Bay Village Library, part 1 Dover-by-the-Lake

As Bay Village prepares for the opening of its much-anticipated new library, we at the Bay Village Historical Society would like to share with you some library history from our collections.

The following early history of the library in Bay Village is from an article written by Bay Village Historical Society board member, Cynthia Eakin. It is part 1 of a three-part history that we will be sharing with you for the next few installments of Glimpse of the Past.

If you would like to find out even more about the library or Bay Village history in general, contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

We hope to see you at the Bay Village Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library during their Grand Opening, Saturday, April 30 from 2-5pm in the new location at 27400 Wolf Road.

History of the Bay Village Library—Part 1, by Cynthia Eakin

Cahoon Will established the first library in Bay Village

The first settler in Bay Village was Joseph Cahoon, whose youngest granddaughter, Ida Maria Cahoon, left the family estate to the city for a library.

The Cahoon family settled along the Indian trail, now Lake Road, in 1810. In 1818, their permanent home, called Rose Hill, was built where it now stands. The third son of Joseph Cahoon married Margaret Van Allen, and their 11 children were all successful, prominent citizens. Three of their daughters, Lydia, Laura and Margaret were teachers in the Cleveland school system, and a fourth daughter, Ida, was a writer of prominence in the field of poetry. So, it was natural for a family interested in education to foster learning by establishing a library.

The library was made possible through the will of Ida Maria Cahoon. In her will, she asked that the name be, “Dover-by-the-Lake Library,” should another library ever by organized in what was then Dover Township.

The Cahoon estate consisted of 114 acres, the ancestral home of Rose Hill and the barn, left in trust to Mayor Walter Wright, city council, and their successors. The will stipulated that Rose Hill was to be used for a library and museum, and the surrounding land was to be used as a park. Item 25 of the will states, “I hereby direct and request that steps be taken by said Mayor and Council of the Village of Bay to enlist the attention of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, and solicit his help and assistance in establishing and maintaining said library. I hereby give and bequeath to the Library of Dover-by-the-Lake herein intended to be created, all of my books, pictures and I request that the family portraits and best pictures be placed on the walls of the Cahoon homestead, and be forever maintained therein.”

2022.P.08.11.07 Dover-by-the-Lake Library located at Rose Hill, May 25, 1959

A committee of 12 members was appointed on Feb. 2, 1920 to organize and develop a program for a public library. This committee met formally on Dec. 10, 1920 with their recommendations. On Mar. 18, 1921, Mrs. Emma Paul Pope and Miss Olive P. Bailey were appointed associate librarians. They planned and organized the library and opened it to the public on May 24, 1921. There were 80 people present, which was a sizable crowd in a village of 750 people.

Ida Cahoon’s will established two trust funds known as the “Library of Dover-by-the-Lake Fund,” to buy books, maintain, support and care for the library. This fund, plus fines and a small sum from the village general fund, financed the library from its beginning until 1935, when it became eligible for funds from intangible taxes.

R2021.01.10 Julia Osborn Scott

Mrs. Julia Osborn Scott was appointed resident librarian on Oct. 1,1922, and continued until 1946. Scott was the great granddaughter of Reuben Osborn, one of the first settlers of Bay Village. She not only knew her library collection, but she knew the village and all of its inhabitants, and many of their ancestors, if not by personal relationship, then by stories, folk lore and traditions passed down from one generation to the next. From her own family, she learned of the trials and hardships the pioneers endured as they traveled west into Ohio. Since Scott was steeped in the folk lore, manners and customs of the pioneers, she gave this information as freely as she lent a book.

Every newcomer to the village knew the library and Mrs. Scott before knowing anyone else, except perhaps their minister. The library was the center of interest, and there was a personal relationship between the librarian and her patrons that would not exist in larger communities. Scott lived in the upstairs of the library building from her appointment in 1924 until her retirement in 1946. Her quarters were described as being homey and interesting, as there were books everywhere.

Although there was always work to be done, Scott took the time to relate experiences that had no relation to the borrowing of books or reference readings, such as the time a Gypsy family took refuge in the library, since it was the nearest house when their baby became sick. They remained two weeks, but with all of the care they could give, the child died and was given a decent burial in the cemetery by the lake. Then, there was the incident when two men who had imbibed too much, broke into the library on a very cold night and slept on the couches downstairs. Still slightly tipsy in the morning, they proceeded upstairs to wake the librarian to ask her to intercede with the police on their behalf.

During the Depression years and until after WWII, the library hours were irregular and long for one person supervising alone. Because Scott lived in the building, many people would drop in at their convenience. The average number of hours from 1923 to 1934 were not recorded, but from 1934 to 1937, 34 hours a week were scheduled. Between 1937 and 1948, the number increased to 48 hours. There was no regular assistant, yet the services and circulation continued to increase. The library was known first as a Private Trust Library, then it became a municipal library and finally a branch of the Cuyahoga County Library System.

The Mayor and city council leased the dwelling house to the Board of Library trustees, furnished custodial services, water, gas and electricity, and paid the sum of $1,000 a year out of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library fund for use in operation and maintenance of the library. This agreement lasted from 1943 to 1952.

The information in this segment of the series on the history of the Bay Village Library was gathered from, “History of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library of Bay Village, Ohio” by Ruth R. Lephart, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Library Science, School of Library Science, Western Reserve University, June, 1954.

2022.P.FIC.05.2 Lake Erie Junior Museum event (now Lake Erie Nature & Science Center) inside the library at Rose Hill, circa the late 1940s.

Smoke House and Jail

A. Horace Wolf, who became the second mayor of Bay Village, serving from 1910 to 1915, lived on a property given to him by his father, Alfred, at 492 Bradley Road. (Horace had an airport in the 1920s located on the land behind St. Barnabas Church.) The old stone smoke house that stood behind the homestead house was used as a jail prior to Horace’s becoming mayor. It was used to lock up prisoners until the Marshall could take them to the county jail.

The large homestead was purchased by the city and the house, about 101 years old in August 1973, was torn down to make way for the new Jaycee Community House, now the Bay Lodge. The smokehouse was moved near the herb garden just south of Rose Hill Museum, where it stands today.

Cahoon Cabin

Joseph Cahoon and his family drove into the valley in Dover Township, now Bay Village, on Oct. 10, 1810. Since winter was approaching, it was imperative to create shelter. They built a cabin on the east side of a creek near the lakeshore in four days. In 1818, construction of their permanent home was completed at the top of the path along the lake and it now houses Rose Hill Museum. In 1976, Bay Village Mayor Henry Reese established a commission to plan historical events for the American Bicentennial. Boy Scout leaders John Brant and Donald Harris, along with members of the Bay Village Girl and Boy Scouts, their parents and friends, worked 3,900 hours to reconstruct the Cahoon cabin. A ribbon cutting was celebrated on Oct. 10, 1981, 171 years after the arrival of the Cahoons in Bay Village.

Community House

In 1936, as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, men from Bay Village and the WPA worked on Lake Road and also remodeled the Cahoon family barn to serve as a community house for the growing city. The new building replaced the old red schoolhouse at Bassett and Lake roads as the center of community activities. The lower portion housed the city’s fire department for many years. The Bay Village Community House currently is home to the city’s recreation department and the Village Bicycle Cooperative. Plans for the future will make it a modern up-to-date community center to serve us even better.

Osborn Learning Center

The Reuben Osborn house, the oldest frame dwelling between Cleveland and Lorain dating to 1814, was slated for demolition in the early 1990s and was moved from its lakeside lot to a spot near the Cahoon family home in Cahoon Memorial Park. It now serves as the Osborn Learning Center, and houses much of the Bay Village Historical Society’s papers, books and materials on the Sam Sheppard case, and a rotating variety of displays. Located in the historical district of Bay Village, the Osborn Learning Center is open on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 
 

Rose Hill Museum

The structure that houses the Rose Hill Museum was built in 1818 on the hill south of Lake Road by Joseph Cahoon and his family as their home. When the Cahoon family’s last area survivor, Ida Maria Cahoon, died in 1917, her will bequeathed the entire family property to the Village of Bay as a trust.
The mayor and city council are ex-officio trustees. Rose Hill, as Ida Cahoon wished, became the city’s library from 1919 to 1960. Her will also stipulated that if Rose Hill ceased to function as a library, it should become a museum. It opened as Rose Hill Museum in 1960 and the contents of the Cahoon home became the base of the museum’s collection.

Community House

The Bay Village Historical Society is offering limited-edition prints of the Cahoon family barn, built in 1882 and now Bay Village’s Community House.

The artwork was created by world reknown artist Thomas William Jones, a 1960 graduate of Bay High School. Jones graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art. His work has been included in many exhibitions, including the National Academy of Design, Butler Institute of American Art, Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, as well as private and corporate collections worldwide.

Jones’ reputation and mastery in watercolor has earned him acclaim at the highest levels, including the White House, where he was commissioned by former President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan to paint their 1985 through 1998 Christmas cards.

Only 295 signed and numbered prints were offered, and most have been purchased; a few remain. The image is 12 1/2″ by 16 1/2″; the overall size is 18″ by 22″. They are printed on archival paper using 12 separate ink colors. Prints are packed with foam board backing in a sealed, clear bag.

These limited-edition prints are only $85.00 each.

The original artwork is also being offered by the Bay Village Historical Society. The price is $22,000, with $11,000 of that going to the society for its bicentennial efforts. Much of the purchase price may be tax deductible.

For more information call the Bay Village Historical Society at (440) 871-7879 or email info@bayhistorical.com.