I-90 East: Cleveland,
to Erie, Pennsylvania
begins at Exit 193 on I-90 in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland and takes us by the communities of Mentor,
Painesville, Madison, Geneva, Ashtabula, and Conneaut in Ohio. Then we'll pass
West Springfield and East Springfield, Pennsylvania as we make our way to Erie.
Pay attention to the shape of the land as you make your way
east. The route begins in hills left behind when the last of the glaciers
receded from this area over 10,000 years ago. As I-90 proceeds eastward, it goes
downhill until reaching flat land: the bed of a lake that once covered the
region. I-90 continues along this lake plain through the rest of Ohio, through
Pennsylvania and into New York until the interstate turns east at Buffalo.
Growing conditions along this strip of flat land bordering Lake
Erie are different than those even a few miles inland. The region is
particularly fitted for growing fruit, and you'll see vineyards along the route, particularly in Ashtabula County–the
largest producer of grapes for wine and juice in Ohio.
Weather conditions along this route are also affected by the
lake. This is the Ohio snow belt, where more snow falls than in any
other part of the state. The city of Conneaut near Ohio's Northeast border gets
its name from a Native American term translated as, "a place where snow stays late
in the spring."
The region was once called New Connecticut or the Connecticut
Western Reserve. The State of Connecticut regarded northeast Ohio as its colony and sent
explorers and settlers to the region. Today, the remnants of that era can be
seen in place names, architecture, family histories, and a certain "Yankee" tone
to the region.
Well-known people from along this route include President James
A. Garfield who lived in Mentor. Garfield was the 20th US president, the first
to be left-handed, and he was one of Ohio's famous five bearded presidents. R.E.
Olds of Geneva produced the Oldsmobile. And Harry Burleigh of Erie was a
composer who arranged over 200 African-American spirituals. He introduced many
in this country to the music of the black community.
The small towns of Madison and Geneva were once among Ohio's
most important manufacturing centers. Iron stoves made in Madison eased the
lives of many frontier women, furniture produced in this region was shipped all
over the country, and Geneva was an early leader in automobile manufacturing.
Today, this traditionally agricultural region is finding its
farmland dwindling. The value of the land is greater than what can be earned
farming it. You'll see new housing developments, condominiums, and shopping areas from the road while farmland is sometimes left unplowed.
This section of I-90 makes it way through a
region that was settled in the late 1700s and early 1800s primarily by people
from New England and upstate New York. But in the years that followed, waves of
immigrants arrived from many sections of Europe and other regions in the
United States. The industrialization of Northeast Ohio was fed by these new
residents and so this
region that once was a monolithic Yankee enclave soon became one of the most
diverse in Ohio.
This route is available for purchase on CD or cassette tape.
The narration runs for about one hour in 5 segments that take you from Mentor,
Ohio to Erie, Pennsylvania. The CDs and cassettes sell for $9.95 each.
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