Historic Landmarks

Historic Landmark Application

Pittsfield Township Civil War Monument

Location: Intersection of State Routes 58 and 303, northwest corner, Pittsfield.
(see maps)

Approved as Landmark October 28, 2009

Owner: Township; Trustees signed a resolution which gave permission to the Pittsfield Historical Society to apply for and accept status as a Lorain County Historic Landmark.

Description: This monument, composed of Barre and Quincy granite, stands 22' and 4". It stands on a pad of sandstone at the NW corner of the intersection of State Routes 58 and 303, in an area landscaped and with lighting that it shares with a smaller monument dedicated to all Pittsfield residents that have served in Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam.

The monument is composed of numerous different layers, the first two serve as a base and above that, the third layer is engraved with the names of the four battles in which Township residents fought. Two layers above that is a layer of dark granite 40" high with the names of all 102 residents that fought in the Civil War, with the names of the 21 who died on the south side. Above that is a layer with the symbols of the four branches of the military engraved into cut circles. Next is two layers of flat-top pyramidal shape, the highest having the names of four generals engraved on its four sides. Then there are four layers of granite with the first significantly smaller in size to give the appearance that all layers and the statue above are floating. The statue is of a single soldier standing at rest with a flag in left hand.

Significance: In the spring of 1895 the citizens of the township of Pittsfield passed a 2 mill levy for the purpose of erecting a monument, to be located in Pittsfield Center, to honor the service and sacrifice of those who had served and those who had died in the Civil War. The exact location for the monument was the subject of some debate, with letters written to the local press about such (copied provided). The Soldiers' and Sailors' Association of Lorain County held their annual 18th annual reunion in Pittsfield Center and dedicated the monument on August 13, 1894. 

The dedication begun and ended with the lowering and raising of a silk flag with its own history. It had been purchased in 1804 and offered as a prize to the Lorain County township that showed the greatest increase in Republican vote in the November Presidential election over the previous election. It had been won by Pittsfield. 

After the Palm Sunday tornado of 1965, the monument was the only structure remaining; all community and residential structures had been destroyed.

Staff Recommendation: Staff recommended approval of this nominee as a historic landmark. It met all three category requirements: it is 115 years old; and, its integrity is intact, with the only changes being in the area around it (landscaping, new monument, roads now are state roads with state assigned numbers). The significance requirement was met on several levels: it is a monument to the Civil War. It is a testament to civic pride and dedication in that it was funded with a tax levy, and it is significant as the only structure remaining after the Tornado destroyed all else in Pittsfield Center.

Elyria City Hall

131 Court Street, Elyria
(see maps)

Approved as a Landmark July 23, 2008

Owner: City of Elyria, 131 Court Street, Elyria

Description: This building is a combination of two historic buildings and one new building. The three sections are, from north to south: the rehabilitated Turner block, the rehabilitated and reconstructed first City Hall and the new building. In 1903 the Turner Block was built by the daughter of Artemis Beebe, one of Elyria's founding families, as a commercial structure in the busy downtown. The next, center section, is the original Town Hall which contained office and meeting rooms, council chambers and an engine house for firefighters. In 1879 an opera house was added to the back (west) side, it could hold nearly 1000 attendees and hosted such notables as Gilbert and Sullivan and Georgie Drew Barrymore. In 1936-37 the decorative cornice and mansard-roofed towers were removed.

Age: The original City Hall built in 1867, with alterations in 1879 and 1936-37 and the Turner Block built in 1903 meet the criteria for age. The new section does not.

Integrity: This building raises several questions regarding its historic integrity. 

The Turner Block retains most of its character defining traits. The exception is windows and doors. The second and third floor window openings have been retained with new aluminum windows replacing the wood. The first floor no longer has its two doors leading to two separate businesses. The interior stairway and decorative atrium skylight and light fixtures have been retained, as has the trim for the interior office doorways and transoms. The original City Hall has retained many of its original features. New cornice and mansard-style roofs above the towers with ornamental metalwork were built and added. They are based on historic photos and designed to match the original, but they are without the original building's dormers. And though the original windows have been replaced with aluminum windows they retain the original openings and shapes. Though the doors have also been replaced, the decorative stonework has been retained. The portico over the main door was not retained (it was probably removed some time ago).

The new building, while it has no historic integrity, is an example of infill designed to embrace the essential features of the historic (three-story, brick, stone lintels and sills, window and door pattern) buildings, to which it is now joined. 

Significance: As a commercial structure built by one of Elyria's leading families the Turner Block tells a story of commercial development in this community. The Turner and City Hall sections are contributors to the National Register-listed Elyria Downtown/West River Historic District. As the first City Hall in the county seat the middle section tells the story of government in the rapidly growing community. The new section does not have historic significance. The entire building, however, with the bank building on the north corner does retain this block's government and banking functions. Glass atriums connect each of three sections of Elyria City Hall.

Thomas Folger Home

32770 Lake Road, Avon Lake
(see maps)

Approved as County Landmark April 26, 2006

Owner: City of Avon Lake. Applicant: Avon Lake Landmarks Preservation Society (ALLPS)

This house was built as a summer home on Lake Erie for Thomas Folger in 1902. Upon his return from the Civil War Mr. Folger purchased 265 acres in Avon Lake, this summer home was built on the northern 40 acres where Mr. Folgers started his grape growing business. Mr. Folger was Mayor of Elyria and an important wine vintner in the Village of Avon Lake. As Mayor of Elyria he oversaw the conversion from gas to electric streetlights. 

After the death of his widow, Mrs. Folger in 1922, the three daughters sold the house. It changed hands many times between then and its purchase by the Avon Township in 1926. The village, and then the city, used the building for many purposes including office for the first full-time clerk, the Municipal Court and as city hall and then as a recreation center and for public and private meetings and social events. In the 1950s and 60s the city leased a part of the building for operation of a refreshment stand for beach goers. ALLPS now has a lease on the building and plans to return it to its community role.

Age: At 104 years this house met this criterion.

Significance: Built as the home of a local wine vintner and the Mayor of Elyria, the home was associated with a significant person in Lorain County history. As Avon Village's town hall and municipal court the building is significant for its role in local government. For its role in local events, dances and beach recreation the house is significant for its role in recreation. This house meets several significance criteria.

Integrity: This two-story, gable-end, wood frame house has a two-story, central projection with entrance way and gable roof. ALLPS has removed the steel siding and repaired and replaced, as needed, the shingles. In the interior they have removed several partition walls and installed a new hardwood floor on the first floor. This house meets the integrity criterion.

Charleston Cemetery; Old Bank Street Cemetery

Approved as County Landmark April 26, 2006

Location: Between 6th and 7th Street and just off Oberlin and Hamilton Avenues, Lorain.
(see maps)

City of Lorain. Applicant: Diane Medina.

In 1828 the trustees of Black River Township purchased 90 square rods (one square rod is equal to 30.25 square yards) at this site for a resident burial site. Today the site is less than one acre and is located in a residential neighborhood. It has an asphalt sidewalk down the middle. While many of the gravesites, including grave markers, were demolished, moved and destroyed over the years, the site is original and several gravesites have been identified. These include city founders Daniel T. Baldwin and Barna Meeker, Augustus Silverthorne, a civil war veteran and Clarissa Kneeland Porter, whose descendents were leading merchants.

Age: At 178 years, this cemetery meets the age criterion.

Significance: As the city of Lorain's first burial site, purchased by the township trustees, this site was very important to the community's development. Careful research and documentation has identified and reclaimed the gravesites of several of Lorain's early settlers. The cemetery meets this criterion for its significance in the development and growth of this community.

Integrity: This site is smaller than the original and most headstones have been lost, however, the site is original and the city retains its ownership and caretaker responsibility.

Recommendation: While the integrity of this site has been seriously challenged through reduction in size and new construction on all four sides, I recommend that the network approve this site as a county landmark.