Tue May 23, 2023
Lakeside Sand & Gravel is kept busy supplying aggregates for both commercial and residential construction projects in northeast Ohio throughout the year. Located in Mantua, Ohio, the company was established by brothers Harry and Henry Kotkowski in 1954. Now helmed by Larry and Ron Kotkowski, son and nephew of the company's founders, Lakeside Sand & Gravel continues as a family-owned business with third generation family members Joe, Ben, Ross Kotkowski and Steve Chek involved in its ongoing operations.
The company produces more than 1 million tons of aggregate annually with a roster of more than 40 full time employees. Somehow, the Kotkowski family, with the help of employees and friends, have found time to locate, acquire and restore an impressive collection of antique construction equipment, cars and trucks.
For more than 20 years, Lakeside Sand & Gravel has hosted an annual open house showcasing the company's extensive collection of antique and classic construction equipment, including live demonstrations with many of the historical machines back in action. The Kotkowski's passion for preserving historical construction equipment is obvious — the family first began acquiring and restoring antique construction equipment in the mid-1970s and have built a collection with hundreds of machines.
Some of the machines date back to the early part of the 20th century and the collection includes an impressive variety of equipment, including pieces from well-known names like Caterpillar and Allis Chalmers to rare one-of-a-kind prototypes. Alongside meticulously restored crawlers, loaders, shovels and cranes are machines preserved in original condition, each piece providing a unique story with significant historical and sentimental value.
This year's open house was held on April 28 to 29, and as it has in past years, the International Watch Fob Association joined in with its 59th Watch Fob, Memorabilia and Toy Show, featuring the world's largest collection of watch fobs and construction related memorabilia, scale models and toys.
Lakeside Sand & Gravel's annual event draws attendees from across the country who come to see the equipment, enjoy food and refreshments and meet or catch up with friends and fellow enthusiasts. Visitors also were offered a look at Lakeside Sand & Gravel business operations with guided tours of the company's working mine and processing plant, which produces washed and crushed gravel, a variety of sand products and landscape and limestone products.
Although admission to the event is free, donations were welcomed, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Hattie Larlham Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing services for individuals with disabilities.
Larry Kotkowski is very involved with the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) and serves as its acting vice president. Headquartered in Bowling Green, Ohio, the association is currently fundraising for the construction of a new museum. The project has been coined, "The Big Push" by Ohio CAT owner, Ken Taylor, who has announced that he will match contributions for the next $500,000 donated.
For more information, visit lakesidesandgravel.com and hcea.net. CEG