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Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live

Current time in Vermilion -

Library Exhibit at Remembering Old Vermilion


A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: On Saturday last (7/31/10) the Vermilion Area Archival Society held its 1st Annual “Remembering Old Vermilion” activity in Exchange / Rubberneck Park. And from what little I was able to experience of it [I was distracted by my part in it] it was a success. I did get to see several people I’ve not seen for a long time - and some things (mostly pix) that I’d never really seen before.

Whilst there are some pix below of some of the participating booths there were many more. Many that “Viewers” who were unable to attend would have appreciated.

Remembering Old Vermilion Exhibits

The VAAS also sponsored a raffle for various antique-type items. I really didn’t look over everything that had been contributed by persons for raffling, but I saw a few things that I would have liked to have. Among them was an old Crystal Beach poster, and an old manual typewriter. The typewriter looked as though it were brand new.

Georgi (my spouse) and I had an interviewing booth. Fourteen seasoned Vermilionites talked a bit about the people, places, and things, they knew during their lives in Vermilion. From their oral memoirs I was able to gather about three and a half hours of video. Just a taste of one of those interviews can be seen in this weeks “VV” podcast [along with another flash-mob thing]. There was a sound problem with these interviews [too much residual noise] that I’m sure we can solve by next year.

In any case, It was a lot of fun; and many, many folks enjoyed their walk down memory lane. It t’were magical...


Becker's Blacksmith Shop

"During the interview he told the reporter, “Yep, the automobile is here to stay
and so is the power lawn mower..."

VERMILION’S LAST SMITHY: There are some things in our lives that we believe will never change. There are, for instance, few folks who ever fancied that the Wakefield Lighting Company and/or its predecessors would ever disappear from the landscape of Vermilion, Ohio. It was, after all, a local institution. But so too were places like the Lorain Ford Assembly Plant; Hart’s Corner Drug Store; Schwensen’s Bakery; and Fulper’s Sohio station. And though it is a bit sad when these places succumb to the ever changing tides of time and circumstance - as the French adage regarding such matters felicitously observes, C’est la vie. And so it was in 1954 when Vermilion’s last blacksmith retired and locked the doors of his shop forever.

Fred Becker was born December 13, 1879 in Switzerland. He came with his family to the United States of America, Ohio, and Brownhelm Township to live when he was nine years old. Eleven years later he opened the Fred Becker Blacksmith Shop in the little village of Vermilion. For the better part of the next half century he stood by his red hot forge, cigar in mouth, hammer in hand, making horseshoes, repairing plows, and fashioning special forged irons for numerous villagers and area farmers.

By 1949 when a local newspaper reporter interviewed him the business of shoeing horses had nearly disappeared, and his primary craft had become that of sharpening rotary (non-motorized) lawn mower blades. This reality would likely have been reason for resentment to some. But Becker was apparently a realist with a good sense of humor.

During the interview he told the reporter, “Yep, the automobile is here to stay and so is the power lawn mower - in fact, the whole darn machine age is catching up with me”, adding with a bemused chuckle (only available to the very wise) that “it’s taken a long time, tho.”

During his career he guesstimated that he’d probably shod several thousands of horses. And in response to the reporter’s question as to the number of shoes he’d put on horses he said, “I don’t have any (realistic) idea - each horse has four feet you know.”

Mr. Becker’s shop (pictured) was located just west of what was then Walker’s Dodge-Plymouth garage (now the Ritter Library Annex) on Liberty Avenue. The photograph (c. 1954) is probably taken the very year the shop closed. Although I never entered the place I do recall passing by on the sidewalk as a youngster and curiously peering into the dark interior where I could generally see nothing. And I do not recall when the building disappeared.

Mr. Becker lived with his wife and six children (3 boys and 3 girls) in a house that once stood just to the east of what is now the library annex. Mrs. Becker passed away sometime in 1949. Two years after he retired Mr. Becker died at 3:05 on an early July afternoon at 308 Perry Street. He was 76 years old.

There is, perhaps, some very fundamental humor inherent in this particular photograph of Fred Becker’s Blacksmith Shop. It involves the fact that the shop, that for so many years catered to the primary source of American transportation systems, was eventually consumed by that transportation system - albeit a new one. In the picture it sits between an automobile garage and an automobile sales lot. Tis a comic circumstance that I believe Fred Becker, Vermilion’s last Smithy, would have certainly appreciated.

Ref: Vermilion Area Archival Society; Elyria Chronicle Telegram; 7-2-56; Ancestry.com; Special Thanks to “Nuggie” Cook; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 12/29/05; Written12/25/05@4:12 PM.


H.B.: The information that follows was transcribed from a little pamphlet called "The Locomotive" published quarterly by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Hartford, Conn. It was taken from their April, 1922 edition. My good friend (Vermilionite) Mary Louise "Tootie" Reisinger loaned it to me to copy. The article speaks for itself.


Henry A. Baumhart, Manager of the Cleveland Department of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company, died at his home in Vermilion, Ohio, on March 17th, 1922, after an illness of about three weeks.

Mr. Baumhart was born April 25th, 1862. After a period of service as an engineer on the Great Lakes he entered the employ of this company on July r st, 1891. In April, 1892, he was made Chief Inspector of the Cleveland Department and on October 31st, 1907, he was appointed Manager of that Department.

Among the boiler manufacturers, engineers and steam users throughout the Middle West Mr. Baumhart had a wide acquaintance and he was universally liked by all with whom he came in contact. He had a wide experience in boiler engineering and his advice was constantly sought by those in the power plant field. On the Ohio Board of Boiler Rules he took an active part and was, for a number of years, its Vice-Chairman. He was also a member of the Cleveland Engineering Society, and of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Baumhart leaves a wife and three daughters and to them we desire to express our deepest sympathy. In his death, the company has lost a most valuable man. Rarely is the combination found, that was his, of such a valuable fund of information, excutive ability, and genial disposition.


The death of Mr. H. A. Baumhart, manager of the Cleveland department of this Company, was a great shock to his business friends as well as to his family. The esteem in which he was held prompts me to make a statement of our appreciation of his sterling qualities.

Mr. Baumhart was a very modest man, and underestimated the importance of his achievements. His judgment was sound, and his opinion upon methods of construction and operation of boilers was much sought and generously given. His influence with boiler manufacturers and boiler owners has had much to do with improved workmanship and safer use of steam boilers, not only within the district of his department, but throughout the country. During the 'W orld War, he was summoned to Washington from time to time by the Government for consultation and advice concerning a large order of steam boilers for use by the American Expeditionary Forces in France. This service to the Government was rendered as long as needed, and resulted in selecting the correct type of boilers and expediting the shipment to foreign shores.

While acting as chief inspector or manager, Mr. Baumhart met in a satisfactory manner every demand and emergency that arose in his office. He was honest in his convictions and loyal to his Company, possessing high ideals which he lived up to in his everyday life. His
fine character should be an inspiration to those who knew him, and he will long be remembered. As an evidence of the esteem and good will in which he was universally held, friends from Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Erie, Pittsburgh and other distant points attended the funeral services held at Vermilion, Ohio. This spontaneous expression was very touching, and gratified all of Mr. Baumhart's family and business associates.

Chas. S. Blake, President

I'll have more on the very interesting Baumhart Family in the near future...

Andy Marks in car with Bum Boat

"Just a taste..."

PAINTING THE TOWN: As previously mentioned this is a preview piece for a new webpage that I am currently developing. Using a new software program in conjunction with Adobe's Photoshop CS4 & 5 I am able to take some already wonderful pix of Vermilion, O. and make them (at least in my view) more "wonderfuller"

ANDY MARKS: Accompanying this brief essay is a nice photograph of Andrew J. Marks. I know not the date it was captured. Nor do I recall from whom it emanated.

Mr. Marks (some long-time Vermilionites will recall) owned and operated his own business (the Marks Welding Company). Actually (and - again - I don’t recall precisely how I know this) the business began in the garage behind the family home on Perry Street. As the business grew it was relocated to a building on the west side of Douglas Street just south of the Nickel Plate Railroad tracks. The Gross Brothers Plumbing and Heating Company currently occupies the building.

Marks was born Andrew Joseph Marks on the 27th day of November in 1898 in Berea, Ohio. The family moved to Vermilion about 1907. In 1924 he married Vermilion resident Elizabeth Mayer and together they had six children: Helen (Sciarini), Eloise (Tyren), Betty (Gioffredo), Theresa (d.1937), William, and Edward.

I believe the sons worked with their father in the family business. And over the years business flourished. Mr. Marks manufactured steel "Bum" boats that were used all over the Great Lakes [e.g. bottom photo]. Local resident Captain Robert Trinter published a log he kept while delivering one of the boats in The Vermilion News back in the 1940's.

For persons, like myself, whose knowledge of “all things nautical“ is nigh on to “nada” it may be helpful to understand that a “Bum Boat” is a small boat used to peddle provisions to ships anchored offshore. These specialized vessels are often outfitted as floating convenience stores. Typically residing in busy harbors they tie up to larger boats that come into port. And whilst a freighter is loading or discharging cargo, the sailors can go down ladder to the “Bum Boat” and shop for convenience items; work clothes, boots, gloves, and cases of beverages (often disguised as soda-pop), etc. Some Bum Boats even deliver mail to the crewmembers. Their import to sailors is, therefore, immeasurable.

The photograph amuses me to some degree because seeing Mr. Marks behind the wheel of this vintage automobile I am reminded of his son Ed. Over the years I believe I’ve seen him driving an antique car nearly identical to this one. [Note: As near as I can tell it is a 1921 Chevrolet Utility Coupe. When new they cost about $680.]

The other thing I find delightful about the picture is the pooch at the back of Mr. Marks’ “machine”. What he was doing - whether he was just about chasing wheels - or using his nose as a virtual GPS (Global Positioning System) to track the route that had brought the auto into his territory is, of course, unimportant. It is simply a befitting touch to a nice portrait of life in Vermilion, O. on a very pleasant afternoon in an equally pleasant yesteryear.

In 1969 Mr. Marks, who had been ailing for several months, was stricken at work. Rushed to the Lorain Community Hospital (currently Community Health Partners) he passed on in the emergency room. It was the 18th day of March. With his passing another essential chapter of the history of our community was thereupon concluded.

Ref: U.S. Federal Census; The Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle Telegram, March, 1969; Special Thanks to Nancy A. Emery; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 8/28/08; Written 8/24/08 @12:54 PM.

August 7, 2010 6:54 AM


AGAIN - ANOTHER NEW THING: This will not take the place of the "Macabre" stuff all the time - but will supplement whilst I search for more macabre stories to tell.

So stay tuned...

from The Vermilion News Thursday, December 5, 1901


Adam Kishman was born in Oberforeitz, Germany, July 22, 1831, and came to America in 1850 at the age of 19 years. He was united in marriage to Martha Claus in 1754. Untor this union were born six sons and six daughters, four of whom, the two eldest, and two youngest preceded him in the journey beyond. He was a loving husband and a kind father, respected by all who knew him. After illness of six years he passed away November 29, 1901, at 1 PM at the age of 70 years, 4 mo., 6 das. He leaves a wife, eight children, 12 grandchildren, two brothers and three sisters to mourn their loss.

Funeral services took place at the home Monday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Klein and Kaley. A large number of friends paid their last respects to the departed. He will long live in the memory of the community.

Council Meeting.

The city fathers held a very enjoyable session Monday night with all present but Neiding. The regular routine of business was transacted. The grading and preparation for a new sidewalk at Linwood Park was discussed with Mr. Zeigler, representative or company. It was decided to pay half the expense, the Linnwood Park people paying the other half and furnishing the dirt. This will be a great improvement.

A petition from the property owners along the Lake Shore road asking for sidewalk ordinance was read. The petition was considered and an ordinance will probably be forthcoming at the next meeting. Several other matters were discussed, including the graveling of streets and the placing of several street lamps. After burning up a few of the cigars, presented by the fireman at a former meeting, the council adjourned.


Gersie Ladrich, of Rogersville, returned home Sunday after two weeks visit with his brother Gust.

Mrs. W. Todd is very sick.

Mrs. John Blower entertained the society last Saturday.

The box social and dance given that the Woodman Hall last Tuesday was a complete success. A good time is reported.

Henry Knettle had a run-a-way last Thursday and was thrown from a load of baled hay but was not hurt.

Chas. Leimbright left Sunday morning for Tuscuroras [sic] county to visit his parents.

A. Hensley and Mis. Nettie Opperman spent Thanksgiving at Leo Harrison's.

P. Champney and his wife entertained some of their Elyria friends

Mr. and Mrs. Ed Fields of Berlham, and Mr. and Mrs. Canady, of Lorain, spent Saturday with V. Leimbach.

Last Friday evening a number of young people gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Blair. The evening was spent in music and games. A midnight l A midnight lunchwhich was enjoyed by all.


I have secured quarters in which to continue my undertaking business and am prepared to answer all calls. New case and will be announced in next week's ppaper.

J. A Englebry.

Ohio State News.

Gathered from many points by telegraph.

Suicide at Hotel.

Toledo, December 3.–Wilbert P. Clarke, for the past five weeks telegraph editor of the Times, committed suicide at the Niagara hotel Sunday night by taking laudanum. Last August, while employed on a Buffalo paper, Clark was married to Ms. Valerie Krieghoff, of Detroit, but owing to her parents objections never lived with Clark. Despondcency due to his domestic troubles induced Clark to take his own life. He was 27 years of age and worked on papers in Detroit, New York and Kansas City.

A Sale of Trolley Lines.

Canto, December 4.–Negotiations have closed in the transfer of the Canton-Massillon electric railway to Philadelphia parties. The property consists of local lines in Canton and Massillon and inner urban line of 8 miles, and also a line from Mass. one than the buyer, 5 miles. It is said the purchases are closely associated with the Elkins–Widener syndicate, of Philadelphia, and there is a well-defined rumor that the Northern Ohio traction company will take possession within 30 days.

The Hazardous Experiment.

Columbus, December 3.-While awaiting the report of the state chemist on the analysis of samples of the candy which is supposed to have killed little Eleonora Nichols Thanksgiving day, State Food Commissioner Blackburn tried a hazardous experiment of his own. He ate enough of the candy Sunday to demonstrate whether or not it contained poisonous coloring matter. Up to this time no evil effects have appeared.

from the Vermilion news Thursday, December 12, 1901.

News from the Fishing Gazette.

The Lake fisheries are having a boom. It is a common thing for tugs to fetch in from 5 to 7 ton a day during the present run in Lake Erie.

The run of Herring in Lake Erie is unprecedented. Tugs are bringing in from 3 to 7 tons, daily, fine large fish weighing on an average 1 1/2 pounds. Erie and Ashtabula are getting the fish.

Fishing at Ashtabula Ohio., is the best in years. There are over 30 tugs fishing there. The average from 3 to 4 tons per day. A Booth & Co. are fishing six tugs, the Frank S., Capt. Frank staple; C. F. Mischler, Capt.. Pfister; Strickler, Capt. Bert Mattison; Seawing; Duchets, Capt. Dave Woods, and Lorisa, Capt. John Daly. The Jesse Ennies will be at Ashtabula later on. The Seawing, Duchess and Lorisa are owned by the company; the others are fishing for the company.

The Buckeye Fish Co. are owners of the Alert. Capt. W. Berry; Effie B., Capt. Wm. Wood; Wm. H., Capt. Norman MacLoud; J. L. Wyland, Capt. McLellan; Telephone, Capt. Johnson; James Burns, Capt. McKirer; R. E. Goodall, Capt. Platt, and also Osceola. They also have the fish of the tugs Will and Harry, Capt. Don Owen; Anna R., Capt. Smith; Clara S., Capt. Lenthier; Louis Banks, Capt. Valier, and A. W. Burch, Capt. Jno. Purdy. The Effie B. had 13 tons on Wednesday of fine large fish. E. W. Kishman has been manager since December 1 and will continue for the season.

The Ranney Fish Co., of Cleveland, composed of Renney Bros. And L. H. Ranney & Co., of Lorain, have five tugs fishing-the Rowina. the, Capt. Single, who had 25 tons of fish Friday; Gull, Capt. Gilbert; Helena; Capt. Ed Larren; Daisy, Capt. Joe Carlin, and Cisco, Capt. P. Hagerman.

Electric versus Steam.

Prominent electric railroad people are figuring on introducing a bill in the coming legislature which will place electric railways on a footing with steam roads as common carriers, and which will enable them to carry freight in all parts of the state. It is understood that the steam road people will oppose the measure and will introduce a bill which will enforce a reduction of the speed maintained by electric cars in towns and along highways. Such a measure would probably defeat the aims of the electric roads to compete for through passenger and freight traffic.


Lost-between Deckers warehouse in the watering trough, opposite Lake House, a bunch of keys containing one railroad switch key. Reward if left at the 'News' office.


The Lake House.

Accommodations first class.

Rates, one dollar per day.

Greatly improved. Capacity largely increased. Barring connection.

J. W. Krapp, Prop.


"The mending field upon which these gentlemen stood a half-century ago was just to the east
of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park..."

CARPE DIEM, INDEED: It should go without much discussion that b.f. (before Ford) Vermilion, Ohio was quite a different place. T’were a time when commercial fishing and lighting were the premier industries in our tidy town. And every weekday morning when the whistle at the Wakefield Lighting plant blew local cherubs out of bed to ready themselves for school, while simultaneously bringing workers to their tasks at the “brassworks”; the tugs from the Parsons, Leidheiser, and Kishman fish houses had already groaned their way out the mouth of the river and were steadily plowing through the watery fields of Lake Erie. That, in a nutshell, was the daily routine of folks in the Village of Vermilion that surrounded the men in the accompanying photo - c. 1950.

This particular snapshot is unique for several reasons. One is that these men are busy working at a task, some might even consider to be an art form, that has all but disappeared along the southern shores of Lake Erie. The men (L-R) Enos LaCourse, Al Foster, and Bill LaCourse are mending commercial trapnets. Earlier this summer an Ohio House Bill (609) was introduced that will eliminate commercial netting in Ohio waters of the lake altogether. If passed it will effectively conclude that which has been a generations-long, albeit a dying, tradition/industry for a dozen or so remaining license-holders. Thus, it is more than likely that the skill(s) demonstrated by the men in this photo will presently become extinct.

Another unique feature of this particular photograph is the locale. The mending field upon which these gentlemen stood a half-century ago was just to the east of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park (now Crystal Shore Apartments). This area covered acreage on the north side of Liberty Avenue from today’s Crystal Shore Apartments in the west to approximately the current location of the Pizza Hut building to the east. Here freshly tarred trapnets were spread out to dry and, as seen in this photo, to be mended. If this photograph were superimposed over a present-day cityscape of the same location the men would probably be standing in, or very near, the foyer of what is currently the Rite Aid Drug Store.

Several weeks ago a former trapnet fisherman William “Bill” Allison came across this picture on one of my webpages and contacted me. He was kind enough to identify the one man in the photo that no one seemed to know, and offered some additional information:

“...I Trap Net fished for Kishman up until late 1963 when myself, Don LaCourse and his brother Gene LaCourse gave it up, and went north to Pontiac, Mich. to work for Gen. Motors. The only other Kishman Trapnetter around Vermilion still alive that I know of, is an old friend, Jim McGuirk living on Kneisel Rd. south of town. Both of us now getting up in age. We have looked hard at that picture, and are both in agreement that it is a Twine Man, named Al Foster who used to come down and help us mend nets in the winter time in the Kishman Twine House. He also made the finest of mending needles. Hand made them out of Ash, if I remember the wood right. Everyone that Jim and I knew at Kishman's is now long dead and gone. Jim visits me almost every week and we reminise (sp?) about old times. I saw no mention of Percy Hull or Ernie Mason, both of whom worked forever in the Kishman Fish House. Love to see the pictures of the Trap Net Boats and in fact all of the picture's of old Vermilion. I remember Lester Kishman, Ray Full, the Leidheiser brothers, Vern, George and Jack. George used to go out in the lake with us once in a while. Always brought along a wicker picnic basket to carry his fish home in. Scaled them with a horse's Curry Comb...Walleye of course. Their Twine House burnt down by leaving a pot of tar on top of the stove and leaving it unattended and it boiled over, or so I was told. This started out to be just a short note about the picture of Enos and Bill LaCourse...Plus, Al Foster. Carpe Diem...Bill Allison “

Carpe Diem, indeed.

Ref: Special Thanks to Brownhelm resident Bill Cutcher; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 10/12/06; Written 10/8/06 @12:30 PM.

The White Inn

"A Parking-lot"

SOMETHING OLD - SOMETHING NEW: The idea for this piece began as an idea for a coffee-table book of historical photographs of Vermilion, Ohio and, hopefully, it will (someday) be realized.

Originally the concept - as previously stated - was just a picture book. But after mentioning such a project in an issue of my weekly web page - Vermilion Views - a reader by the name of Scott Dommin suggested that it might be interesting if it featured photographs of how people, places, and / or things in the City of Vermilion, Ohio appear today along with photos showing how they appeared in the past. Ergo; the title "Now & Then".

"What a great idea." I told both myself and Scott.

[NOTE: This is going to take take some time.]


A million years ago - when I was a little boy in the Village of Vermilion, O. - I was unable to eat restaurant food. It wasnít because I wasnít allowed. It was because the odors of sundry foods being prepared at the same time made me queasy. I couldnít even eat a carryout sandwich. I was cured of this when at about 5 or 6 years of age my family stopped for lunch at a Greyhound Bus Stop in Delaware, Ohio. We were on our way to spend the day at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. For some reason I was hungry and ordered a hamburger with tomato and mustard. It was the best restaurant sandwich I ever had. And from thereon restaurant food bothered me no longer. (Go figure.)

I mention this because the White Inn restaurant (pictured) was one of the places that made my stomach turn somersaults every time I got near the place. I didnít even have to go into the eatery. In those days (i.e. the late 1940ís and early 1950ís) many blue collar diners both prepared (i.e. cooked) and served their meals in a single room. This was also the case at the White Inn. A big exhaust fan over the grill and french-fryer spewed a heterogeneous bouquet of eggs, fish, steak, pork chops, fried onions, potatoes, and hot oil out into he alley, where it wafted out to the street either enticing or nauseating passers-by; depending on the state of their respective appetites or lack thereof.

To be both fair and reasonable the meals at the White Inn food were actually very good. If this wasnít the case there would have been no heavy aromas for me to dodge when, as a boy, I wandered down the sidewalk past the old Adam Trinter house (seen on the left in the photo) to drop off a Vermilion News paper at George Rathbunís store which sat just past the alley on the other side of the luncheonette. Business was, to be honest, quite brisk - despite the fact that there were at least six other restaurants within a short walking distance.

A gentleman by the name of Don Englebry owned and operated the diner and also owned the house next door. During the mid 1950ís I became familiar with the place because my church Sunday School class was occasionally treated to a pancake breakfast there courtesy of Tom Williams Sr. Mr Williams - local attorney and Vermilionís Postmaster - was our Sunday School teacher at the old Congregational Church on Main Street when they still called it Division Street. His spiritual lessons for the boys in the church might have been somewhat unconventional - but they were most certainly filling.

Sometime during the latter part of the 1950ís the house was razed, and the space used as a parking lot for both the White Inn and the restaurant next door called the Dari-Bar (later the Kountry Kitchen and now the Old Prague). By that time a Greek couple operated the place. But times were changing. Fast food joints and pizza shops were beginning to spring up like dandelions all across the landscape of America. And in the blink of an eye both the restaurant and the building housing it were gone. Today the space once occupied by the house and diner is a paved parking lot. Tíwere a minor casualty on a highway called progress.

Reflecting upon this scene from a yesteryear I canít help but recall the words of American Physician, Poet, Writer, Humorist and Professor at Harvard - Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) who once opined that ďThe great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.Ē Methinks we have moved, and continue to move, in the right direction.

Ref: Roscoe-Tarrant Photo Collection courtesy of the Vermilion Area Archival Society; and Albert Tarrant; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 8/14/08; Written 8/10/08 @ 4:41 PM.

August 7, 2010 6:45 AM.

"The township was named after the principle river
emptying into the lake through its territory..."

THE FIRE-LANDS: I found the following information re: the early inhabitants of our area to be extremely informative. Methinks you will also.

I am getting better at transcribing these passages so there are fewer mistakes. But I like to read as I go - and sometimes I fill in the blanks. So tread carefully this trail through yesteryear.

The following series will take thee to the south and west of Vermilion in the Berlin / Berlin Heights area. Methinks you'll find this history quite fascinating.

by Hudson Tuttle


...tries, the quack flourished apace. Among the names of the early doctors of medicine, a fuller notice of whom belongs to the history of other townships, are Drs. Guthry, Harkness and Fay. Daniel Butler also practiced, and David Butler dealt in roots and herbs. Xenophon Phillips began practice in ---- , and for many of years held almost a monopoly. He was a gentle, unassuming man, and had remarkable success in malarial fevers. His methods were not orthodox, a combination of electrician, botanic, Thompsonian, and common sense.

Berlin is noted for its healthfulness, and physicians have a proverbial hard time within its limits. After Dr. X. Phillips retired, Prof. B. L. Hill and Dr. Geo. S. Hill gained a wide practice. At present there are three physicians in the township: M. M. Benschoter, at Stone's corners, began practice in 1863, and recently, Dr. Eldridge, Allopath, Dr. Collier, Homeopath, have established themselves at the Heights,

Lawyers never received a fat living in Berlin. T. C. Chapman has, for many years, transacted the legal business of the communiuty.


The sufferings for the want of mills to grind the corn and wheat were not the least the pioneers were called upon to endure. The nearest mill was at River Raisin, and thither, in boats, they carried their grain. It is related that in one of their expeditions they stopped for the night at one of the Sister Islands. The wind was very high, and the boat broke from its moorings and drifted far out into the lake. It was a terrible prospect for those hardy men, left alone on desert island, and the entire yearly supply for their families irretrievably lost. Some of them sat down and wept like children. The wind changed, and in the morning the boat drifted back, and they went on their way rejoicing, but they always referred their deliverance to the hand of a merciful providence. Such long journeys were not often undertaken. The primitive Indian method of pounding grain in a mortar, was adopted, or, at best, hand mills used. This was followed, in Milan, by a horse-power mill, and at length the proprietors of Berlin,—Eldridge, Fosdick and Miner,—through their agent in Cleveland, J. Walworth, to improve their property, built a mill, in 1810, just above the Parmenter bridge on the Old Woman creek. It was the first grist mill on the Firelands. This mill was twenty by twenty-five, built of logs, and had one run of stone. To the pioneers, who had so long beaten their grain in mortars, or ground it in hand mills, no mill could make better flour. The Starr Brothers and Mr. Seymour built it, and soon after its completion, John Thompson, who built the old Parmenter house, the second frame house in the township, purchased it, and was patronized by a wide territory. The stream, dammed in its forest fastnesses, then ran the mill nine months in the year. The rain-fall was no greater than at present, but now the forests are removed, ditches opened, and the stream sweeps down in almost irresistible floods, and scarcely for a single moment in the year is there water sufficient to turn the mill wheel.

This John Thompson was a character. He was a giant in stature; had been a wild youth, but had reformed. His fingers were drawn up and he could not straighten them. When the boys came into the mill, to wonderingly gaze on the strange wheels while their bags of corn were being ground, they would ask him how his hands came so fashioned. He would say to grab toll, and illustrate it by taking out of the hopper. "Old Man Burdue" and his family were very superstitious, and Thompson delighted to make them believe he was a wizard. The mill was locked with an old padlock that needed a key, for the trouble was to make it keep together, but in his hands it became burglar proof, for he had made believe it was bewitched. The Burdues and many others were often half terrified when Thompson would walk up to the mill door, make three waves of his hand, muttering to himself, then shout "open," as he struck the door with his fist, and the lock would fly apart. Burdue had bought a new scythe, and one day while using it Thompson came along. He wanted to buy it, for a new scythe was difficult to obtain. The old man would not sell. "Very well," said Thompson, "it shall never do you any good." Soon Burdue laid down his scythe and went to another part of the field. Thompson seized the opportunity, and with his knife cut the edge completely off. The old man returned and resumed his mowing. The scythe would not cut. He used the whetstone over and over again, but it would not cut the grass. Then, in despair, he threw it down, crying, "just as I knew it would be. Thompson's spell'd it!"

The difference between the millers of our day and this pioneer, is as great as between the steam mills they run and the old log mill with its rude wooden water wheel.

If Burdue was superstitious, he was a strong and determined man. A good story is told of him and Mr. Eldridge. He had purchased a lot of land, where now the creamery stands, of the latter, made a partial payment, and bound him to give a deed when he received one hundred bushels of wheat, then worth two dollars per bushel. The next year when Eldridge came to look after his lands, Burdue was ready with his wheat, worth thirty-seven cents per bushel, and eager for his deed. Eldridge explained that it would be ruinous, and endeavored to jjut him off. But the "old man" was not to be thwarted. He told Eldridge that he " must make up his mind to give him the deed, or he would never leave town alive." Those who knew him were sure that he would keep his word, and Eldridge became so fully assured that he made the deed and left the almost worthless wheat.


The first quarry was opened by Joshua Phillips on the land now owned by J. M. Stahl. He had sold...

Excerpts from: The Fire Lands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio; W.W. Williams - 1879 -
Press of Leader Printing Company, Cleveland, Ohio

Interior of Hardy Inn

A Rare Glimpse into a Yesteryear

HARDY INN INTERIOR: "Viewer" Judy Price was kind enough to pass along this very rare photograph of the interior of Vermilion's Hardy Inn from [I'm guestimating at this writing] the 1930's.

I never knew the place as "the Hardy Inn", but only as the "Riverside Inn". I don't know, but I don't believe that the Hardy's had the business for more than a decade.

For folks unfamiliar with the locale of the inn it was situated on the south side of Liberty street in approximate area currently (2010) the home of Weld-Master (window) Mfg. Just prior to that it was the site of Vermilion's Post Office.

I tried with the scan of the snap to allow ye an opportunity to see some of the detail; like the nickle pepsi, and what appears to be a slot-machine. As an old restaurant worker and tender (not to mention as a former patron) at a few similar establishments I am partial to this pic.

Tis a "beaut".


1. Name That Disease

2. Are You Smarter Than a Box of Rocks

3. Name Your Children

4. Beat The Homeless

5. Home Shoplifting

6. The Newly Divorced Game

7. American Hot Dog Stand

8. Hunting Dogs for Dollars

9. Raging Queen for a Day

10. I’ve Got a Rash

11. To Tell the Lady Next Door

12. That’s My Monkey

13. What's That Smell?

14. Wheel of Misfortune

15. Win, Lose, or Use (the 9 MM)

PODCAST #192:This week Vermilion Views Podcast #192 affords "Viewers" an itsy-bitsytaste of "Remembering Old Vermilion" as well as another "Flash-Mob" scene. I must confess that I find the "FM's" exceptionally entertaining...

This may become a series.

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 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.

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 are constantly improving the lives of their youngsters and those around them. This is an exciting project accomplished by exciting people.

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.

Alice W. is back - and guess where she is now (?): Ali's Blog.

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: 440-670-2822

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

"I don't think anyone should write their autobiography until after they're dead."
-Samuel Goldwyn

Vol.8, Issue 21, August 7, 2010

Archive Issue #386

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