Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dr. B. W. Donaldson’s Lake Breeze Memories – Part 3

I went back to Dr. B. W. Donaldson’s book of Lorain reminisces to see if I overlooked anything in his Lake Breeze memories that might be of interest.

One thing I did find was an explanation of how a group of steel mill executives could spend the summer in Sheffield Lake enjoying the cool lake breezes when they were still working at the mill in South Lorain. Wouldn’t that be rather inconvenient for them to get to work?

Donaldson points out how it actually was a fairly short commute to work for the men, since the steel mill was just across the Black River.

Donaldson and other boys used to drive the steel men to work in a wagon. He wrote, “Each weekday one of the boys would drive up Lake Breeze Road, open gates and drive through fields to the river, to be met there by a man from the steel works who rowed the officials across to the steel works.

“He took them across the river to the back yards of the mill. We also met them about four thirty in the afternoon for the return trip.”

On at least one of these trips, there was a bit of excitement.
Donaldson wrote, “One morning on our way to the river with the men going to the mill, the horse shied. We saw ahead of us across the lane the largest snake that I have ever seen, outside of a snake pit in the zoo. It stretched clear across the roadway.

“We all jumped out of the wagon and hunted clubs, but by the time we found some stones and sticks, the big snake had disappeared.”

Snakes were apparently common in the early days of the mill.

“When the tube mills were being constructed,” wrote Donaldson, “a den of snakes was unearthed near the river, while blasting was going on. The men who saw them claimed that beside a score killed, snakes ran in every direction.

“The whole district around South Lorain was swampy and ideal for snakes, but they disappeared as the town grew and the mill was built."

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