Lakewood Historical Museum Receives Local Artifacts

The Lakewood Historical Museum contains artifacts of the village’s benefactors. Among them are the Packards of the Packard Automobile Company. P-J photo by William Mohan

LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood Museum will have more to show when its operating season starts in July.

Initially, the museum’s home was the attic of the Lakewood Village Hall on Summit Avenue. Another move was made into the building’s main floor and conference room before the Lakewood Police Department let them use their current location in the basement. Permission was given by then-Lakewood Mayor Anthony Caprino to use the rest of the space in the basement. The organization is the result of the Lakewood Historical Committee to house a home for documents and tangible assets that date their heritage of the village of Lakewood.

“We established the museum in October 2011,” said Historian Susan Lane. “We had no museum. We had nothing. We had former historians but we didn’t have anywhere to go.”

During the past six years of operation, the LHC has received numerous photographs from around the village, including downtown, residential areas and the lakefront.

“We are 90 to 95 percent pictorial,” Lane said. “We are getting more tangible assets donated.”

Artifacts from past local businesses are on display at the Lakewood Historical Museum. Seen here is the first film ever premiered at the former Summit Theater P-J photo by William Mohan

Two recent items pertain to the sports history in the village. Robert and Judy Petroline donated two baseballs used by the Busti Rangers in the late 1970s to the Lakewood Historical Museum Committee. The Rangers were a youth baseball team comprised of 9 and 10 year old boys. Petroline was a school teacher at Jefferson Middle School in Jamestown who coached the team in 1977 and 1979. The balls contain the last names of the team members and the Petrolines were able to add first names as well. A plaque with the names of each respective player will be put on display next to the baseballs. When the museum reopens for its operating season in the summer, the 31 members will visit and view the balls and their names.

For all the Petrolines’ efforts, only two team members remain unaccounted for on the plague. It is hoped that over the months before the event they can be learned and added.

“They remembered everybody but this, so we’re hoping when the kids come they’ll will say that’s Bud, Frank or Bud whatever,” said committee member Roger Gilbert.

Items currently on display also relate to past local businesses and residents in the village. One of the most prominent displays is on the Packard Motor Company and in particular one of the main founders who called Lakewood his summer home. Along with his wife Elizabeth, James Packard had a summer home in the village. The couple also became one of the main benefactors of the village and maintained a wide array of boats and cars in the village. Most of the village was also developed thanks to the Packards’ wealth and influence. While Mr. Packard died in 1928, Mrs. Packard remained in the community and was active in the social scene in and around Lakewood and Jamestown.

To this day, various buildings built with Packard resources can be found. In addition, the heritage of the Packards is also on display in the Lakewood Fire Department on Chautauqua Avenue. In 1915, Mr. Packard donated a corner of an orchard he owned and $15,000 to the then Beechwood fire bucket brigade. The purpose was to build a new state-of-the-art fire station. The result was the new Lakewood Hose Company. Along with building the new station, Packard donated a 1915 Hallock Machine Company Ford chemical fire truck, the first piece of motorized fire fighting equipment in Chautauqua County. The engine remained in service until 1946.

The committee has also compiled a walking tour map using the 14 historical markers currently in the village. The markers for the Lakeview House, Sterlingworth Hotel, Lakewood Country Club, first and second Kent Houses, Packard Mansion, and the World War II memorial are all located on Terrace Ave in Richard Hartley Park. The markers for the Paul Sorg Mansion or Green Farm, the Aull Cottage, the New Holbrook Hotel, the World War II memorial (in the American Legion) and the Erie Railroad train station are all located on Chautauqua Avenue.

Two additional markers depicting different views of Chautauqua Avenue from the north and south are also on the street. A marker for the Lakewood Village Hall is located at the museum on Owana Way. A marker for the Lakewood Schools is located on East Summit Avenue. In the southern part of the village there are also markers for the Chautauqua Lake Stock Farm and Bemus House on East Fairmount Avenue.

To learn more about the Lakewood Historical Museum, visit lakewoodny.com or call Susan Lane at 969-5762. The Lakewood Historical Museum is located at 20 W. Summit St. in Lakewood.

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