Once we realized what a talented group of people we have on our Board, and judging from the number of requests we get for speakers, we decided to create a page on our website as a speaker’s resource.

So many of our museums have someone who is passionate and eloquent about their area’s history. These dedicated historians offer lectures, slide shows, music, portrayals and re-enactments that illuminate local and national history that is part of their community’s story. The speakers and re-enactors are historians and professionals trained in local history and public speaking; many have written books and articles on their chosen subjects.  As part of the presentation, book signings and sales can be arranged, as can follow-up tours and visits to the sites discussed.  Presentations can range from 30 to 60 minutes in length, and generally can be adapted to an organization’s specific needs. 

This service is for business and professional groups, neighborhood associations, senior centers and residences, clubs, schools, religious institutions, civic groups, historical societies, museums, and other groups throughout Erie County and the surrounding areas. 

Mary Ann Groot         Sandusky – Underground Railroad
Mary Ann has worked at Cedar Point in various positions including Company Training Supervisor and Cash Control Supervisor. She is involved in the Bay Area Kiwanis (Viewpoint/Harborview Senior Housing) where she is the Bookkeeper and Activities Coordinator and was an adult educator with the Sandusky City Schools. She serves on the board of the Erie County Historical Society and was the Treasurer and Tour Guide for the Sandusky Underground Railroad Education Center. She leads most of the Erie Co. Historical Society’s URR tours.

John Hildebrandt – Civil War, Jay Cooke, Cedar Point
John spent 40 years working at Cedar Point. He started as a staff writer in the PR Department in 1974, rising to Vice President, Marketing, in 1993. He was transferred to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom as General Manager in 2004. A year later he was transferred back to Ohio to serve as General Manager of Cedar Point. After nine years as GM, he retired following Cedar Point’s 2013 operating season. He is the co-author, with his wife, Marie, of Lake Erie’s Shores and Islands, a history of the tourism industry in the Lake Erie West region, published in 2015. In 2018, Hildebrandt published a memoir of his time at Cedar Point: Always Cedar Point, a Memoir of the Midway. Hildebrandt has written articles on the war and has made presentations on a number of Civil War related topics, including Erie County (Ohio) in the Civil War and Sandusky financier and native son Jay Cooke. He is currently president of the Erie County Historical Society and serves as a director of the Sandusky Library, the Sandusky Library Foundation and Follett House Museum, and the Sandusky Area Maritime Association.

Leslie Korenko           Kelleys Island History, Kelleys Island and the Civil War
Leslie Korenko is the author of six books about the extraordinary history of Kelleys Island (that little island in Lake Erie). She is on the Board of the Kelleys Island Historical Assoc. and the Erie County Historical Society and does genealogy research for people with Island roots. She has written for the Ohio Genealogy Journal and the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal and has presented her slideshows to area libraries, museums and various community groups. Her books received the Henry Howe award for outstanding Ohio history book.