Put-in-Bay Parks Massie Cliffside Preserve becomes a reality-In 2014, the Massie Family contacted Put-in-Bay Township Parks District about the possibility of selling the property to the Park District. Their goal was for this family property to be used as a park and preserved forever in a natural state. On May 8, 2015, Put-in-Bay Township Park District purchased the Massie Property, seven acres on the east point of South Bass Island. The site will be called the Massie Cliffside Preserve in honor of Bill Massie The following plaques are proposed for placement at the entrance to the preserve:
The Brookner Clan-The Brookner’s would have been pleased that Put-in-Bay Parks District has preserved and protected this property. The Homestead of Peter and Amelia Brookner was located on this site in the 1880’s. They built their two-story home, erected barns, cleared the land and planted eight acres of vineyard. Their only child, Katherine, married Nathan Ladd in 1922 and raised six children. John Ladd and his sisters and brothers have fond memories of visiting Grandma and Grandpa Brookner’s farm where they roamed the woods, hid in the barns, helped in the vineyard, “put-up” hay and rode on the horse-drawn wagon. Sunday chicken dinners and tasty baked goodies were served with a host of old time stories.
During the 1940’s, the vineyard was sold to the Meyer Winery and subsequently to Webster Winery. The house remained in the Brookner Family. Grandson John Ladd and his five children were the last of the Brookner clan to live in the house. “We will always have fond memories of this area. Now the fifth generation of Brookner descendants living on the Island will also enjoy it.” The Bill Massie family purchased the land from the Webster Wine Company in 1957. “We are all so thankful that the Put-in-Bay Parks District and the Massie family have agreed to preserve such a wonderful property.” – The John Ladd Family
From the Bill Massie Family-We are pleased that the Put in Bay Parks District will preserve and protect this land in a natural state. It is what Bill wanted, and our family is forever grateful. The Massie family bought this property April 22, 1957. Bill, his wife Lois, and their children Curt, Linda and Cheryl moved to Put-in-Bay from Cleveland in April 1962. For more than 50 years, the Massies operated this family-oriented vacation haven on the shores of Lake Erie near prime fishing spots. The cottages were originally housing for the U S. Army tank plant employees in Cleveland, Ohio, where the Cleveland IX Center is located today. The cottages were rebuilt by Bill Massie with help from family, friends, and islanders. Bill’s bait and tackle shop and his expert fishing advice were appreciated by many. Bill and Lois’s grandsons experienced many rare, nature-filled, and enlightening times here in their youth. The music made by Bill and the memories of family, friends and all who stayed at East Point Cottages lives on in the sound of the waves splashing against the cliffs and the wind whispering in the leaves and trees.
Preservation & protection of the Massie Cliffside Preserve begins When the Put-in-Bay Parks District received the property, there were over 26 abandoned trailers and small cottages, along with a host of debris over the area. Over 50 large dumpsters have been used to haul debris from the site. H2W Environmental Consultants, LLC, of Akron, Ohio, completed a mandatory Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in 2014. “The assessment revealed no evidence of ‘recognized environmental conditions….” Only two buildings and three piles of concrete were left for removal this spring. Many people participated in the cleanup of the Massie Cliffside Preserve. The support has been overwhelming. Donations received via Generosity.Com Internet Giving Campaign: Kalen Cap, Lisa and Russ Brohl, Susan and Mike Byrnes, Mary Jo Cartledge-Hayes, Julene Market, Corky McIlrath and Jerry Flint, Laureen Mooney, Marija Zajkovska, Mike Ofat, Joe Rutter and Mike Snoddy.
Donations received via Giving Tuesday/Other Donations on PayPal: Sue Prahst in honor of Eric McFarland; Carol Ferguson in memory of Andy Ferguson; Terry Gorney, Leah Bilski, Krissy Hart, Amy Huston, Tina Kutschbach, John Allen, Peggy Leopold and Bruce Miles.
The following individuals donated funding directly to the Put-in-Bay Parks District: Hal and Barb Leitch, Marv Booker and Louise Ruf. The following organizations donated funding for the Massie Clean Up Put-in-Bay Investments, R. Gump Builders, Miller Boat Line and Lake Disposal. Spring Clean Up The following individuals donated time and energy walking through the woods to remove all sorts of debris: Roger Parker, Kelly, Marty, and Jay Faris, Julene Market, Bill, Bonnie, and Chuck, Cantillon, Martin Ketchum, Aaron
Schroeder, Lauren Mooney and Rob Rush, Chris, and Paul Ladd, Amy Huston, Sue and Steve Past and Lisa Brohl.
Early Fall Clean Up-Kate and Joe Ptak, Mary Lou Rams bottom, Dianne Szabo and Lisa Brohl.
Late Fall Clean Up-Ken Farber, Dave Washtock, Gene and Pam Zajac, Sharon Gray, Doug Wilhelm, Mary Parker, Marsha Parker,
Paul Ladd, Laureen and Colleen Mooney, Peggy and John Leopold, Nora Glass, Natalie Ontko Price, Diane Brennan, Lisa Brohl, Susan Byrnes; members of the Put-in-Bay Environmental Club-Missy Kowalski, Ian Pippert-Ladd, Gwena Market, Sophia Schroeder, Matthew Luecke, Blake Booker, Joseph Byrnes, Zach Bittner, Kaylyn Goebel, and Andrea Blumensaadt; Put-in-Bay Girl Scouts-Liz Knauer, Heidi Ladd, Nora Ladd, Alex Knauer, Cecilia Glauser, Hannah Lentz; and Andy and Todd Blumensaadt, Kowalski’s Garage-removing rims from tires, Rob Hard — for removing scrap iron.
Replanting-Shortly after the cleanup of the property, a vigorous replanting of the area began. Hoptree and chinquapin oak were planted in the rocky areas with bur oak, swamp white oak, red oak, American basswood, and bladdernut planted in moderate to wet areas. The trees were purchased at Riverside Native Trees and Nursery, LLC of Delaware, Ohio, to ensure native Ohio stock is used for restoration. Additional trees will be planted in the spring when the remaining debris is removed. A small vineyard may be
planted at the site in the future.
Public Support- The restoration project was done with a great deal of public support: Ed Kapraly of the Riverside Native Trees and Nursery has worked with the Park District and discounted prices Mr. Kapraly set up the online account for individuals to donate funds to purchase trees for the Massie Cliffside Preserve. The following individuals made donations to purchase trees for the Massie Cliffside Preserve either through Ed’s website or through a donation to Lake Erie Islands Conservancy on behalf of the Park District: Jim Brohl, Bob Krause, Kalen Cap, Marge Pristas, Lynda Heaton, and Bob Reutter. Bill Golaszewski would like to donate a tree in memory of Bill Massie to be placed near the site of Bill’s office and another tree in memory of Doug Zyp, an employee of Bill Massie.
Progress continues Most areas are cleared of cottages and debris. Trees have been planted, and an area along the shore above the cliffs has been seeded. Benches will be placed there. Several families have expressed interest in purchasing benches for the preserve. Much of the success of this project can be credited to Richard Gump who dedicated heart and soul to the cleanup of the Massie Cliffside Preserve.
Proposed Entrance Sign: MASSIE CLIFFSIDE PRESERVE Owned and managed by the Put-in-Bay Parks District Preserved with assistance provided by Lake Erie Islands Conservancy Clean Ohio Conservation Fund NatureWorks Ohio Coastal Management Grant Coastal Estuarine and Land Protection Grant
While every effort has been made to make your visit safe and enjoyable, you must remain alert and cautious in all areas of the Preserve. Please be especially careful on uneven surfaces and near the cliffs. Put-in-Bay Parks Open dawn to dusk. No fires. No littering. No picking