Deborah Rossman's blog

The Presidential Campaign of 1840

Politics ran high in 1840 throughout the United States, and Dover was no exception. Large delegations came from adjoining townships to a mass meeting here, including a group from Avon, and from Sheffield. The wagon was hitched to thirty-two yoke of oxen in one string, decorated with coon skins, and complete with a barrel of hard cider. A donkey cart headed the cavalcade and was adorned with a sign, Sub-Treasury, a deliberate rebuke to the Van Buren administration since it failed to enact certain favored banking laws.

Dover Center School

About 1870 in Dover Township, the 1839 frame school house on Dover Center Road south of Center Ridge was replaced by a two story building on the west side of the road. Because of its central location, the upstairs room became a school for advanced learning for the young people living in the area. Here students prepared for college entrance, for teachers’ examinations, or for positions as bookkeepers. The teacher, R. T. Elliott, was well-versed on all subjects. The two-story building was tall and narrow, with a ladder from the second story into the belfry. It is said that on Halloween, some of the boys in Dover would push and pull a neighborhood goat up into that belfry. The Dover Center School served as a center for advanced learning until the Red Brick School was built at the turn of the century.

Nickel Plate Railroad

While attending church in 1883, the Clifton Aldrich family of Dover Township heard that the trestle across Rocky River had been completed, and the first train would be traveling through to Lorain. Mr. Aldrich hitched the team to the big farm wagon. Even before the locomotive whistle was heard down the line, the Aldrich children climbed into the wagon and rode to Bassett Road to watch the first train rumble through Dover. Along with the coming of the railroad, the town of Dover needed a station stop. Dover Center Road was chosen for the site. The Depot, also known as Dover Station, was built on the north side of the tracks.

Betsey Crocker

Betsey Crocker was the first school teacher in Dover Township, Ohio. Betsey taught in a log schoolhouse on the lake shore in 1816. The school stood five “rods” from Lake Erie on the north side of Lake Road, a 36 foot square building, never painted, and without the benefit of a fence surrounding it. A 20 foot woodshed was attached to the school’s east side. Rows of seats lined the west, north and east walls inside the school building.

"The Cow Shed"

In 1852 John Wilson, a graduate of Oberlin College, founded the Dover Academy as a private school for Dover Village scholars who wished an education above the eighth grade. Wilson's Academy was located about 50 feet south of where the Red Brick building now stands. Mr. Wilson retired in 1860, and since the school could not compete with free public education, it was abandoned in 1862.
In 1898 the Academy began to function as the Dover Public High School. Classes were held in one large room with four grades and two teachers. The first few classes graduated in a three year program.

Jiggers the Cat

Past patrons of Westlake Porter Public Library may remember the affectionate and playful mascot that took up residence at the library in the autumn of 1981. Jiggers appeared at the door one chilly day and quickly won the hearts of library personnel and patrons. The tabby adopted the building, making it her home. She joined the staff, doing her part to keep the old building free of mice and chipmunks and wandering the stacks at will.

The Clague House Museum Closed for Renovation

The Clague House Museum located at 1371 Clague Road, Westlake, Ohio, is now closed for renovation.
Westlake Porter Public Library will continue to display a scale model of the museum created by The Cleveland Miniature Society and on loan from The Westlake Historical Society. The replica may be viewed in the lobby of the library.

Industry in Dover Village (1813-1930)

Joseph Cahoon built the first Grist Mill in Dover in 1813. The mill stones were quarried from the bed of Cahoon Creek and were said to mill fine flour. Soonafter, saw mills were established in the area to consume raw timber. Asheries produced potash, about the only commodity farmers could sell for cash to pay taxes during that era. And so it was that Dover became a town.
Trade was common, since money was scarce in the area. A sheet iron manufacturer in Cleveland accepted the following items for trade: rags, pewter, brass, copper, feathers, bristles, beeswax, furs, ginseng, and dried peaches and apples. In 1827, Mrs. Coolidge’s Cleveland millinery establishment advertised that the company would accept butter, cheese, dried peaches and apples in exchange for a stylish hat. Surely, a fine bargain!

Famous Westlaker

Robert F. Overmyer was born on July 14, 1936, in Lorain, Ohio, but the future astronaut considered Westlake his hometown. The Overmyer family lived on Canterbury Road. Robert was nicknamed “Bucky” as a child after a favorite cowboy star of the era. He worked at Dean’s Greenhouse while he was in school. Bucky graduated from Westlake High School in 1954, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Baldwin Wallace College in 1958. He then received a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics from the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1964.

Dover Literary Society

In Dover Township, Ohio in the year 1882 a group of local young people joined together to create a social and intellectual group called the Dover Literary Society. The Society’s Constitution stated the following: “Wishing to form an effective organization for the purpose of mutual help and improvement and as one of the means to this end to establish and sustain a Library.”
The Dover Literary Society planned a variety of readings and concerts since its conception, soliciting talented performers from as far away as Oberlin, Ohio. Debates were planned well in advance and included controversial topics of the time: Does poverty or riches develop the character best? Is prohibition more effective than license against the evils of intemperance? Which was the greater president, Washington or Lincoln?