Vermilion Ohio News #History


On December 25, people around the world celebrate Christmas. Some people celebrate by giving gifts. Children may be thanking Santa Claus for new toys. They may also be going to church with their families. Christmas has so many traditions and symbols associated with it that it's hard to determine exactly how it came to be the celebration it is today. Christmas has been celebrated around the globe.

Brownhelm Community Christmas takes place December 24th, annually. Santas visit homes in Old Brownhelm delivering gifts, candy and fruit. In 1931 a young child, 8 years old, was told there wouldn’t be any Christmas presents for her. The Great Depression had taken its tole on Northern Ohio and her father was out of work. The little girl confided the heartbreaking news to her pastor of the Brownhelm Congregational Church.

Kwanzaa, a Swahili word that means “first fruits,” is a seven-day festival that honors African heritage in African-American culture. Kwanzaa takes place each year in the United States from December 26 to January 1 and celebrates family and community through music, dance, poetry, storytelling and art. Maulana Karenga, an African-American civil rights activist, first established Kwanzaa in 1966.

Vermilion was once known as the "Village of Lake Captains," and no other place has so many captains' homes in its historic district. Vermilion was initially settled in the early 19th century and formed as a village in 1837. In 1840, the US Corps of Engineers finished building the tow piers at the mouth of the Vermilion which provided the depth builders needed to take boats into the lake.

Once a year, Jewish children all over the world play a game of chance called “dreidel” that uses four-sided spinning tops inscribed with Hebrew letters. The game is played during Hanukkah and commemorates a miraculous event that took place over 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. The game, like Hanukkah itself, recalls the victory of a small band of determined Jewish fighters, led by Judah Maccabee, over an army of invaders.

Today’s Thanksgiving holiday has roots in a number of celebrations that occurred centuries ago in different regions of North America. Native communities had regularly given thanks for nature’s gifts for centuries before the arrival of Europeans on the continent. In May 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led 1,500 men in a thanksgiving celebration in what is today the Texas Panhandle. Two decades later, French Huguenot colonists gave solemn praise .

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

It's a nightmarish scene in the countryside of Vermilion on Gore Road over one hundred years ago. A gigantic fire engulfs an old orphanage burning dozens of young children alive. Desperate to escape the inferno, the children on the second floor found the stairs blocked by flames. Dreadful screams of the children trapped inside the blazing building pierce the ears of horrified onlookers unable to stop the carnage.

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.

One of the first explorers of the Vermilion area was Simon Kenton (April 3, 1755 - April 29, 1836,) a famous United States frontiersman and friend of the renowned Daniel Boone, the infamous Simon Girty, and the valiant Spencer Records. Simon Kenton was born in the Bull Run Mountains, Prince William County, Virginia to Mark Kenton Sr. (an immigrant from Ireland).

Historical markers commemorate Crystal Beach Park at the north end of Nantucket Drive in Vermilion, Ohio. The markers are a collaborative effort of Crystal Shores Apartments and members of the family who used to operated the park. Craig Luther, 31, an Army veteran and reservist, is a maintenance technician for Crystal Shores Apartments.

Harbourtown Fine Arts Center seeks to preserve the past and build a future centered around the fine arts in Vermilion, Ohio. Located in the Vermilion Old Town Hall and Opera House, the Center hopes to restore the iconic building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1883 and completed in 1884, Old Town Hall was the center of the village of Vermilion.