|June 2010 Photo|
It's largely overlooked by motorists and pedestrians, but it's a nice little bit of local history – both for the subject matter of the monument, as well as the monument itself.
Here's the story, as it appeared in the Wednesday, July 18, 1934 edition of the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald. Lorain was celebrating its Centennial that year.
Broadway 'Triangle' to Become 'Penfield Park'
Builder of Famous Plank Road to Elyria to Be Honored at Double Ceremony
As a result of the efforts of the Lorain Nathan Perry chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, the tiny triangular park located at the intersection of Broadway and Elyria-av, approximately at 17th-st, is to be given the name of Penfield Park.
This is in honor of the late Russell Penfield, the one-time prominent Lorain civic leader who was organizer and president of the association which built the old plank road between Lorain and Elyria.
It is in this park that the Nathan Perry chapter on Saturday afternoon is to dedicate the boulder monument to mark the approximate site on which the old toll gate house stood on that old plank road.
Plan Double Ceremony
Believing that some honor should be paid to the man who built the road, the Nathan Perry chapter officials requested permission from the Lorain Park commission to give the name of Penfield to the park. This permission has been granted unanimously by the commission, it was announced today.
So on Saturday there will be a double ceremony at the little park. Not only will the boulder monument be dedicated, but the group will also officially dedicate the park as Penfield.
The committee in charge is Mrs. Theodore Oehlke, chaiman; Miss Helen Fox and Mrs. C. Arthur Brown.
According to a copy of the Lorain Centennial Program at the Lorain Public Library, the boulder monument was dedicated at 2:00 P. M. on Saturday, July 21st.
A little bit more about the plank road is found in the history of the early days of Lorain that was written by William G. Wickens and appeared in the Journal in 1981. (That history is online here.)
In the article, Wickens states, "The plank road to Elyria had been built in 1833. It had been a great and progressive undertaking."
He added, "That road, made of split logs, was projected to the county seat by local capital and various toll houses were erected along the way about two miles apart to assure a return to the builders. That was the first "paved road" out of Lorain, if one will so call those crude rough-split open logs. No other efforts at paving were made after 1833 for almost sixty years. It was a long journey to the county seat, even over the plank road, and the famous "Half Way House," at the intersection of Elyria Avenue with the Junction Road to Elyria was erected to offer hospitality to wayfarers on their long trip to the county seat. A toll house long stood at the intersection of Broadway and Elyria Avenue in Lorain where a boulder now marks the site."
For years, the boulder monument was almost completely obscured by foliage. In recent years, the brush has been trimmed back and the boulder is now fully exposed.
|June 2010 photo|