The Black River – BlackRiverToday


-Lorain County, Ohio.
The Black River,
     When I was in junior high school, I was taught a few things about local history.  Mr. Stroman was my American History teacher.  He was a good teacher.  When I say good, I don’t mean he was good to me.  I don’t mean he had expert knowledge about history.  I mean he was a teacher who thought the course he was teaching was important to learn.  He never seemed to be the kind of teacher who was just going through the motions, putting in his 8 hours and going home like the rest of the working world.  I think he really thought it was important for us to know the things he taught in his class.
     I remember one of the requirements of passing his class… the student was given a blank map of the United States.  We had to write in every state name, the capital of the state, and both had to be spelled correctly.  He’d been requiring this for years.  You had all semester to do it.  A full nine weeks.  And you could flunk as many times as you liked.  But before the end of the semester, you had to know every state’s name, and capital, and it had to be spelled right.
     Mr. Stoman thought that was important.  His class also taught us local history.  One of the subjects I remember, if memory still serves, was The Black River.  According to 8th grade history, in Mr. Stroman’s class, the river was named by the American Indians who lived here.  The base of the river is shale rock,  And because shale is black, the crystal clear waters of that time shown up black reflections through the water, thus, the river was known as “The Black River”.
     Historians often disagree about things as time passes and the name sake of this river is probably no different.  But for me, it made perfect sense and so I am going to believe what I was taught all those years ago without hitting the library and researching it.  Sometimes you just have to go with the basics.
     The Black River, which winds its way toward Lake Erie from deep in the county is a very interesting river.  Over the years so many things have happened to it, changed it; even long before I was born.  What must it have been like to travel down the river in indian times.  How cool it must have been to load your furs or produce into a bark canoe and paddle toward the mouth of the river.  Your destination:  The Trading Post where river meets lake.
     Everyone from Lorain County knows the river has changed since way back then.  Heck, the whole country has.  The steel industry came along and the Black River seemed to fit ships perfectly.  It was the deepest port on Lake Erie.  Toward the mouth of The Black River, ship building took its place.  Before long, 1000 footers were being build right here.  Yes, the river has seen its share of change.
     These changes, however, took place over decades.  What about the daily changes?  Oh yes, the river changes daily I can assure you.  Rain up-stream rushes toward Lake Erie sometimes causing rapids only a fool would enter.  Other times,  dry spells slow the flow to the point to where the river seems more like a lake then it does a flowing river; beaming reflections of the sky back to space.
     Some very smart people a long time ago decided some of the areas along the river banks should be saved and preserved for future generations.  One such Park is the Lorain County Metro Park, “Day’s Dam”.  A beautiful park which LifeInLorain visited recently.
 So many folks enjoy this park every day, jogging, bicycling, walking, even exercising dogs.  On May 12th I took a few pictures with my c-phone camera just visiting for a short time.  I found an Iris patch blooming along the main trail and several side trails heading off to the river’s edge. 
     Yes, The Black River hosts many parks and activities along its banks.  I have decided, at least for the time being, to try and bring a small slice of it onto the internet.  Just a small section of the river, as often as my time will allow, video taped from the same spot over and over again.  Over the course of time, day-to-day, week to week, and yes, possibly even season to season, visitors to LifeInLorain, and “youtube.com/markschrull” will be able see the river and the woods surrounding it change.
     All around us is nature.  Everywhere I look I seem to see Mother Earth beaming a smile.  I can only keep the things I see in my mind’s eye for nature is not ours to keep.  It is only to be shared and then passed on like a river flowing to the lake.

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