4/12/2012 – Lorain, Ohio
Yesterday was a cold and windy April day in Lorain County, but the walls of my place seemed to be closing in. I grabbed my cameras and headed out. With the wind straight out of the north and strong, Lake Erie was kicking up pretty good. I always find it amazing how much the lake will change from day-to-day, sometimes even from minute to minute. I decided I would drive along Lake road, heading west toward Lorain. I crossed over Root Road and I was in Lorain City proper. I don’t know what it was about yesterday which made me think of old times, but I found my mind remembering the days when I was a meter reader, working for the City of Lorain, Water Department. I remembered walking the East Erie Route, which began at Kansas Ave., and went all the way to Root Road and Back. I remembered my boss, Pat Flaherty telling me the first time I read that route, “You can stand at the center of the intersection of Kansas and E. Erie and you can’t see the end of the route at Root Road.” He was right, I stood there and you surely can’t. Pat was a good boss. A really, really good boss. He read meters in Lorain for over 40 years. Everyone knew him. His father, P.J. Flaherty was mayor of Lorain from 1946 to 1952. I wasn’t born until 1960 so I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but if he was anything like his son, he was a nice guy.
Continuing west on East Erie, I came to Century Park. I remembered taking a break there while reading meters and eating my lunch there sometimes. I remembered fishing there all night long with a lantern when I was young. I haven’t fished there for many years now but I used to slay the cat-fish there. I remember catching a basket full, browns and channel cats. Big ones too.
Well, I decided to pull into my old park and see what the beach looked like. As I said earlier, Lake Erie was rough. Waves were pounding up and over the small concrete pier.
Century Park has quite an interesting history. In 1900, a group of people purchased the land from the A.C. Farragher farm and built The Century Park Dance Hall there. I am not sure, but my guess would be the name Century Park Dance Hall comes from the fact it was purchased in the year, 1900. The turn of the century. Right? That would be my guess anyway.
The City of Lorain purchased the property from Charles and Martha Refring in 1919 for $14,000. Apparently they made it a public park and continued to run a dance hall. Just guessing on that one. But the dance hall burned to the ground on August 11th, 1923.
In 1925 the park reopens and a new bath house is built On June 25, 1925.
The park then remained basically the same until 1992 when the city invested some money for improvements, laying rock breakwalls on either end of the beach to trap sand and promote beach growth.
Century park is rather small. It is located on the North side of East Erie Ave., between Maine and Michigan Avenues. It is 2&1/2 Acres. There is modern playground equipment and picnic tables. Restrooms were locked, but it is early in the year. I imagine they will be open during the day in the summer months.
It was a cold walk along the beach, seagulls were gliding above me, probably wondering what a human was doing on the beach on such a cold day. But the fresh air was great. If you like drift wood, you might want to pay this park a visit soon before the city prepares the beach for summer swimming.
There is swimming in the summer at Century Park, but there were signs posted, “No Life Guard on Duty”. Fishing is very popular there as well.
Century Park has a great view of the lake. It is a great place to eat lunch right in your car, looking out on Lake Erie. I have done so myself many times. There are signs posted which state the park is protected by security cameras. There were trash barrels out, tied to posts so the wind doesn’t knock them over.
History of Lorain, Ohio – Lorain Public Library System