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.



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...
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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. ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
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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. ~...
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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. ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
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