Conneaut - Our Hometown
This article was taken from the Conneaut Telephone Directory September 1980 and is intended to provide information about Conneaut, Ohio, my hometown. The telephone book was copyrighted 1980 by the Conneaut Telephone Company.
A CITY ON THE MOVE
Conneaut, Ohio is commonly referred to as the "Plymouth" of the Western Reserve for it was here that on July 4, 1796, Moses Cleavland and his party observed Independence Day on their journey from New England to what is now Cleveland, Ohio. Cleavland and his group were seeking the mouth of the Cuyahoga River where they intended to settle. When the party reached the Conneaut area they made their campsite on the east side of the Conneaut Creek between a steep bank and the shores of Lake Erie, which would have placed them somewhere in the vicinity of the present Ore Docks.
The country prior to the arrival of Cleavland was inhabited primarily by groups of wildly primitive nomadic Indians, most powerful of whom were the "Eriez" tribe. After a fierce battle in 1656 between the Eriez and the Iroquois from the Finger Lake Region of New York State, the Eriez virtually disappeared from this section completely.
Very little is known of the first white man who settled in this territory. His name was believed to have been Halstead and his homesite was located near the State Line about a mile south of the present Route 20. He alledgedly raised a few vegetables, fished and spent a great deal of time trapping, but when the next group of white men appeared on the scene, he disappeared.
Highway construction in the 1800"s consisted principally of Indian trails. The main line of travel during this time were the beaches along Lake Erie. In time came the permanent roads which today are the automobile highways.
Early industries ncluded cheeese factories, grist mills, furnaces, saw mills and shipbuilding yards. Conneaut Harbor was an important port and its diversified activity made it one of the busiest on Lake Erie. At times as many as from one hundred to one hundred fifty men were employed by the Ohio Furnace.
The first vessel built in Conneaut was the "Salem Packet". She was built by Elias Keyes and Captain Samuel Ward in approximately 1818 on Conneaut Creek just south of the present bridge at the foot of Main Street. One hundred years ago there were six or seven large warehouses at Conneaut Harbor and both sailing and steam vessels made regular stops.
The first railroad, the Cleveland and Erie (now part of Conrail) began operations through Conneaut in August, 1852. Thirty years later, the Nickel Plate Road was opened, and Conneaut was extremely fortunate in being selected as a division point. The Nickel Plate has since merged into the Norfolk and Western Railway. A predecessor company of th Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad reached Conneaut in 1892. These three railroads, the Conrail, Norfolk and Western and besemer serve the city today. (On a personal note, Peter Gurto and two of his sons, Joe Gurto and Frank Gurto and two of their sons, Tony Gurto and Frank Gurto all worked on the Nickel Plate/Norfolk and Western Railroads)
Huge quantities of iron ore arrive at Conneaut Harbor, where they are unloaded and placed into tempory ground storage before moving south over the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad to steel mills in the Pittsburgh and Youngstown districts. Vast tonnages of coal from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio move north over the Bessemer to Conneaut, where they are either loaded directly into lake vessels for shipment to destination, or are placed in temporary ground storage to be later reclaimed and loaded into lake vessels. The iron ore, coal and limestone storage and handling facilities at the Port of Conneaut, which are the most modern on the Great Lakes, are operated by the Pittsburgh and Conneaut Dock Company.
Conneaut Harbor has come a long way since 1846 when there were only two parallel piers, with a lighthouse on one, two forwarding houses and eleven dwellings. The principal shipments at that time were grain, whiskey and lumber products. Today's shipments consist primarily of iron ore, coal and limestone.
CONNEAUT AREA CITY SCHOOLS:
KNOWN FOR QUALITY EDUCATION
The Conneaut Area City School District, in existence since 1964, serves the City of Conneaut and Monroe Township and covers an area of approximately 57 square miles.
One high school, a junior high school and six elementary schools provide quality education for approximately 3600 boys and girls.
The Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School located in Jefferson serves the entire county and provides opportunities for 11th and 12th grade students seeking vocational education. Bus service is provided to and from the Joint Vocational School.
The Catholic schol system in the Conneaut area consists of one elementary school, locaated in Conneaut, and one high school, located in Ashtabula. Bus service is provided for pupils attending both schools.
South Ridge Christian Academy, with Kindergarten through 12th grade, was established in 1973 to provide high quality education in a Christian atmosphere. The school is intended primarily for the children of parents with Bible based beliefs. In addition to teaching the basic skills and concepts, the school teaches about God and the world from a Christian viewpoint. Secular subjects are taught in conformance with standards prescribed by the State and the curriculum is supplemented by the teaching of principles and ideals laid down in the Word of God.
South Ridge Christian Academy in this way seeks to aid the parent to fulfill his responsibility to God to, "Train up a child in the way he should go..." in developing positive Christian personalities that are prepared to take their place in the home, the church and the state.
THE CHURCHES OF CONNEAT
The City of Conneaut might well be described as the city of diversified churches. The Saturday Evening Conneaut News-Herald lists worship services for 48 area churches, of which 24 are considered in Conneaut. The churches come in all sizes, beliefs and modes of worship. Two of the churches are Roman Catholic parishes.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES ARE PLENTIFUL IN CONNEAUT...
Conneaut offers lake front advantages on lake Erie for recreational pursuits. Year-round recreational facilities are available for both indoor and outdoor activities.
Thr wide range of activities provided by public and private enterprises in Conneaut are unique from the wide sandy beach of Conneaut Township Park to the wide open space of Farnham Park located on the Conneaut River. The portage escarpment at Farnham Hill affords one of the finest views of Conneaut and Lake Erie to be found in the entire state of Ohio.
Conneaut has two fine golf courses, the Conneaut Shores Golf course, near Lake Erie, and the new Conneaut Country Club located south of Conneaut.
Although Conneaut does not have a professional baseball team, followers of the national pastime can travel to nearby Cleveland and see the Indians and the rest of the American League Baseball teams.
The present boating facilities (and Marina) for water craft are located near the mouth of the Conneaut River inside the break wall which provides shelter for the marine activities of Conneaut Harbor.
Other diversified recreational facilities in the greater Conneaut area consist of lighted football and softball fields, three Little League fields, two bowling alleys, a roller skating rink, a Gun club, and a Fish and Game Club. In addition, there are well over 80 outdoor areas within easy and short distance from the City of Conneaut. Fine Restaurant and Lodging Facilities are also available.
CONNEAUT; CENTRALLY LOCAATED FOR BUSINESS, OPPORTUNITY AND GOOD LIVING
The City of Conneaut is located 74 miles Northeast of Cleveland, Ohio. It has a city area of 27.5 square miles at an elevation of 656 feet above sea level. The Conneaut area climate is tempered by Lake Erie. The mean annual temperature is 49.8 F., with a December mean of 31.3 F, and a July mean of 72.4 F. The mean rainfall is 32 inches while snowfall averages out to 42 inches per season. The climate of the Conneaut area is generally nice with no periods of either extreme cold or heat.
Conneaut is a city of nearly 15,000 people located on the south shore of Lake Erie just a few miles west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Nearly 75,000 live within a 15 mile radius. A very high percentage (83%) of these people own their own homes.
Conneaut is geographically located in such a spot that it offers a great many market benefits both to business and individuals. For example, to the North of Conneaut is an inexhaustible source of fresh water from Lake Erie, also easy waterway access to the growing markets along the Great Lakes. Deep-water shipment of various products is available to world ports, both domestic and foreign by means of the St. Lawrence Seaway. To the West of Conneaut lies the multi-billion dollar Cleveland area which has a great concentration of specialized business services, unsurpassed cultural facilities and of course, for sports fans, you can cheer and root for the football Browns the hockey Barons, and the baseball Indians.
To the south of Conneaut, approximately 50 minutes driving time, lies the huge Warren-Youngstown area and the gateway for the metropolitan centers of Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valey Region. To the East, cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, New York and Philadelphia are only hours away from Conneaut because of the excellent modes of transportation available. Motor carriers travel from Conneaut all the way toNew York City without being slowed by a single traffic light or stop sign as the follow Interstate 90 and the New York Thruway.
The Cleveland Hopkins Airport is located in nearby Cleveland and has daily flights to the major points on the globe. Air frieght Service is available with daily pickups in Conneaut. The greater Erie Internatonal Airport is located 20 miles east of Conneaut on Route 5. A well equipped air field for private and small planes is located only three miles west of Conneaut on U.S. Route 20.
THE GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE OF CONNEAUT, OHIO
The business affairs of Conneaut's city government is efficiently handled by a Mayor, Council President and seven councilmen. This group of capable individuals also are responsible for the control of the city's police department and also the city's fine fire department.
The city of Conneaut is quite proud of its excellent Brown Memorial Hospital with a ninety-two bed capacity staffed with the best doctors and nurses available.
Conneaut also features a complete business section comparable to any community its size in Ohio, with modern stores, supermarkets, and municipal parking lots. The financial needs of the city are handled by two banks and other savings and loan institutions.
MEANS OF COMMUNICATION IN CONNEAUT...
The City of Conneaut enjoys the most modern and efficient type of telephone service available anywhere in the Country by the continuing progress of the Conneaut Telephone Company.
ON THE SUBJECT OF CLEAN AND PURE WATER...
The City of Conneaut has a modern all-electric pumping and filtration plant. This plant has a three million gallon per day capacity. This can be easily increased to 7.5 million gallons by the addition of four filter beds to the plant. A million dollar bond issue that was passed created for the city of Conneaut a new sewage treatment plant. The plant now treats raw sewage before it enters Lake Erie thus making the lake that much cleaner and safer all to enjoy.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES IN THE CITY OF CONNEAUT...
Because of its ideal location on Lake Erie, and bgecause of Conneaut's close proximity to the great cities of the Northeast, the Cityof Conneaut enjoys a very healthy buliness and employment climate. Some of the larger employers in the area include Crawford Container Company, Conneaut Die Castings Inc., Exomet, Inc.; The Hercules Packing Corp.; the Buckeye Div. Emco Wheaton Corp.; Norfolk & Western, Div. Point & Car Shops; the General Electric Co. (Lamp Div.); the Pittsburgh and Conneaut Dock Company; The Astatic Corp.; Norton Co.; Conneaut Leather Co.; The Eighmy Corp.; Trans-Plastics, Plycraft Fabrication Co.; Webb Manufacturing Co. Inc.; Print Craft Inc.; Allied Resins Inc.; Lukjan Metal Products, Inc. and two important members of the Conneaut communication team, namely our local newspaper, The Conneaut News Herald, and radio stations W-WOW AM AND W-FIZ FM.
CONNEAUT: THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
The list of business firms seeking information about the greater Conneaut area is virtually endless. The City of Conneaut is proud of its history, its past accomplishments and its goals for the future. Conneaut is growing day by day, week by week, and offers a wonderful climate...never too cold...never too hot...plus the opportunityf for a good and satisfying life for anyone who seeks it. The past number of years have brought many diversified industries to the city of Conneaut and with the hard-working members of this thriving Ohio community there is very little doubt that when compared to any city of comparable size, the city of Conneaut cn hold its head high for great achievements in the past, and even greater pinnacles to be reached in the future. Conneaut, Ohio...a good place to live, work and enjoy life.
(This article was written in 1980 and many of the facts are outdated.-Joe Gurto)