Hidden History of Lorain County: A Look at Cemeteries takes place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm at 1940 North Ridge Road. Hosted by the Brownhelm Historical Association, doors open at 7 pm for Social Time & Refreshments.
The men, women and children who left New England behind to settle in what is now Lorain County needed to say good-bye to friends and family and to their beloved communities, often for the very last time. They left behind all that was familiar, all that was comfortable, to take enormous risks and make enormous sacrifices. They traveled through dangerous woods, sometimes on foot, carrying with them what they needed to live. They were tough, smart and resourceful. They were survivors who didn’t give up, even when the odds were stacked against them, people who were willing to risk it all to make a new life for themselves and their families. This program reconstructs glimpses of these settlers through what’s found in Lorain County cemeteries.
Speaker, Kelly Boyer Sagert, is a full time freelance writer from Lorain, and she has traditionally published 14 books, most history-related. She was recently commissioned to write her sixth play; each has been history-related, and one of them was used as the basis of the Emmy-nominated documentary, Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story, that appears on PBS. She speaks at writers’ conferences in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, including at the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors conference in New York City. She spoke at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown and appeared in an ESPN history-based documentary.
The first meeting of the New Year for Brownhelm Historical Association will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at 1940 North Ridge Road. Brownhelm Historical Association will be discussing all that 2019 holds for the organization, the challenges BHA will be facing, and how you can help. After the meeting, attendees will be treated to the program by local author, Kelly Boyer Sagert. Family and friends are welcome to attend.
Doors open 6 pm; Business Meeting 6:30 to 7 pm; Social Time & Refreshments at 7 pm; Program at 7:30 pm. (Doors open again at 7 pm for program only attendees.)
Which Theme do you want for the 2019 Festival of the Fish? Aladdin? Hawaiian Luau? Wizard of Oz? Help the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce pick the 2019 Festival of the Fish Theme.
The overall Festival of the Fish theme is nautical, which includes fish...but the committee adds a twist to the event for the crazy craft regatta and lighted boat parade to add additional fun to the event each year.
Constructive ideas for the 2020 theme can be added in the comments section, but for 2019 the theme choices have been narrowed down to: Aladdin, Hawaiian Luau and Wizard of Oz. Polls close on February 5th 2019 at 3 pm.
Scarlet Transportation & Adventure Tours has developed a tour based on the book "Murders, Mysteries & the History of Lorain County 1824-1956" written by local author Don Hilton. The tour will be held on Thursday, May 9 from 4 pm to 7 pm and launched from Ritter Public Library in Vermilion, Ohio. Upon return, the author will give a one hour program and Q&A on the book.
The tour is $20 plus tax and there are 24 seat available. The hour-long program at the library is free and open to the public.
For more information and/or tickets, call (440) 695-0419.
The Encore Shoppe in downtown Vermilion has placed a rack of coats in front of the store for anyone who needs a warm winter coat and accessories. The coats and accessories are donated by Charl Gabel, store owner, and others in the community that wish to help anyone who has the need.
"Need a coat? Take one. Want to help? Leave a coat," said Gabel. "Please let anybody you know who would like to donate, or is wanting in this cold weather."
Encore Shoppe is located at 5487 Liberty Avenue in downtown Vermilion, Ohio.
"You do not have to come into the Shoppe to take a coat, although you are certainly welcome!" said Gabel.
The 11th Annual Main Street Vermilion Ice-A-Fair is a day-long winter event for the entire family filled with glistening sculptures, ice carving demos and more! Easily walkable or tour by Lolly the Trolley for $2 a rider or $5 for a family. You'll find more than 30 shops, restaurants and pubs open to welcome visitors. You're certain to bump into Jolly the Snowman and Pete the Penguin on the street as you enjoy your day in downtown Vermilion. Ice-A-Fair takes place on Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 11 am to 7 pm.
Add a visit to Ritter Public Library to experience Friends of Library Chocolate Festival from 10 am to 1 pm. Sample chocolate confections to your heart's content for 50 cents a taste. Come early because this popular and delicious event always sells out.
Stop in at Main Street Vermilion throughout the day to warm up with refreshments and take a chance on an exciting array of raffle baskets.
The day's events end at 6 pm with a towering display of Fire & Ice in the center of town at Exchange Park. Enjoy this beautiful mix of music, flames and ice that constantly shifts in shape and texture. Will the fire outlast the ice or will the ice quell the fire? You'll be the first to find out!
Afterwards, everyone is invited to the "Meltdown" after party, 7 pm at the Vermilion Boat Club. For $25 a person, enjoy music, hors doeurves and a cash bar. Relax around the fireplace and a great view of the river. Tickets are on sale at Main Street Vermilion or online ($25 + $1.03 processing fee).
Chocolate & Wine Walk tickets are now on sale www.vermilionchamber.net. Take a stroll through downtown Vermilion while sampling chocolate treats and wine as you visit the quaint shops. This event sells out quickly; order tickets now.
The Chocolate & Wine Walk takes place on April 27, 2019 from 11 am to 5 pm. Cost is $20 per person. Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted.
Present your ticket at the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce to get a map of participating businesses and an event wristband. Wristbands are required for chocolate sampling and wine tasting.
Check in at Tiffany's at 686 Main Street in downtown Vermilion no later than 1 pm.
The Chocolate & Wine Walk is presented by the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce. Call (440) 967-4477 for more information, or email [email protected]
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we "will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness". "Life’s most persistent and nagging question", he said, is "what are you doing for others?"
Legislation signed in 1983 marked the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a "day on, not a day off." MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence. MLK Day of Service is a way to honor his life and teachings by engaging in community action that continues to solve social problems. Service breaks down barriers by bringing people from different experiences together – volunteering can unite Americans of all ages and backgrounds while building stronger communities.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.
Following in the footsteps of his father, in February 1948, at the age of 19, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entered the Christian ministry and was ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In 1954, upon completion of graduate studies at Boston University, he accepted a call to serve at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. While there, he was an instrumental leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, made famous by the nonviolent resistance and arrest of Rosa Parks. He resigned this position in 1959 and moved back to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
From 1960 until his death in 1968, he served as co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee and died on April 4, 1968.
Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a Day ON, Not a Day Off! There are many ways you can participate in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. You can join a project already planned in your community; you can develop your own project with family, friends, and neighbors; or if you work for an organization that mobilizes volunteers, you can make King Day the day you train new volunteers to be deployed throughout the year. If your schedule is already booked over MLK Day weekend, that's okay. Thousands of organizations around the country are looking for help year round.
The Vermilion Family YMCA has many features and amenities for members to enjoy.
The Free Weight Room has an abundance of space with all the equipment needed for a total body workout including several bench presses and squat racks, a large, multi-functional cable machine, a punching bag, and more. Supplement your workout down the hall in the Paramount Weight Room featuring 11 different fitness systems. The Fitness Center is your ideal stop for a cardio workout with 10 treadmills, 11 exercise bikes, 10 elipticals, 2 stair climbers, and 3 adaptive motion trianers. Ride and climb on the 15 state of the art Spin Bikes.
The Sprit, Mind, Body Studio is a safe space for group exercise. The Y surrounds a peaceful outdoor courtyard, maintained by caring members, which provides a fresh space for reflection and community.
The Community Center is a large, all-purpose room where group exercise classes take place daily. The Community Center also hosts many special events such as sports banquets, Youth Development recitals, and large gatherings.
Youth can jump, kick, cheer and tumble in the padded Active Youth Studio. The Y has 2 Gymnastics Rooms for recreational and competitive youth gymnastic teams. In one room focus is on tumbling and bars; in the other room focus is on beam and rings.
The Sail Loft is a cozy gathering place with couches, tables, and a kitchenette. Youth can hang out in the Sail Loft and play foosball or board games after school. The Pathways Center provides a creative environment for children to learn and grow while you workout.
Enjoy open gyms during evening hours, or participate in a youth sport league in the gymnasium (court is not regulation size). Mens and Womens locker rooms with showers are available so you can get your workout in and get on with your day.
The Vermilion Family YMCA is located 320 Aldrich Road in Vermilion, Ohio. Call (440) 967-4208 or (440) 967-3050 for more information.
The Vermilion Chamber of Commerce is looking for local Vermilion businesses and local area vendors to promote Vermilion, Ohio as the one-stop wedding destination. Join the Chamber of Commerce as they present the Annual Destination Vermilion Bridal Show March 3, 2019 from noon to 3 pm. This is the one-stop bridal show for brides and grooms to be to organize their entire special day.
The event will be held at the Vermilion-On-the-Lake Clubhouse at 3780 Edgewater Drive, Vermilion, Ohio. Visitors will register at the door; cost is $5.
The Mayor of the City of Vermilion has lifted the Snow Emergency. The on-street parking ban is no longer in effect.
The daytime emergency parking ban on city streets has been lifted. The normal overnight ban will remain in place until March 31st.
"Thank you to Vermilion snow plow crews for working the past 38 hours to make the roadways passable," said Mayor Forthofer. "And, thank you VPD, VFD and ambulance services for keeping residents safe. PLEASE USE YOUR HEADS WHEN DRIVING. Our safety crews are overworked as it is."
Remember all those beautiful flowers this past summer? You helped pay for them by attending Vermilion in Bloom's Ladies Nights series, Ladies and Gents Night, and the Gardeners Fair!
Fun, lively and always delicious, Vermilion in Bloom's Ladies Nights Ladies Night is what get us through the winter and looking forward to the growing season. Everyone is welcome. A $10 donation is requested.
2019 Vermilion in Bloom Ladies Nights
Thursday, January 17, 7 pm: Hosted at Martino’s International Cafe, 4415 Liberty Avenue
Thursday, February 21, 7 pm: Hosted at the Vermilion Boat Club, 5416 Liberty Avenue
Wednesday, March 20, 7 pm: Hosted at Papermoon Vineyards, 2008 State Road
Since 2003, Vermilion in Bloom has changed the way our town looks by brightening the streetscape throughout downtown with flowers, improving public gathering places, coordinating the addition of "urban friendly" trees, dressing the town for the holidays and so much more. Their work delivers a sense of pride as visitors and residents alike marvel at the sight, even stopping to say "thanks" to the daily watering crews for their volunteerism.
There are more than 100 volunteers who help in many ways: planting flower baskets and beds, tending plantings, daily watering crews, light maintenance, cooking and baking for the popular Ladies Night and more.
Would you like to be a part of this fun and dedicated group? Vermilion in Bloom is a program of Main Street Vermilion. Visit www.mainstreetvermilion.org for more information.
Why buy local? By choosing local and independent businesses, you not only enjoy a more personal experience, you help:
The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood–scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. They’re the ultimate social networking sites!
STRENGTHEN YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY
Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer) — a benefit we all can bank on.
SHAPE OUR CHARACTER
Independent businesses help give your community its distinct personality.
YOU CAN BUY IT WHERE YOU TRY IT
Local stores enable you to try on and try out items before you buy — and get real expertise — saving your time and money.
CREATE A HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT
Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution.
More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses keeps your taxes lower.
GET REAL VALUE FOR YOURSELF
Reader surveys by the Consumers Union repeatedly show independent businesses beating their chain competitors in overall customer satisfaction (and they often save you money).
A wide variety of independent businesses, each serving their customers’ tastes, creates greater overall choice for all of us.
INCREASE WEALTH OF RESIDENTS
The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
CREATE JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.
ENHANCE LOCAL DEMOCRACY
Local ownership of business means residents with roots in the community are involved in key development decisions that shape our lives and local environment.
ENHANCE HEALTH OF RESIDENTS
Research shows a strong correlation between the percentage of small locally-owned firms and various indicators of personal and community health and vitality.
Vermilion, Ohio straddles a river of the same name as it empties into Lake Erie, and it has a past as colorful as the clay for which the river was named. Once known as the “city of sea captains,” the city was a popular drop-off point for illegal liquor from Canada during the days of Prohibition. The city has been home not only to many captains and sailors, but also to an amazing lighthouse story that spans two centuries and two Great Lakes.
Inhabited by the Erie Indians as early as 1656, Vermilion had grown large enough by the mid-nineteenth century for its harbor to warrant government maintenance. In 1847, Congress appropriated $3,000 to build a lighthouse and prepare the head of the pier on which it would be built. Before 1847, the people of Vermilion had constructed their own navigational aid: wooden stakes topped with oil-burning beacons at the entrance of the harbor.
By 1852, both the lighthouse and the pier were in need of repair, a project that cost $3,000. Seven years later, in 1859, the lighthouse was rebuilt at a cost of $5,000. The new lighthouse was made of wood and topped with a whale oil lamp. The lamp’s flame was surrounded by red glass, resulting in a red beam that, with the help of a sixth-order Fresnel lens, was visible from Lake Erie. A man from the town looked after the lighthouse, lighting the lamp each evening and refueling it each morning.
Though the 1859 light was functional, it was not sturdy enough for long-term use. Both time and the lake’s elements took their toll on the wooden lighthouse, and by 1866, Congress had appropriated funds to build a new light, this time out of iron, on the west pier. The lighthouse was designed by a government architect and cast by a company in Buffalo, New York. A home for the future keeper was purchased in 1871, six years before the iron lighthouse was installed.
To cast the lighthouse, the ironworkers used sand molds of three tapering rings, octahedral in shape. The iron they used was from unpurchased Columbian smoothbore canons, obsolete after the Battle of Fort Sumter. As noted by Vermilion native Ernest Wakefield, “The iron, therefore, of the 1877 Vermilion lighthouse echoed and resonated with the terrible trauma of the War Between the States.”
Once the ironworkers in Buffalo had completed the casting of the lighthouse and ensured that all parts fit together correctly, the pieces of the lighthouse were loaded onto barges in the nearby Erie Canal. Hauled by mules, the barges reached Oswego, New York, in two weeks. From there, the lighthouse was transferred to the lighthouse tender Haze. The Haze, a steam-powered propeller vessel, departed Oswego on September 1, 1877 and headed west for the Welland Canal, where a series of 27 locks raised the boat to the water level of Port Colborne and onto Lake Erie. One must wonder why this circuitous route was taken when Buffalo, where the tower was cast, sits right on Lake Erie.
On its way to Vermilion, the Haze stopped at Cleveland Harbor, where it took on the lighthouse’s lantern, lumber and lime for building the foundation, and a crew to raise the lighthouse. Also loaded was a fifth-order Fresnel lens, which had been shipped to Cleveland by train. All that is known about the lens is that it was made by Barbier and Fenestre of Paris, France. Whether it was ordered specifically for the Vermilion lighthouse or recovered from the Erie Harbor Lighthouse, no one knows.
One day later, the Haze arrived in Vermilion. It took several days to prepare the foundation, and once it was in place, the crew used the derrick on the Haze to lift the bottom ring of cast iron and place it on the foundation. After the ring was bolted down, the successive tapering rings were put into place and bolted to each other. Then the pediment and lantern were added. The Fresnel lens and oil lantern were installed later. Once completed, the tower measured 34 feet high. It stood at the end of the pier with a long 400-foot-long catwalk running above it. This allowed the lighthouse keeper to travel between the light and the mainland when large waves crested over the pier. One such lightkeeper was Captain J. H. Burns, who lived in the home purchased by the government in 1871. From this home on the corner of Liberty and Grand Street, he would walk each night to hang the lantern inside Vermilion’s lens. He would also wash the windows around the prism twice a week.
Initially, oil for the lantern was stored in the keeper’s house. It was not until 1906 that an oil shed, accommodating 540 gallons, was built just south of the lighthouse. The lamp was converted to acetylene in 1919, and then eventually into an electric beacon. Its white light would blink one second on, seven seconds off. Ultimately, it was replaced by a steady red beam.
The 1877 lighthouse performed its duties faithfully for over half a century, shining its light for both commercial and pleasure boats. During this time, it was moved closer to the end of the pier (25 feet from the outer end), and survived multiple collisions with watercraft. Eventually it was put under the care of Lorain Lighthouse’s assistant keeper, and in the early 1920s, the Vermilion keeper’s home was sold to the local Masonic Lodge.
In the summer of 1929, Theodore and Ernest Wakefield, teenagers at the time, noticed that the Vermilion Lighthouse was leaning toward the river. Most likely, the lighthouse pier had suffered damage in an icy storm earlier that year. The Wakefield boys reported what they had seen to their father, Commodore Frederick William Wakefield, who contacted the U.S. Lighthouse Service in Cleveland. The U. S. Corps of Engineers came to Vermilion and determined that the light was indeed unstable. Within a week, the lighthouse had been dismantled. In its place, a steep-sided 18-foot steel pyramidal tower was erected. The new structure, called a "functional disgrace," continued to shine a red light, but since it was automated, no lighthouse keeper was needed.
Commodore Wakefield offered to purchase the old lighthouse and move it to his property, Harbor View, but his request was denied. Instead, the cast-iron pieces were loaded up and hauled away. The residents of Vermilion were sad to see their beloved lighthouse go. No one told them what the fate of the old lighthouse would be, and its whereabouts were unknown until many years later.
Ted Wakefield, one of the young men who had noticed the lighthouse leaning in 1929, had very fond memories of Vermilion’s past and its lighthouse. As an adult, he put his efforts into encouraging downtown Vermilion to maintain its historical 19th century appearance. His childhood home, Harbor View, was donated to Bowling Green State University and later sold to the Great Lakes Historical Society. Built of gravel from Lake Erie in 1909, the old house became the main structure of the society's Inland Seas Maritime Museum. This gave Ted an idea. He decided that a replica of the 1877 lighthouse would be the perfect complement to it.
Ted spearheaded a fund-raising campaign to build the new lighthouse. Funds were raised by mailing out brochures, writing articles in the local paper, and collecting donations at the museum. By 1991, Ted and his fellow fund-raisers had collected $55,000---enough to build a 16-foot replica of Vermilion’s 1877 lighthouse. Architect Robert Lee Tracht of Huron prepared the plans, which were approved by the city, county, and state authorities, but only after a long delay. Even the U.S. Coast Guard approved the plans for making the light a working lighthouse, right down to its steady red light. Again, a company in Buffalo fabricated the lighthouse.
Ground was broken for the new lighthouse on July 24, 1991, by Mayor Alex Angney. The 25,000-pound base of the replica lighthouse, measuring 15 feet in diameter, was brought to Vermilion on a flatbed truck. Cranes were used to place it onto the foundation. According to rumors, before the base was attached to the foundation, an 1877 gold piece was placed under the vertex of the octahedron that would point true north. It seems only fitting that a piece of 1877 be part of the new lighthouse’s foundation.
The tower was raised in less than three hours on October 23, 1991. The lantern and roof were attached the next day, and a fifth-order Fresnel lens (owned by the museum) was mounted. The tower was electrically wired, and an incandescent 200-watt lamp with Edison-base was installed. A red glass cylinder surrounded the lamp to make the replica complete. The new Vermilion Lighthouse was dedicated on June 6, 1992, and is still operational today. It serves not only as part of the museum, but also as an active aid to navigation.
Shortly after their new light was built, the residents of Vermilion learned what had become of their original lighthouse. Amazingly, the structure had not been destroyed after its removal. In fact, it was still shining, and had been for the last 59 years.
Once the lighthouse had been dismantled in 1929, it was transported to Buffalo, New York, where it was renovated. Six years later, in 1935, the lighthouse was given a new home and a new charge---on Lake Ontario. Sitting off Cape Vincent at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Vermilion Lighthouse was given a fifth-order Fresnel lens and renamed East Charity Shoal Lighthouse. The light remains an active aid to navigation, with its modern optic (installed in 1992) displayed at a 52-foot focal plane.
East Charity Shoal Lighthouse
The steamship Rosedale was built at Sunderland, England in 1888 and on her maiden run completed the first ever direct voyage from London to Chicago via the St. Lawrence River and Welland Canal. This accomplishment caused great excitement in the American maritime community, as it proved that grains from the elevators in Chicago, and other ports on the Great Lakes, could be shipped to London without transshipment. Though her first sailing caused a stir, every trip did not turn out quite so well. On December 5, 1897, the Rosedale grounded upon the rocks of East Charity Shoal during a northwest gale. The vessel was abandoned to her underwriters, but was eventually towed off by a wrecking company, and, after being rebuilt, returned to service.
During the summer of 1900, John C. Churchill, Jr. visited Charity Shoal to survey and chart the outlying spur known as East Charity Shoal. This hazard, which was about 3,000 feet long and at some points covered by just ten feet of water, lay in the line of transit for vessels using the St. Lawrence River and was thus a great peril to navigation. Later that year, the Lighthouse Board moved to mark the obstacle and issued the following Notice to Mariners: “Notice is hereby given that a nun buoy painted red and numbered 2 has been placed in twenty feet of water to mark the easterly edge of East Charity shoal, Lake Ontario, New York. This buoy is about 1 3/8 miles E.S.E. of Charity shoal gas buoy. It is recommended that vessels bound to or from the main channel of the St. Lawrence river, and using the passage between Galloo and Main Duck Islands, should keep to the eastward of this buoy.”
This navigational buoy didn’t prevent all mishaps, as in October of 1912 the steamer Rock Ferry ran aground on East Charity Shoal, and tugs had to be dispatched in an attempt to free her. The Lighthouse Service eventually opted for a more permanent method of marking the shoal, and in May of 1934 newspapers in upstate New York advertised that sealed proposals would be accepted by the Superintendent of Lighthouses in Buffalo for a “timber crib-concrete superstructure” on East Charity Shoal.
The Walls Company was selected as the contractor for the project and had completed enough of the structure so that a temporary light was established on the south side of the crib on November 24, 1934. The foundation consisted of a fifty foot square crib, whose height varied from eleven to fourteen feet to fit the shoal. Constructed ashore in an inverted position, the crib was launched, righted, towed to the site, and sunk in place using stone and interlocking blocks of pre-cast concrete. A reinforced concrete slab was placed over the entire pier and atop this a one-story deckhouse, also of reinforced concrete and octagonal in form, was built to support an octagonal iron tower. After the tower was installed on the deckhouse in 1935, a fourth-order Fresnel lens was placed in the tower’s lantern room and, using acetylene as the illuminant, a 1,300 candlepower light was produced at a focal plane of fifty-two feet above low water depth. The entire project, including riprap to protect the foundation, cost $95,125.
The octagonal iron tower at East Charity Shoal has the distinction of having served at two stations and on two different Great Lakes. It was first installed in 1877 at the end of a pier in Vermilion, Ohio to mark the entrance to the Vermilion River from Lake Erie. After the beacon had been in service for over fifty years, two teenage brothers, who lived next to the harbor, noticed that the lighthouse had developed a lean after the pier had been damaged by an ice storm. The father of the two boys contacted the Lighthouse Service, and not long thereafter the heavy tower was replaced by a much lighter automated tower.
The residents of Vermilion were fond of the old red and white pierhead beacon, and when the octagonal tower was taken away it was as if a member of the community had been lost. Years later, after his childhood home had been converted into the Inland Seas Maritime Museum, Ted Wakefield, one of the two boys who had noticed the lean, championed a fundraising drive to build a replica of the 1877 tower for the museum grounds. His dream was realized during the summer of 1991, when a crane lifted the newly cast tower onto its prepared foundation overlooking Lake Erie.
For years, Vermilionites did not know the fate of the 1877 lighthouse. Most thought it had ended up on the scrap heap, but the real answer was revealed to Vermilion when Olin M. Stevens, of Columbus, Ohio, visited the Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Stevens came seeking additional information on his grandfather, Olin W. Stevens, who was a third generation lighthouse keeper, and when he learned the museum was trying to determine the fate of the 1877 tower, he realized he had just recently found the answer. While searching for information on his ancestors to give to his grandchildren, Stevens opened an old trunk and discovered a newspaper article that told about the service of his grandfather at Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. A portion of the article read, “Altho this is his first duty on Lake Ontario, Charity Shoal light, visible from the Tibbett's Point headland, is an old friend. The tower upholding the gas lamp on Charity formerly was under Keeper Stevens’ charge at Vermilion, near Lorain. Victim of an ice shove, it was salvaged and taken to Buffalo, where it was assigned to Charity.” The mystery had been solved.
Although the East Charity Shoal Lighthouse was never manned, it was still responsible for saving the life of at least one individual. Dr. Joseph G. Reidel, a 37-year-old physician from Syracuse, was sailing on Lake Ontario with his wife and Dr. and Mrs. W. Hall of Watertown on August 5, 1955, when winds estimated at 70mph struck their dragon class sloop. Dr. Reidel was washed overboard by the wind-whipped sea and for an hour was able to tread water and keep sight of the sailboat while his wife and friends desperately tried to rescue him or get him a lifejacket. Neither effort was successful, and Dr. Reidel was presumed lost. As it started to get dark, Reidel noticed the glint of a lighthouse and decided to swim towards it. Reidel swallowed a lot of water and suffered leg cramps for a stretch of forty minutes, but as he struggled to stay afloat he kept repeating to himself, “This can’t happen to me but it will unless I get there.”
After more than eight hours in the water, Reidel pulled himself up onto the pier at East Charity Shoal. Exhausted, he soon fell asleep and was rescued at 5:30 a.m. the following morning by three fishermen. Reidel was eventually taken to Cape Vincent, where he was reunited with his wife and friends.
Though alone and surrounded by a vast body of water, East Charity Shoal Lighthouse will always be cherished by the residents of Vermilion and a grateful physician from Syracuse.
In July of 2008, the East Charity Shoal Lighthouse was declared surplus by the Coast Guard and pursuant to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 was "made available at no cost to eligible entities defined as federal, state and local agencies, non-profit corporations, educational agencies, or community development organizations for education, park, recreation, cultural, or historic preservation purposes."
Mayor Forthofer and Chief Hartung advise residents that the holiday reprieve from the city wide parking ban has ended. Resuming today, January 2, 2019, a city wide parking ban is in effect. Requests for exceptions should be directed to the VPD.
452.14 ALL NIGHT PARKING DURING WINTER MONTHS.
(a) During the period from December 1 of each year to March 31 of each succeeding year, no person shall park a motor vehicle on public streets and thoroughfares in the City between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. of each day in areas of the City which are classified by the City zoning laws as being residential areas or commercial areas.
(b) In areas of the City in which driveways or other spaces for the parking of motor vehicles off the streets and thoroughfares are not reasonably available, the Chief of Police is hereby authorized to grant permission, at his or her discretion, to the owners of motor vehicles to park their motor vehicles in the streets and thoroughfares during the time period covered by this section. Such permission may be granted by the Chief after the owner of the motor vehicle has requested permission from the Chief. Such permission shall require that the motor vehicle owner comply with all other applicable parking regulations.
(Ord. 84-23. Passed 3-19-84.)
(c) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense; on a second offense within one year after the first offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; on each subsequent offense within one year after the first offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Vintage Crossings has announced plans to relocate to Vermilion, Ohio. Formerly Vintage Lighting of Amherst, Vintage Crossings has purchased the old Sand Bar building across from the entrance to Whispering Shores at 2813 Liberty Avenue. The building has been vacant for over 10 years. Significant improvements are planned.
Vintage Lighting & Supply, currently located at 201 Park Avenue in Amherst, Ohio, offers parts and supplies for lamp assembly and repair, as well as finished products. Owners Tim and Jean Olney want to expand the business and require more space. Tim is a Vermilion native who graduated from Vermilion High School.
The storefront will be renamed Vintage Crossings when relocated to Vermilion, while online sales will continue under the name Vintage Wire & Supply Co at www.vintagewireandsupply.com.
The Vermilion building will offer 6,000 square feet, with three acres to allow for additional storage space. In addition, the added space will allow room for workshops and classes.
Mark your calendars. Be a part of the annual Vermilion Beach Market at Sherod Park, Friday, August 2 from 3 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday, August 3 from 9 am to 4 pm. Shop by the beach from over 70 vendors for vintage, shabby and chic decor including furniture, architectural salvage, as well as new handcrafted goods, jewelry, clothing, art and more! Free admission. Free on-site parking. Rain or shine.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Sherod Park is 5 minutes west of the charming Harbourtown district in downtown Vermilion - at the intersection of Lake Road (Rt 6) and Coen Road. This expansive park features green space, trees, natural areas, a beach, walking trails, a par course, a playground and two picnic pavilions (both reserved for this event). The park overlooks breathtaking Lake Erie. Stay late to enjoy the sunset!
The Vermilion Beach Market welcomes over 70 talented and inspiring vendors on board for this annual event. The vendors will be located in the northwest corner of the park, in a grassy area just steps from the beach.
A portion of the proceeds from this annual event will be donated to the Vermilion Parks & Recreation Department for the beautification of and improvements to Sherod Park.