Title: Book traces history of Center Ridge Road
Author: Alison Meaney
Publisher: Sun Sentinel
Center Ridge Road may give North Ridgeville residents headaches from time to time, but a recently released book by Carol Klear illustrates its history should be cherished.
Progress has transformed the road and the rest of the town to where it is almost unrecognizable to Don Pitt, a lifelong resident and former farmer of the land, but thankfully, a few historic landmarks are still standing to jog his memory.
"I guess it's progress. More people, more stores -- it's not a country town any more," Pitt said. "It's their dream to come to the country, but it isn't like it used to be, that's for sure."
Lorain County Historical Society member Jeff Sigsworth believes that the road dates back to before pioneer times when Native Americans followed animal trails along the ridgeline formed by receding glaciers of the ice age.
He believes that the animal trail explains that Center Ridge Road's former title, Buffalo Road, comes from these animal trails, citing accounts describing buffalo sightings on the roadway.
Sigsworth estimates that the road was constructed in the 1820s, and according to his wife and North Ridgeville branch librarian supervisor, Karen Sigsworth, some of the city's original homes were built along Center Ridge Road.
Pitt said that he could remember riding in his mother's Ford Model-T on Route 20, which Sigsworth explained was a popular touring spot for horse-drawn carriages, and later cars. He said the trees that used to line the road attracted them.
"The trees formed a canopy over the road so that it looked like you were going through a tunnel," Sigsworth explained. "People from Cleveland used to drive out just for the view of North Ridgeville, but about five years ago they cut down a lot of those trees."
The Century Tavern was one of many carriage stops that provided food, lodging and other services to travelers. According to Klear, author of "Images of America; North Ridgeville," the tavern was built in the late 1820s where it still stands on the east side of the city at 33312 Center Ridge Road.
North Ridgeville's historic landmarks are celebrated in Klear's book, which is available at Buescher's True Value Hardware Inc., Worcester's Inc. Feed & Poultry & Garden, Don Mould's Plantation Inc., and LeHoty's Hallmark.