• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • Valley Picnic Area Park Lot CLosed - Plateau Trail Loop Affected

    Valley Picnic Area Parking Lot is closed for the replacement of the damaged culvert on the Plateau Trail, from dusk on Monday, September 22 to 5 p.m., Thursday, October 2, 2014. Access to Plateau Trail is via the Oak Hill Trailhead. Loop unavailable.

  • 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 »

Farming Equipment

Modern tractor.

Modern tractors help farmers work quickly and efficiently.

NPS/Arrye Rosser

Using the railroad, manufacturers of farm implements and fertilizers could showcase their wares to all farmers in the area over the course of several days. These fairs encouraged a more scientific approach to farming, rather than simple reliance upon tried, but less-than-true, inherited farming practices.

The C. Aultman & Co. of Canton, Ohio, which manufactured a popular and highly successful harvesting machine called the Buckeye, opened up a branch in Akron in 1863. In 1865 and 1880, John F. Seiberling began production of mowers and reapers for making straw and hay. By 1890, Seiberling's company, the Empire Mower and Reaper Works, was one of the world's largest manufacturers of harvesting machines.

In spite of all these advances, farmers were slow to abandon practices which their ancestors had used for hundreds of years. The county fairs, as well as farmers' institutes, served an educational role to reduce fear of change and to encourage innovation. It was not until the Civil War, when the labor supply diminished, that agricultural improvements began to take hold. The introduction of the thresher in the 1850s, for example, enabled a farmer to thresh a ten-acre field in a day or two, a task that previously would have taken most of the winter with the use of a flail.

Tractors came into popular usage in the 20th century after World War II. After 1945, within two or three years, the majority of farmers in the Cuyahoga Valley began to use tractors instead of horses. Tractors, which enabled farmers to complete a previous week's worth of work in just a couple days, increased the trend towards "weekend farming."

 
Oral history audio.

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

Tractors (33 seconds)
Carl Boodey, from Northfield, explains how tractors became popular in the valley and made farming much more efficient.

Quickly Plowing Fields (35 seconds)
Daniel Schneider, who grew up on the Schneider Farm (now Coonrad Ranger Station), describes how new tractors made plowing a quick and easy process.

Hay Baler (41 seconds)
Jan Thomas, from Everett, talks about the efficiency of the hay baler.




Did You Know?

Drawing of a mule driver on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

A young James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, worked briefly as a mule boy on the Ohio & Erie Canal, an important cultural resource within Cuyahoga Valley National Park.