A celebration 200 years in the making is about to begin.
The story of Wellington — one in which all of our readers, all of our families, and all of our efforts have played a part down through the years — started back in 1818 with the arrival of pioneers Ephraim Wilcox, Charles Sweet, John Clifford, and Joseph Wilson.
This bicentennial year is a time to remember the hardships they endured, the history that gave rise to the Cheese Capital of the World, the railroad that made Wellington a hub of industry, and characters such as Archibald Willard, D.Z. Johns, Myron Herrick, and Edward Tripp who gave Wellington its flavor.
Mayor Hans Schneider, who also sits on the bicentennial committee, said just over $25,000 for the celebration has been raised through donations from businesses and individuals.
The donations will support a host of mostly-free events over the next year, he said.
“We exceeded our goal for donations and that’s a testament to this committee’s hard work and the generosity of this community,” Schneider said. “That’s why this 2018 plan has come together. With this money, we’re able to make these events something everyone can enjoy without worrying about money.”
Some events like the Jan. 21 Founders Day breakfast and April 21 bicentennial dance, both at Wellington’s Eagles Aerie 2051, will still carry a small charge.
A slew of historical speakers coming to the Patricia Lindley Center the second Tuesday of every month can be heard for free, starting with Nicole Hayes at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9. She will present “Into the Wilderness: A Massachusetts Household Emigrates to Ohio,” telling the story of one of the first groups to settle in Wellington.
Any bicentennial money left over at the end of 2018 will go toward the development of a new park slated to fill the former McCormick Middle School property on Dickson Street. While no timeline has been set for that project’s completion, a dedication ceremony at the site will be held June 10 during a Wellington High School all-years alumni reunion.
“There’s a lot of people and places to thank for helping to make sure all of this happened,” said Schneider. “Those include Jenny Arntz with Main Street, Al and Barb Leiby and Scott Markel with the Spirit of ‘76 Museum, and Laura Braddock and Calvin Woods with the chamber of commerce. Businesses like Forest City Technologies, Mercy Health, Allied Waste, and Wellington Implement have also aided the effort immensely.”
Other 2018 events include a military weekend starting June 16 at the Lorain County Fairgrounds, a vintage baseball game featuring village officials July 29, and historical home tours hosted by Main Street Wellington Oct. 14.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.