Hale Farm

A black horse grazes in a field in front of a red barn; a bright yellow-orange tree to the left.
An autumn day at Hale Farm.

© Jeffrey Gibson

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 now a 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.

 
Black and white portrait of an elderly man with gray hear wearing a white shirt, tie and dark jacket.
C.O. Hale.

Courtesy Peninsula Library & Historical Society

For over one hundred years, generations of the Hale family worked and managed their land. In the early 1900s, 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.

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.

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.


 
Green trees surround a three-story red brick building with rows of white windows with green shutters.
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.

For more information, visit the Hale Farm & Village website.

 

Learn about other farms in the valley:

Last updated: October 8, 2021

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Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141

Phone:

(440) 717-3890

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