Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cascade Park Article – Feb. 15, 1926

The view of the entrance near Furnace Street this past weekend
It's exciting that the Lorain County Metro Parks took over the management of Cascade Park (which you read about here in The Morning Journal last year), just like it did with Lorain's Lakeview Park. Cascade Park is a real gem that's often overlooked by those of us who live up near the lake.

That tendency to forget about Cascade Park is nothing new. It's even mentioned in this article that ran in the Feb. 15, 1926 edition of The Lorain Journal – 88 years ago this month.

The article provides a nice historical perspective of the park.

Cascade Park is Famous as Great Natural Wonder
Hundreds Come From Afar to See Beauty Spot That Few Lorain-co. Residents Appreciate

Elyria, Feb. 15 – The former playground of Indians, the rendezvous of lovers, the retreat of the thoughtful and the sad at heart, cool, calm, and quiet: this is Cascade park, the beauty spot of Lorain-co, known to everybody, but appreciated by few.

It is often said that the greater the distance from which a person views a piece of natural beauty, the more he appreciates it. In this case the statement is certainly true.

Elyria appreciates its park. It is known thru out the United States as one of the finest specimens of primitive art in the middle-west. People come from all over Ohio to visit it. Yet how often does the average Lorain-co. resident visit its haunts?

It required millions of years of steady wearing away of stone to produce the maze of caverns that have honey-combed the place. It took ages and ages before that to lay the rocks, inch by inch, from which the caverns and winding river beds were cut.

Found by Indians
Many centuries ago, when the spot was in nearly the form in which it may be found today, the first redskins paused on the banks of the stream running thru it, glanced at their reflection in the water, and were filled with wonder.

Fossil remains of the red race, together with arrow heads, flints, tomahawks, and other implements have been uncovered by scientific experts under the direction of research bureaus of the government and of leading Universities of the country.

After the Indians disappeared before the advance of the white man and civilization, Cascade Park became the rendezvous of lovers. The dense foliage and the one-way footpaths made it an ideal spot for a tryst. Here lovers were unmolested. Surrounded by a mass of awe-inspiring crags, one could find solitude and rest of spirit and body.

Children's Playground
Here children played among the natural caves and caverns. Tiring of this sport they would visit one of the natural sulphur springs that are famous for the purity of their water, and thence journey down the river to the sand bar, the "old swimmin' hole."

Among the beauty spots that now pointed out to the visitor of the park, is the "Petrified Tree," the "Camel's Back," "Robber's Den," the "Devil's Cave," "East and West Falls," the "Oyster Shell Rock," and "Lookout Point."

To save this scenic beauty spot from decay, the city appointed a warden. It selected a man who knew every nook and crevice of the land. Tom Monroe, who spent the greater part of his life among the wonders of the park, was chosen for the post.

Popularity Grows
Today the park is greatly changed. Bird houses have been erected to care for the 104 different kinds of birds that make their home there. Baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a swimming pool have been erected for the benefit of the public. And swings, slides, sand piles, and merry-go-rounds have been placed there for the amusement of the kiddies. A miniature zoo was also set up.

But Cascade, the home of the rapids and the crags, still remains, and becomes increasingly popular every year.

I think for the average Lorainite, Cascade Park – as wonderful as it is – has always been a little difficult to get to. It's even hard to remember how to get there sometimes if you haven't been there in a while.

When I was a kid, my parents used to take us there once in a while. We would mainly just drive through it and use the ford crossing between the two parks – which was pretty neat.

It was never quite the same when you couldn't cross the river in your car any more – and it got even worse when the city closed down parts of the park. I think that's when I stopped taking the spouse down there for picnics.

Anyway, my Admiral King High School Class of '77 used Cascade Park as the setting for "Senior Skip Day." Yup, I was there.


Paula said...

Cascade Park is such a beautiful place... I lived in Lorain for almost half my life and had never seen it. I now live in CA, but friends recently took me to see the park on one of my trips home and I couldn't believe how amazing it is...

Anonymous said...

But Dan.....What about the BEARS in the Bear cave... That has to be a story all to itself.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

We used to cross the ford in a '63 Corvair back in '66; sometimes, the water would seep in around the door a wee bit....still, it was worth it.
I loved the falls, the bears, the paddle boats, and the trails, not to mention the corkscrew slide.

Good times.

Dan Brady said...

I'd like to hear about the bears myself!

Anonymous said...

I grew-up in Elyria & we lived a few blocks from Cascade Park. The bears were there thru the end of the 70's as I recall. The last two bears were kind of mangey lookin'. Here's some links:

After Christmas, on I think a Saturday night, everybody took their old Christmas trees and put them in a huge pile for a bonfire. This was done a the bottom of the sliding hill, by the round swimming pool....

Dan Brady said...

Thank you for the great links! The vintage photo of the bears is great!