Exhibit: Cascade Locks Park, Akron

Text By: Jack Geick
Design By: Gregory Wilson, University of Akron

Looking south upstream from Lock 12 in the Cascade Locks. The wooden gates at the ends of the locks were washed out during the 1913 flood.

Akron’s Cascade Locks are a unique artifact left over from Ohio’s canal era—an era that began in 1825, and ended in 1913 in a catastrophic flood. They are the remains of a steep staircase of seven locks on the Ohio & Erie Canal that permitted canal boats to ascend 70 feet in less than half a mile to reach the Akron Summit—the highest point in on a canal more than three hundred miles long. The Cascade Locks were part of the canal system that transformed Ohio from a primitive wilderness into the third most populous state in the union. Continue reading Exhibit: Cascade Locks Park, Akron

Notes & Comments: The Cleveland Memory Project: an On-line Database for Research and Education

By: William C. Barrow, Cleveland State University
Chair, The Greater Cleveland History Digital Library Consortium

The Cleveland Memory Project, (www.ClevelandMemory.org), is a digital library of texts, images, sound, and video on the history of greater Cleveland and the Western Reserve region of northeastern Ohio. Over 17,000 images, the complete contents of two dozen local area history books, and a growing number of audio and video files are available free of charge for use by patrons world-wide.

Hosted by the Cleveland State University Library, Cleveland Memory draws upon the Library’s valuable holdings in Special Collections, augmented by materials provided by institutional and individual partners. For example, Special Collections is the home to the Cleveland Press Collection, whose half-million photographs are sampled in Cleveland Memory. Another collection, the Cleveland Union Terminal Collection, has contributed nearly 6,000 images of the Terminal Tower complex under construction in the 1920s. Continue reading Notes & Comments: The Cleveland Memory Project: an On-line Database for Research and Education

Book Review: Along the Towpath

Along the Towpath, A Journalist Rediscovers the Ohio & Erie Canal. By Al Simpson. (Akron, OH : The University of Akron Libraries, 2003. 248 pp. $29.95, ISBN 0-9743507-0-2.

Along the Towpath, A Journalist Rediscovers the Ohio & Erie Canal is an interesting read in that it documents the development of the Ohio and Erie Canal Corridor from its embryonic stages until the canal lands were “saved” by local government units when the state of Ohio chose to divest itself of the responsibility for these historic lands. The story could easily be dismissed as an esoteric bonding of two men who shared a passion for the preservation of the Ohio and Lake Erie Canal in Stark County, Ohio. Their mission started innocently enough when a local politician invited a reporter from the Canton Repository to join him on a hike from Canal Fulton to Navarre along the banks of the canal in Stark County. The rest is history. Continue reading Book Review: Along the Towpath

Book Review: Opening Day

Opening Day: Cleveland, the Indians, and a New Beginning. By Jonathan Knight. (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2004.  200 pp.  Paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-87338-815-1.)

Writing a narrative about one’s favorite sports franchise can be a steep hill to climb for an author wanting to connect with a mainstream audience.  The most sincere testimony to such a love affair does not guarantee relevance, or even the interest of those outside the flock.  In Opening Day: Cleveland, the Indians, and a New Beginning, however, Jonathan Knight has navigated the recent history of “The Tribe” in an engaging manner that can enlighten, and be appreciated by even the non-baseball fan.  For this book is as much about the Indian fans of Northeast Ohio as it is about the team itself.

The core of the book surrounds the first game played at Jacob’s Field, Cleveland’s sparkling jewel of a new stadium, on Opening Day, 1994. Continue reading Book Review: Opening Day

Book Review: William McKinley and His America

William McKinley and His America, Revised Edition. By H. Wayne Morgan. (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2003. vii, 488 pp. Hardcover, $55.00, ISBN 0-87338-765-1.)

History has not been kind to presidents elected from Ohio.  The Buckeye State’s native sons are remembered as less-than-stellar chief executives, responsible for sins ranging from scandal to lechery, or as colorless party hacks who left little impact on the nation.  William McKinley has often fallen into this latter category, portrayed as an indecisive and dull-witted puppet of big business.  Four decades ago, H. Wayne Morgan challenged these generalizations with the publication of William McKinley and His America.  What emerged was a refreshingly different McKinley: independent, strong-willed, and sympathetic to the working masses.  Fresh on the heels of the centennial of McKinley’s presidency, Kent State University Press has released Morgan’s revised and expanded biography of America’s twenty-fifth commander-in-chief. Continue reading Book Review: William McKinley and His America

Book Review: The Struggle for the Life of the Republic

The Struggle for the Life of the Republic: A Civil War Narrative by Brevet Major Charles Dana Miller, 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Edited by Stewart Bennett and Barbara Tillery (Kent: The Kent State University Pres, 2004. xxiii, 301 pp. $34.00, ISBN 0-87338-785 -6.)

Among the thousands of books stemming from the American Civil War, memoirs of soldiers, Union and Confederate, constitute an appreciable share.  Given the accumulation of such books, perhaps publishers considering expending print and paper on another manuscript of personalia should weigh several questions:  does it present a significant view of a battle or campaign, of leading military figures, of ordinary soldiers or of why men fight.  Though hardly remarkable on any of these counts, The Struggle for the Life of the Republic, a reminiscent narrative of Charles Dana Miller, a soldier from Ohio, deserves publication primarily because of his description of camp life.

The editors, Barbara Tillery, a descendant of Miller and a desktop publisher, and Stewart Bennett, a historian, have given order to a narrative that Miller composed sometime between 1869 and 1881. Continue reading Book Review: The Struggle for the Life of the Republic

“I Devise and Bequeath”: Property and Inheritance among the Scottish Highlanders in Scotch Settlement, Columbiana County, Ohio

By: Amanda Epperson

In the name of God Amen. I Alexander McIntosh of the County of Columbiana in the State of Ohio a farmer, being sick and weak in body, but of sound mind memory and understanding (blessed be to God for the same) do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following, to wit. Principally and first of all I commend my immortal soul into the hands of God who gave it, and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner at the discretion of my executors hereinafter named. And as to such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I give and dispose of in following manner to wit. . .[1. Columbiana County Probate Court, Estate Records, 1803-1900 (Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1996), Microfilm, vol. 4, pp. 32-34.]

With these, or similar, words, thousands of people have made decisions regarding the distribution of their worldly goods and at the same time unknowingly created an amazingly rich resource for historians. Continue reading “I Devise and Bequeath”: Property and Inheritance among the Scottish Highlanders in Scotch Settlement, Columbiana County, Ohio

In This Issue: Spring 2005

This edition of the Northeast Ohio Journal of History focuses for the first time on nineteenth century Ohio. In our feature article, “’I Devise and Bequeath’: Property and Inheritance among the Scottish Highlanders in Scotch Settlement, Columbiana County, Ohio,” Amanda Epperson discusses the social and economic implications of the wills and probate records of Scottish settlers in Columbiana County.

In keeping with the nineteenth-century theme, our virtual museum tour is Kyle Liston’s exhibit on John Brown. As this interpretation was on display until very recently at the Brown House of the Summit County Historical Society, more images will appear in this feature over the summer as the museum dismantles the exhibit.

For access to other images and artifacts from Northeast Ohio’s nineteenth-century past, be sure to read William Barrow’s overview of “The Cleveland Memory Project: an On-line Database for Research and Education” in our “Notes and Comments” section. An award-winning history site with over 17,000 images, documents, sound and film clips from Ohio ‘s past, the Cleveland Memory Project is an invaluable resource for researchers and students of Northeast Ohio History.

While you are visiting the journal, please take the time to drop by our new discussion board. Taking advantage of the technology available to us as an electronic journal, we believe this new feature will make our journal more interactive and serve to engender substantive debate, discussion, and exchange of information for all people interested in the history of Northeast Ohio.

In addition to the usual book reviews, we also encourage the reader to explore the other features of our site. For those who missed earlier issues, please visit our “Archives” link, which contains the entire contents of our first volume. We have expanded our “Research Links” feature, adding not only more primary sources but also more links to local historical agencies. We strongly encourage the reader to suggest or send new links for this page. The same is true for items in “Current History,” which is a clearinghouse for information on events of a historical nature in Northeast Ohio. Because we update this section constantly, please feel free to send announcements for it at any time.

We would also like to remind our readers that printer-friendly versions accompany each item. These PDF files are not only easier on the eyes when printed, but also contain basic issue data and page numbers for convenience in citation.

As always, please address any inquiries about this project (or about any other aspect of the journal) to the editor at kkern @ uakron. edu. We welcome all comments and suggestions.

Kevin Kern

Continue reading In This Issue: Spring 2005