The Lake Shore Electric Returns to Avon Lake

Everybody loves a train!

It is that love of railroading plus a sense of local history that has motivated Avon Lake shopping center owner Tom Patton to display a historic Lake Shore Electric Car prominently at the front of his Lake Road Artstown Shopping Center.

The Lake Shore Electric in Avon Lake

The Lake Shore Electric in Avon Lake

The long-term plan is to eventually develop a railway museum at the site of the old Avon Lake Theater. The development of the museum is going to be an ongoing project. But the placement of the distinctive orange Lake Shore Electric Car – good old LSE Car #38 – is one of the first and most visible moves in that direction.

Patton is reportedly partnering with Dennis Lamont of the Lake Shore Railway Association on the project. Lamont co-authored a book, Images of Rail, the Lake Shore Electric Railway with Patton and Albert Doane, administrator of the Lorain Historical Society. The book recalls the important past of the Lake Shore Electric Line and its influence on Avon Lake.

DSC_0538-2According to the website HeritageAvonLake.org, “The Lake Shore Electric Railway made its way into Avon Lake at the close of the 19th century, and fostered development of Beach Park, with a dance hall and bathing beach that drew vacationers for miles from the east and west.

“In 1923, the Cleveland Illuminating Company purchased Beach Park and constructed a power plant on that site. In 1938, the Lake Shore Electric Railway made its last run. Avon Lake was the undisputed beneficiary of the Railway’s heyday, as property values soared. Housing developments were rapidly expanding, and population increased.”

The hustle and bustle of this access to Avon Lake’s desirable lakefront locale meant that, by 1960, Avon Lake’s census qualified it for city status.

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