Historical Collection at Avon Lake Library Unveiled on Sunday

Public welcome to open house, refreshments available.

A new collection of older Avon Lake historic pieces is being unveiled this weekend and the public is invited for a viewing at the library.

The Avon Lake Local History Art Collection includes more than 40 items, including original paintings, historic photographs, prints and several primitive renderings that illustrate the history of Avon Lake and Lorain County, Avon Lake Public Library, the Lake Shore Electric Railway and Avon Beach Park Resort, and shipping and shipwrecks on Lake Erie.

The library is holding an open house, including refreshments, in the building's McMahan room on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Avon Lake library Director Mary Crehore said the library has had the pieces for awhile.

“With a few exceptions, the body of the collection had hung in various places throughout the Library first constructed in the 1950s on Electric Boulevard,” Crehore said. “It was brought together in the lower level McMahan Room in the mid-1990s following a major renovation and expansion of the building.”

Between 2008 and 2011, several original paintings and the panoramic photos of community gatherings were given to the Library when it solicited illustrations for a photographic history of Avon Lake published by Arcadia Publishing in 2011 – Images of America: Avon Lake. These pieces were added to the collection. 

The cost of restoration to the collection was about $12,000.

“That cost came entirely from interest earned from the Avon Lake Public Library Endowment Fund,” Crehore said. “No public money was used.”

Restoration was completed by Catherine Nowak of Vintage Gallery in Avon Lake, and completed and reinstalled during August and September of 2012.

Crehore said the names of some of the artists, including one who completed a large “primitive rendering,” remain unknown.

“There’s a color drawing, it’s huge, of the Beach Park resort which was a stop on the interurban,” Crehore said. “It’s on tissue paper and it’s beautiful. But we don’t know who the artist is.

“Hopefully someone will recognize the work and give us an artists name,” she said.

At least three of the artists are known: Norma Pressly Tammisaar who painted the three Library buildings in precise detail; Betty Blakemore who created collages of life and landmarks in Avon Lake and Lorain County; and Ronald Gratson who painted the original Library – the white clapboard house on Center Road – and the red brick school house. 

The collection will remain in the McMahon Room, although Crehore said it will likely be moved into the Gallery for one month in January. The Gallery generally features different art each month.

“But we’ll keep it together,” Crehore said. “It needs to stay together as a collection.”

Entrance to the exhibit is free.


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