FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
BOB ROTATORI - 216-635-3263 - or -
ALYSSA COOK-ALEXANDER - 216-635-3274
The stories of the Ohio & Erie Canal are not buried in
graveyards of the small sleepy towns that pepper the shores of the
river. They live on through dusty record books and now are captured
Cleveland Metroparks Historical Interpreter Foster Brown has
released a CD and DVD called �Unlocked through Songs and Images,� a
compilation of 14 songs that encapsulate the spirit of the Ohio
& Erie Canal.
With a CD (�Unlocked through Songs�) and separate DVD (�Unlocked
through Images�), Brown's music seeks to educate while emulating
the past of the people of these towns. His songs do not just tell
stories; they are the stories.
The CD and DVD was put into motion through a matching grant of
$5,600 through the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association. Brown
chose this project because of the long-standing relationship
between the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association and Cleveland
Metroparks. Brown, who has worked with Cleveland Metroparks since
1996, wanted to focus on the history and growth of Northeast
The growth of Cleveland and the cities surrounding the Ohio
& Erie Canal is evident when pictures of factories, steel mills
and buildings are held side-by-side to current pictures of
cityscapes. It's easy to forget how much Cleveland changed. There
are still pieces of historic Northeast Ohio hiding among the
renovations and new buildings and facilities.
Brown collected stories himself, visiting town historians and
libraries for inspiration, and researching records and photographs.
The CD and DVD features Akron, Barberton, Canal Fulton, Cleveland,
Independence, Massillon, Peninsula, Zoar and many more.
�A lot of the people who lived in these areas visited what is
today Cleveland Metroparks. They are part of Cleveland Metroparks
story,� said Brown. �I went to these towns and asked �Who knows the
most about your town?'� This led to collecting stories from
historical societies and elderly people who lived in the towns all
of their lives.
�The pictures helped me capture the spirits of the towns. People
had me in their homes; they took me on tours and pointed out
places. I asked them �What story do you want me to tell?'� Brown
continues, �My goal was to use what was the most important, an
overview of the towns and the spirit.�
John Wagner, a Peninsula, Ohio quarry man, became a living
legend. After working for a quarry for only two weeks, Wagner died
on October 8, 1890 after a derrick, used to pull blocks up
inclines, fell and killed him and another worker.
These stories are the well kept secrets of many towns.
�I went to the library and the librarian actually told me the
story of John Wagner,� Brown said. �Their stories have faded and I
want to help fan the flames. I wanted to come along side them and
help tell their stories.�
The story of John Wagner is featured on the CD and the DVD along
with 13 other songs and stories about the Canalway towns,
industries and individuals that flourished during the Canal Era.
The DVD features pictures collected from Cleveland State
University's Archives and the Michael Schwartz Library that are set
to Foster Brown's original music and lyrics, inspired by his
research of the Canalway's history.
Foster Brown's songs are educational and a treat for anyone who
is on an endless quest for Ohio history. �Unlocked through Songs
and Images� is a staple to any Ohio historian's collection.
In addition to �Unlocked through Songs and Images:
Navigating Canalway's Forgotten History,� Brown has produced
several other CDs through Cleveland Metroparks, including �Songs of
the �Emerald Necklace'� and �Ohio & Erie Canal: Inspired Songs
that Tell the Story,� which is accompanied by a booklet �Stories
that Inspired the Songs� that has sheet music and the origins of
Foster's recordings are available at Cleveland Metroparks
EarthWords Nature Shops at CanalWay Center, North Chagrin Nature
Center, Rocky River Natures Center and the West Creek Watershed
Leadership Center, and online at
Get immersed in Ohio history through Foster Brown's �Unlocked
through Songs and Images: Navigating Canalway's Forgotten History�
with Cleveland Metroparks - part of your life,