in advance of the outposts of civilization. From these nurseries were obtained the trees which formed most of the now old and decaying orchards in Ohio and Indiana. Johnny's plan was to choose a good natural location, in a little glade, or in the thickest part of the woods, it mattered not which. If the piece of ground which suited him chanced to be heavily covered with timber he would clear it off and, with the tops of the largest trees, make a rude fence, enclosing an area of two or three acres. This was done to keep the deer from browsing upon the young trees. Having prepared the ground he would sow his apple seeds broadcast, as farmers do wheat. He believed it wrong to raise trees in any way but from the seeds, and looked upon pruning with much the same species of horror that other men would upon human murder. He procured his seeds from the eider mills in western Pennsylvania and usually carried them through the wilderness in a leather bag, though sometimes he was known to transport them in a small wagon, to which he would have an old horse harnessed, which had been turned loose by some settler. One of the nurseries planted by old Johnny was in New Haven, near the cast margin of the marsh. When the trees were grown sufficiently large to be transplanted Johnny either sold them, or gave them away himself, or left them in charge of a friend to be disposed of in a similar way. Sometimes he exchanged the trees for articles of clothing, but his general custom was to take a note payable at some indefinite time. Having received it he regarded the transaction at an end and bothered himself no further about the matter. He had no business method and needed none, for he had but little use for money. What little came into his possession he soon disposed of in gifts to the poorer settlers whom he met in his wanderings. He was never known to have made but one purchase of land, and that was in Michigan township, Ashland county, the southwest quarter of .section twenty-six. With his customary indifference to matters of value, he failed to record the deed, and lost his title to the land, a fact of which he was probably never aware.

The personal appearance of this strange character was in keeping with the peculiarities of his nature. He was small, wiry, quick and restless; his beard, short and unshaven; hair long and dark, and eyes black and sparkling. His dress was generally a medley of 'the cast-off clothing taken in exchange for trees, but at one time his sole garment was a coffee sack, in which he cut holes for his head and arms. He nearly always went barefooted, even in the coldest weather. His head covering was as economical as the rest of his attire. For a time, he wore the large tin dipper in which he cooked his food when travelling, but, as it hurt his head, he constructed, of pasteboard, something between a hat and cap, which he adopted as a permanent fashion.

Religiously, Johnny was a Swedeuborgian. He was a most enthusiastic disciple of the great seer, and the zeal with which he endeavored to propagate his doctrines was only equalled by his untiring labor in planting his apple nurseries. He went from place to place, carrying his bag of apple seeds and his Swedenborgian books, and when he arrived at the hospitable cabin of some settler, no matter whether he were acquaintance or stranger, at once lay down upon the puncheon floor, and, while recovering from the fatigue of his long walk, would, read what he called "news right fresh from heaven."' He purchased books and tracts treating of his favorite system of religion, for distribution among the settlers, and when he had not enough to go around, would often tear one in two and give the halves to neighbors, telling them to exchange when each had read his part. His veneration for the books, of Swedenborg was so great that he believed they formed a sure preventive of bodily harm. The morals of the man were as good as his religious belief. He led as blameless a life as a human being could, and compared himself, in his simplicity of attire and habits of life, to the primitive Christian.

[ed. Note: The New Church (or Swedenborgianism) is the name for a religious movement developed from the writings of the Swedish scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Swedenborg claimed to have received a new revelation from continuous heavenly visions which he experienced over a period of at least twenty-five years. In his writings he predicted that the Lord would establish a "New Church" following the Church of traditional Christianity, which worships God in one person, Jesus Christ. The New Church doctrine is that each person must actively cooperate in repentance, reformation and regeneration of one's life. The movement was founded on the belief that God explained the spiritual meaning of the the Scriptures to Swedenborg as a means of revealing the truth of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Followers believe that Swedenborg witnessed the Last Judgment in the spiritual world, along with the inauguration of the New Church.

The New Church is seen by members of New Church organizations as something which the Lord is establishing with all those who believe that the Lord, Jesus Christ is the One God of Heaven and Earth, and that obeying His commandments is necessary for salvation. Therefore, it is thought that any Christian holding these beliefs is part of this New Church movement. New Church organizations acknowledge the universal nature of the movement: all who do good from the truth of their religion will be accepted by the Lord into heaven, as God is goodness itself, and doing good conjoins oneself to God. The doctrine of the New Church, which is derived from scripture, provides the benefit of further enlightenment concerning the truth, and this leads to less doubt, a recognition of personal faults, and thus a more directed and happier life.

Other names for the movement include Swedenborgian, New Christians, Neo-Christians, Church of the New Jerusalem and The Lord's New Church. Those outside of the church may refer to the movement as Swedenborgianism; however, some adherents seek to distance themselves from this title, since it implies a following of Swedenborg rather than Jesus Christ. Swedenborg published his works anonymously, and his writings promoted one Church based on love and charity, rather than multiple churches named after their founders based on belief or doctrine.]

Author: Williams, W. W. (William W.)
Subject: Huron County (Ohio) - History; Huron County (Ohio) - Biography; Erie County (Ohio) - History; Erie County (Ohio) - Biography
Publisher: Cleveland, Ohio: Press of Leader Printing Company

Continued Next Week...

God Bless their souls - each and every one.

[Thanks Sied]

Cartoon Law I: Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.

Cartoon Law II: Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.

Cartoon Law III: Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.

Cartoon Law IV: The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.

Cartoon Law V: All principles of gravity are negated by fear.

Cartoon Law VI: As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.

Cartoon Law VII: Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot. This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting.

Cartoon Law VIII: Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent. Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives, might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.

Corollary: A cat will assume the shape of its container.

Cartoon Law IX: Everything falls faster than an anvil.

Cartoon Law X: For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.

Cartoon Law Amendment A: A sharp object will always propel a character upward. When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.

Cartoon Law Amendment B: The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.

Cartoon Law Amendment C: Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries. They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.

Podcasts - "forever under construction..."

PODCAST #165: This week the Vermilion Views Podcast #165 rides the Lake Shore Electric from Gibsonville to the outskirts of Toledo, O. Hold on to your hat. (And keep you pants off the ground.)

Persons interested in the history of the Lake Shore Electric Railway - "the greatest electaric railway system" on the planet may want to go to Amazon.com 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 for the New Year.

Also, please note that all the video (MP4) podcasts (when used) are done in the "Quicktime MP4" format. If you don't have "Quicktime" it's easy to find and free to download.

NOTE NOTE:Past podcasts are not available in the on-line archive. They just take up too much disk space. But if one really, really, really wants to acquire a copy of a past cast it can be had by contacting me and I will place it on a disc and send it to ye for a minimal fee.

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. They've recently received a significant grant from the Dolan Foundation and are constructing a Manual Training Center for their children and for other young people in that community. This is an exciting project.

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

Where's Alice? I found this link interesting. You just never know what Vermilion expatriots are up to - or where their up to doing it. Alice Wakefield is one of those people. So check out his link. Methinks you'll be surprised: Talking Turkey.

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 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
1041 Oakwood Drive
Vermilion, Ohio
Telephone: 440-967-0988 - Cell: 440-522-4459

or you can use PayPal:

"My girlfriend always laughs during sex - no matter what she's reading."
-Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers

Vol.7, Issue 46, January 30, 2010

Archive Issue #359

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