• Image of bluebells in the spring

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • 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 »

Raising Livestock

Farmer with cows.
Courtesy/Bath Township Historical Society
Farmer with young cow on Fiedler Farm.

Farmer with young cow on the Fiedler Farm.

NPS Collection

As with produce, the profitability of livestock depends upon market forces and the quality of land available. Early farmers had few livestock, mostly for personal consumption. The canals and railroads of the mid-19th century made it worthwhile for farmers to breed and raise cattle. Cheese factories, which purchased unprocessed milk from local dairy farms, began to spring up along the canal by the late 1840s. This caused the value of milk produced in the valley to skyrocket-nearly tripling between 1870 and 1910. As the dairy business became more profitable, farmers invested more time, money, and energy into their livestock. Farmers purchased breeds of cattle known for higher yields, fed their cows specialized grains, and kept them in barns during the winter to increase milk production. Although the cheese factories in the valley diminished, dairy farms continued to operate throughout the 20th century.

Click to learn more about the Point Farm dairy operation in Everett.

Click to learn more about Cuyahoga Valley cheese factories.

Oral history audio.

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

Peninsula Dairy Farm (1 minute)
George Dittoe, a resident of Peninsula, describes a local dairy farm that was near Camp Butler on SR 303.

Milk Hauling (45 seconds)
Preparing the Milk for Pick Up (23 seconds)
Willis Meyers describes a local milk hauler who transported milk between farms and factories, and how his family prepared the milk.
Goatfeathers Point Farm.

©Denny Reiser

In addition to dairy cattle, Cuyahoga Valley farmers have raised beef cattle, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, llamas, and turkeys. Most raised only a few livestock to support their family's needs. Whereas the bottomlands were often used for crops, farmers used the highlands to graze their sheep, cattle, and other livestock. In the 1940s and 50s, most farms had chickens, a few geese, and ducks. Larger-scale farmers tried to keep around 60 beef cattle and about 20 pigs. As farms started to slowly fade from the Cuyahoga Valley, fewer families raised large herds of livestock. Listen below as farmers talk about the reasons why they started raising different types of livestock.

Oral history audio.

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

A Love for Highland Cows (1 minute 11 seconds)
Philip Urbank, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, describes how he started his highland cattle operation.

Guard Llamas (1 minute 31 seconds)
Crooked River Herb Farm owner Kathleen Varga describes how llamas protected her sheep from coyotes.

Challenges of Sheep Rearing (38 seconds)
Dan Emmett, who owns and operates his farm in Richfield, talks about the difficulties of raising sheep.

Visit Animal Stories for more memories about living with livestock.

Did You Know?

Historic photo of canal boat on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Lock 27 along the Ohio & Erie Canal became known as Johnnycake Lock after several boats ran aground due to flooding. While stranded, supplies ran low and canal passengers and crew ate only corn meal pancakes, known as "johnnycakes".