Henry Casper Wischmeyer Jr.

Frame #12: Henry C. Wischmeyer, Jr.

b. 27 Sept. 1872, Dover Township, Ohio
d. 4 July 1959, Bay Village, Ohio
Henry C. Wischmeyer, Jr. was the fifth child of Henry Wischmeyer, Sr. and Regina Rentschler Wischmeyer. He worked with his father raising grapes. The family had a winery and lakefront hotel on Lake Road near Glen Park Drive. This was likely where Henry gained an understanding of many types of boats, inspiring him to build and design model boats. Blueprints of his boats are at Osborn Learning Center and many of his completed models are displayed in the basement of Rose Hill. Henry lived to be 87 years old and is buried in Lakeside Cemetery.
His portrait and his sister’s are both opaque watercolor over a photographic print. The artist is unknown.

Olga Wilhelmine Wischmeyer

Frame #13: Olga Wilhemine Wischmeyer

b. 19 Feb. 1869, Dover Township, Ohio
d. 27 Mar. 1948, Village of Bay, Ohio
Olga Wilhemine Wischmeyer was the fourth child of Henry Wischmeyer, Sr. and Regina Rentschler Wischmeyer. She worked at her father’s hotel as a cook and was a member of the Library and Museum Committee for the City of Bay Village. She never married. Olga lived to be 79 years old and is buried in Lakeside Cemetery.
Her portrait and her brother’s are both opaque watercolor over a photographic print. The artist is unknown.

The Wischmeyer Model Boat Collection

by Ed Neal

You might not know anything about boats. Your knowledge of them might be limited to one end is pointy, some use a sail to move around, and all of them can sink, so beware. If that is the case, then you have probably completely overlooked the Wischmeyer Model Boat Collection in the basement of Rose Hill.  Let’s change that.

Here is a short guide that can help you understand the models and how they provide a window into the Bay Village waterfront from a by-gone era.

Henry Wischmeyer in later years, circa 1940s, 2021.P.FIC.175

Henry Wischmeyer in later years, circa 1940s, 2021.P.FIC.175

Henry Wischmeyer  

Henry Wischmeyer, who died in 1959 at age 86, built the models. His family owned a small Bay Village summer hotel on the north side of Lake Rd at the intersection of Glen Park. The hotel offered a sandy beach where guests could swim or pull up a boat to enjoy the summer lake.

Henry likely took an avid interest in the variety of boats that appeared on the beach. Eventually, he began to plan and draw boats of his own design and he built models showing in accurate detail how the boat would be constructed.

Here is a bit of background on each boat in the collection.

Great Lakes Schooner, 1996.A.066TN

Great Lakes Schooner, 1996.A.066TN

Great Lakes Schooner  

In the early 1900’s when the Wischmeyer family first operated the hotel, some aging, decaying sail powered freighters continued to haul cargo on the lake. These three masted commercial vessels had sails aligned with the center line of the hull rather than across the hull like a clipper ship. This type of boat design is called a schooner and in its glory days prior to the 20th century there were a few thousand operating on the Great Lakes.

A young Henry Wischmeyer possibly standing on the Wischmeyer hotel beach could see the last, decaying examples of these vessels on their way to a Lake Erie port.

Pile Driver Boat, 1996.A.063TN

Pile Driver Boat on display at the Rose Hill Museum, 1996.A.063TN

Pile Driver Boat 

If you want to build a pier out into the water, you need some way of driving posts down into the mud to support the pier beams. A pile driver boat is just the thing for the job.  In its simplest form it is a derrick on a raft.

The derrick would lift long wooden pier posts vertically in the water. Atop the derrick, a very heavy weight guided on a slide could be raised a few feet above the post. When released, the weight crashed down on the post ramming it into the mud. With each strike the post would be driven deeper until its end reaches the desired height above the water.

Lake Erie fishermen often used a pile driver boat to drive thin posts into the lake shallows on which they would vertically string nets to guide fish into a holding pen.

It is very reasonable to think that Henry saw pile driving boats at work along the Bay Village coast or operating on the Rocky River waterfront.

Lake Erie Pound Net Boat

The technique of catching fish by guiding them along vertically strung nets to a holding pen is called pound net fishing. It is aptly named because the posts on which the nets were strung were ‘pounded’ vertically into the lake bed mud.

As hundreds of fish accumulated in the holding pen they had to be lifted out and into a boat which could take the catch to shore. A boat evolved for this specific task.

The Lake Erie Pound Net Boat was wide so it wouldn’t tip over when a catch of hundreds of pounds was pulled in over its side.   It had a unique way of setting large sails so the boat could be easily powered when the wind was light.   It was also simple to build.  It was not unusual for fishermen of the late 19th and early 20th century to build their own boats over the winter.

The bounty of the Lake Erie fishery was far greater in the past than it is today. Most rivers and creeks along the lakeshore housed at least one commercial fisherman. Members of the Cahoon family themselves were in the fish business and had a fish house at the mouth of Cahoon Creek.

It is easy to imagine a young Henry being sent on an errand to buy fish from a pound net boat spotted making its way to the Cahoon fish house dock.

Mackinaw Boat, 1996.A.065

Mackinaw Boat, 1996.A.065

Mackinaw Boat  

The Mackinaw boat was the delivery van of its day. It could shuttle light cargo and passengers or be used for commercial fishing. The able, seaworthy boat could handle the wind and wave conditions of the Great Lakes. The boat set sails on two masts and a bowsprit and ranged in length from 25 – 35 feet.

Henry’s boat appears to be an experimental fishing version of a Mackinaw boat. It appears to be shorter than conventionally built and is accented with fish totes.

Detail inside of the Mackinaw Boat, 1996.A.065

Detail inside of the Mackinaw Boat, 1996.A.065

Cat Boat 

Amateur backyard boatbuilders would find a small v-bottomed boat with a single sail to be a very appealing first project. A cat-rigged boat describes the sailing rig of one mast set very far forward at the bow. It is easy to speculate that this boat may have been designed by Henry and the model developed to proof the construction process.

Lake Erie Sharpie, 1996.A.064

Lake Erie Sharpie 

The final model in the collection presents a recreational boat version of a typical American sharpie:  a flat-bottomed, slab sided, long and narrow hull with a uniquely shaped horizontal rudder. A cat-ketch sailing rig of two masts drove the boat. Built as work boats for fishing and oyster harvesting, sharpies ranged from 24 – 36 ft.

The Wischmeyer model presents sharpie attributes on a shortened hull possibly done to gauge the feasibility of scaling a sharpie down to a recreational boat length under 20 ft.

Now that you know what you are looking at take a closer look at the Wischmeyer collection. It tells a story of lake transportation, lake fishing, and lake recreational boating. It is more than the work of a hobbyist model builder. These boats reflect the reality of day-to-day life along the Bay Village lakefront from years gone by. Thank you, Henry!


First launch of the Wischmeyer Pram (built from plans drawn by Henry Wischmeyer and currently in the Bay Village Historical Society collections) is planned for Wednesday, September 27, 2023, on what would have been Henry’s 151st birthday. The event will take place at Huntington Beach, by Porter Creek, at 6:30 PM. Guests will have to use the parking lot and walk down to the launch/beach area.  There will be a ceremonial cake and refreshments for guests. All enthusiasts are welcome to attend. Note: This is a weather dependent event.  If lake conditions are too rough or there is rain, it will be postponed.


If objects such as these are important to you, please consider a donation to the Bay Village Historical Society. Find out more on our website Support Us Page. You may also contact us by phone at (216) 319-4634 or email info@bayhistorical.com.

To view all of the Henry Wischmeyer’s boat models in person and see other artifacts from the old Wischmeyer Hotel, please visit the Rose Hill Museum from 2:00-4:30 p.m. every Sunday, April through December. Our docent guides will be happy to direct you. We hope to see you soon!

The Wischmeyer Boat Plans Collection

by Ed Neal

Hobbies are where unique aspects of a person’s character manifest themselves. Hobbies are pleasant escapes from the tensions of the work-a-day world and offer miniature worlds that absorb a person’s full attention. They often are a counterpoint to stresses of career and domestic issues.

Henry Wischmeyer as a young man (middle), 2021.P.FIC.174

Henry Wischmeyer’s hobby was designing small boats. The Osborn Center of the Bay Village Historical Society houses boat plans Henry drew before his death in 1959. These are not the quick sketches of a waterfront artist but rather drawings of small sailboats and rowing craft drafted the way a professional naval architect would draw up plans. Who was this man, why did he draw these boats and how did he learn the art of designing boats?

Henry Wischmeyer grew up in a family that owned a summer hotel on the north side of Lake Road by Glen Park Rd in Bay Village. The back of the building led down to a Lake Erie beach where guests could enjoy the summer lake. Small boats could be sailed or rowed off the beach.

The hotel had a small craft for guests to use. Quite possibly, boat maintenance fell to Henry and he became knowledgeable in boat construction and repair.

Also quite possibly, guests might have brought a small boat with them, possibly launching it from Cahoon Creek or Rocky River and storing it pulled up on the Wischmeyer beach.  These boats might have introduced new types Henry had not seen before.

Into the late 1920’s, boatbuilding persisted on Rocky River. Most famous was the Rocky River Drydock Company and the yacht building and repair yard of Ted Zickes. One can imagine Henry being drawn to these locations and possibly finding work there over the winter. There he might have been exposed to the methods and drawings of naval architects.

Part of plans for a Wischmeyer boat (cross section) produced in the early 1930s, 1976.02.061B

Lyman dinghy plans, 1976.02.042

However he acquired his drawing skill, Henry drew boats incorporating his own ideas. The Bay Village Historical Society collection shows a wide range of small sailboats and rowing craft ideal for light to moderate weather conditions. Some drawings appear to imitate conventional, commercial designs – Lyman did produce small sailboats at one time.  Others present fanciful elements one might think of as experimental craft.

Detail of a plan with a nearly impossible-to-build canoe bow, 1976.02.003

A few drawings present Henry’s personal affinity for boats with a canoe bow: a gracefully curved bow extending out from the waterline and curving up and backward in the direction of the stern. Although this curved front end made for a dramatic presence, in reality, it might have been very difficult or nearly impossible to build on a small boat.

Blueprint with another example of a challenging bow, 1976.02.052

Before a boat is built, it is advisable to build a scale model in which all the detail of the plans are followed. The process works out construction details and solve problems before they effect material and labor costs. There may be crossover between the Wischmeyer boat plans and the Wischmeyer boat model collection housed in the Rose Hill basement. Some of the boat models are constructed with full details mimicking an actual boat. It is possible that two model boats in the collection – the catboat and the sharpie – might have been pre- construction models of plans drawn by Henry.

Part of Henry Wischmeyer’s plan for a utility pram, currently being used by the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society. 1976.02.059B

There is no record of any boat built to Henry’s plans. However, the Bay Village Historical Society is involved in a current project to actually build Henry’s 1953 design for a 9’ 7” boat he labeled a utility dinghy. Since the boat presents a flat transom front rather than the typical pointed bow of a dinghy, it is being referred to as a utility pram to eliminate confusion. Led by the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society, the boat will be used to aid in the regular clean-up of North Coast Harbor, the area behind the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. Anyone interested in the project can contact Ed Neal 440-570-7620 for more information or check out the group’s website: www. cabbs.org.

First launch of the Wischmeyer Pram is planned for Wednesday, September 27, 2023, on what would have been the 151st birthday of Henry Wischmeyer. This event will take place at Huntington Beach, by Porter Creek, at 6:30 PM. Attendees will have to use the parking lot and walk down to or be dropped off at the launch/beach area.  There will be a ceremonial cake and refreshments for guests. All enthusiasts are welcome to attend. Note: This is a weather dependent event.  If lake conditions are too rough or there is rain, we will have to postpone.


If historical documents such as these are important to you, please consider a donation to the Bay Village Historical Society. Find out more on our website Support Us Page. You may also contact us by phone at (216) 319-4634 or email info@bayhistorical.com.

Rose Hill and the Osborn Learning Center are closed to the general public until Sunday, April 16, 2023. Please come and visit us this spring!

Beach Fun in Bay Village

Summer is almost here and many friends of the Bay Village Historical Society may have plans to visit our shoreline, if they haven’t already. The Lake Erie coastline is everchanging, both by natural and man-made forces. In the archives of the Osborn Learning Center, we have many photos of fun at the beach in Bay Village from years gone by. Below you’ll find several from our collection that we hope you’ll enjoy.

As a reminder, the Osborn Learning Center is open Sundays from 2:00pm to 4:30pm with exhibits ranging from Eliot Ness and the “Untouchables” to the Sheppard murder case. It also houses various research materials from our archives for visitors.

Want more glimpses of historic fun at the beach? At Rose Hill we have swimsuits on display from the 1920s, along with other exhibits showcasing the important decade in the history of Bay Village.

Your donations and memberships help keep these artifacts preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/.

If you have any questions for us or are interested in volunteering in order to have a more hands-on experience with Bay Village history, please contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

2021.P.23.09.08 Bay Family swimming in Lake Erie 1925 or 26. Back: Colette Clement, Colette Frank Clement (her mother), Jack McIlvried. Front: Sylvia Clement, and Clement cousins Myra and Louise

2021.P.23.09.06 Colette Clement and future husband Jack McIlvried on Huntington Beach 1934

2021.P.FIC.024 Man Buried in Sand (maybe 1941)

2021.P.FIC.237.07 Young Men on Huntington Beach (undated)

2000.P.FIC.017 Undated, Wischmeyer Hotel guests at the dock and out for a sail.

Wischmeyer Buggies

The mass influx of immigrants in the mid-to-late 1800’s included a German family in 1854 who would eventually bring a primary business adventure to Dover. Originally settling in Cleveland, Henry Wischmeyer (1832-1902) purchased a farm in 1872 that was located at 26565 Lake Road. Carrying on the tradition of grape growing, they planted vineyards on two of their acres. Within two years they built a resort hotel storing casks in the lower area with the capacity of ten thousand gallons of wine. The hotel, able to accommodate seventy guests, would become a thriving vacation spot.

The Wischmeyer family included Henry’s wife Regina (1834-1918), whose sister Caroline married Alfred Wolf, and six children, five living to adulthood. The Wischmeyer home still stands today and has been lovingly attended to for the last 150 years.

The following items come from the Wischmeyer family collection. The photograph features “Granny Wischmeyer” in the seat of a beloved family buggy. A version of the buggy was created for the family in toy form. You may view the miniature buggy at the Rose Hill Museum which opens again to the public on Sunday, April 24 from 2:00 to 4:30pm.

1996.Y.018 Toy version of Granny Wischmeyer’s buggy

2000.P.FIC.026 Wischmeyer women (Granny Wischmeyer and daughters) and their buggy, 1908.

Winter Magic

Enjoy the magic of winter!

There are so many memories attached to snowfalls of making angels in the snow, climbing over mounds of snow at the end of the driveway, sledding down hills, icicles hanging from the roof and even frozen mittens from building a snowman.  Hope you are able to curl up with a good book by the fireplace this winter, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, watch some gentle snowfalls and reminisce.

May these pictures from days gone by, bring back some special memories that you may have tucked away.

Huntington Beach Water Tower in the background of the Lakeshore Club along Lake Erie 1906, 2020.P.FIC.021

Irwin Fanta and his son Ronnie in the snow in front of house on Bradley, March 1, 1954, Wuebker Collection 2018.P.03.03.72B

German farms and the Wischmeyers

Warm sunny days and cool nights brought a migration of German people to North Dover Township in the 1850s. They purchased acreage from the Foote, Winsor, Aldrich, Eddy, Bassett and Hurst properties on the west end of Dover Township along Walker, Bradley and Bassett Roads.

Some farmed into South Dover (Westlake) extending down Bassett Road – which they called “the elbow,” as it made many right and left, 90 degree, turns around farmer’s fields – until it exited on Dover Center Road near the Center Ridge business area.

Germans who settled in North Dover included: Hagedorns, Daviders, Meilanders, Peters, Toensings, Kochs, Krumwiedes, Starkes, Wolfs, Albers, Dieterichs and Wischmeyers. They planted orchards of fruit trees and grape vineyards. Produce went to market in baskets called ponies, bushels, pecks, quarts and pints made at the Oviatt family basket factory.

They spoke German in their homes, wore wooden shoes, and read the German newspaper. They traveled in their farm wagons to Ohio City on the near west side to sell their produce and to attend church. They constructed St. Paul Lutheran Church and school on Detroit Road. They lived a quiet and structured existence.

On Link Road, today Ashton Lane, a German Mission Ground was built on property purchased from David Sites. It had a pavilion and bowling alley for their entertainment. The Krumwiedes, Daviders and Kochs were excellent carpenters and built many fine Bay Village homes. The Peters ran a sawmill at Bradley and Naigle Roads, and the Starkes were landscape designers with acres planted in chrysanthemums on Bradley Road. Many of their houses still stand today as century homes.

Henry Wischmeyer Sr. arrived in Ohio City in 1854. He met Regina Rentschler, and raised a family of eight. His life’s dream was to own acreage and grow grapes as his family had done in Germany.

He found just the right place on the old Humphrey and Gardner lands, Lot #96, in North Dover Township. Today, this is the Bruce, Russell and Douglas Road area of Bay. Henry started with a two-acre grape vineyard in the 1860s and erected a family home on the south side of Lake Road near Glen Park Creek.

By 1874, he had most of his acres in grapes and had built a 10,000-gallon wine cellar on the north side of Lake Road. As the family prospered, Henry added a 70-bed hotel, pavilion and boat house. Using the train and interurban, traveling salesmen and families came to the hotel for relaxation by the lake. The Wischmeyer girls cooked the meals, and the boys worked the farm.

In 1926, Bay council passed a law prohibiting businesses on Lake Road and the hotel closed. Henry Jr. began selling lakefront lots, and soon houses were appearing where grape vineyards once stood. The Metropolitan Subdivision was developed in the 1920s.

By the 1940s, with only Henry Jr. living, the grayed hotel with its many verandas stood empty. It was burned down in 1962 by the Bay fire department. Today, only the cook house and family home remain. The vineyard east of Douglas Road was developed in the late 1950s as the Bruce/Russell Road horseshoe.

One of our Germans, Frank Meilander, gave us our name. He said, “We are a village located on a bay.”