Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sentimental Sunday:Ohio Historical Marker at DeRivera Park, Put in Bay

A marker in honor of Joseph De Rivera St. Jurgo, 1813-1889,  is found at DeRivera Park at Put in Bay, South Bass Island, one of Lake Erie's many islands. The text of the marker, placed at the park by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, De Rivera Park Trust, Lake Erie Islands History Society, and the Ohio Historical Society, reads:

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph (José) de Rivera was born in Barcelona, Spain, and built an import business in New York City. In 1854, he bought six Lake Erie Islands and had South Bass Island surveyed and subdivided into ten-acre lots. De Rivera traveled between New York and South Bass Island, initially turning Put-in-Bay into a sheep farm. He encouraged settlement on the island and its wine industry by helping German immigrants purchase land to plant vineyards. He donated five acres for this waterfront park, the site for the first school, and the land for the first church. To promote travel to the island, de Rivera opened the island's largest cave as a tourist attraction. He is buried in the island's cemetery, which is on land he donated for that purpose. 

You can read more about Joseph/Jose De Rivera at the website of the Bridgeport Library's website. The gravesite of Joseph De Rivera at Crown Hill Cemetery on South Bass Island can be seen at FindaGrave. A visit to Put in Bay and South Bass Island, usually more enjoyable in warm weather months, will provide you with a wide variety of educational, historical, and recreational experiences!

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