September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake’s Folger Home finds its place in history

Three generations of the Cushing family attended the dedication of the Folger home on Lake Road as an Avon Lake landmark on Saturday.  Pictured are John Cushing, of Double Oak, Texas, Josephine Cushing Knight, 8, of Hendersonville, N.C., Diana Cushing, and Thomas Folger Cushing, both of Etowah, N.C. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Three generations of the Cushing family attended the dedication of the Folger home on Lake Road as an Avon Lake landmark on Saturday. Pictured are John Cushing, of Double Oak, Texas, Josephine Cushing Knight, 8, of Hendersonville, N.C., Diana Cushing, and Thomas Folger Cushing, both of Etowah, N.C. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

AVON LAKE — For Thomas Folger Cushing and his family, coming to Lorain County was a homecoming rooted in history.

As Cushing and his wife, Diana, their son, also named Thomas, and his granddaughter, Josephine, sat on the porch of the historic Folger Home on the shores of Lake Erie, the family knew they were where few people can ever say they have been — the exact location of their family’s start.

Built in 1902 as a summer home for the Thomas Folger family, the three-story home was where Cushing’s grandmother, Josephine Folger Cushing, spent many summers at before a move to Elyria.

And, now the home, which has served as the backdrop of many summer sunsets for Avon Lake residents, will retain its historic value for years to come. On Saturday, the home was dedicated as a historic landmark by the Avon Lake Historical Preservation Commission.

It is the third such designation given to an Avon Lake landmark. Previously, Avon Lake Cemetery and the Peter Miller House were adorned with historic plaques.

“We are just so happy someone has taken such an interest in the home and its preservation,” said Diane Cushing.

“Yes, this designation is the only way to make sure the home has some longevity in the community,” Thomas Folger Cushing added. “My grandmother’s second home is in Elyria and it’s vacant and looks like it’s close to being demolished.”

Such a fate will not come to the Folger Home. In 1926 the home was turned back to the then-village of Avon Lake.
Over the years, the building has served as the mayor’s office and was used as the city’s first courtroom, for teen dances and as a community meeting place. The American Legion has held meeting there as well as local Girl and Boy Scout troops.

“This home is an important part of our community, and we hope it will be here for many years to come,” Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said.

Catherine Nowak, chairwoman of the Avon Lake Historical Preservation Commission, said connecting the past to the present is what preservation is all about.

“The stories we are told are wonderful as they give you a glimpse into what life was like, but we also need the physical evidence so we can walk toward the portals of history,” she said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.