By Karen Cornelius
Welcome all to Main Street Vermilion’s Sixth Annual Tour of Homes on Saturday, September 16, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Vermilion. The doors will open to seven unique local properties for the public to view and enjoy at their leisure throughout the day.
To start off the tour, come to Tiffany’s Flowers in the old town hall, 736 Main Street, where tickets for $25 each are available as well as brochures and maps. While there, enter raffles for beautiful gift baskets at $1 each or six for $5. A very special separate raffle will have the winner take home a beautiful miniature beach house complete with furniture especially designed for the Tour of Homes. It is now on exhibit at the Main Street Vermilion Office, 685 Main Street. All proceeds from this event will support Main Street’s goal to preserve and promote the entire community, and give visitors a look at some very remarkable and distinct locations.
The tour will include homes in the Vermilion Lagoons, Linwood Park, and Orchard Beach. Then, take a peek at the Old Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast and the Opera House on the second floor of the old town hall. As an extra treat, tour the COMPASS ROSE, a restored 40-foot boat with a Spencer Lincoln Lobster yacht hull design. The tour has something of interest to everyone from historic structures to complete restorations. Pick up decorating tips, see a former speakeasy and jail, and visit various neighborhoods.
Main Street Vermilion only hosts this Tour of Homes every other year so this is everyone’s chance to see properties residents probably pass by and now can actually go through the doors and view what exists in their own backyard. True to this organization’s theme for the summer, “Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.”
The following are brief descriptions of the properties the pubblic can see on the tour by creating their own path visiting each address at their own pace and time. This is not a group tour, so plan the day, eat at the restaurants and stop at the shops to add to each individual’s schedule. The following are descriptions of each stop:
Windsong Cottage is located in Linwood Park, the owners are no strangers to old house renovations, having owned and restored an 1887 Queen Anne Victorian, a 1927 Prairie Box, and a 1912 Italianate Arts and Crafts. When purchased in 2003, the 1909 Linwood Park cottage was in need of tremendous amounts of triage and tender loving care. First, the cottage needed major structural assistance. Built on wooden footers that rotted, holes were opened in every side and I-beams slipped through the entire structure to pull the house upward. A foundation was laid, and a concrete floor poured for the crawl space. A bump-out was added to the second floor and the interior of the downstairs was completely gutted to have one open space. The porch was reconstructed, the kitchen moved and much more. The project was finished in 2004 and will be of interest to renovation fans.
This is a lakefront cottage in Linwood Park with a lot of family history. The owners bought Sliberty in the 1990’s and it was understood that in retirement they would make their cottage their “Forever Home.” The cottage is filled with family art works and antiques from the owner’s great grandfather’s induction papers into the Civil War and his Civil War sword to beautiful clocks and a lovely corner cupboard. The upstairs steps are the focus of the cottage with a sister painting them as a 50th wedding present. Each step represents the family history in Linwood. See eight grandchildren’s handprints.
This Park Drive home is very much in the style of the Vermilion Lagoons, on the outside. Inside, it is in the style of continental Europe. A marvelous dining room greets one as the home is entered, while a gorgeous kitchen sets the tone of the house. The upstairs has a den, pool table, and bar and two additional bedrooms. There’s a huge master suite, living room, laundry, and sun porch on the lower level. Outside there’s a pool where one enjoy the view.
CUDDEBACK SCHOOL #2
Surrounded by peach and apple orchards, the Cuddeback School #2 in Orchard Beach was built in 1858 as a school and was sold by the Vermilion Township Board of Education in 1921. During Prohibition it served as a speakeasy with the Lakeshore Interurban Railway bringing partygoers from as far away as Cleveland. The home began its transformation in 1939 to the center hall colonial that exists today. With four bedrooms and three bathrooms it was considered a large home back in the day. It continues to serve as a charming residence.
OLD VERMILION JAILHOUSE
This property was purchased in 1910 by the Vermilion Village as the dedicated site for the local library. Construction began in 1935 at 691 Grand Street. The library was there until 1958 and then the building became the Vermilion Police Station. In 1998 the building was rented to a business and then in 2000, it was sold to a company, MV Circuit Design Inc. This is where the first mobile computer medication dispensing cart was developed and patented and used in hospitals. The owner tried another venture in 2013 for this building which contained an old jail. He turned it into a unique, upscale bed and breakfast bringing people to the city to spend a night.
OLD TOWN HALL OPERA HOUSE
In 1878 the Ohio Legislature passed a bill authorizing the Vermilion Township Trustees to build a town hall in the village of Vermilion. The hall was completed in 1883 at a cost of $21,000. It included a council chamber, election room, jail and courtroom on the first floor. The upper floor was an elegant opera house with a seating of 425 people. For the next 50 years, it served as a social hub for the community. In 2006, the township sold the building to private owners. The lower level now serves as a florist shop. The Opera House is no longer in use, but a group of citizens hope to restore it.
COMPASS ROSE YACHT
COMPASS ROSE was built in Nova Scotia, by Covey Island Boat Works in May of 1986 as a Spencer Lincoln Lobster Yacht hull design. After ten years, the owner sold it to a Vermilion resident, the late Bill Summers. He and wife, Rita, logged many trips and hours on her. Due to poor health, Summers sold this unique looking lobster boat on October 10, 2014 and he passed away on October 14 knowing “Rose” was staying in Vermilion. The owners went on to get their 50-ton Master Mariner’s License in 2016. The COMPASS ROSE is now 40-feet due to an added swim platform. She is constructed of epoxy impregnated wood. She displaces 14,000 pounds, drafts 5.5 feet, with a beam of 12.5 feet. She is powered by a Yanmar 260 hp diesel. The yacht sleeps two plus 2-4 in the dinning saloon. It will be docked at McGarvey’s Landing.
MAIN STREET INFORMATION
Tickets for the Tour of Homes can also be purchased in advance by going to http://www.mainstreetvermilion.org (online under EVENTS) and at Brummer’s Chocolates, 672 Main Street. People may also call the Main Street Office at 440-963-0772 for further information.