Filed Under Agriculture

Stanford House

The Cuyahoga Valley's early settlers from New England arrived to find their purchased properties hidden beneath a wilderness of dense forest. By the early 19th century, small hamlets and townships developed where farm families cooperated and exchanged goods. James Stanford, who moved his wife and children from Pennsylvania to Ohio around 1802, participated in surveying parties who gathered information about communities throughout Summit County. After surveying near Boston Township, James decided to move his family to a nearby 169-acre property on the western bank of the Cuyahoga River. James and his wife Polly continued to live on and work the farm for the rest of their lives. Later owners included James' son George, and grandson George C. Stanford.

Creating a new and successful farm required hard work, perseverance, and patience. Farmers often waited up to five years for their farm to become self-sustaining, and even longer for their land to become prosperous. By the 1880s, George C. Stanford cultivated about 100 acres of the farm, and focused his efforts on raising wheat, hay, cattle, and sheep. Like all farmers in the valley, the Stanford family also kept a garden where they grew a variety of fruits and vegetables.

The history of the Stanford family illustrates the importance of participation in local communities during the early years of valley townships. George Stanford and his son George C. Stanford served in a variety of offices in Boston Township. Both father and son were elected as justice of the peace during their lifetimes. George C. Stanford additionally served as township assessor and Boston postmaster. Each generation's active community involvement lent prominence to the Stanford family name.

Like many of the valley's properties, the Stanford farm and house witnessed many occupants throughout the centuries before becoming a part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Stanford House now serves as lodging for the national park's visitors, who can eat, sleep, and explore the valley's past within the walls of this historic house.

Audio

A Day on the Stanford Farm Rena Fiedler describes an average day for her grandfather and his hired workers on the Stanford Farm in the 1930s. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Life as a Farmer Rena Fiedler, a Stanford family descendant who lived on the Stanford Farm in the 1930s, talks about how her grandparents managed the farm. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

On the Banks of the Cuyahoga The Stanford Farm occupied 169 acres just north of the small town of Boston. When the farmland was cultivated during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the farmhouse had a commanding view of the Cuyahoga River and the Ohio & Erie Canal. Image by Sara Guren/Courtesy of the National Park Service.
Greek Revival Architecture, 1830s George Stanford built the farmhouse around 1830 in the Greek Revival style, with a recessed entrance surrounded by pilasters and beneath a triangular pediment. Surrounding buildings include a bank barn, corn crib, and chicken coop.
The Stanford Trail The Stanford Trail, which connects the Stanford House to Brandywine Falls, is a popular retreat for hikers from the Cleveland-Akron area. National Park Service volunteers recently rehabilitated the Stanford Trail bridge so visitors can continue to hike between the historic farm and waterfalls. Image by Sara Guren/Courtesy of the National Park Service.
Stanford House Events The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association completed major renovations of the Stanford House in Spring 2011. Visitors to the park now use the farmhouse for special events such as biking tours and overnight stays. Image by Ted Toth/Courtesy of the National Park Service.
George Stanford's Home The Stanford House is famous for its association with the prominent Stanford family. In addition to the family's participation in numerous local offices, one account attributes James Stanford, George Stanford's father, with the naming of Boston Township.

Location

Metadata

Carolyn Zulandt, “Stanford House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed November 29, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/336.