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Peninsula Village
Historic District
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Peninsula Village Historic District
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Jeff Winstel

Settled in 1818, Peninsula, on the Cuyahoga River halfway between Cleveland and Akron, is a well-preserved mid-19th-century town, that grew and prospered with the establishment of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Valley Railroad. The village was platted in 1837 by Herman Bronson. Peninsula was a bustling canal boat stop—home to several mills, stone quarries and boat yards, five hotels and 14 bars until 1887. The Gothic Revival Bronson Memorial Church, originally constructed in 1835 as the Bethel Church, according to William Perrin's History of Summit County (1881) was an attempt to “introduce moral and religious tactics among the vicious and unlawful practices of the canal boatmen.” In 1889 the church was remodeled in the Gothic Revival style.

[photo] Historic view of the Peninsula Village
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The historic district extends along Main Street and contains many fine examples of early 19th-century architecture. The dominant Greek Revival style reflects popular architectural tastes at the time the area was settled by New Englanders. A notable high style example of the village’s Greek Revival architecture is the 1824 Bronson House, built of locally quarried sandstone blocks.

Several canal-era houses are typical of the popular Western Reserve New England building type called the Upright-and-Wing, particularly suitable for the early 19th-century Ohio frontier. The main gable-front two-story section contained a parlor and bedchambers, while the kitchen was located in a perpendicular one-story eave oriented section. Other architectural styles include Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Stick and Colonial Revival. The 1886 Stick style Boston Township Hall originally functioned as the village high school. The three-story hip roofed building contains a pyramidal roof tower with an open belfry. The Township Hall is now the Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum.

The Peninsula Village Historic District, in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is located along State Hwy. 303 in Peninsula . Shops, restaurants, art galleries and a bike shop within the district are open during normal business hours. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitor center at Peninsula Depot is open May-August from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily, sporadically at other times, call 216-524-1497. The depot is also a boarding site for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum at 1775 Main St. is open from 12:00pm to 4:00pm Wednesdays and Friday-Sunday, and is also available for rentals. Call 330-657-2665 for further information. Portions of the Peninsula Village Historic District have also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey. Further information is available at Explore Peninsula.

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