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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Boston Park

Back when I was the township fiscal officer, I had a lot of extra time and energy. I became clerk in 2004, when I was only 61 years old.

I wasn't the youngest kid in the meeting room, but I researched the local townships before I started, and had a list of what I wanted to do. At the top of my list was a web site. I had several designers make proposals to the trustees. 

When they had proposed, one of the trustees, with whom I regularly locked horns, had a friend of hers, who built web sites on the side, make a proposal. The trustees selected him. Or as I used to say of myself, the official with no authority.

Here's a link, http://www.bostontownship.org. Take a peek. Its a sweet little site, outdated even when I was there and struggled to maintain the pages the "webmaster" never updated as technology evolved. 

One of the trustees and I were excited to have it to start recording township history. I see that since I left, nothing has been done except publishing the minutes, twice a month. I started pumping history into that web site like I was canning peaches. I stood at the scanner many afternoons, Saturdays, and a few Sundays, scanning two hundred odd years of township minutes and uploading the files. 

I poured in all the history the town historian had accumulated. I think he was relieved to be relieved of his burden. He even finished projects he'd begun, like the history of the cemeteries. I know he has more to upload, but no one to do it.

Accumulating the history of The Boston Park began because I happened across an obscure reference to the CCC working on the township roads. When I followed up with the park, I was informed there is no such record. That got my back up, of course, especially because the town historian said some locals remembered.

So, I researched and interviewed and footnoted and laid out my findings. Take that, National Park. If I had not made a record of this verbal history of Boston Park,  I wonder if you would have plowed under the entire park!


I took these pictures four years ago. In the top right, the park goes several hundred feet north up Riverview Road, and in the bottom left goes several hundred feet west up Boston Mills. The red building in the background is Zelenski's General Store, in private ownership until Mr. Zelinski died, and then bought by the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The same Conservancy that bought the golf course.

I took these pictures today, until a foreman escorted me off the grounds. All that is left of the park is the flagpole, the cedars and the planter, which they have assured the trustees will remain as part of the history of Boston.


Zelinski's is now the new visitor center for the National Park.


Looking north, you can just make out the train station. It used to be on the other side of Boston Mills, across from the Park. But as any fool can now see, in order to board the train, passengers must pass through the Visitor Center where all sorts of souvenirs are available for purchase. I am the most angry that the Park feels at total ease in rewriting our history! And, history is written by the victors. 


Looking down to the park at the corner of Riverview and Boston Mills Road. I was walking down the berm of the road to take a "new" picture of the scenery above, and especially the sandstone walks, when I was intercepted by the foreman and asked to leave. I replied I would leave when I got my picture and kept on walking. I got past the white truck before he stood in front of me. So I asked him to move, and took the picture below.


He walked me all the way back to my car, and even opened the door for me.











31 comments:

  1. Beautiful shots and a complicated history.

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  2. That was polite that he opened the door for you, LOL, but I'm curious why he asked you to leave. Were there no trespassing signs posted? It does seem weird that history is being rewritten and sadly in a few years I'm sure those that are old enough to remember will no longer be there and the younger generation will just go with what is written rather than knowing the truth.

    betty

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    1. It was a huge construction area, Betty. Earth moving. Cement pouring. They're down to the last three days. I wonder if they're working under floodlights.
      And right, in the end no one will remember. But like that obscure reference to the CCC working on a township road, it's written down to be found. I wonder, had I not done the research and recorded it, would the entire park be plowed under. Or relocated as a scenic byway with interpretive signs!

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  3. Hari OM
    Oh - I recall seeing the wee stone-brick planter - you told me some of the history at that time. Wouldn't recognise the place now!!! I understand your ire. Crikey. Well, at least the young fella didn't just lift you up and carry you off!!! YAM xx

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  4. clearly people are no longer welcome in what was once a people's park, but at least he was polite enough to open your door for you.
    It really is a shame to see the park gone.

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  5. Thank you for all your hard work!
    There is a strange sadness when areas are transformed away from their history. Money seems to rule.
    The only places in Concord MA I feel the family familiar comfort are the cemeteries.

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  6. Sorry that this has happened but very glad that you recorded what you did. That whole website should be at the University of Akron history dept. or somewhere where it might be more protected and accesible.

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  7. Or perhaps the Akron Summit County local history collection. I certainly hope they have one.

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  8. Glad you were able to get the shot you wanted. And thank you for sharing the photos and history of Boston Park.

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  9. Situations like this are very sad and we see more like it everyday. You were amazing to research and record all that you did when there. I do hope the factual history of this area is properly recorded in a place where it can be protected. Thank you for all you did in this effort. I guess it is because I am older now but it seems like younger people don't even want to know about our past which is of course their history too.

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  10. Great photos. You should write a book about the park.

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  11. Sigh.
    And thank you for all you have done, and are doing.

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  12. Thanks for the links Joanne, I read some and will read more , it's interesting.

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  13. What about common rights? Can't you just walk across land as long as you take nothing and do no harm?

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  14. Thanks for all you have done to preserve the local history Joanne. It is important!

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  15. Wow, wish the world was full of Joannes, it would be a much nicer, kinder place to inhabit. Just today in the paper a developer and tree surgeon were each fined £120,00 for cutting down a 27m redwood planted in1842 and 69 trees in an ancient woodland. Nothing to a company destined to make millions! The tree surgeon, I think, should never be allowed to work in that job ever again! The woodland wasn’t even on their land, just adjoining. It fair breaks your heart.

    LX

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  16. Oddly enough, I woke up this morning from dreaming that my darling little childhood home of Roseland and the river it sits on were being completely torn up. The river dredged, the tiny islands dug out, the land my grandparents donated for the community park torn up.The sense of loss is still with me as I write this.
    Good for you for writing down the history, for doing the hard work. Some day someone will want to know all of those things and will have so many questions. Because you took the time and did the research, there will be answers.

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    1. I had a long conversation today with the trustee who went toe to toe with the National Park to preserve Boston Park. The Park threw the township a very dry, old bone. As we concluded, when she and I are dead, they'll bulldoze the rest.

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  17. I am not surprised at your interest and writing about the history of a place, after all, you're a weaver. You've mastered the historic art of weaving thread to cloth and obviously weaving history to a story. Very interesting, thanks.

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  18. well, yes of course they would have plowed the whole thing under and covered it with concrete. more parking doncha know. they love to pave paradise.

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  19. Why in heaven's name don't they want you there. Thanks for the pictures.

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  20. What is CCC?

    You've done an amazing job on preserving the history. I remember being hustled out of a park with my dog about 7 years ago, I was so puzzled until later I realized it was being taken over by covert military exercise operations which nobody knew about hidden as it was in the woods.

    It certainly gives an uneasy feeling.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. CCC is Civilian Conservation Corps. It was formed by Roosevelt in the depths of the Great Depression, to put young men to work and send money home to their families. They built parks and bridges and roads and much, much more back in the thirties. The architectural style is noticeable in so many structures around here.

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    2. How brilliant was that? Preserving heritage is so important to us peons but when bigger interests get involved watch out indeed.

      XO
      WWW

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  21. Good for you for keeping history alive and recorded. History used to be handed down by word of mouth..

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  22. An all too familiar happening in today's world I suspect Joanne.

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  23. Well, history doesn't get outdated and you've compiled some valuable historical research there for future users who are interested.

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