BV-11Hike1

Stephanie West, a guide for the Cleveland Hiking Club for two years, wants hikers to notice historical markers such as the inscription on the replica of Joseph Cahoon's log cabin.

In 1810, Cleveland had a grand total of 57 hardy residents. Cuyahoga County was new and the state of Ohio was only 7 years old.

It was also the year that Joseph and Lydia Cahoon and their family traveled from Vergennes, Vermont, to what was called Dover Township on the shores of Lake Erie. The creek that now bears their name was one of the draws for the family, who built a cabin and constructed a grist mill and sawmill.

Their cabin was the first house in what is now Bay Village. And it’s little snippets of history, such as the story of the Cahoons, that Cleveland Hiking Club guide Stephanie West will share Thursday as she leads a “Lake Road Historic Hike.” The 6-mile hike starts at 9 a.m. at the Bay Village Community House. Participants will be able to relive this story and others from Bay Village’s rich history.

The walk is free and open to ages 18 and older. Registration is not required. For more information, contact West at stephaniewest@yahoo.com.

“It’s very important that people come out and enjoy what we have here because this is a gift to us from the Cahoon family,” West said about Cahoon Park. “It’s all free and wonderful and it brings people together.”

Walking, instead of a trolley or car ride, makes history up close and personal, according to the organizers. The goal, West said, is to provide insight into the everyday lives of the city’s founders like the Cahoons, John Huntington and Reuben Osborn. Ten buildings, including Rose Hill Museum and the Aaron Aldrich House, will be stops on the hike.

“Since I’ve been hiking with the CHC, I have come to know and to appreciate Bay Village and all of Cleveland so much more,” said West, a member for two years. “Seeing and experiencing a place by foot, rather than driving or even biking through it, allows you to know and appreciate it.”

West, a retired history teacher from St. Christopher School in Rocky River, got the idea to organize the historical hike after speaking with Bay Historical Society Vice President Cathy Flament during a hike the club hosted on Oct. 6 in Cleveland. Soon after, the two began to plan a route that would highlight the city’s history.

The 100-year-old hiking club has 1,300 members.

The Bay Village hike is near and dear to West’s heart.

“I feel after living here for 44 years a renewed sense of belonging and gratitude,” she said. “Not only for the natural beauty of Bay Village, but for the people I meet along the way on the trails.”

Contact this reporter at 440-871-5797 or akamczyc@westlifenews.com.

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