Filed Under Museums

Hale Farm and Village

Walking through the Hale Farm and Village, visitors can hear the clanging of a blacksmith's hammer, feel the heat of a glassblower's kiln, and smell freshly cut timber from a woodworker's shop. The Hale Farm and Village is a living outdoor history museum that educates visitors about daily life in the nineteenth-century Western Reserve. The farm and village contain a collection of restored structures, including a church, log schoolhouse, law office, and several craft shops. In 1957, the Western Reserve Historical Society received the Hale Farm as a donation from Clara Belle Ritchie, the great-granddaughter of the farm's first owner Jonathan Hale. In the 1950s, the farm consisted of an 1825 brick home and surrounding outbuildings. Rather than risk the loss of her family's home and history, Ritchie offered the property to the WRHS on the condition that the society preserve the farm as a museum dedicated to local history.

Together, the Hale farm house and village testify to the nineteenth-century Western Reserve experience. At the farm house, visitors learn about the personal struggles and triumphs of Jonathan Hale and his family. The surrounding village presents additional aspects of life in the 1800s, including different forms of civic and religious participation. The church, for example, illustrates the importance of religion in the daily lives of Cuyahoga Valley settlers, while the land office teaches visitors about the area's immigration and financial history. Unlike the historic villages of Old Salem and Williamsburg, the Hale Farm and Village is a conglomeration of buildings moved to the site to represent significant elements in public and private nineteenth-century life.

In the later twentieth century, historians and history museum educators became increasingly concerned with representing the lives of ordinary people, rather than exclusively the rich, powerful, or famous. Museums like the Hale Farm and Village exemplify this more recent approach to history, which justified the preservation of a home and property that represented neither a grand form of architecture, nor the site of a famous man. The Hale Farm and Village, instead, emphasizes the interpretation and recreation of daily life, including family and community.


Goldsmith House
Goldsmith House The Western Reserve Historical Society acquired the Goldsmith House in 1973, and moved the home to the Hale Village to represent the wealthy family's lifestyle. Built in 1831 in Willoughby, Ohio, the house represents the largest building moved to the living history museum.
View from Above
View from Above Together, the Hale House and village complex teach visitors about both the individual and community experience in the nineteenth-century Western Reserve. Interpretive features in the farm house and village present different aspects of public and private life.
Old Baptist Church
Old Baptist Church The Old Baptist Church was moved to the Hale Farm from Streetsboro, Ohio, in 1970. Typical of the architecture of nineteenth-century Protestant churches in the state, the Baptist church fit the goals of the Western Reserve Historical Society's museum plan. Since protestant churches in the mid-1800s were often referred to as "meetinghouses," the Baptist church is also known as the "Hale Farm Meetinghouse." Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record.
Donating the Hale Farm
Donating the Hale Farm With no other family members to take over the family farm, Clara Belle Ritchie saw the donation of the Hale property as a way to preserve her family's legacy. Jonathan Hale's substantial collection of written records about his life and experiences made his home and story a significant representation of the nineteenth-century Ohio experience. Photo by Jim Schmidt / Courtesy of the National Park Service.
Restoring the Hale House
Restoring the Hale House The impressive red brick Hale House stands three stories tall with fourteen windows across its front. The Hale House, the first complete part of the museum complex, details the individual and family history of Jonathan Hale and his family in the 1800s. Part of the restoration of the Hale House included replacing brick and woodwork, including a front porch and floorboards. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record.
Jonathan Goldsmith
Jonathan Goldsmith Famous Western Reserve architect Jonathan Goldsmith designed many homes in northeast Ohio, although few survive today. The fully reassembled and restored Goldsmith House opened to the public in 1984, adding to the Hale Village's broad representation of Western Reserve lifestyles, from the modest to the wealthy. Image courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record.
Herrick House
Herrick House The Herrick House is an 1845 structure from Twinsburg, Ohio, that arrived at the Hale Village in 1981. The building was originally owned by Jonathan Herrick, who made a living through his sandstone quarries in Twinsburg. Today, the Western Reserve Historical Society interprets the structure as the home of successful dairy farmers. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record.


2686 Oak Hill Rd, Bath, OH 44210


Carolyn Zulandt, “Hale Farm and Village,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 17, 2024,