Westlake Historical Society continues to light up history
If you have driven past the Clague House Museum or Lilly Weston House at night, you have probably noticed the candles in the windows. Placing a burning candle in one's window is a common tradition that dates back to colonial times.
The candle was often placed in the window when a member of the family was away. The lit candle was also placed in the window as a sign of good news or as a beacon to weary travelers. To keep this historic tradition alive, the Westlake Historical Society has, for the last several years, placed electric candles in the windows of the Clague House Museum and Lilly-Weston House.
In 2016, the historical society set a goal to replace all of our incandescent light bulbs with the newer, energy efficient LED lighting. This included all indoor and outdoor lighting, as well as our electric candles in the windows.
The conversion to LED lighting provided many advantages. First, we noted that overall maintenance would be reduced since the bulbs typically last eight years or longer. Second, LED bulbs use approximately 80 percent less electric power to produce the same amount of light. Finally, LED bulbs operate far cooler than incandescent lights, making them safer to use.
This all seems a little ironic since the the Clague family never actually had electricity in the family home when they were alive. Furthermore, it is even more ironic to think Thomas Edison was born only 45 miles away in Milan.
I often think of what Walter Clague might have thought of all the electrical advances in the family home. Although his sister Sophronia did not feel electricity was necessary, I have a hunch that Walter Clague would have very much appreciated it.
May the lights shining brightly at the Clague Family Homestead remind you that the historical society welcomes you throughout the year to learn more about our local history. For more information about the Westlake Historical Society including membership, please call us at 216-848-0680.
Lysa Stanton is a newly retired teacher and the president of The Westlake Historical Society. She lives in Westlake with her wonderful husband, Dave and her awesome pets.