Portage Lakes Historical Society creates book of postcard memories

The Portage Lakes has seen a lot of change of the years, and now the community has a chance to purchase a piece of history looking back at yesteryear.

The Portage Lakes Historical Society is selling a 140-page color book of historic postcards from around the area.

Carol Eubank, an active member of the Portage Lakes Historical Society, said Summit County has a book of postcards but the group wanted to see one created for the Portage Lakes.

“I wondered why we can’t produce our own book,” Eubank said.

She knew that Coventry Zoning Inspector George Beckham has a large collection of postcards and Eubank asked if he would share the collection to help create a book. Beckham said “absolutely” and the idea started to become reality.

The hardback book, which has about 200 postcards inside, and is on sale for $25 through Aug. 31 and then the price will increase to $30. The book is divided into sections and also has several postcards from Summit Beach and Springfield Lake. Postcards in the book are well over 100 years old.

Eubank, who moved to Coventry in 1956, said it is important to note the book is not a history lesson, though she noted there are captions below each postcard.

Beckham, who has been the zoning inspector for 29 years, said he began collecting postcards in the early 1990s. He said his mom had an antique table and one the chairs was broken and he went to look for a chair to match the table. He stopped at Stage Coach Antiques on West Market Street in Akron in search of the chair when he came across a large postcard rack with postcards from several states. He purchased about a half dozen postcards of the Portage Lakes at State Coach Antiques.

From there, Beckham went to several other antique shops looking for postcards since there weren’t Internet outlets such as eBay. Now, Beckham searches for Portage Lakes postcards on eBay and said it can be addicting. Sometimes, the price of a postcard becomes too much and Beckham stops bidding on it.

“I doubled my collection because of eBay,” Beckham said.

Work on the book began in February and has all been done by volunteers. In addition to Eubank and Beckham, Sylvia Johnson helped edit the book.

The group working on the book agrees it has been interesting reading the backs of the postcards to see how people talked when the postcard was written.

“I had a lot of fun doing it,” Beckham said.

The Portage Lakes Library and the Main Library in downtown Akron have each purchased two copies.

To purchase a book, checks can be made payable to the Portage Lakes Historical Society and payment should be mailed to Portage Lakes Historical Society, PO Box 19172, Akron, Ohio 44319.

The Portage Lakes Historical Society is also planning several other community events.

Community scanning day of pre-1980 photos will take place 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 1 and Oct. 6 at the Portage Lakes Library. The photos will be digitally saved on www.summitmemory.org.

The Portage Lakes Historical Society is also planning an open house 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Akron Rotary Camp, 4460 Rex Lake Drive.
This story was also published in The Suburbanite www.thesuburbanite.com