Westlake Historical Society marks 150th birthday of native son Jack Miner
This year the Westlake Historical Society celebrates the sesquicentennial of the birth of Westlake’s native son, Jack Miner. Our community identifies with “Wild Goose Jack,” through the Ohio Historical marker placed on the west side of Dover Center Road, south of Westown Boulevard near Cahoon Creek.
Born April 10, 1865, Jack spent the first 13 years of his youth exploring, observing and developing a deep and passionate relationship with the outdoors. It was in Dover Township that Jack’s life experiences laid the foundation for his future legacy as “The Father of Conservation.” In 1878, the Miners moved north of the border to Kingsville, Ontario, where Jack spent the remainder of his life.
Jack always had a soft spot for the land of his birth in Dover Township, and spoke fondly of his experiences growing up in Ohio. Today, Kingsville is Westlake’s designated Canadian Sister City.
In Kingsville Jack established the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary in 1904 for the conservation of migrating waterfowl. During his lifetime he banded more than 50,000 wild ducks and 40,000 migrating Canada geese. His efforts subsequently changed waterfowl migratory patterns.
Jack pioneered a system of placing aluminum bands around the leg of migrating waterfowl that initially had simple instructions to send the band, or “tag” back to Kingsville, so that migratory patterns could be tracked. Jack then enhanced the system by placing scripture on the tags, letting the birds become “missionaries from the air.” Many respondents that acquired the bands were truly moved by the sentiments conveyed; thus, Jack became responsible for enhancing the faith of thousands.
Jack Miner’s life was a rich legacy filled with joy, tragedy and numerous transformations. He was a market hunter, guide, brick and tile maker, Sunday school teacher, conservationist and lecturer. He was known for his plaid suits and his sense of wit and wisdom.
In 1944 he was identified as the fifth best known man on the North American continent, behind the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh and Eddie Rickenbacker. In 1947, Canada’s House of Commons passed an act that established Canada’s National Wildlife Week to be held each year during the week of Jack Miner’s birth.
So it is that the Westlake Historical Society is celebrating 2015 with a number of Jack Miner events. A Jack Miner birthday celebration will be held Thursday, April 23, at the monthly historical society meeting at Porter Library. Come enjoy birthday cake and hear a discussion on the life of Jack Miner and why we celebrate this extraordinary man and his relevance to Westlake history. Festivities begin at 7 p.m.
Also, the Westlake Historical Society will present “An Evening with Jack Miner” at the Clague Playhouse on Saturday, Aug. 1. Proceeds will benefit the historical society, Clague Playhouse and the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation.
For more information on these and other historical society events, please call the historical society at their new number 216-848-0680, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.
Eric Hansen is a hospitality consultant with Hotel & Leisure Advisors, and currently serves as treasurer of the Westlake Historical Society. He portrays Jack Miner at the society’s annual Evergreen Cemetery Tour event.