Jonathan Hale Farm

In the southwestern Cuyahoga Valley sits a tall red brick house on over 140 acres of the Hale Farm and Village. Now a tourist destination and educational trip for school groups, the Hale Farm provides a window into 19th century valley farm life. Jonathan Hale arrived in the Western Reserve from Connecticut in 1810 to begin a new life of hard work and dedication to his farm. In 1824, Jonathan and his sons began laying each brick of the famous home, an architectural landmark in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Jonathan's son Andrew Hale, who inherited the farm after his father's death, increased the Hale Farm's size and productivity. Based on market demands, Andrew developed specialized farming practices, which included commercial orchards and dairy products.

The third generation to own and operate the Hale Farm, Andrew's son Charles Oviatt (C.O.) Hale (1884-1938), was a farmer in name only. Part of the newer generation of "gentlemen farmers," C.O. Hale transformed the farm into an inn and recreational retreat for friends and visitors. Hiring local families to work on his land, C.O. Hale oversaw the labor and production of fruits and vegetables, hay, and maple syrup.

In the 1930s, the great-granddaughter of Jonathan Hale and C.O. Hale's niece, Clara Belle Ritchie, inherited the farm. A business woman with a strong interest in the investment-value of the farm, Clara Belle supervised the farm's restoration and donation to the Western Reserve Historical Society. Visitors to the farm today experience a living history museum that features reenactments, crafts, and historical interpreters to educate about Western Reserve farm life in the 1800s.

Images

Farm and Village

Farm and Village

The Hale Farm and Village features artisan workshops, including glass-blowing, pottery, blacksmith, candle-making, and weaving workshops. Although these workshops never existed on the Hale Farm, the living history museum educates visitors about 19th century farming and craft practices. Image by Leslie K. Dellovade. View File Details Page

The Brick House

The Brick House

Jonathan Hale and his sons built the original brick house in the mid 1820s. It was one of only two brick houses in the valley at that time. The house underwent several renovations throughout the three generations of Hale family ownership. The current brick house was finished around 1926 by C.O. Hale. Image by Leslie K. Dellovade. View File Details Page

Moving to the Valley

Moving to the Valley

When Jonathan Hale first arrived on his acreage, purchased from the Connecticut Land Company, he found squatters who welcomed him with hospitality into their log cabin. Hale allowed the squatter and his family to take their time finding a new place to live, and eventually reimbursed them for the cabin. Beginning a new life on the farm took patience and hard work, especially in the winter months when the ground was frozen, days were shortened, and transportation slowed. Image by Jim Schmidt / Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Old Baptist Church

Old Baptist Church

To complete the Hale Farm and Village, the Western Reserve Historical Society physically moved nearby historic buildings to the property. The Old Baptist Church from Streetsboro, Ohio, was built in 1851 and eventually relocated to the Hale Farm. Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record. View File Details Page

Building the Farmhouse

Building the Farmhouse

Jonathan Hale worked as a brick-maker before coming to the Cuyahoga Valley. To build the new brick house, he and his sons made bricks out of clay from the farm and also used framing timbers cut from the surrounding woods. The original shingles were made from black walnut but have since been replaced by slate. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record. View File Details Page

Audio

Working on the Hale Farm

A "gentleman farmer," C.O. Hale hired other laborers to perform work on his farm. Ott Wilson, his father and brothers, all worked for C.O. Hale during the 1920s and 30s. An average day could include clearing land, plowing fields, baling hay, or making maple syrup. View File Details Page

Mr. Hale and the Owl

C.O. Hale, who never had children of his own, enjoyed having the Wilson family on the farm. Ott Wilson remembers when Mr. Hale taught him how to use a shotgun to remove an owl from a tree. View File Details Page

Syrup and Taffy

Ott Wilson describes how he and other workers helped tap C.O. Hale's maple trees for sap, which was then used to make syrup and taffy. C.O. Hale sold maple syrup and taffy at parties held in his home for guests from Cleveland and Akron. View File Details Page

Inside the Brick Farmhouse

Ott Wilson, who worked for C.O. Hale during the 1930s, takes us on a tour of Mr. Hales famous brick home. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Carolyn Zulandt, “Jonathan Hale Farm,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 25, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/338.

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