Willoughby Hills Historical Society, Inc.

Historical IndianThe Mission of the Willoughby Hills Historical Society is to discover and preserve the historic resources of Willoughby Hills and Willoughby Township, and to encourage a preservation ethic in our community.

The Willoughby Hills Historical Society was founded in March of 1988 and was certified as a Not-For-Profit Corporation on May 23, 1988.

It collects, preserves and displays or otherwise provides for study as far as may be feasible of printed material, photographs, and material objects illustrative of life, conditions, events and activities of the past.

The Society meets on the fourth Wednesday of the odd numbered months in the lower level of the Community Building in the "Historical Society Room" and our newsletter, REFLECTIONS, listing our program for the meeting, is sent to our members the week before the meeting.

Individual memberships are $5/yr. or $100 for life membership.  Family memberships are $7.50/yr. or $150 for life membership.  Click here for membership application.

For more information or a membership application, contact Frank or Mary Cihula at (440) 946-5557 or e‑mail at whhs-oh@att.net.

Meeting/Program Schedule for 2014:

January 22, 2014 7:00 PM  "Lake Metroparks & the Underground Railroad" by Trevor Wearstler.

March 26, 2014 7:00 PM   "The Rest of the Story".  Peter Mortensen's armchair "Historic Tour of

                                       Willoughby Hills" continues from where it left off in March 2013.

May 28, 2014 7:00 PM   "Bet Ya Didn't Know". Fun trivia about Lake County by Barb Whidden.

September 24, 2014 7:00 PM   "Great Lakes Exposition of 1936" by Rebecca McFarland.
                                             Tri sponsored by WE Library Willoughby Hills, Willoughby
                                             and Willoughby Hills Historical  Societies.

DID YOU KNOW?  (posted 3-22-14)

Lake County, the smallest county in the state, was one of the last to be formed despite the fact that it was one of the earlier settled areas.  The Connecticut Western Reserve (New Connecticut) was once considered as a possibility for statehood.  In 1800, the Western Reserve was added to the Northwest Territory and Trumbull County was created encompassing the entire Western Reserve.  Ohio became our seventeenth state in 1803 and the idea of statehood for the entire Western Reserve was put to rest.  Settlements developed and grew in population and smaller counties were created out of Trumbull.

In 1806, Geauga County was created and included all of our current Lake County area.  In 1808, portions of Geauga County went into the formation of Ashtabula and Cuyahoga counties.

This left Geauga, a narrow county with its seat, Champion, (now Painsville City) just south of New Market (vacated to Painsville Township in 1816) at the northern end.  A board comprised of three nonresident commissioners chose the geographic center of Geauga County, a wilderness area soon to be known as Chardon, as the new county seat, or, the "seat of justice," as the law put it.  Residents of the northern townships were forced to travel a considerable distance through the wilderness to conduct their business at the Courts which were located in the county seat. Moving the county seat north became a very sensitive political issue in the 1830's.  Efforts to elect county officials that were favorable to the move failed.

By 1835 it became apparent the political forces in the county would not allow the county seat to be moved and in 1839 a new approach was tried -- petitioning the state legislature to form a new county.  In January 1840, petitions from the citizens of Cuyahoga and Geauga counties were presented to the legislature for the creation of the new county of Lake.  In an attempt to satisfy size requirements, there were no metes and bounds given for the northern boundary which extended out into the lake.  While proponents for the creation of a new county had a difficult time getting their act together, Lake County was finally created on March 6, 1840, officially organized on March 20, and the first elections held on April 6, 1840.

This information was taken from an eleven- page article entitled "Formation of Lake County Ohio" written by Eric Cardinal, Director of the Lake County Historical Society, and published in their "Lake County Historical QUARTERLY", December 1989.

January 1990 Reflections Newsletter updated.  All rights reserved.