John Aigler's grown children, Jane D'Angelo, Joan Lancaster and John, have honored their father by supporting a renovation of the Aigler Memorial in Perry Park. The area, located along the lakefront, was recently transformed into a viewing terrace overlooking the Lake Erie Islands.
Four generations ago, the Aigler's great, great-grandparents began the family's Lakeside tradition, traveling more than 100 miles by horse and buggy from Delaware, Ohio, to visit the Chautauqua community. Years later, their great-grandparents boarded the train in Delaware and arrived with their belongings at the Lakeside-Marblehead Train Station. The family would pitch three tents in Central Park--one for women, one for men and one for dining.
The camping experience at Lakeside later sparked the purchase of the family's first cottage, "Laurel View," where their father John would spend many summers boating, swimming and fishing on Lake Erie. "Our father was an avid boater and he was happiest when he was out on the water," said Joan. "He loved to take boat trips to watch the sunset and the star-filled sky from Lake Erie."
His children treasure the endless freedom and activities they had in Lakeside. The family enjoyed playing shuffleboard, swimming, setting up lemonade stands and eating picnic lunches on the dock. They especially loved hosting neighborhood plays in the front yard to entertain friends during the season.
As dinner approached, the family would gather for Lake Erie perch with Ohio corn and tomatoes, followed by a walk for a Toft's ice cream cone. Joan worked as a waitress for many years at the Abigail Tea Room and John spent his summers working at miniature golf.
During the season, Jane and Barby Bright Smith taught arts and crafts classes from their own gallery, called the "Cultured Perch," where they sold everything from paintings to painted rocks. These classes influenced Jane's life-long passion for art.
In memory of their father, John's children gave funds to renovate the Aigler Memorial with the new binocular viewer. Joan commented, "The terrace will honor our father's memory of Lakeside and his love for Lake Erie." She adds, "We hope many Lakesiders will enjoy the great views of Kelleys Island, freighter docks and all the activity that goes on in the area of Lake Erie."
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