• Kendall Hills in summer bloom by Jeffrey Gibson

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • Search for Missing Woman Hillary K. Sharma Continues in Park, 8-26-2014

    Paddlers on the Cuyahoga R. are asked to report any out-of-the-ordinary items that they might see along the river between the Village of Boston and Station Rd in Brecksville. Sharma is 5’3”, 120 lbs, br hair/eyes. Have info? Call 440-546-5945. More »

  • Towpath Trail Closure

    Towpath Trail is closed from Mustill Store to Memorial Parkway for riverbank reinforcement. Detours posted. Closure will last 1 - 4 weeks into August. More »

  • Other Closures

    Valley Bridle Trail south of SR 303, across from golf course, is collapsed by river. Hard closure. Plateau Trail Bridge, north of Valley Picnic Area is closed. No detours. Plateau & Oak Hill trails are open. More »

  • Riverview Road Repaving

    Riverview Rd is being repaved from the Cuyahoga-Summit Cty line to Peninsula through Mon, 9/15. Road is open but there are still delays due to construction. Allow extra time. More »

Dances

Street dance in Everett.

Street dance in Everett, 1949.

Courtesy/Peninsula Library & Historical Society

The contra dance was brought to the Cuyahoga Valley by its first settlers from New England. Although styles became more diverse over the years, dancing remained popular in valley communities through the early 20th century. They offered rare opportunities to meet and socialize with members of the opposite gender. Imagine Saturday nights full of excitement as residents flocked to local dances. An "orchestra" played while dancers followed the directions of the caller. As Helyn Toth explained, "Going to dances was no doubt the number one favorite social event … for people of varied ages in the valley."

 
Everett Ranger Station.

Everett dance hall, now Everett Ranger Station.

NPS Collection

While most dances were local affairs, often held by the local Grange, some had a regional draw. Bedford Glens Park, near the edge of Tinker's Creek, began as a summer picnic and dancing resort in 1902, and, by 1924, quickly grew into a year-round dance and bowling emporium. The dance hall attracted popular bands, such as Ed Day and his Ten Knights orchestra. Young and old couples traveled from the valley, Akron, and Cleveland to join crowds in the beautiful, shining ballroom. Sadly, the grand wooden structure was lost to fire in 1944.

Click the links to learn more about today's contra dance community, contra dancing in the national park, and the history of the contra dance in the Cuyahoga Valley.

 
Oral history audio.

In Their Own Words
Click the topics to hear stories about Cuyahoga Valley life.
Click here to read the text file.

Everett Dance Hall (1 minute 3 seconds)
Marjorie Osborne Morgan recalls how Everett residents spent many hours together at the village dance hall (now the Everett Ranger Station).

Street Dance (35 seconds)
Hazel Broughton describes how the Everett community often came together dancing in the road.

Hay Wagon Orchestra (10 seconds)
At the street dances in Everett, Jan Thomas recalls how the band played instruments on top of a hay wagon.




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.