Ohio Historical Marker for Cowan Property

The Rocky River Historical Society along with the Cowan Pottery Museum Associates is thrilled to announce the installation of an Ohio historical marker at the old Cowan property at 19621 Lake Avenue. The dedication ceremony will take place on Friday, May 13 at 4:00pm. After the dedication, the former Cowan Pottery Showroom will be open to the public and light refreshments will be served. 

Read Full Story
Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 4:02 PM, 05.02.2016

A Tale of Irish Ingenuity

I never knew my grandparents, never even saw a picture of them. I was a child of immigrants, raised in an enclave of the newly arrived Irish. I didn’t have a relationship with my grandparent because they lived some 3,000 miles away.

But there was one story in my family history that I think had a long-reaching effect on all the descendants of my family. It is the story of my great grandfather's visit to Cleveland.

Read Full Story
Volume 3, Issue 9, Posted 2:49 PM, 03.04.2016

Where The River Ends

Imagine the work that author Tom Harper put into the book "Rocky River, Ohio: Where the River Ends" -and the stories he has to tell. You don't have to imagine any longer. Tom will be sharing his experiences in producing the book on November 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rocky River Senior Center.  The program is sponsored by the Rocky River Historical Society.

Read Full Story
Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 4:51 PM, 11.03.2015

Emerald Necklace Inn and the Fairview Park Cemetery

Gloria Cipri-Kemer and Sharon Guinaugh have planned four dates in the summer for a cemetery tour followed by a luncheon at the Inn. Sharon will take guests on her favorite tour, "Off the Cuff", unscripted and largely unrehearsed. She will share the area's rich history and introduce some of the "permanent residents" as you explore the grounds. After the cemetery excursion, Gloria will host lunch at the Inn and tell some endearing Gilles stories.  There will be an informal Q-and-A with Sharon and her book will be available for signing.

The tour dates are June 12, July 17, August 21, and September 18.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 3:44 PM, 05.05.2015

Tales of Rocky River

"Incidents & Episodes, Tales of Rocky River and Rockport Township, Ohio" by George A. Christensen is the latest publication sponsored by the Rocky River Historical Society. The book is a collection of 180 true stories about the 1800s and early 1900s in Rocky River and the former Rockport Township and the surrounding area.

In 290 pages and 200 photos, "Incidents & Episodes" tells the stories of the bridges over the Rocky River, Scenic Park, the hog cholera epidemic of the mid-1800s, Metropolitan Park, the Rocky River Police Department, early businesses such as Candyland and Ingersoll’s Hardware Store, and schools, among others.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 10:45 AM, 05.14.2015

The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Women's Board

The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Women’s Board traces its roots back to the Center’s founder, Elberta “Bert” Fleming. As a young woman, she had hopes and dreams of creating a museum to encourage interest in nature and the environment. In 1945, Elberta founded the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, then called the Lake Erie Junior Museum.  Her home and backyard provided the “beginnings”; her articles for local publications provided the funding.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 3:47 PM, 03.07.2015

Book Captures Irish History in Cleveland

Irish Americans are now one of the largest and most active of the many ethnic groups represented in Cleveland, as demonstrated by the much-anticipated and well-attended annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. In February, Arcadia Publishing released "Images of America: Irish Cleveland", just in time for the parade and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Authors Judith Cetina and John Myers methodically researched the Irish heritage in the Cleveland area and display the results in over 200 images.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 11:02 AM, 03.08.2015

Grandma's Christmas Tree

If I stare at the picture long enough, I can feel the draft from the windows behind the plastic covered couch, see the family portrait sitting on the TV set, and smell the turkey in the oven. Christmas Day at Grandma’s in the 1960s.

We would meet after mass and crowd into Grandma’s small house on Kirton Avenue. The tree was always the center of discussion. It was aluminum - you could see right through it. A pitifully under-decorated tree hung with the few ornaments that survived our youth.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 3:44 PM, 12.10.2014

Remembering Local Legend and Suffragist Josephine Saxer Irwin

 On October 3, the 100th Anniversary of the 1914 Suffrage March in downtown Cleveland, Gloria Cipri-Kemer and the Emerald Necklace Inn will host a gala afternoon tea in celebration of this event and in remembrance of suffragist legend Josephine Saxer Irwin who as a young woman was in the parade.

At 11:30 a.m. at the Fairview Gemini Center, luncheon guests will be greeted with suffrage songs, banners and "Women in History" members portraying suffrage leaders.  Laura Loew, from "Lost in the Past", will then present an overview of Woman Suffrage, the 72-year struggle to win the vote for the women of the United States.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 7:38 PM, 09.03.2014

A Fourth of July Parade

The family plans start around July 1. Friends and relatives are called, the menu is planned, gas grills are cleaned, and patriotic decorations of red, white, and blue appear everywhere. Flags are displayed and every last person will wear its tri-colors. Kamm's Corner will be the image of pride for our country.

The nucleus of these activities is the Fourth of July Parade.  This will be the 46th parade of marching contingents of bands, the Police Color Guard, bagpipers, fire trucks, school and church groups. We even have Mayor Jackson and Chief of Police McGrath—who grew up on Flamingo—Shriners in full regalia, war veterans, clowns, dancers, antique cars, political candidates, and last but not least, the Boy Scouts that started the parade in 1968.


Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 4:14 PM, 07.02.2014

An Historic Repair Job: The Original "Star-Spangled Banner"

When the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., reopened in 2008, the centerpiece of the museum was the original Star-Spangled Banner, the very one that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem.  The flag has been at the Smithsonian Institution since 1907 and first flew during the War of 1812.The flag was removed from the museum’s walls in 1994 after years of public viewing. 

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 4:02 PM, 07.02.2014

Take a Tour of Historic Sites

The Rocky River Historical Society is thrilled to be a part of this year’s expanded Rocky River Days Fun Fest.  The Rocky River Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in organizing the first Rocky River Day, which was held on August 8, 1953.  The tradition continued with the chamber's involvement in celebrating the city's 75th Anniversary on May 3, 1978 and the Bicentennial in 2003. 

Come to Rocky River Days on July 12 and 13 and learn more about the history of Rocky River.  Trolley tours of lesser-known historic sites in and around Rocky River will run on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 4:06 PM, 07.02.2014

Remembering Others on Father's Day

When you look back on your life and try to figure out how you got to where you are, there doesn’t seem to be one defining event. The first part of life is molded by others. Your parents, siblings, home life, education and neighborhoods are pretty much decided for you. Maturity brings career decisions, sometimes marriage and perhaps children. All these things make you what you are today, but in the sum total of my life, I feel one of the indispensable parts was decided 109 years ago by a 22-year-old immigrant, my Great Uncle John.

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 12, Posted 12:47 PM, 06.04.2014

Bain Park Historic District Listed on National Register

On September 8, 2013, a National Register of Historic Places plaque was unveiled for the Bain Park Historic District, located in Fairview Park.  The history of Bain Park and Bain Park Cabin reflects the best of community and individual efforts during a time of great hardship for individuals in the United States.

Fairview Community Park, as Bain Park was originally known, was formed from donations of property owned by developers of the surrounding residential area and by individuals.  The dedication day of the park was designated as  “Fairview Day.” Mayor Joseph M. Daugherty accepted the park in the name of Fairview residents. Festivities included a parade, barbecue, dancing, and a 30-piece drum corp. 

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:09 PM, 01.08.2014

"Rocky River, Ohio: Where the River Ends": A Gift of Love

A new book, "Rocky River, Ohio: Where the River Ends", began as a dream project for Tom Harper in 1990. The passing of his eight-year-old daughter, Kristen, started Tom thinking about the importance of photography in preserving special memories. While the book is dedicated to the memory of Kristen, it is also a gift of love to the people and places of Rocky River.

A record of the past 25 years, Where the River Ends captures the spirit of Rocky River in an intimate, romantic and humorous way. Most of the 3,000 people who appear in the book fall into three categories: those who grew up, live in, or work in Rocky River.

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 9:43 AM, 12.01.2013

Rocky River's Old Detroit Road

Most of the buildings in Rocky River's old downtown area were erected in the late 1800s. Located here was Mitchell’s Blacksmith Shop owned by Mark Mitchell.  Mitchell, who emigrated from England, served as mayor of the Village of Rocky River from 1903 to 1913. Francis Ingersoll set up Ingersoll Feed and Seed in the old downtown area on Detroit Road and Blount Street (now Lake Road) in 1890. The two-story building consisted of supplies on the first floor and storage on the second. Ingersoll’s later moved to the south side of Detroit Road close to Heinen’s and eventually became known as Ingersoll’s Hardware. The first site of Ingersoll’s is now the home of Mitchell Sotka’s fine arts and antiques store. After over 110 years in business, Ingersoll’s closed in January 2012.

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.30.2013

Spotlight on Beach Cliff

In 1888 a local businessman named Clifton Bailey Beach purchased 427 acres of land along the lakeshore, including Governor Rueben Wood’s property located at Wagar and Avalon. By 1890, Beach’s property extended from Detroit Road to Lake Erie, and from Bradstreet’s Landing to the Oakwood estate of Daniel Eells. So by the late 19th century, the land along the lake pretty much belonged to two people - Clifton Beach and Daniel Eells.

Beach was elected to Congress in 1895 and served two terms. Before he left for Washington, Beach sold an acre of his land on the southeast corner of his property to be used only for educational purposes - and that’s where the Beach School was erected in 1897.

The Beach School building still stands today, given major rebuilding and remodeling. Although it is no longer used as a public school, it still has educational uses. Among other things, the building is the home of the Rocky River Historical Society’s archives, which were formerly in the Rocky River Public Library’s Orange Room.

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 7:54 PM, 09.03.2013

Cowan Pottery Open House: A Crowd Pleaser

By all measures, the open house in August at the original Rocky River site of the Cowan Pottery Studio was a success.  The restored Cowan display room gleamed with original pieces - from high-end, sculptured limited editions to open-stock consumer items. Both the pieces and the color array of the glazes, some of which have never been replicated, gave testimony to the expertise of Cowan's staff.

In the 1920s, the showroom drew buyers from such stores as Marshall Field in Chicago, Wanamaker's in Philadephia and Halle's in downtown Cleveland. Buyers selected the pieces as well as the glazes that they wanted for their stores.

Read Full Story
Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 7:54 PM, 09.03.2013