Longtime residents Leverett Johnson and Abigail Cahoon Johnson cut the ribbon Saturday on a ceremonial dedication of the new, black fence at Evergreen Cemetery along Center Ridge Road.
Longtime residents indeed. Leverett Johnson, considered the first settler of Westlake, built a log cabin at Porter and Center Ridge roads for himself and Abigail in 1814. He’s been buried at Evergreen, which consists of his donated land, since his death in 1856.
The Johnsons were actually portrayed by Zac Springer and Natalie Nurse. They were two of eight people re-enacting early Dover Township settlers during Saturday’s living history tour organized by the Westlake Historical Society.
Leonard Porter (1806-1884), who donated his personal collection of books along with $1,000 to establish what is now Westlake Porter Public Library, led the tour in the person of Mel Maurer.
Porter expressed astonishment at the “horse carriages” he saw zipping up and down Center Ridge Road, especially when he didn’t see any horses. His audience benefited from the amplification of his voice by what he called a “thunder stick,” actually a portable microphone and speaker system.
Along the way, residents heard from such famous Westlake residents as Walter Clague and Jedediah Crocker, who told of serving under Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution.
The Rev. Dan Anthony of Rock Pont Church gave the benediction at the dedication.
The previous white vinyl fence at the city-owned cemetery had to replaced during the widening of Center Ridge Road necessitated by the Crocker-Stearns Road extension project. Completed last fall, the new black, powder coated fence and associated landscaping cost the city $15,000, according to Chris Stuhm of the city’s Service Department.