By Carolyn Bedell
Whenever someone thinks of pioneers, they probably think of Daniel Boone or Davey Crocket taming the old west, riding horseback and prospecting gold. But what they might not realize is that Westlake was once as wild as the West, minus the gold of course, and the pioneers who lived off the land shaped the future of Dover Township, of which the majority would become Westlake. The Lilly Weston House, next to the Westlake Recreation Center, is one of the oldest buildings in Westlake. Built around 1844, this house has seen quite a bit of history, and several owners since its first, Austin and Roxanna Lilly. The oldest part of the home is made of heavy sandstone blocks, around 2 feet thick that were believed to have come from a nearby quarry. The sandstone must have been quite a challenge to transport because each individual slab weighs over eight hundred pounds, and were moved at a time when people relied on horses and wagons.
Although the building was deeded to the city to be converted into a museum nearly sixteen years ago, some of its structure and floors are in dire need of attention. There are many other issues that need to be addressed as well, such as heating, plumbing and electrical before the building can be officially opened to the public. One obvious thing that is missing and in need of replacement are the steps to the front door.
I have been a part of the Girl Scouts for the past ten years, and have been in troop 71047 in Westlake for the past four years. It has become a major part of my life and no, we do much more than sell cookies. Scouting teaches young girls confidence, courage, responsibility, leadership and to be respectful to everyone. Girls combine fun with education by earning badges. The Bronze, Silver and Gold Award projects that scouts participate in are long lasting and geared toward making a positive influence on the local community. The highest award that a Girl Scout can earn is the Gold Award, an accomplishment only a few scouts earn. Comparable to the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout Award, the Gold Award is also about making a long-lasting impact on the community.
I have chosen the Lilly Weston House for my Gold Award project. I will spread awareness about it by educating the public on the history of the home, steps that are being made to restore it and how people can become involved. I am developing a website, educational displays, coloring pages, and other fun activities that will be used to educate people of all ages. Come see what I am doing at the Fall Festival on October 15th from 1 to 4pm at the Westlake Recreation Center!