Chaska Beach

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Chaska Beach is a lakefront subdivision of 113 single-family homes located in the city of Huron, Ohio, which is situated at the southern point of Lake Erie midway between Cleveland and Toledo.

History[edit]

Before 1900, the area east of Huron, which today includes Chaska Beach, was a crop farm rich in the traditions of the Western Reserve. Like hundreds of other tracts of land in Ohio, it was cleared of virgin forests with sheer human strength to make way for farming to feed a young nation. Along the Lake Erie shoreline, however, the settlers found a special gem. The rustic, sandy beaches and the access to fresh clean water made this land special in its own way.

In 1831, the parents of Aaron Wright Meeker took possession of the farm land east of Huron which included all the land comprising Old Homestead I and II and Chaska Beach. A Huron street just off Tiffin Avenue is named after this family. But the area was destined for more than farming. Upon the death of Mr. Meeker in 1896, the farm passed to his second wife, Cynthia. When she passed in 1902 the property was divided between their two daughters, Mrs. Metta Meeker Breckenridge and Mrs. Hannah Meeker Stein. Mrs. Breckenridge inherited the area now known as Old Homestead I and II, and Mrs. Stein inherited the land which became Chaska Beach.

Chaska Beach was conceived as a summer cottage resort around 1918. Two years later, in 1920, The Erie County Reporter, Huron’s newspaper, reported on July 8 that “New Allotment Here Has Been Christened Chaska Beach.” One month later, on August 12, that same paper announced that “Chaska Beach is Dedicated to Huron Village”

“The council accepted and adopted the plat of the Chaska Beach allotment recently platted by Mrs. F.L. (Hannah) Stein, said plat comprising about 15 acres of the old A.W. Meeker farm east of town. There are 75 building lots in the allotment, and when these shall have been disposed of for summer homes about 20 acres more of the same property will be platted and annexed to the allotment. It is expected that ultimately this new subdivision will be provided with water and electricity from the local plant. Eleven lots have already been sold, and the erection of many new homes will be commenced early next season. One of the restrictions...prohibits the erection of a residence costing less than $2,500, exclusive of the cost of the lot, which range in price from $750 to $1150.” (The Erie County Reporter) Chaska Beach was marketed as a “quiet, refined lake-home resort where cultured people can get away form the hot, busy life of the cities and find rest and contentment upon the wide, cool veranda or upon the sandy beach, of which Chaska rightfully boasts as being unsurpassed.”

“Chaska” is an Indian word meaning “first-born son”, and Chaska Beach is named for Wright Meeker Stein, the first-born son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Stein. The Steins, who resided in Norwalk, were the first people to build a home in the Chaska Beach area. Their summer home was built in 1891 and sat on the shore at 213 Kiwanis and has since been replaced by another home built in 1979.

During the 1920s, Chaska Beach had only six streets - - Kiwanis, Crescent, Seneca, Wasta, Winona and Franklin. Seneca ran only as far south to where Garden is today. Mohawk Drive, originally named “Erie Drive”, was not dedicated until the final phase of Chaska’s development began in the 1950s. Lakeway, or the “alley” as it is commonly known, was originally conceived as little more than a convenient 10-foot-wide (3.0 m) access. In fact it was not until 1955 that the Village of Huron passed legislation to cover the issuance of bonds to pave Lakeway.

Situated on the Cleveland-Sandusky Highway (midway between Toledo and Cleveland), plus a Lake Shore Electric Railway stop at the Chaska Beach entrance and a New York Central Railway depot a short distance away helped contribute to the growth of the area.

Homes in Chaska Beach were provided with filtered city water, sewers, cinder drives, electric lights, telephone and landscape gardening. Families in Chaska were even afforded the luxury of milk and grocery deliveries from proprietors not one mile (1.6 km) away in the City of Huron.

Later, in 1937, Wright Stein and his sister, Florence Stein Orebaugh, and their spouses transferred the property which comprises the Tennis Court and Playground to the Chaska Beach Lot Owners Association. Finally, in 1966 the open property between Garden and Mohawk Drives was deeded by the Stein-Orebaugh families to the CBLOA, again for the enjoyment of all lot owners.

In addition to accessing the North Parkway and Beach from either the Kiwanis or Seneca ends, there are also two concrete walks off Lakeway. The one between 808 and 810 Lakeway is called “Parkway’” while the one between 816 and 818 Lakeway is named “Willow Way”.

The six classic North Parkway cast iron street lamps were built by General Electric and installed in the 1920s.

The community of Chaska Beach now comprises 113 homes of which 70% are lived in year round. The balance are summer homes and a few are rental properties.

Coordinates: 41°23′35″N 82°32′20″W / 41.393°N 82.539°W / 41.393; -82.539