William Ralph Lodge
William Ralph Lodge, secretary and manager of the Silver Lake Park Company, vice president and a director of the Cuyahoga Falls Savings Bank and interested in a number of othersuccessful business enterprises, was one of the best known men of Summit County. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio June 6, 1874 and is a son of the late Ralph Hugh Lodge and his wife Julia.
William attended the common and High Schools of Cuyahoga Falls and then entered the preparatory department of Oberlin College, with the intention of completing the whole college course. In the meanwhile he became interested in his father's enterprise of developing Silver Lake Park, and after 7 terms at Oberlin , decided to return home and give his father assistance, which, on account of the huge responsibilities attending the enterprise, was greatly needed. His ideas of business were more modern than those of his father and for some time the systematized methods of the son surprised the older man.
William Ralph Lodge practically reorganized the whole business, opened an office and installed a typewriter, purchasing the machine with his own money, which he had earned by selling ice to campers about the lake. He opened up books for the accounts formerly kept by his father laid away in his active brain, or on slips of paper laid away in his pocket. At first these changes were innovations that the older Mr. Lodge scarcely approved of, but ere long he saw their value, and thence was brought about a perfect confidence which always existed thereafter.
Since 1894, William R. Lodge had largely had control although he continued to work under his father's direction for the following six years, but since 1900 he had the active management on his shoulders. One of the most important undertakings was the negotiating and building of the railroad connection with the C.S. & V.C. Railroad, and bettering the terminals of the trolley lines connecting with the resort.
Silver Lake Park, with its buildings and other improvements, represents an investment of about $200,000. Every piece of work is done substantially with a view to the future. The present beautiful pavilion could not be replaced for less than $50,000. The perfect sewerage system was put in under the most difficult conditions, a part of it being laid under the lake and the Cuyahoga River, being 13' below the surface. This engineering work had to be done during the winter season when the river was frozen, entailing a tremendous expenditure. It is stated that during the 100 days of the season, an average of 2,000 people are entertained daily. Regular employment is given 150 workers in different departments.
Mr. Lodge married Marie Antoinette Ellsworth, who was the daughter of Edward Ellsworth of Stow Township. They had three sons, William, Edward, and Oliver Ellsworth.
In political sentiment Mr. Lodge is a Republican and has served as a delegate to county conventions. He gave generous assistance to his friends in various campaigns, but had no political ambition for himself.
Information obtained from the manuscript entitled"An Historical Anthology of Silver Lake", by William R. Lodge