Port re­ceives Vic­tory Park his­toric records

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Richard Pay­erchin rpay­[email protected]­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_Jour­nalRick on Twit­ter

The Lorain Port Au­thor­ity has agreed to lead preser­va­tion ef­forts for the city of Lorain Vic­tory Park, with its winged statue of Vic­tory.

Now the Port has an ar­chive of doc­u­ments that of­fer an in­side look at how World War I vet­er­ans and city lead­ers cre­ated the tribute to Lorain’s na­tive sons who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for free­dom in the Great War.

Lo­cal his­to­ri­ans de­liv­ered the pa­pers Jan. 8 dur­ing the Port Au­thor­ity board meet­ing.

The group in­cluded Lo­raine Ritchey and Diane Wargo-Me­d­ina of the Charleston Vil­lage So­ci­ety Inc., Carolyn and Frank Sip­kovsky of Lorain and Matt Na­horn and his fa­ther, Bill Na­horn, of Amherst.

“We’re very glad that the Port has taken con­trol of Vic­tory Park,” Ritchey said. “Or Peace Park, de­pend­ing upon which page of this you read.”

The group re­ceived a round of ap­plause from the Port board.

“Thank you for do­ing that,” Port board Chair­man Brad Mullins said. “It’s peo­ple like your­selves that pre­serve the his­tory of Lorain.”

“It’s a tough job,” Ritchey said.

“I know it is, but I’ll tell you what: It’s much ap­pre­ci­ated,” Mullins said.

“Lorain moves its his­tory around like dated decor — just put it over here some­where,” Ritchey said.

Honor­ing the dead

Vic­tory Park is a tri­an­gle-shaped plot at the in­ter­sec­tion of West Fifth Street and West Erie Av­enue.

The lo­cal his­to­ri­ans were up­set about re­cent state­ments that the park was just put there, Ritchey said.

In 2011, the city was go­ing to dis­pose of the orig­i­nal doc­u­men­ta­tion about the park, she said.

“This was a big deal,” Ritchey said. “This was the Great War. It was the war that was go­ing to end all wars. There was no World War II, Korea, none of that.

“And peo­ple in this town de­cided they were go­ing to honor that.”

Wargo-Me­d­ina be­came known lo­cally for her ef­forts to re­store the his­toric Charleston Ceme­tery, the city’s old­est burial ground.

She saved the pa­pers when the city threw them away and pre­sented the pa­pers to the Charleston Vil­lage So­ci­ety.

“We thought, as an ex­ec­u­tive board, that who­ever ended up with the park, should end up with the orig­i­nal doc­u­men­ta­tion so it’s not lost again, so that you all know the his­tory of that park,” Ritchey said.

“It is fas­ci­nat­ing read­ing,” she said.

In the ar­chives

In the re­cent pub­lic de­bate about the park, news out­lets cited a num­ber of news­pa­per re­ports from the time to ex­plain the mas­sive pub­lic turnout when the park was ded­i­cated April 6, 1922.

The Port records go be­yond that.

The statue of Vic­tory would cost $65,000 in to­day’s dol­lars.

City lead­ers spent months cor­re­spond­ing with foundries to cre­ate the mon­u­ment, Ritchey said.

The pa­pers in­clude orig­i­nal let­ters about plans, com­pa­nies bid­ding to build the mon­u­ment and the un­veil­ing.

The records are com­piled in a black binder; a CDROM has scanned copies.

Port staff want to find a way to dis­play the records so the pa­pers are pro­tected, but also that peo­ple are aware of them, Brown said.

“Just the fact that this was go­ing to go in the Dump­ster and they saved it, is pretty re­mark­able,” said Lorain Port Au­thor­ity Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Tom Brown.

Read­ing just the news ar­ti­cle about the ded­i­ca­tion of the park is fas­ci­nat­ing, Brown said.

“The speeches those gen­tle­men made that day, no­body makes speeches like that any­more, I’ll just say that point blank,” he said.

Im­prove­ments com­ing

Once the Port re­ceives the ti­tle to the land, there will be im­prove­ments and on­go­ing main­te­nance, pos­si­bly in time for Me­mo­rial Day, Brown said.

The trans­fer of doc­u­ments came af­ter about two months of re­newed pub­lic at­ten­tion about Vic­tory Park.

On Nov. 5, 2018, Lorain City Coun­cil voted to sell the two parcels of land that make up Vic­tory Park.

The city leg­is­la­tion stated the city would “ad­ver­tise for bids for the sale and sell of real prop­erty no longer needed for mu­nic­i­pal pur­poses.”

City lead­ers and the Louis Paul Proy Chap­ter No. 20 of Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans later clar­i­fied the in­ten­tion for the city to trans­fer part of the land to the neigh­bor­ing DAV post.

But the Coun­cil ac­tion sparked days of de­bate on the park and mon­u­ments.

On Nov. 11, Vet­er­ans Day, the city and Port an­nounced the joint plan for the Port to take over main­te­nance of the park.

That day also was the 100year an­niver­sary of the armistice that ended fight­ing of World War I.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.