Editor's note: This is Part 1 of a two-part piece. Part 2 will be published in next week's Republican.
Did you know that until 1930, the Lake Road in Barcelona, coming from Dunkirk, ended at North Gale Street and to get to the rest of Lake Road from Barcelona to Erie PA, you had to drive south on North Gale to Hawley Street, turn right on Hawley, and then where Hawley ended it connected with Lake Road, turning left or west to continue onward? A 1924 map of the bridges in the Town of Westfield shows this clearly; the two ways to cross Chautauqua Creek going west, for travelers on the Lake Road Barcelona, or North Portage from the Westfield Village, were on North Gale Street or Hawley Street.
Some other interesting information gleaned while researching the completion of the Lake Road and the current Route 5 bridge across Chautauqua Creek included the names of many of the creeks, bridges, and beaches along the Lake on that highway. In addition, it provided a fascinating history of many picnic, camping, and swimming/bathing locations, the names of which are fading in the memories of most of us now alive in 2016.
the Ravine at Wilson Beach on Lake Erie… this is on Vorce Creek that forms the western border of Forest Park… The date of the postcard is circa 1909
Let's start a virtual journey at the Ripley/Westfield town line, in a "time machine" that is complex enough to see layers of times and locations and names over the last 150 years. Now, Shorehaven on the Lake straddles the town lines of Ripley and Westfield, and as such it was developed in 1924 as two sections by F.O. Reed and Co., Inc. of Erie PA. Shorehaven No. 1 lots began selling in June, 1924 for $95 (this would be the Ripley section), followed by Shorehaven No. 2 lots in September 1924 for $175 (on the Westfield side). Cottages were being built, and the location had electricity, and cindered drives and stairways to the beaches.
About a half mile east, a lovely creek Bell Creek flows over several falls and cascades from the escarpment well above Hardscrabble Road, following near Light Road, crossing Route 20, and then following near Rogersville Road to the West Lake Road, and then tumbling down into Lake Erie. Bell Creek Bridge was rebuilt in 1924, as well as Noble's Bridge across (probably across Vorce Creek near what is now Forest Park). Just east of Bell Creek is now Brookside Campgrounds (date of development not yet ascertained). According to an 1854 map, there was a Saw Mill near the falls and lake on Bell Creek.
About a mile east of Brookside Campground and Bell Creek, where Light Road tees to West Lake Road another tiny creek dips beneath the Lake Road at what is now Edgewater Condominium Community, which opened in June 1981. Edgewater has multiple buildings of 8 to 10 one- and two-bedroom condos, a pool, tennis courts, laundry facilities, recreation rooms, a pond frequented by flocks of Canada Geese, and a beach area. Prior to the development of the condominiums, Edgewater was a Campground for many years, at least as far back as 1962 (correct date yet to be ascertained).