• Image of bluebells in the spring

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Valley Bridle Trail Partial Closure

    A section of the Valley Bridle Trail is closed across from the Brandywine Golf Course. There is no estimate of when this section will be open. Please observe all trail closures. More »

  • Plateau Trail Partial Closure

    The outer loop of the Plateau Trail is closed at the Valley Picnic Area junction for bridge repair. The bridge is now unsafe for pedestrian traffice due to accelerated erosion around the base. More »

  • Bald Eagle Closure in Effect Until July 31, 2014

    Returning bald eagles are actively tending to last year's nest within the Pinery Narrows area in CVNP. To protect the eagles from human disturbance, the area surrounding the nest tree will be closed until July 31, 2014. More »

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) Bridge Construction Closures

    Rockside and Canal Visitor Center boarding sites will be closed through Apr 27. From Jan 18 - Mar 16, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Brecksville stations. From Mar 22 - Apr, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Peninsula. More »

  • Do Not Feed the Waterfowl and Birds!

    Many people enjoy feeding waterfowl and birds, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. Regular feeding can cause: unatural behavior, pollution, overcrowding, delayed migration, and poor nutrition and disease.

  • Closure on Fishing Will Remain in Effect for Virginia Kendall Lake

    Due to the government shutdown, we were unable to survey the fish community in VK Lake as scheduled. Our survey partners (ODNR) will not be able to get into the lake until early spring of 2014. Therefore, the closure on fishing will remain in effect. More »

Conrad Botzum Farmstead

Conrad Botzum farmstead.
Conrad Botzum Farmstead
©Ed Toerek
On a gently sloping terrace of the Cuyahoga Valley's southwestern wall sits the Conrad Botzum Farmstead. Its winding dirt driveway crosses the Towpath Trail and the railroad tracks before climbing 50 feet to the farmstead's plateau. The Conrad Botzum Farmstead conveys a feeling of self-containment and separation from the world beyond the wooded hills above and the river valley below.
Conrad and Louise Botzum.

Conrad and Louise Botzum

NPS Collection

History of the Farmstead
Like all land in the Cuyahoga Valley, speculators in the Connecticut Land Company originally owned the property. John A. Botzum and his family took a frightening and dangerous journey before finally purchasing the property in 1876. The Botzum family originally owned woolen mills along the Rhine River in Germany. Fearful that his five sons would be drafted into the German Army during the Napoleonic Wars, John George Botzum decided to flee the country. During passage to America, pirates boarded their boat and robbed all of the passengers. As a result, the Botzums landed in New York City without any money to begin their new life. In New York, a dishonest agent attempted to persuade John to migrate to South America with a guarantee of quick fortune. Before agreeing to the trip, John discovered that the agent planned to sell the family into slavery. According to family history, the Botzums were soon rescued by new friends and headed to Ohio in 1836.

After a brief stay in Cleveland, the Botzums moved to Northampton Township. John worked as a construction laborer while his wife Katherine took in boarders. John's sons purchased additional property in the area, including what is now called the Conrad Botzum Farmstead. In 1876, John A. Botzum purchased the farmstead, which was later transferred to his brother Conrad in 1883.

All of the Botzum brothers excelled at raising livestock. Whereas the average local farm had about 13 sheep and produced about 64 pounds of wool, John A. Botzum owned 65 sheep and produced 500 pounds of wool.

Botzum1_©Jeffrey Gibson
Conrad Botzum Farm
©Jeffrey Gibson

Botzum Brothers Company
Conrad's oldest sons, Charles and Harry, maintained ownership of the farmstead into the mid-20th century. They also operated the Botzum Brothers Company, a successful business that sold everything from planting seeds to construction materials. As with others valley farms, after about 1930 the Botzum Farm succumbed to agricultural competition from elsewhere in Ohio and beyond. Charles and Harry Botzum eventually sold the farm to Sherman and Mary Schumacher, who sold the farm to the National Park Service in 1991.

The Farmstead Today
Today, Conrad's great-granddaughter, Maureen Winkelmann, and her husband George work to preserve the property through their non-profit corporation. The 1898 bank barn is now a popular location for weddings and other special events. Click to visit the Conrad Botzum Farmstead website.

Did You Know?

Historic photo of canal boats along the Ohio & Erie Canal.

The Ohio & Erie Canal, which runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, was a 308-mile waterway connecting Lake Erie to the Ohio River. This transportation route, which influenced local and national prosperity, was dug entirely by hand by mostly German and Irish immigrants.