LAKEWOOD - Area residents will gather in Lakewood on Saturday, Aug. 11, to celebrate a local milestone. The Packard Mansion, originally owned by J. Ward and Elizabeth Gilmer Packard, turned 100 earlier this summer.
The daylong celebration will honor the Packards, their accomplishments and their Lakewood legacy.
J. Ward's career accomplishments include establishing the Packard Electric Company and building the first Packard Motor Car, along with William D. Packard. He and his wife became known as philanthropists in the Lakewood area, assisting local residents in many ways.
"They gave the land for the fire house, which now is our village hall," said Mary Blair, chairwoman of the Packard Mansion Centennial Committee. "They gave the first fire engine. Mrs. Packard educated many, many students, sending them on to college with scholarships. She was president of the school board for many years. They had no children, but she was always involved with helping young people."
Although J. Ward died in 1928, Mrs. Packard remained in Lakewood until her death in 1960. She funded a new wing at WCA Hospital, Jamestown Boys Club, an athletic field at Southwestern Central School and other projects.
"Many people remember her," said Helen Ebersole, former Lakewood historian. "But, many people in Lakewood don't realize how much the Packards did philanthropically."
The Aug. 11 celebration will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Lakewood Recreation Center with a presentation on the J. Ward Packard family by Dan Mathey, historian and docent at the Packard Car Museum, Warren, Ohio.
The celebration will move to the Lakewood Village Hall and Museum at noon with the dedication of a plaque honoring J. Ward and Elizabeth Gilmer Packard, and a presentation by state Sen. Cathy Young.
Activities will be held all afternoon on the lakefront side of the mansion. They include a Packard car show featuring vintage Packard cars and a Lakewood fire truck from 1915; a self-guided walking tour of the area; and Harvey the Balloon Man. Refreshments will be available.
Those who take a stroll around the Packard Mansion should note it has changed since 1912.
When Norman Turcotte and his wife bought the property in 1962, they started the mansion's evolution.
"They made it into seven condominiums, keeping the flavor of the building beautifully," Blair said. "They did a fantastic job of keeping the moldings and all of the old feeling of the building."
Jim Paige owned the property later on and built two buildings, one on each side of the mansion.
"There's one building that has 12 condominiums and one that has 18 condominiums," Blair said. "So that incorporated into the Packard Estate Condominium Association. There are 37 condominiums in all on the property."
Aside from the mansion itself, the car show, which will begin around noon on Lake Street, could draw the biggest crowd of the day, according to Blair.
"The Packard Motor Car was a fine, fine machine," she said. "We will have quite a few old Packards on the waterfront. I think that will bring people out. And, I think people who knew Mrs. Packard would like to come thank her, thank them, for what they've done."
For more information, visit packardmansionNY.webs.com.