History Lives in Westlake

Howdy Doody Marionette

Ventriloquist Doll

In July, we participated in the Westlake [Ohio] Historical Society Vintage Antique & Craft Festival, which may seem like an unusual venue for selling my books. But all of my novels are historical: Canoedling in Cleveland pictures life in Cleveland from teenagers’ perspectives over half a century ago, a time when Lake Erie beaches were closed due to high bacteria counts and fear of polio, and the Cuyahoga was a dead river with no fish or shore birds from Akron to Lake Erie in Cleveland and was coated with oil, which infamously caught on fire more than a dozen times up until 1967.

Chatting with a Customer

Chatting with a Customer

[Now much of the river is surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and there are fifty-four species of fish plus shore birds, ducks, eagles].

Postcards

Postcards

It was a time of rigid residential segregation, east-west, and a time of industrial production of steel, oil refining, automobiles, auto parts, and other products that supported a robust economy and a fine art museum and symphony orchestra.

Steel Cars and Trucks

Steel Cars and Trucks

Fast-forward to today: only one steel mill remains and the oil refining is gone. And Cleveland has morphed into a center for health care  (Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital Systems), research, and education with many universities and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Wooden Flying Machine

Wooden Flying Machine

[Cleveland was the birthplace of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co., which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was an illegal monopoly and broke it into thirty-three companies in 1911.

Portable Typewriter and Case

Portable Typewriter

These later morphed into Esso, Exxon, and Chevron, Chevron/Texaco, Sohio, Marathon, Exxon/Mobil, and Amoco. It all started in Cleveland, which is no longer the oil refining capital of America, and John D. is no longer the richest man in the world. And the waste oil on the river no longer burns.]

Tinkertoys

Tinkertoys

Cologne No. 10 For Men, my Vietnam War satire, takes place half a century ago in the rice paddies, hamlets, jungles, and Army bases of that country, and satirizes the history of that time.

Steel Lunch Boxes

Steel Lunch Boxes

And Well Considered takes us back over a century ago to the tobacco plantations of rural Maryland and the Jim Crow segregation and lynchings of that time.

Ball Canning Jars

Ball Canning Jars

So we fit right in to this tree-sheltered venue, and we enjoyed walking through the Historical Society Museum,

Westlake Historical Society

Westlake Historical Society

where I was excited to see their recent acquisition, a one horse open sleigh.one-horse open sleigh

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