November 2023 Gazette - Duff Homestead Challenge Met!

November 2023 Gazette – Duff Homestead Challenge Met! is proud to present this piece from the Put-in-Bay Gazette. For the best South Bass Island journalism, visit and subscribe to the Gazette today!

Duff Homestead Challenge Met!

Put-in-Bay Township Park District recently closed on 6.5 acres of property on Squaw Harbor commonly referred to as the Duff Homestead Site. The property is located on Bayview Avenue. Thanks to all who have contributed or donated to this effort and to the Duffs for working with us!

The property includes the historic Duff home which will be refurbished as a visitor center and an office for the Park District and the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy (LEIC.) The two acres of wooded property will eventually have a walking trail for nature lovers and bird watchers. The Homestead site will also have a pollinator site with a walking path around it.

The property includes 150-feet of lake front property which is a nursery for yellow perch, sunfish, and native minnows. The shoreline has a unique undisturbed submerged plant community which supports a remnant habitat for fish like bowfin and gar.

The LEIC received a $20,000.00 “challenge grant” from an anonymous donor to refurbish the home. The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy is excited to announce that the challenge was met with over $21,000 in donations. Significant donors were Dianne Smith (in memory of her husband Robert), Lynda Heaton, Jean Hilt, Jim McMonagle, Doris Hubschman, and two other anonymous donors. The LEIC is grateful for donations received toward the restoration project.

The LEIC and the Park District are grateful to Scotty and Caroline Jackson for hosting Woody’s Harvest Fest on October 1st at The Goat. The Goat donated $4,087 from the sales of food and beverages that day at the Biergarten.

Thanks to donors Sarah Cochran, Roger Parker, Bill Slough, Kendra Koehler, Patty and Carl LoPresti and Susan Byrnes for items for a silent auction. The auction and a 50/50 raffle brought in another $1,000 that day. Thanks to Jay and Kelly Faris, Patty and Carl LoPresti, Stacey and Alan Clink, Roger Parker, Susan Byrnes, Kendra Koehler and Russ and Lisa Brohl for all their help!

The Conservancy presented Scotty and Caroline Jackson LEIC wine glasses in appreciation for fundraisers they held this year.

In gratitude for her twenty years of service on the Board of Directors, Kristin Stanford was presented with engraved wine glasses from the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy. Kristin has taken a position with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A total of $47,498 has been raised to restore the Duff Home which will function as a visitor center and office. Kendra Koehler and Susie Cooper have been saving items from the home for their historic value. Contractor Mark Lekanka has been busy clearing the home, tearing off the back porch and securing the home. A new furnace, water heater, basement cleaning and floor restoration are all planned for this fall.

The Conservancy and Park District hope to have fencing, exterior and interior painting, and other improvements completed in the spring.

Benches for the site have been purchased by Patty and Carl LoPresti, Neal and Carla Hess and Mark and Lisa Berens.

Native Bur Oak, Swamp White Oak, and American Sycamore Trees, purchased with funding from the Beth Garsteck Cueto Tree Fund, have been planted along the property line.

Office space should be ready in March of 2024 and the Preserve will be dedicated in spring or early summer.

Please contact the LEIC if interested in volunteering or donating to this effort: or 419-366-2087.

The final phase of the Duff Homestead Plan is the purchase of 11 acres of pristine vineyards, antique outbuildings, an orchard and a garden. A bald eagle’s nest is adjacent to this property.


The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please visit the Put-in-Bay Gazette subscription form. This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website for more information and to subscribe!

Protected by Copyscape