The September 18, 2017 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society began with a favorable treasurer’s report and old business concerning exterior painting and removal of unused wires, as well as a look forward to the group’s installation at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase on October 12. The focus will be on inventions and inventors from Garrettsville and the surrounding community, thanks to secretary Pam Montgomery’s extensive research on U.S. patent filings. A raffle basket for the giveaways will reflect some of these inventions and community resources.
Under new business, Sarah Carley will be working on arrangements for the group to tour Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, the site of James A. Garfield’s grave and an architectural treasure. The James A. Garfield Elementary School third grade will be making their annual tour of the Mott Building and they will be followed by the Friday Club, the Girl Scouts, and the volunteer group from Lawnfield, the Garfield Home in Mentor Ohio , part of the National Park System. The Mott Building is also open on the first Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The JAGHS is still collecting pictures and uniforms of persons from the area who have served in the armed services; this is to furnish the military room which is being organized upstairs. Donations have come in from Will Folger—books, picture; from the estate of Garland Randall—pictures, map; a book by Hazel Davis; some miniature wicker, ladder-back chairs by Charles Ayers. Still being sought, James A. Garfield High School yearbooks from the year 2000 to the present.
The JAGHS regularly meets on the third Monday of the month, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mott Building, Main St., Garrettsville.
On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the James A. Garfield Historical Society hosted local history buffs at a program presented by local-boy-made-good, Scott Lawless, who came to speak about his research on “the trolley” which used to connect Hiram and Garrettsville to Chagrin Falls and on to Cleveland. His investigations were illustrated with numerous antique pictures and an authentic trolley sound track. The Q and A period after brought interested inquiries and more information to be pursued.
Operating under various names—Cleveland and Eastern Traction Company, Cleveland, Youngstown and Eastern Railway, Chagrin Falls and Eastern Ohio, “the Maple Leaf Route”—this short-lived transportation enterprise had tracks whose remnants may be found in a number of locations in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Portage counties; the end of the line, for real, was on State Street in Garrettsville. A fair number of historical societies have pictures and memorabilia connected to its operation, which lasted from 1903 to 1914. This electric-power line eventually fell victim to the more powerful Erie Railroad and the financial vicissitudes of the times. The small generators which made the cars go were probably not up to the challenge of the local hills. Hiram’s James Barrow Field Station has some evidence of its operation, the odd building here and there has a connection all the way up in Newbury or Middlefield. Pictures, antiques and family lore from all around echo the real details of its operation. One brochure for the railroad advertised the Parkland Hotel in Garrettsville (Probably near the present site of Johnson Service or Middlefield Bank) and listed the price of a Sunday dinner as 50 cents.
Those were the days!