• Kendall Hills in summer bloom by Jeffrey Gibson

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • Trail Closures

    Towpath Trail is closed from Mustill Store to Memorial Parkway for riverbank reinforcement. Detours posted. Closure will last 1 - 4 weeks into August. Valley Bridle Trail south of SR 303, across from golf course, is collapsed by river. Hard closure.

  • Road Closures

    Quick Rd is closed from Akron Peninsula Rd to Pine Hollow Trailhead in Peninsula, from Wednesday, 7/16, for 6 weeks. Detours posted. Hines Hill Rd is closed from Tuesday, 7/29 through Tuesday, 8/12 for resurfacing from I271 to the Boston Township Line. More »

  • Riverview Road Repaving and Closure

    Riverview Rd is being repaved from the Cuyahoga-Summit Cty line to Peninsula through Mon, 9/15.Road is open with single lane closures. Riverview Rd is closed from Boston Mills Rd to the Cuyahoga Cty line starting Mon, 7/14 for for 3 weeks. Detours posted. More »

  • Brandywine Creek Foot Bridge Closed

    The footbridge that crosses over the Brandywine Creek on the Brandywine Gorge Trail is closed due to damage sustained during a recent storm. The trail remains open but there is no detour. Visitors will need to backtrack to get back to parking lot. 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?

Photo of Bald Eagle taken in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where an eagle pair built their first nest in 2006. Photo by Martin Trimmer.

November is the time to be on the lookout for bald eagles performing aerial courtship displays. Once eagles have selected each other, they plunge through the air in very high dives, locking their talons and breaking apart just when it looks as though they will crash to the ground.