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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


In the mid 1910s, the enduring friendship between a Great Lakes schooner captain from Avon Lake and his wife and a young, ambitious, wheelchair-bound doctor from Cincinnati and his wife helped to profoundly change the course of modern surgical medicine.


Dr. Francis (Frank) Hoeffer McMechan, who was permanently confined to a wheelchair due to his affliction with rheumatoid arthritis that began in his 30s, had already begun to make a name for himself in the field of anesthesia, but was struggling financially when he and his wife, Laurette, visited Captain William Joel Curtis and his wife, Mary Jane, in their spacious home on Lake Road in Avon Lake around 1914.


The couples’ connection to each other had come about through Laurette’s parents, William and Matilde Van Varseveld, who, for many years, had rented a room from the Curtis couple when they, like many families, came to Avon Lake to spend part or all of their summer. An educated and philanthropic-minded couple, the Curtises immediately took a personal and financial interest in Dr. McMechan and his work. Ultimately, the McMechans resided for more than a decade with the Curtises, the four of them devoted to work during the days and card-playing, reading aloud, and listening to music in the evenings.


Each day, they all eagerly awaited the mail to pore over the medical journals and correspondence that came in from around the world. Working in the Curtis’ front parlor at a then century-old cherry wood table, Dr. McMechan relied on this correspondence to help fill the pages of the Quarterly Supplement of Anesthesia and Analgesia, a publication founded in October 1914 as a result of his appeal to Dr. Joseph MacDonald, long-time secretary of the American Medical Editors Association and publisher of the American Journal of Surgery.


“[In] seeking a new outlet for my shut-in limitations, it occurred to me that a journal on anesthesia would be greatly needed, not only to further the organization of the specialty, but more especially to broadcast its literature,” Dr. McMechan explained once in an interview.


The Quarterly Supplement was just one of many journals Dr. McMechan edited. Throughout his distinguished career, he also held various positions in national and international societies and organizations, including serving as secretary-general of the International Anesthesia Research Society, and received numerous honors and accreditations. One such honor, a lifetime achievement award in the form of a trophy that was presented to the McMechans in 1937 by the International Anesthesia Research Society, disappeared after Laurette’s death in 1970 and was not recovered until October 2011.


Despite his severe physical limitations, which eventually completely paralyzed him, Dr. McMechan traveled extensively with Laurette to places including Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Germany, where he was sought after to give speeches and lectures and meet with the most renowned medical professionals of the time.


In addition to his intellect, insatiable curiosity, and innovation, Dr. McMechan was personable, witty, and endlessly energetic. He also was able to translate into layman’s terms complex medical jargon and procedures, making him an invaluable liaison between the medical world and the public. His experience as a general assignment reporter for The Cincinnati Post between 1900 and 1903, working for a city editor who demanded concise, basic writing, honed this skill.


Dr. McMechan was born January 16, 1879, in Cincinnati, OH, the second of three children of James Charles and Mary A. (Hoeffer) McMechan, and the third generation of physicians that included his father and his paternal grandfather. All three men were graduates of Cincinnati’s Ohio Medical College, which later became the Medical School of the University of Cincinnati.


As a child, Dr. McMechan often accompanied his father on house calls, riding in their buggy and observing as his father tended to his patients. Later, he assisted in his father’s office and occasionally helped administer anesthetics in emergency situations.


In addition to acquiring medical knowledge, Dr. McMechan gained an appreciation for music, drama, and literature from his parents. During his college and medical school years, he funded his education by writing and directing plays. His original plays, which totaled around 30, were produced by amateur companies in Cincinnati and financially benefitted charities and music and drama organizations. He later said of these experiences, “[They] gave me the capacity to dramatize meetings, dinners and international congresses. One must stage them to have them a success.”


Dr. McMechan also directed plays at the Schuster School of Acting in Cincinnati, where he met his future wife. Laurette Van Varseveld was an actress at the school, and quickly earned his love and respect, serving as his adviser and acting in his plays. They were married June 5, 1909, in Chicago by his uncle, his mother’s brother, Jacobus Francis Xavier Hoeffer. Five years later, they moved to Avon Lake and began their pivotal friendship with Captain and Mrs. Curtis.


Despite assistance and support from the most prominent international medical leaders during his career, Dr. McMechan continuously credited his relationship with Captain and Mrs. Curtis for his achievements. As one chronicler of his life wrote, “[T]his association with the Curtis’ was one of the highlights of the doctor’s life. At a time when he scarcely knew which way to turn, when it seemed that one obstacle after another was blocking his path to realizing his goal, the Curtis’ brought the McMechans real friendship and understanding. . . . The doctor always said that they were more responsible than anyone else for the opportunity given him to conduct his work for anesthesia.”


After Captain Curtis’ death in March 1925, Dr. and Mrs. McMechan continued to live with Mrs. Curtis. Shortly after a trip to Australia in 1929, his physical condition rapidly deteriorated and he was confined to bed for almost two years. He and Laurette eventually moved to the Westlake Hotel in Rocky River, where he lived the last few years of his life and died on June 29, 1939. Laurette continued his work until her death in 1970. They are both buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River.


If you have items related to Avon Lake history that you would like to donate, or if you would like to view items in the Library’s Marybelle Arnold North Coast History Room, please visit the Library or call 440.933.8127.

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 Thomas and Della M. [Beswick] Folger, whose legacy includes the stately 1902 Victorian home that overlooks Lake Erie in Avon Lake.


Josephine’s grandson, Thomas Folger Cushing, and his wife, Diane, recently donated to the Avon Lake Public Library a copy of the memoirs, along with copies of old photographs, newspaper clippings, and Josephine’s passport, which bears the stamps of places she visited during 1927 and 1928 with one of her sons, including the United Kingdom, France, and Egypt.


Thomas Cushing, a son of Josephine’s son John, made a surprise visit to Avon Lake recently, attending a vintage reed pump organ concert at the Folger Home by Cushing’s “grandmother”, Josephine, portrayed by local musical theater performer Bernadette Ilg Hisey. Cushing and his wife had driven the day before from their home in Etowah, NC, to attend the concert and visit some of the old family home sites, as well as Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria, where many family members are buried.


Originally named Park Hall, Thomas Folger’s 1902 home served as a summer residence for family gatherings and social events. The land had been in the family since 1875, purchased by Thomas’s father, Henry. When Henry died in 1885, Thomas, as the only child, inherited the property where he had begun a successful vineyard in 1885 and had lived until 1889 with his wife and four daughters, Anna, Ida, Josephine, and Jennie.


The Cushing and Folger items are now a part of the Avon Lake Public Library local history collection and can be viewed at the Library during regular hours.


If you have items related to Avon Lake history that you would like to donate, please visit the Library or call 440.933.8127.

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, with a 10 ¾” x 14″ sepia-toned photo featuring the 17 graduates of the Avon Lake High School class of 1932 (see accompanying photo). The phrase “Forward Ever – Backward Never”, which may have been the class motto, is displayed below the students’ pictures.


Doss explained in a subsequent e-mail that he found the photo, which was in its original frame and severely water damaged, at an outdoor flea market in Flat Rock, MI, which is 129 miles west and north of Avon Lake and about 30 miles southwest of Detroit. Doss removed the photo from the frame and had the photo laminated to prevent further deterioration.


Written in pencil on the back of the photo is, “Britton to frame.” Britton may have been Erwin Britton, one of the 1932 graduates, whose picture appears second from left in the top row of the class photo. He is listed in the April 28, 1932, issue of Avon Lake Spectrum, the Avon Lake High School newspaper, as the class valedictorian and president.


“Erwin Britton is the second student to give the valedictory at graduation. Helen Deasy, first valedictorian, was a member of last year’s graduating class. Previous to this, the custom of having a valedictorian was not used,” according to the front-page article that described that year’s commencement activities. (This issue of Spectrum, along with other issues from 1928 to the present, is available online as part of the Avon Lake Documents Collection of The Cleveland Memory Project and can be viewed here.)


Erwin Apelbert Britton was born February 19, 1915, in Huron, Erie County, OH, to John Chester and Lydia Britton. A graduate of Oberlin College and the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, Britton served as minister of the Congregational Church of Wayne, MI, for 24 years and of the First Congregational Church of Detroit, MI, for nine years, according to his obituary. He died October 30, 2001, in Florida at age 86.


Other graduates pictured are, top row from left: Dorothy Barnes, Erwin Britton, Helen Moodt, Jack Brown; second row from left: Walter Mitchell, Delia Berger, Mildred Burkhardt, John Sundstrom; third row: John Bushman, Fern Lang, Peggy Smith, Hazel Walker, Albert Putre; fourth row: Dolores Schneider, Mable Taylor, Victor Huber, Hildred Horwedel. (To see an undamaged copy of the photo, click here.)


The photograph will be added to the Library’s local history collection, any part of which can be viewed during regular library hours. If you have (or find) any items that you would like to donate to the collection, please visit the Library or call the information desk at 440.933.8127.

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 passionate sentiments may sound contemporary, yet they were written more than 40 years ago by Avon Lake resident Kathryn (also known as Kay or Kate) B. McClellan in an article that was part of a weekly local newspaper column she voluntarily wrote for three years in the early 1970s.


McClellan began her column in The Press, Lorain County’s weekly newspaper that covered Avon, Avon Lake, North Ridgeville, and Sheffield Lake, on July 5, 1972, calling it “Small Thoughts” and using the name “Pollution Polly”. Occasionally, the “U” in the middle of the first word was capitalized because, as McClellan explained to her readers in a November 1972 article, “it is U who has created pollution and [it] is only U who can solve the problem. Remember always – if U are not helping to solve the problem then U are part of the problem.”


In her first column, McClellan explained the meaning behind “Small Thoughts”: “Pollution of all kinds is swiftly affecting our universe. . . . The more I read and thought about it, the more depressed I became. Then I realized I was thinking too big – so big I couldn’t do anything about it but become depressed. So I’m going to “think small” and try to do something about it. And I’m going to share my “small thoughts” with you – small things each of us can do, and if each one of us would do the small thing, what a big effect it would have!”


As a columnist, McClellan educated her readers about a variety of environmental aspects, from the long-term negative effects of environmental hazards such as chemicals, pesticides, and noise pollution, to the positive impact individuals can make by reducing food, water, and paper waste. She also advocated for positive relationships. “There is nothing so polluting to your spirit as meeting with a grouchy, old, sour-puss!” she wrote in February 1973. “Make sure you are not one. Why don’t you make a conscious effort to smile today?”


McClellan’s last article appeared in The Press on April 16, 1975. Two months later, a letter from her appeared in the Letters to the Editor section of that newspaper, in which she announced that she would no longer write her columns because of her family’s upcoming move to Taiwan. She thanked the paper and her readers for the opportunity to “[fulfill] my conviction that everybody should do something constructive as a payment for their right to live.” Specifically addressing Avon Lake residents, she wrote, “I hope that as the community grows, the small-town atmosphere of care and concern will not diminish, for it if does, we will lose the vitality that has made us one of the most outstanding and desireable [sic] cities in the area.”


Kathryn McClellan died on July 24, 2016, at age 93. According to her obituary, “[f]amily was everything to her. She enjoyed golf, traveling, camping, and loved to read.”


McClellan’s “small” legacy is now a part of Avon Lake Public Library’s local history collection and can be viewed in the Marybelle Arnold North Coast History Room during regular library hours. For more information, please visit the Library or call 440.933.8127.

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 Sheffield, on February 10, 1850, the son of William Harrison Adams and Octa Backus Strong. Arthur was the third of the couple’s three children, and the only child who lived to adulthood. His brother, Myron Harrison, lived only three months, and his sister, Ellen, died at 17 months old.


Both of Arthur’s parents were born in New York State and came separately to Ohio. They were married March 9, 1841, in Lorain County. This was the first marriage for Octa, a schoolteacher, and the second for William, a farmer, whose first wife, Mary A. (maiden name unknown), died August 29, 1839, at age 22, and is buried in Lake Shore Cemetery. Octa, the daughter of Jamin and Belsaria (Tillotson) Strong, died at age 31 on March 2, 1850, less than one month after Arthur’s birth.


On May 31, 1850, when Arthur was almost four months old, his father married a third time, to Mary Ann Ellsworth, who was born about 1820 in Mount Vernon, Westchester County, NY. By the mid 1850s, the family had moved to Delaware in Delaware County, OH, about 25 miles north of Columbus. Soon, Arthur had three half siblings: Willie J., born about 1857; Octa L., born May 6, 1860; and Elmer, born about 1864.


At age 17, in 1867, Arthur attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. A page from the university’s catalogue for the 1867-1868 academic year that includes Arthur’s class is shown in the accompanying photo. Arthur graduated with an M.D. in 1875 from the Medical Department of the University of Wooster, Cleveland. From 1875 to 1885, he practiced medicine in that city. On March 18, 1885, also in Cleveland, Arthur married Emma J. (Nettie) Ford. She was born December 22, 1854, in Cleveland, the fourth of six children of William H. Ford and Ann Gordon, both from England.


Soon after their marriage, Arthur and Emma moved to Rochester, Olmsted County, MN, where he served as the health officer for Rochester and the coroner for that county. He was a member of the Olmsted County and Southern Minnesota Medical Societies, American and Minnesota State Medical Associations, and a member of the Masonic order.


Arthur may have been influenced in his vocation by his uncle, Dr. Jamin Strong, who was well known for his work with nervous and mental diseases. He lived in Oberlin and practiced medicine in Elyria from 1849 to 1869. Beginning in 1875, he served as medical superintendent of Cleveland State Hospital until 1890. He also published numerous papers and annual reports in his area of study. He died at his home in Cleveland on January 29, 1895, at age 69.


Arthur and Emma had no biological children, but adopted a child, Antoline, born in 1893 in Minnesota. She married Edward Francis Silver, son of Maurice and Elizabeth (Greenwood) Silver on June 16, 1914, in Howard County, IA, and they had several children.


Around 1919, Arthur and Emma moved back to Ohio, to the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, where Emma’s sister, Lillian, and her family resided. Emma died from complications of cancer on August 20, 1924, at age 70, and Arthur died January 3, 1929, at age 79 after a short illness with bronchial pneumonia.


If you have stories, photos, and items you are willing to share related to Avon Lake history, the Library is interested in hearing from you. Please stop in during regular library hours, call 440.933.8127, or e-mail

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, Musical Courier, described her in 1918, at age 23, as one “who possesses a beautiful dramatic soprano.” She once traveled to Italy to study with Ernestine Schumann-Heink, an internationally renowned opera singer. She was also a descendant of one of the first families to settle in Avon Lake, and she grew up “living beside the old dirt road known as Lake Road. [She and a friend] loved to plop their bare feet along the road raising all the dust possible . . . “, according to a documented memory from one of her neighbors years later.


This childhood photo of Rena D. (Titus) Thoma was recently discovered at Avon Lake Public Library in the files of the now-defunct Avon Lake Historical Society.

She was Rena D. Titus, born January 5, 1895, in Avon (now Avon Lake) to Daniel and Adella (Nesbit) Titus. Her great-grandfather, Anson Titus, and his family settled in Avon in 1835, having moved from New York, where he was a schoolteacher. He established the first school in the area, which he built on his farm, and also served as a justice of the peace.


A photo of Rena, taken when she was a young girl, was recently discovered among the Avon Lake Historical Society files at Avon Lake Public Library and has now been added to The Avon Lake Collection of The Cleveland Memory Project, a searchable online local history collection that includes almost 800 photos, as well as digitized copies of the weekly newspaper The Press and Avon Lake High School’s yearbook, newspaper, and literary annual.


Although her career frequently took her away from Avon Lake, Rena maintained close ties with her birthplace. She served on the school board, helped found a women’s club and served as its first president, was active in several area churches, and helped to raise money for local causes. She died December 3, 1972, in Avon, at age 77, the widow of Carl Joseph Thoma and the mother of one child, Betty Jane.


If you have stories, photos, and items you are willing to share related to Avon Lake history, the Library is interested in hearing from you. Please stop in during regular library hours, call 440.933.8127, or e-mail


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 Avon Lake was unproductive.  A significant clue in unraveling this mystery, though, was to be found in the careful capitalization adopted by the identifier in the remainder of the inscription.  Such attention to detail required an alternate interpretation, as the scrivener would not likely have ignored capitalization of a proper name.  Closer inspection suggested another explanation – a very long-looped, capital “E”.  With that, identification of the photo took on new meaning.  Having become nearly obsessed with the pursuit of Avon Lake “historiana”, this writer was inexplicably able to associate the first name “John” with the surname “Eager”, and the quest took on a new direction.  Indeed, a “John Eager” was one of Avon Lake’s early residents.  The additional script on the photo’s reverse said, “Border of Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake”.  An 1896 County Land Ownership map shows property owned by “J. Eager” which is located, as the helpful preservationist indicated, right on the Avon Lake-Sheffield Lake border.



Writing on the reverse side of the Eager family’s homestead picture reads “Eager Home/Border of Avon Lake & Sheffield Lake”.


So, who were these lakeshore landowners?  John Eager (1825-1907) and his wife, Mary Harrison Eager (1836-1915), were both born in England.  They were married in Avon, Ohio, in July 1856 when Mary was 20 and John was 32 years old.  While they hosted social events and entertained at their home, their guests would not have been offered any alcoholic beverages, as John was on the executive committee of the Avon (Lake) local anti-saloon league formed in 1903.  They had no children.  They celebrated their 50th anniversary in June 1906, which was their last, as John died in May of 1907.

John and Mary (Harrison) Eager, owners of the home in the accompanying photo.

Mystery solved?  Most likely.  And what we were eager to know, we now know was Eager!


If you are descended from an early Avon Lake family and have related stories, photos, and items to share, the Library would like to hear from you. Please stop in during regular library hours, call 440.933.8127, or e-mail


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 Lake resident had traveled to Cleveland solely to enter the contest, only to be disqualified.


Malinda Katherine (Titus) Beard (1857-1945), a long-time Avon Lake resident, displays her impressively long, dark hair.

Malinda’s two daughters, Florence and Hattie, and Malinda’s daughter-in-law, Louise Krumweide, recalled this and other stories about her in a one-page, typed paper that is included in the Avon Lake Historical Society’s papers, now housed at the Avon Lake Public Library as part of its local history and genealogy collection. Other family names in this collection include Beck, Burrell, Buswell, Jaycox, Moore, and Tomanek.


Individually, these stories serve as puzzle pieces of the past; together, they form a picture of life in this area more than a century ago when farms full of fruit trees and grape vines dominated the landscape, men worked on those farms daily, women served in church and social organizations, took care of their homes and raised children, and those children played with their multiple siblings and cousins on rope swings, in and around Lake Erie, and on their acres of farmland.


The subjects of these stories are long gone, and many of the original farm houses and other buildings have been torn down and replaced with more modern housing, commercial sites, and even the NRG power plant. However, thanks to the foresight of members of the Avon Lake Historical Society, who took the time to preserve these memories, our Avon Lake ancestors will be remembered for generations to come.


If you are descended from an early Avon Lake family and have related stories, photos, and items to share, the Library would like to hear from you. Please stop in during regular library hours, call 440.933.8127, or e-mail

“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, Learwood Junior High School (now Learwood Middle School), Eastview Elementary School, Erieview Elementary, and Westview Elementary. Avon Lake Public Library acquired this and other scrapbooks, including a collection from Learwood and Troy, in May 2016 from the Avon Lake City Schools, where they had previously been stored.


Although the first scrapbook is more than 50 years old, its contents, which include newspaper articles, event programs, and information sheets, reveal that, in some respects, times haven’t changed significantly over the years. As they do today in school cafeterias nationwide, for example, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, and even “cook’s surprise” appeared on a menu from the week of April 16, 1961. Also, PTA program themes from 1961 reflected concerns that are still relevant, such as “Our Role as a Parent”, “Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten”, and “What is a Bully?”


Speakers even addressed technology use in the classroom. In January 1962, the director of Audio Visual Service at Bowling Green State University spoke to the PTA Council at its monthly meeting about “the timely subject of teaching by airborne television in school classrooms”. During that same month, at the Erieview PTA meeting, members heard a presentation called “Seeing Through Arithmetic” because, as the article explained, ” . . . the subject . . . today has the parents baffled, that is, the new method of teaching and learning arithmetic.” “New math” is not so new after all.


Articles relating to state PTA news also are included in the scrapbooks. The Blade, a Toledo, OH, newspaper, covered stories from the October 1961 convention, held in Toledo, of the Ohio Congress of Parents and Teachers. Headlines include “Public Must Stop Underrating Mental Ability of Women, PTA Delegates Told” and “Go-Cart Use, Sex Crimes Targets of PTA Parley.”


For a complete description of the Library’s PTA scrapbook collection, click here. To view the scrapbooks at the Library, you can visit during library hours or contact the Library at 440.933.8127.




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 people call home.


Integral to both the city’s future and past is Avon Lake Public Library. Our promotional phrase, “Discovery begins here”, not only means, for you the patron, exploring the latest movies and digital technology, but also learning about Avon Lake’s history through a myriad of resources, including The Cleveland Memory Project, Heritage Avon Lake, written and oral histories, photographs, newspapers, and scrapbooks.


In 2015, the Library dedicated the Marybelle Arnold North Coast History Room (picture on left) with the objective to preserve and showcase our area’s rich history. A team of passionate professional librarians and volunteers continues to work daily to collect, preserve, and promote physical and digital items that contribute to telling our city’s story. To see a complete list of our collection, click here.


We are excited to embark on this online historical journey that will feature the people, places, and events that have shaped Avon Lake. We also invite you to be a part of this experience. We welcome your stories, photographs, memorabilia, and anything else you would be willing to share that relates to our city’s history. Please contact us at 440.933.8127.