The History of Aquilla Village
Aquilla is one of Ohio's smallest villages with a current population of approximately 341 people (2010 census). Improvements have been made consistently to the Village such as a permanent town hall, public sewers, paved roads, a baseball field, and most recently a picnic pavilion area with a playground. Although the Village still owns lakefront lots and other community lots, the Wildlife Area that borders Aquilla Village on the Northside is now a state park area, used for hunting, fishing and non-motorized boating.
As with many small lake communities in Northeastern Ohio, Aquilla village began as a popular summer vacation spot for Cleveland's professional middle class. Formerly known as "Goose Lake" and "Claridon Pond", the lake area was known for excellent fishing and hunting. Because of the natural beauty and quaint atmosphere, Aquilla Lake provided rich subject matter for northeast Ohio painters to practice their craft. Among the more notable artists to frequent the community were Henry George Keller and Hans Busch.
"The Berkshires of Ohio"
In 1923, Aquilla lots were sold in a special "buy one get one free" county fair offering, and summer cottages began to dot the landscape. Enthusiastic cottage owners voted to incorporate, forming Aquilla Lake Community, Inc. on September 20, 1923.
Aquilla Village was advertised as a place “Where nature smiles, and the summer lingers in the Berkshires of Ohio.” As its popularity grew, community activities flourished; swimming, clam bakes, corn roasts and dancing in the newly erected village dance hall were routinely enjoyed by summer visitors.
Several residents winterized their cottages and moved to the village permanently after losing their main residences in Cleveland during the depression in 1929. A new organization was formed in 1933 called Lake Aquilla Estates in order to expedite the sale of remaining lots. Aquilla Village was incorporated in 1946; that status remains to this day.
The Turner Family
J.K Turner was a labor mediator and the editor and publisher of a mediation magazine. Topics covered in the publication included interests of industrial workers, management issues, the need for retirement pensions, and women's economic freedom.
Turner also published Turner's Digest, a summary of the industrial progress in the world market. The family held gatherings of industry and labor leaders at Lotusdale during the early 1900s, enabling discussions in a relaxed, country setting.
Cornelia and Turner Roads in the Village are named for the Turner family.
Lotusdale, located on the west side of the village, was the summer residence of the J.K. Turner family.
An excerpt from the Geauga County Record documents the Turners' impact on the local community:
Electric Lights on Geauga Farm Geauga County Record, March 22, 1912
"The residence and building at Lotusdale farm in West Claridon are to be lighted by electricity. This announcement was made by Mrs. J. K. Turner, of Cleveland, while in Chardon last Wednesday. A Cleveland electrical engineering firm has been commissioned to install a private lighting plant thereof sufficient capacity to light the farm if necessary, we learn. The farm residence and bungalow will also be equipped with steam heat. Material is still arriving for the new bungalow, which is to be erected just north of the Turner farm residence. The original plans for the bungalow have been altered, calling for a larger building. The living room in the bungalow will be 24 x 32 feet in size, with an extra-large fire-place, and there will also be about a dozen other rooms, all under one roof, while a 12-foot porch will nearly encircle the building. The bungalow will be a valuable building addition to West Claridon, while the tiling of Lotusdale farm this season, representing a considerable outlay of money, will be still another substantial testimonial to the live interest that Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Turner take in their country home. They are bringing improvements there which beautify and enrich their holdings, and enhance the value of other property in the locality."
Special thank you to Judi Malon for sharing historical articles and pictures of Aquilla Lake, Lotusdale, and the village development
For more historic information, click here.