Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alice Porter, Artist

This oil painting of a young woman was painted by Alice Porter, a young artist whose father was once the owner of Cedar Point. David Lindsey wrote in his book Ohio's Western Reserve, that in 1839 A. M. Porter, proprietor of the Steamboat Hotel in Sandusky, bought Cedar Point for 66 cents an acre. Of course the land was later bought by other owners, with G. A. Boeckling taking over Cedar Point in 1897. (See Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places, by David Francis for a thorough history of Cedar Point.)

Alice Porter was the daughter of Alexander M. and Charlotte Austin Porter. Following her parents’ deaths, Alice moved to California. She wrote an article entitled “Sketches from Nature,” in the August 15, 1889 issue of the Sandusky Register. Alice called her life the “Bohemian tramp life,” one in which she tried to get along with few worldly possessions, but carrying with her a portable trunk filled with paint boxes, easels, and other equipment necessary to making sketches. Alice described the Mojave Desert as causing nearby objects to look absurdly fantastic. She was amazed at the variety of shapes of the cacti. To Alice, the settings she saw in southern California were similar to Paradise, with all its roses, fruit, and perfect climate. Alice carried with her a small picture of Cedar Point, to remind her of her former home. Alice signed her article with only her initials A.P., but Charles E. Frohman, in his index to the Sandusky Register, credits Alice Porter with writing the piece.

In August, 1894, Alice Porter died in California. Her obituary, in the August 5, 1894 Sandusky Register, stated that her last years were “ones of struggle with feeble health and limited means.” The article indicated that Alice was a painter of considerable talent, and she had conducted studios in both San Francisco and Portland. Alice Porter was buried in the North Ridge section of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. She was survived by two brothers, Austin Porter and Clay Porter.

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