Thursday, November 11, 2010

1960's Memories of Skyline Drive Part 4

When my family reminisces about the early years on Skyline Drive, thoughts and memories inevitably turn to a man we nicknamed, "The Farmer." I don't believe we ever met him, although we caught glimpses of him from time to time.

He lived at 3507 Leavitt Road (State Route 58) next to where E. Skyline Drive would eventually be built. It is my understanding that all of the land in the area had been part of his property at one time. The aeroplat map of Amelia Meadows seen in Part 1 of this series seems to confirm that all of the various lots were connected to each other and to where the Farmer lived.

He and his family lived in an old white house that was barely visible from Leavitt Road. We saw the back of it from our house, along with some ramshackle barns and other small buildings. The view to the west (across the field) from our kitchen window looked like this.

(Fortunately I had drawn it as a sketchbook exercise for my high school art class.)

Since the whole area was part of Black River Township until the late 1950's, it is difficult to research the property and its residents. I did manage to find one listing of it in the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Business Directory:

DEMBEK Leo M (Amelia: Dolores 14, Leona 19) Owner; 111 acres - general livestock poultry, 35, State Route 58 3507 Leavitt Road Lorain

My guess is that his wife's first name was lent to the Amelia Meadows subdivision.

The view never really changed from the sketch above, even when the new homes replaced the field and Temple Avenue was constructed behind his house. The old house and structures were just something that you got used to seeing, year after year, until you didn't notice it anymore.

Then one day, I saw this in the newspaper and my heart sank. (Click on it for a larger view.)

June 9, 1999 Journal clipping

I felt almost sick to my stomach. Not because something that I associated with my childhood was being demolished, but because the house was apparently one of the oldest in Lorain.

Here, the first time I actually get a good look at the front of the house, it's being demolished. What I would have given to just walk through the house – or its grounds – before it was gone. I'm sure the property had a story to tell, through artifacts in the soil.

But that's the way it goes, especially in Lorain. Here is roughly the same view today. I wonder if the homeowners are aware of what was on that property before their houses?

Southeast corner of E. Skyline Drive and Leavitt Road


-Alan D Hopewell said...

I'd forgotten about that house....thanks!

Drew Penfield said...

I must have driven by there thousands of times, especially during the mid 90's when I worked delivering pizzas, and I don't ever recall seeing that house. Very interesting.

Ken said...

Not a word about his pack of dogs, terror of the neighborhood to kids on bikes? Not to mention their proclivity for watering shrubbery in their own special way.

Dan Brady said...

I forgot all about those barking dogs! It sounded like a big kennel over there--but I don't remember seeing them, just hearing them. They were probably just like the Bumpus' dogs in A Christmas Story!

Mary Springowski said...

I live kitty corner from that house! The wild cats that came out of that house were unbelievable! And the smell! Now, I have heard from my neighbors that the farmer lived there with one of his daughters and she was mentally disabled and there was some deal about him hiding her away. I do know that I used to use that house to scare my kids on Halloween! lol