Monthly Archives: May 2015

Paul Chapman Statue Painted

This concrete statue, created by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen was repainted by Col. Nahorn on May 17, 2015.  It was made in 1961 by Col. Vietzen, who modeled it after Paul Chapman, a Native American friend of the Vietzens.  It stood on the Indian Ridge Museum grounds in Elyria for about 35 years.  Several years ago we acquired it for display on the new Museum grounds, and just recently we had the opportunity to repaint it in a color scheme very similar to that which Col. Vietzen had originally chosen for it.  The base includes several prehistoric stone tool artifacts and also a carved stone face.

The statue of Paul Chapman, now at the New Indian Ridge Museum.

The statue of Paul Chapman, now at the New Indian Ridge Museum.

Native Wildflowers Abound in the Area

Here are a few views of native wildflowers and plants in our area (May 2015):

Fragile ferns and wood ferns thrive in this intermittent wetland, which is a part of the ephemeral headwaters stream known as Shupe Creek.  It eventually flows into Beaver Creek at the Historic Shupe Homestead in Amherst.

Fragile ferns and wood ferns thrive in this intermittent wetland, which is a part of the ephemeral headwaters stream known as Shupe Creek. It eventually flows into Beaver Creek at the Historic Shupe Homestead in Amherst.  Also note the emerging jewelweed native wildflower.

Native large flowered trillium wildflowers grow to enormous sizes at the Old Spring site in downtown Amherst.  The sandy, moist soil conditions of the ancient beach ridge provide a perfect spot for our State's wildflower.

Native large flowered trillium wildflowers grow to enormous sizes at the Old Spring site in downtown Amherst. The sandy, moist soil conditions of the ancient beach ridge provide a perfect spot for our State’s wildflower.

Large specimens of bloodroot wildflowers grow on the hillside at the Old Spring.

Large specimens of bloodroot wildflowers grow on the hillside at the Old Spring site.

Trillium and may apples thrive at the Old Spring site.

Trillium and may apples thrive at the Old Spring site.

Ostrich ferns are seen here in the rich bottomland floodplain forests of the Vermilion River floodplain at the Bacon Woods metropark system.

Ostrich ferns are seen here in the rich bottomland floodplain forests of the Vermilion River floodplain at the Bacon Woods metropark system.

Visit to Bungart Island

There is an island in the Black River, and you can boat or kayak by it today.  There is a unique history behind this special spot, right here in the midst of an industrial river, on its way to being restored.

Kayaking to Bungart Island.

Kayaking to Bungart Island.

The Bungart Family owned the Island in the Black River, and it was used for farming operations for many years. Animals would be ferried over for grazing on the Island, and in the late 1800s, several black walnut trees were cut from the Island, floated down the River, and cut into lumber for use by the Bungart family [read more in Col. Vietzen’s “Yesterday’s Ohioans” publication]. Starting in the mid-1800s, there were several water-powered sawmills (later converted to steam sawmills) along the banks of the Canesadooharie (the Native American Indian name for the Black River). The Island, located just downstream from the confluence of the French Creek at the Black River, today is maintained by a local park district.

Peter Bungart, a friend of Col. Vietzen's, with the giant fish fossil he assembled, Dunkleosteus terrell.

Peter Bungart, a friend of Col. Vietzen’s, with the giant fish fossil he assembled, Dunkleosteus terrell.

Peter Bungart, in the late 1800s was either born in a small log house on the Island or on the mainland, grew up to be a well-known paleontologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and today is known for assembling the giant fish fossil found in the Cleveland Shale formations along the shale outcroppings along Lake Erie. The giant, armored fish fossil is an extinct species of shark, known as Dunkleosteus terrelli. It had a bony exoskeleton and was larger than our present-day sharks. It lived here several hundred millions years ago, when this area was covered in a shallow, warm ocean, when Ohio was basically located where the Caribbean is located today.

Heron Rookery at the ghost town of Globeville along the Black River.

Heron Rookery at the ghost town of Globeville along the Black River.

For several years we had planned to examine Bungart Island, formally documenting this historic landform. As a kayaker, Col. Nahorn had floated around it on different occasions. On May 11, 2015, we had the rare opportunity to visit Bungart Island. Vito Cammarata (of West River Paddle Sports, Vermilion River) and Robb Koscho (of LoCo ‘Yaks, Black River), both kayak consultants at the New Indian Ridge Museum, accompanied Col. Nahorn, and the group put in at Grumpy’s Black River Wharf in Lorain in the morning, after having a donut or two. The group headed out and traveled past the heron rookery, now located at the ghost town of Globeville.

Detail of an 1857 Township map showing the ghost town of Globeville, Bungart Island, and the French Creek's confluence at the Black River.

Detail of an 1857 Township map showing the ghost town of Globeville, Bungart Island, and the French Creek’s confluence at the Black River.

The name of “Globeville” came from the Globe, a two-masted schooner about 84 feet long by 23 feet wide, rated at 157 gross tons, named and constructed there by an early settler, Augustus Jones, who built several of these types boats along the River. The Globe capsized in an 1839 squall bound for Detroit from buffalo, carrying pig iron. The crew was saved, but the Globe could not be saved and sank to the bottom of the Lake about six miles off of Cleveland. Globeville Road followed the route of the bends in the River along the north side of what partially became the Johnson Steel Mill. Note present-day Globe Avenue in South Lorain, which also is named for the old road. (The Village Pioneer – Volume 10 No. 1, March 2015, p. 4-5).  “The largest steam sawmill in Sheffield, was that known as the Globeville mills, on Black River. This was undoubtedly the largest mill in Lorain County. Shipping plank was the principal lumber sawed.” History of Lorain County, Williams (1879).  There was also a large mill located opposite Bungart Island, known as the Birmingham Mill.  The mills likely started off as water-powered, but over the years, as demand grew and water power became less reliable, these mills were retrofitted with steam engines.

Black walnut trees are still evident along the Island's edge and can be seen across the Island's landscape.

Black walnut trees are still evident along the Island’s edge and can be seen across the Island’s landscape.

The group also passed the restoration (environmentally speaking) areas and made note of these spaces. Soon enough the three kayakers had made it to the edge of Bungart Island.

Beaver evidence was noted both on the mainland of the River and along the Island.

Major beaver evidence was noted both on the mainland of the River and along the Island.

The group stopped on the downstream edge. Upon viewing Bungart Island, we noted black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees, generally young-mature, are sprinkled across the landscape. Some nice specimens of poplar trees are also evidenced, along with several poplar seedlings. There is an infestation of non-native, invasive garlic mustard, especially near the middle of the Island. Boxelder (Acer negundo) trees (seedlings to mature specimens in size) are quite numerous, and black willow (Salix nigra) are mixed in, in places. A few ash (Fraxinus spp.) were noted. Grape vines and some Virginia Creeper was also noted. May apples were a dominant wildflower in certain sections – some were noted to be of large size. Beaver evidence was noted quite readily both on the mainland stream bank and Island banks, along with some evidence of deer as well. Some phragmites were noted along the edges of the Island. One morel mushroom was noted as well.

Beaver evidence was noted along the Island's edge.

Beaver evidence was noted along the Island’s edge.

A large hole was noted on the southern portion of the edge of the Island, which, upon further required investigation, might be the old foundation from a former Bungart log house. This was impossible to confirm at this time. While checking out the area, red-tailed hawks hunting and a bald eagle nearby were noted. A general tour of the perimeter of the Island was taken by kayak.

Along the edge of Bungart Island.

Along the edge of Bungart Island.

Kayaking around Bungart Island.

Kayaking around Bungart Island.

The weather turned out perfectly, and it was a most pleasant morning.

Visit to the Franks Site, an Erie Village

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The Franks Site, encompassing some eighty acres of land along the scenic high banks of the Vermilion River in Brownhelm and Vermilion, Ohio was a somewhat densely populated area hundreds and even thousands of years ago.  In the early 1940s, Col. Raymond C. Vietzen of the Indian Ridge Museum in Elyria, acted as the archaeological site supervisor when Oberlin College students excavated this site.  Col. Vietzen also worked on the site for many years with his own excavation team.  A few of his seventeen books highlight this particular site, which he termed as an “Erie village” because of the vast landscape that the site encompassed and also the fact that it was inhabited for a protracted period of time.  The late prehistoric people known as the Eries, who maintained settled village sites, would have called this place home, until they were defeated during the “Beaver Wars” by the group of Iroquois nations about 1654.  After that, Northern Ohio was essentially a hunting ground with no settled village sites – a land often referred to as being “hunted over by many but owned by none.”

Col. Vietzen’s work unearthed habitation sites throughout this area, and we would direct you to his publications, such as, “The Immortal Eries” and “Ancient Man in Northern Ohio” to learn more about those people who once lived here and the artifacts they left behind.  Some of these artifacts are now preserved locally at the New Indian Ridge Museum.

Col. Nahorn recently showed an associate of the Museum, Vito Cammarata and another gentleman, to a portion of this site, along the Vermilion River.  Vito, of West River Paddle Sports (Vermilion River) is a kayak consultant at the New Indian Ridge Museum.  On May 8, 2015, after having completed a tour of the Vermilion River in kayaks, Col. Nahorn showed the two gentlemen to a portion of the Franks Site.  Interestingly, this view is nearly identical to a photograph that appears in Col. Vietzen’s 1940s publication highlighting the site itself.  Thanks to Vito for his unique photography skills in capturing this “then and now” moment.

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