The War of 1812 in Northern Ohio

By Ron Davidson, Host Committee member

Perry's Victory, painted by William Henry Powell of Cincinnati in 1865. The painting is currently hanging in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse (photo courtesy of the Ohio History Connection, Perry's Victory Collection, SC 1038 http://server16007.contentdm.oclc.org/u?/p267401coll32,8354)
Perry’s Victory, painted by William Henry Powell of Cincinnati in 1865. The painting is currently hanging in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse (photo courtesy of the Ohio History Connection, Perry’s Victory Collection, SC 1038)

The bicentennial of one of the nation’s “forgotten” wars, the War of 1812, has recently passed. It is not quite as forgotten in Ohio, however, because this region was the northwest front of the United States of America’s war with Great Britain, its Canadian colony, and their Native American Allies. Ohio was both a defensive front and a staging area for the invasion of British held territory, including Canada. If you have some spare time to study history and enjoy the region, there are several nearby sites to visit.

The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, shortly after construction (photo courtesy of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center)
The Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, shortly after construction (photo courtesy of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center)

Lake Erie was a significant battleground in the war against the British, culminating in the Battle of Lake Erie, fought just off South Bass Island (better known as Put-in-Bay) in 1813. Oliver Hazard Perry led the American fleet to a victory that gave the United States control of Lake Erie for the remainder of the war. This allowed the Americans to take back Detroit, at the west end of Lake Erie. The battle and the subsequent years of peace between the United States and Great Britain are commemorated at the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay. You can get to the island via passenger ferry from Sandusky or Port Clinton, or by auto ferry from Catawba Island (each a little more than an hour’s drive west from Cleveland). About a hundred miles to the east of Cleveland, in Erie, Pennsylvania, you will find a replica of the brig Niagara, from which Perry let the battle after his flagship, the Lawrence, was destroyed.

A little further to the west are other historical battlegrounds of the War of 1812. Perrysburg, just south of Toledo, is home to Fort Meigs, built in 1813 by order of General William Henry Harrison as a defense post in the Northwest Territory of the United States. Twice in 1813, American troops withstood siege from British and Native American forces. Later in the war, a redesigned Fort Meigs was used as a supply depot for an attack on Canada. Today a replica fort stands on the grounds, offering museum exhibits and public events. On August 22 and 23, the Fort will host re-enactors and craftspeople demonstrating “Life in Early Ohio.”

Fort Meigs Blockhouses, photo by John Stanton 10 Sep 2010, under Creative Commons license. via fortwiki.com http://www.fortwiki.com/File:Fort_Meigs_Blockhouses.jpg
Fort Meigs Blockhouses (photo courtesy of John Stanton, via fortwiki.com)

And if you like to hunt for historical markers, Ohio has plenty of those on the War of 1812, including one at the site of Fort Stephenson in Fremont. “Old Betsy,” a cannon that helped to defend the fort, is in position at the site, but now it “guards” the Birchard Public Library.

The grave of George Croghan, leader of American forces, and the cannon “Old Betsy,” used to defend Fort Stephenson, now the site of the Birchard Public Library, Fremont, Ohio (photo courtesy of TouringOhio.com)

Northeast Ohio: Presidential Sites

By Jillian Carney,  Host Committee member

Nicknamed the “Mother of Presidents,” Ohio is home to eight U.S. presidents, several of whom hailed from Northeast Ohio.  While you are visiting, be sure to fit in a trip to one of the presidential historic sites, birthplaces, or museums listed below!

 

James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

  • Location: Mentor, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  27 minutes (22.5 miles)

Garfield Monument (Lakeview Cemetery)

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  16 minutes (7.5 miles)

 

Harding Memorial. Courtesy Warren G. Harding Home & Memorial. http://www.hardinghome.org/
Harding Memorial (photo courtesy Warren G. Harding Home & Memorial)

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding Home

  • Location: Marion, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  2 hours (117 miles)

 

Spiegel Grove, Hayes Estate (photo courtesy the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center)

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

  • Location: Fremont, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  1.5 hours (86 miles)

 

William McKinley Monument
William McKinley Monument. (photo courtesy of Alycat via Wikimedia Commons, creative commons license)
William McKinley

McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

  • Location: Canton, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  1 hour (61 miles)

National McKinley Birthplace and Memorial, Museum and Library

  • Location: Niles, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:   1 hour 15 minutes (71 miles)

 

And we can’t forget the…

First Ladies

National First Ladies’ Library and Historic Site

  • Location: Canton, Ohio
  • Drive time from Cleveland Convention Center:  1 hour (63.5 miles)

Drop Dead Beautiful in CLE!

By Angela Manella, Host Committee member

If you like local history, public spaces, and a bit of peace and quiet, you may want to visit one of Cleveland’s beautiful historic cemeteries!

Erie Street Cemetery. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Erie Street Cemetery. Courtesy of Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections.

If you’re looking for a quick jaunt between sessions, there’s the Erie Street Cemetery downtown, one of the original municipal burial grounds. A twenty minute walk from the Convention Center, you’ll find this petite cemetery in Progressive Field’s backyard, off East 9th Street. The first permanent settler of Cleveland, Lorenzo Carter, and the Mesquakie tribal leader, Joc-O-Sot, are among those interred here after the grounds were consecrated in 1827.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The nineteenth century saw an explosion of “rural” or garden-style cemeteries throughout the country, and Cleveland was no exception. Woodland Cemetery, on the near East side, and Riverside Cemetery, on the near West, are typical of this lovely, walkable style. But, if you’re looking to spend a half day, you must visit the incomparable Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights.

Jeptha Wade Memorial Chapel - Left Wall Panel, Lakeview Cemetery. Courtesy of Mark Souther, Cleveland Historical.
Jeptha Wade Memorial Chapel – Left Wall Panel, Lakeview Cemetery. Courtesy of Mark Souther, Cleveland Historical.

Have a meal in Coventry and take in the shops, then cross Mayfield Road at Kenilworth to begin your exploration of the Lakeview Cemetery grounds.  Be sure to check out the Jeptha Wade Chapel, featuring art nouveau mosaics and windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany; tour the President James A. Garfield Monument; and visit the John D. Rockefeller Memorial. The Early Settlers of the Western Reserve have put together an excellent self-guided walking tour of Cleveland luminaries interred at Lakeview.

Civil War in Ohio

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument: Outside bronze grouping: Mortar Practice
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument: Outside bronze grouping: Mortar Practice (image courtesy Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument)

By Janet Carleton, Host Committee cochair

With the commemorative events surrounding the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, there is much available online on the Civil War in Ohio. Although Ohio seems far from the action, she supplied more than 300,000 soldiers and 200 generals to the Union Army and Navy during the war, and her industrial city of Cleveland provided supplies and support. According to a Ohio Civil War 150 essay, “Ohioans’ status as leaders during the war no doubt impacted the nation’s decision making in the coming years when electing presidents. Seven times U.S. citizens chose a former soldier from the Buckeye state from 1868 to 1896.” And just west of Cleveland, Johnson Island housed confederate prisoners of war.

If you are looking to get out and about, the extensive Ohio Civil War 150 site provides Google Maps of road trips and historical markers for NE Ohio.

If you love historical newspapers, the Ohio History Connection digitized Ohio Civil War-era newspapers as part of the Chronicling America project.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument: Interior bronze panels: Northern Ohio Soldiers' Aid Society
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument: Interior bronze panels: Northern Ohio Soldiers’ Aid Society (image courtesy Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument)

If you like monuments, the 125 foot tall Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is located close-by at 3 Public Square, conveniently between hotels and the convention center. Recently rehabilitated, the memorial room and esplanade are open 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday. It’s accessible despite the Public Square construction, and admission is free.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument: Interior stained glass
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument: Interior stained glass (image courtesy Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument)

 

Resources

Ohio Civil War 150
http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/

Civil War, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Case Western Reserve University.