by guest blogger Dan Maxson

Explore Lake County Landmarks

Lake County Historic Marker

Lake County Historic Marker

Over 1418 historical markers may be found in the State of Ohio.  For the casual student of history to the most ardent lover of history, the landscape of Ohio is dotted with many interesting places to visit.  Lake County, formed in 1840 may be Ohio’s smallest county but it does have the most history, so much so that the number of historic markers will soon reach 28 when the Mormon Migration of the Kirtland Camp is officially unveiled on July 20, 2013.  With this in mind 2013 may be the best time to travel the back by-ways of Lake County and witness the many historical tid-bits and hidden gems dating back to 1750.  From home- schooled field trips to organized bus tours, from planned stay vacations to spontaneous site trips, Lake County is your passport to early American and Western Reserve history.

Some historic marker sites like #3-43  Kirtland Temple and #2-43   James A. Garfield House are well known.  Other sites such as #7-43 Spirit of ’76 and #16-43  Spirit of ’76 found in Perry and Wickliffe are lesser known.  From a historic lighthouse in Fairport to the celebrated homes of Civil War Underground Railroad abolitionists, historic landmarks may be found in all corners of our county.  Below you will find a sampling of some of the twenty-seven historic marker sites that dot our county.


Marker #15-43 –  Located in Painesville, this marker retells the story of Daniel Beard, noted 18th c. illustrator and artist.  Beard is credited with founding the Boy Scouts of America in 1910.  His artwork was used on the now famous BSA patch.


Marker #18-43 –  The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Station is on Depot Street in Painesville.  Opened in 1851 the Romanesque architectural style, marble floors, and red oak trim made it the jewel of Painesville for its nearly 120 year history.  Abraham Lincoln was perhaps its most notable visitor as he stopped at the depot to deliver a Presidential address to the crowds gathered.


Marker #5-43 –  First built in 1825, then rebuilt in 1871 the Fairport Lighthouse at Grand River has witnessed the most history in the area.  From Native American tribes settling its shores to the commercial growth of the shipping industry on Lake Erie, this sentinel has guided vessels to its shores.  The histories of the Underground Railroad, War of 1812,  as well as the Mormon Migrations intersect in Fairport too. The lighthouse and marine museum has been opened to visitors since 1945.


Marker #9-43 –  The Griffith Disaster of 1850 was one of our earliest Great Lakes maritime  tragedies.  In-route from Buffalo to Toledo, a fire broke out on the 600 ton passenger steamer just after a departure near Fairport.  By the time it reached Willobeach near E. 305th its fate was determined.  286 Passengers lost their lives.  The Willowick marker tells their story.


Marker #8-43 –  The Willoughby Medical College began in 1834 and met its demise in 1847.  Its storied ending and abrupt closing did bring about the founding of both the CWRU and OSU medical campuses.   In 1847 the Willoughby Female Seminary opened its doors on the former medical campus site and by 1859 joined in the eventual formation of Lake Erie College in Painesville


Download the iTunes Remarkable Ohio App! or visit for more information on these historic markers and other county historical sites open for your inspection.  Make 2013 your summer of history!

About Dan Maxson

Dan is the President of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society. He is also the local expert on Lake County lore and history.

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