• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

Hale Farm

Hale Farm.
©Jeffrey Gibson
 
C.O. Hale

C.O. Hale

Courtesy/Peninsula Library & Historical Society

At the Cuyahoga Valley's southwestern edge sits an impressive three-story red brick house surrounded by 140 acres of fields, gardens, and woods. Familiar to many school children, it is a now popular regional attraction that overlooks a recreated historical village.

Despite the building's grandeur, Hale Farm began like any other farm: with hard work. In 1810, farmer Jonathan Hale arrived in Bath to begin a new life on the Western Reserve. For over one hundred years, generations of the Hale family worked and managed their land. In the early 20th century, the farm passed to Jonathan's grandson, C.O. Hale, a kind and ambitious man who hired local families as farm laborers. Part of a newer trend in "gentleman farming," C.O. Hale oversaw the work on his property and earned additional income by entertaining friends and tourists.

Click to read more about the history of Hale Farm.

During the 1920s and 30s, the Wilson family worked for C.O. Hale, clearing land, plowing fields, baling hay, and making maple syrup. Sweating under the summer sun, they planted and harvested vegetables and grains. During the chill of winter, parents found additional employment and children went to school-after milking the cows in Mr. Hale's barn.

 
Oral history audio.

In Their Own Words
Click the topics to hear stories about Cuyahoga Valley life.

Click here to read the text file.

Work on Hale Farm (1 minute 10 seconds)
The Brick Farmhouse (42 seconds)
Syrup and Taffy Parties (1 minute 30 seconds)
Mr. Hale and the Owl (53 seconds)
Ott Wilson, with his father and brothers, performed daily duties on Hale Farm that changed with the seasons. Ott talks about his family's experiences working for C.O. Hale in the 1920s and 30s.


 
Hale farmhouse.

The Hale Farm is now a living history museum.

©Denny Reiser

In the 1930s, Clara Belle Ritchie, the great-granddaughter of Jonathan Hale, inherited the farm, supervised the initial restoration work, and then donated the property to the Western Reserve Historical Society. Today, visitors can experience an outdoor living history museum at Hale Farm & Village.

Click to learn more about how to plan your visit to Hale Farm & Village.

Did You Know?

Water lilies in beaver marsh area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo by NPS volunteer John Catalano.

Beaver in Cuyahoga Valley National Park impounded water to create a rich, diverse wetland in an area that was once an automobile junk yard? The area is now home to herons, turtles, amphibians, beavers, muskrats, otters, and many aquatic plants.