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History Blog

By Laura Ploenzke, Adult Services and genealogy and local history librarian

“A man is what he is only from the neck up; from the neck down he’s worth only a day’s wages.” – Dr. Francis Hoeffer McMechan, B.A., M.A., M.D., F.I.C.A

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Josephine Folger Cushing with her two sons, Thomas and Carl.

By Laura Ploenzke, Adult Services and genealogy and local history librarian

“As I was lying on the couch tonight the thought quite suddenly came to me that I was leaving nothing behind me, that after I am gone there would be no record of my life and that my children & grandch[ildren] [in] the yrs to come might want to know some of the salient points of my life in the years gone by.”

So begins the handwritten, nine-page memoir of Josephine Della [Folger] Cushing, one of four daughters of read more

By Laura Ploenzke, Adult Services and local history and genealogy librarian

“My name is David Doss and I am writing to you regarding a donation. As a hobby I travel around to antique shows and flea markets to purchase old photos and mail them back to their place of origin. Enclosed is an old image that I hope you can use for your collections.”

Michigan resident David Doss found this photo at a flea market in that state and returned it to the Avon Lake Public Library.

The typed letter arrived at Avon Lake Public Library on October 19, 2017, read more

By Laura Ploenzke, Adult Services and genealogy and local history librarian

“I sincerely believe that we humans are on a self-destruction course. Already the results of decades of selfish, wasteful and thoughtless uses of natural resources are being felt. If we do not drastically change our modes of living and of thinking, it is estimated there are about only 30 years of this norm of life left for us and at the beginning of the next century will come complete collapse of our society.”

A draft of Kathryn McClellan’s first “Pollution Polly” newspaper column, July 5, 1972.

These read more

Arthur Strong Adams’ name as it appears in the 1868 “Catalogue of the Ohio Wesleyan University for the Academical Year 1867-68, Delaware, Ohio” for the preparatory class of the scientific course.

By Laura Ploenzke, Adult Services and local history and genealogy librarian 

Dr. Arthur Strong Adams spent very little time in Avon Lake during his lifetime, and almost all of his professional career outside of Ohio, but he chose Avon Lake’s beautiful lakeside Lake Shore Cemetery as the final resting place for himself and his wife, perhaps because his mother and two siblings, none of whom he ever knew, are also buried there.

Arthur was born just west of Avon Lake (which was then Avon Township) in read more

By Laura Ploenzke

She was known throughout Ohio’s Lorain and Cuyahoga counties, and beyond, for her exceptional vocal talent, frequently performing at local club meetings, church services, and social gatherings. One Cleveland music journal, read more

By Sherry Spenzer

Some puzzles just beg to be solved, and such was the case with one old photo in possession of Avon Lake Public Library’s Marybelle Arnold North Coast History Room. The charming black-and-white image shows a house and four adults, the latter all attired in clothing of the mid to late 1800s.

Members of the Eager family stand in front of their home in Avon Lake.

Fortunately, the reverse side of the photo offered a couple of clues.

At first glance, the script appeared to say “lager home”.  A search for “lager” in read more

By Laura Ploenzke

Malinda Titus Beard’s hair was the longest the judges had ever seen. Freed from their usual braids piled atop her head, her long, dark-brown tresses cascaded down her 5-foot-3-inch frame to her feet and fanned out 18 inches on the floor. She most certainly would win the contest for the woman who had the longest hair in Cleveland. Unfortunately, the judges told her she could not win because she lived outside of the city limits. After much encouragement from her family and friends, this Avon read more

“The first board meeting of the newly formed Avon Lake P.T.A. Council, was held Tuesday May 3, 1961 at 1:30 P.M, in the High school cafeteria.”

A newspaper clipping from a page in the 1961 Avon Lake PTA Council scrapbook advertises a fashion show sponsored by the Erieview Parent-Teacher Association card party at Avon Lake’s Saddle Inn.

So begin the minutes, written in blue ink in neat handwriting in a bound, ruled record book, of the first local parent teacher association, which represented Avon Lake High School, read more

This is the first in a regular series of blog posts about Avon Lake’s history.


“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” – Pearl S. Buck, author

In 2019, Avon Lake will celebrate its bicentennial. From its first appellation of Xeuma (prior to 1818) to Troy Township (from 1818 to 1824) to Avon Township (from 1824 to 1919) to its current designation of Avon Lake, this area has developed from a swampy, virtually uninhabitable wilderness to a modern suburb of Cleveland that more than 23,000 read more