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Roots Revealed Blog



Kathy Schmidt

Kathy SchmidtKathy Schmidt is a Naturalist at Rocky River Nature Center. She enjoys learning about pioneer uses of plants, trees and herbs, and is fascinated by local and American history.


Topics

Ottawas and Cicadas
Posted: 6/28/2016
You never know where a little research will lead you.   I recently spent a few evenings watching a fantastic emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas at Ottawa Point Picnic Area in Brecksville Reservation. This was followed by several daytime visits to view the thousands of flying, singing, mating, and egg-laying adults. What an incredible sight! But while I was cicada watching, I began to take notice of the shelter house located there. The fireplace looked fairly old; I wondered if this place was t...

 

History? Who Cares...
Posted: 3/29/2016
A co-worker recently asked me a thought-provoking question: “Why should we care about history?”  Why should anyone care about history? Why should the Roots Revealed Blog that we so carefully research be important to read? Why should Clevelanders care about the history of Cleveland Metroparks? Allow us to explain! The Roman orator Cicero (106 to 43 BC) said, “History is truly the witness of times past, the light of truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity.” In moder...

 

Treasures of Old Attics
Posted: 12/30/2015
Old attics are fascinating places. I was looking through files in the attic of Brecksville Nature Center when I came across natural history notes from the 1930s and 1940s written by several people including A. B. Williams who was Cleveland Metroparks’ first naturalist and Harold Wallin, Brecksville Nature Center’s first naturalist. What I discovered among the lists and entries were little treasures: insights into the Brecksville Reservation of 80 years ago. How amazing it is to me that on May 20, 1938, ...

 

Parker Ranch - Part 2
Posted: 10/7/2015
Last week I wrote about Adele Von Ohl Parker’s early life as a trick rider. The year 1928 found her stranded in Cleveland, giving horseback riding lessons. By 1929, she was able to purchase land on Mastick Road in North Olmsted where she continued giving riding lessons and started day camps for children. The current owner of Parker Ranch, George Wasmer, was one of those children who learned to ride in exchange for cleaning stalls and caring for the horses. George fondly recalled trick-riding at the Bere...

 

Parker Ranch - Part I
Posted: 9/30/2015
For many years as I drove on Mastick Road to Rocky River Nature Center I would pass “Parker Ranch” with its historical roadside marker. I stopped to read it once, learning that the ranch was the home of Adele Von Ohl Parker.  My dear friend Lee Smith, whom I often mention in my blogs, told me stories of being in a horse riding club that met at Parker Ranch. The photos of his trail rides showed a smiling Lee and many happy friends on horses, riding through the park. Over the years I have met a numbe...

 

Old Maps Tell Stories
Posted: 7/13/2015
I inherited a cigar box full of old topographic maps from my friend Lee Smith. Lee, born in 1906, was a long-time volunteer at Rocky River Nature Center who loved hiking. Lee wrote notes, hike routes, dates, and mileage all over his maps, and these notations tell stories about him. By looking over Lee’s maps, I have learned that: Map showing Lee's hiking routes Lee Smith Lee liked long hikes! A 1937 hike through the “magnificent scenery” of the “Switzerland of Ohio”, amounted to 30 miles. In Chardon in ...

 

The Wheel in the River
Posted: 4/29/2015
Years ago, a fisherman noticed something odd protruding from the Rocky River in the Rocky River Reservation. Looking closer, he saw that it was an old wagon wheel. Forty years later, the wheel came to Rocky River Nature Center where Paul Goebl, a park maintenance worker, preserved what remained of it. Possibly 150 years old, the wheel spurs many questions. We can make educated guesses to answer some of them although there are many things we will never know for sure. Who made the wheel? We can never know...

 

Cedar Point Nursery
Posted: 10/6/2014
When Cleveland Metroparks was founded in 1917, it looked vastly different than it does today. Many of the original forests had been cleared for agriculture. The 1929 Annual Report states that it was the park board’s “. . . ambition to replant large areas of the reservations, and restore them to their primal beauty and grandeur.” In order to fulfill this policy of reforestation, hundreds of thousands of trees were planted in the park. Where did all of these trees come from? They were grown in the park’s ...

 

Frostville Museum
Posted: 7/31/2014
One of my favorite places in the park is the Frostvile Museum in Rocky River Reservation. This living history village has a quiet, tranquil setting that immediately makes me feel like I’m living back in 1800s Olmsted Township. The homesteads and barns, the little white church and the flower beds blooming with old-time favorites bring to mind what seems like a more peaceful era. Wandering among the pastoral homes, I imagine life in an earlier time, watching for a horse and wagon to come clip-clopping down...

 

Sanstone, Schooners and a Sphinx
Posted: 4/30/2014
Tucked away behind the old Worden Homestead on Ledge Road in Hinckley Reservation are beautiful sandstone ledges adorned with ferns and wildflowers. Wandering among the cool ledges, hikers may be surprised to suddenly come face to face with a sphinx carved out of sandstone. Nearby are the carvings of a schooner and several historical faces. Eight carvings, and a few smaller ones, greet the hiker.  Who carved them, and why? Schooner carving - Worden Homestead - Hinckley Reservation At one time it wa...

 

Cedar Point: A Pictorial History
Posted: 1/23/2014
Cedar Point, located ¼ mile south of Rocky River Nature Center in Rocky River Reservation, has long been a place of beauty.  Its 90-foot tall shale cliff with cedar trees clinging to the edge attracted visitors and enchanted local residents. During the 1800s a community of homes, farms and even a grist mill grew up in this area. Cedar Point (Shale Cliff) located in Rocky River Reservation - pre 1940s   Cedar Point bridge during flood - 1924 James Ruple, one of the area residents, enjoyed a dir...

 

Meet Me At The Chimney
Posted: 10/30/2013
“Meet me at the chimney,” my friend Lee Smith (born in 1906) told his hiking buddies. Many years ago, Lee and I were going to hike in the Royalview Area of Mill Stream Run Reservation on what is now the “Yellow Trail.” He wanted to show me the beauty of his favorite reservation. “What is the chimney?” I wondered aloud. It certainly could not be a crayfish chimney, which is too small to be easily seen as a meeting spot. Possibly it was another of Lee’s endearing names for locations, like the “apron,” a s...