Why is there an historic home in Veterans Park?
If you have lived in Avon Lake for decades you know the answer. Most of you have arrived since the 70s so don’t have a contextual view of the Folger Home. To enhance your sense of place and history, let’s establish the prestigious heritage of the Folger Home (Assembly Hall) by examining local history. We’re calling it: What do you know?—How Did We Grow.
Thomas Folger moved to the Avon Twp. Property owned by his Father in 1875. He inherited the property when Henry died in 1885. Thomas had begun a vineyard operation on 150 acres at Avon Point in 1878 (now ). In 1889 Thomas moved his family to Elyria because the Folgers did not believe Avon Township could offer their four daughters an adequate education. Oh how times change.
1. Thomas Folger, who built , was:
- A. Mayor of Elyria in 1903
- B. Head of the regional grape growers association 1888/1889
- C. A Civil War Veteran
- D. All of the above
D. Mr. Folger served in Company H of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry which saw action at Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Peters Mountain. His Civil War service is certainly a link to Veterans Park but it was his grape vines that contributed to the Avon Lake tradition of local grape growing and orchards.. For many years these endeavors were a significant part of the local economy.
2. When was The Folger Home purchased by the village of Avon Lake?
- A. 1902
- B. 1922
- C. 1926
- D 1945
C. In 1926 the city purchased part of the Folger Estate. A 30-year bond was approved to purchase the lakefront property that has become Veterans Park and the boat club. The city purchased two plots of Folger Land (there were interim owners). Of course, one was the lakefront property but where was the second plot? The land between Lake Road and Electric Boulevard where Mr. Folger’s grapevines grew is our best guess. If so that land has become Bleser Park, city hall and the old firehouse which is now the senior/teen center. A big salute to anyone who can confirm this bit of history. It would make the Folger Home and legacy even more pivotal in the history of Avon Lake.
3. What was the purchase price of this property?
- A. $220,000
- B. $129,000
- C. $56,000
- D. $49,000
C. The cost was $56,000 for the the two plots of land that now house Veterans Park and most probably Bleser Park, City Hall and the Senior Center. We can all be grateful for the foresight of our early city officials.
4. According to the Elyria Chronicle (1955), at the time The Folger Home was purchased, the population of the village was:
- A. 1500
- B. 3200
- C. 5000
- D. 10,000
B. It must have been quite a courageous act for a village of 3200 residents to commit to such a purchase. The house was a practical purchase because of its central location. At that time most Avon Lakers lived north of Walker Road and it’s no coincidence that SR 83 was always known as Center Road putting the Folger Home in the heart of the city.
5. The Folger Home has been known as
- A. Assembly Hall
- B. Village Hall
- C. Park Hall
- D. All of the above
D. All these are official" names but we know there are others used by locals. “That house at 83” has been suggested, as has the bus stop number (please confirm the stop number at Rt. 83 which was at that time SR 76)? If you’ve got another common name for the house, please post your answer.
6. The Folger Home was the location of the mayor’s office until
D. City Council and the Court moved from the Folger Home to City Hall upon its completion in 1955. The Mayor’s office was located the Folger Home until 2001. The house served as the official office of the leader of Avon Lake from 1926 until 2001—That’s 75 years of loyal service. Pretty impressive and explains why the battle to save the home that was waged in 2002 became such a contentious issue.
The Folger Home was the center of village life. It was the place where Avon Lake ‘assembled’ (thus Assembly Hall).
Did you know The Folger Home has been used as
• The residence for Veterans Park’s caretakers
• Council Chambers for the village of Avon Lake
• Mayor’s Court and later Municipal Court
• Village offices
• Home of Human Resources Center(1970), now known as CRS
• Avon Lake’s first Teen Center
• The First American Legion meeting was held in the Folger Home.
• Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts met in the Folger Home.
There are lots of residents who care about the home’s place in local history, but not many who have old memories that make for good stories. What Folger memories will you share for posterity? Something from your scouting days; or the teen dance where you fell in love; maybe you learned an early lesson in the courtroom. Future residents will thank you. If you don’t want your memory to be as public as the newspaper, send it to the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society at 32770 Lake Rd.
The purchase in 1926 of a house on the lake has served the city well, first as the building where Avon Lake grew up and now as a spot to enjoy the beauty of our lakeshore. We hope you will agree with us that the home’s past makes it one of our most historically significant homes—worth preserving for future citizens. If you do, please join the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation society. Your membership is a significant part of our preservation funds and is the best way to assure that preservation goes forward. For more info go to www.folgerhome.org
You can send Membership ($20 individual, $30 family) to A.L.L.P.S. at 32770 Lake Rd. or pay online with PayPal.