An Ancient Loom & A Red Corn Sheller

A long time family acquaintance and friend, Chuck, stopped by a few weeks ago. He brought a fantastic 2/3 sized barn beam loom. My best guess it dates to at least the War of Northern Aggression, and probably much earlier. (That would be the War Between the States, or Civil War, for any of you Federalists reading this.)

The loom is unlike anything we had. It’s a two harness and all hand sawn or draw knife shaped. The pieces fit together so well that only two wood pegs are needed to hold it together. I wonder who built it, and why it’s a smaller than usual size. Could it have been made by a family to carry by wagon as they headed west into Ohio? I suppose we’ll never know.

It’s a great donation by Chuck and his wife. She had acquired it some years ago when she worked at Hale Homestead as a weaver. They stored it in their barn for years until deciding to donate it. She has two other looms that she now uses, in their main house. (Personal note: They bought their farm from my brother when he moved his family from Medina Co. to our family’s original farm house, where we all grew up, in Summit Co. William, being the older son, moved into the family home, while I, the younger, moved next door where my branch of our family tree presently lives. I’ve only been in this house for 42 yrs. while our family has been on this farm for several generations.)

Chuck also brought over a really nice curved top corn sheller. It has a fairly unusual feature on the side. There’s a ribbed cone you can push an ear of dried corn into for removing the last clinging kernels of corn that the sheller missed as the ear corn passed through the machine.

The Car That Became a Tractor

Adam and Sophie Zielinski lived on their farm on Everett Rd., Richfield, for years. But it took them awhile to get there.

Adam was raised on the family farm in Peninsula where Boston Mills Ski Resort now stands. As he grew up, Adam proved to be quite the mechanic. He really liked building things, especially if it made life on the farm easier. For one project, Adam gathered parts from around the neighborhood, removed the body of an old Model A Ford and put it all together to make his own tractor.

Having completed his high school education, he went on to become chief mechanic at Pneumatic Tool in Cleveland. There he was instrumental in designing and building the hydraulic landing gear for B17 Flying Fortress bombers used to such effect in WW2.

After the war he met and married, “the Polish girl”, Sophie. About that time (or so we have been told) the Catholic Bishop in Cleveland wanted more Catholics to move to Richfield, so a church could be organized there. Adam and Sophie already had the family connection to Peninsula so they came south out of the city and bought the land they called “The Jewel of Richfield” because the farm was just “so green”.

Soon they would be seen driving their maroon Pontiac with its wide white wall tires to go dancing at the Peninsula Night Club on a Friday night. Adam cut quite the figure in his zoot suit, pork pie hat, spats and long key chain. (The PNC still stands in the center of town. It is now called Winking Lizard. I fondly remember the elephants that once paraded around the top of the walls of the dance floor.)

When not dancing, they farmed. They raised pigs, chickens and ducks and, of course, had a large garden out back. Adam & Sophie never had children, but the young’uns of their large extended family would come spend summers with them to help on the farm. And Adam had his tractor that he had moved from his father’s farm in Peninsula.

The kids were always expected to work. One niece, Judy, recalled when she was just 5 or 6 years old, riding on the back of the converted Mod. A as Uncle Adam plowed or weeded the fields. The tractor had better traction when it had her as a counter weight.

When the tractoring was done, the eggs collected and the other chores complete, Aunt Sophie would send the children down the tree lined hill to the grocery store in the little town of Everett to get milk (“just to have a little peace and quiet”). It was a long walk that sometimes took half a day. If the kids tarried too long, Soph. would drive the Pontiac down the long winding road and thru the covered bridge, to fetch them.

When Adam retired, he brought home a number of large, line shaft driven, early 20th Cent. grinders, sanders and mills that had gone obsolete. He dug a garage into the hillside behide the house and added a work shop onto the back of the garage. There he practiced a whole new art. Adam collected, cut and polished stones. The tools that had once helped win the war were now used to create beauty. And his fine stone work ended up in a number of Ohio museums, including at Flint Ridge State Park.

Adam passed about 40 years ago. Judy and her siblings now own the farm and are currently working on remodeling the house. Unfortunately, the garage and work shop have seen better days and it’s time to replace them.

Judy came over to invite me to take a look at the tractor for possible inclusion in the museum. She also showed me the long locked work shop. Once again, there was an unknown museum. I had passed by the farm hundreds of times and never knew what was hidden by the trees along the road. I hope we might be able to move the machinery to the museum to use in the future stone masons shop.

…And Uncle Adam’s tractor? It last ran 15 years ago, about the turn of the new century. It now sits among some trees, overlooking Adam and Sophie’s house. But, once Judy talks it over with the family, the old Model A may find a new home. There it would join the museum’s Ford Company built production Mod. T tractor and the museum’s 1919 Ford Model TT truck.

Update: two days later.

When I was first exploring Adam’s workshop, I discovered a Farm & Fireside magazine dated Oct. 1929, the month of the start of the Great Depression. As I sat at the dinner table reading the news of the day just weeks before the world was over taken by depression and war, I came across an ad on page 43. I image Adam had read that ad and maybe it inspired him to build his own tractor. It read, …

“A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, while men and women toiled for their daily bread in the fields of the world, Cyrus Hall McCormick built the strange machine which did the work of several men. That machine was the McCormick Reaper. On the heals of the Reaper, both Agriculture and Industry leaped forward with great strides.

TODAY another invention is creating another far-reaching revolution in farming. This machine is the McCormick-Deering Farmall, the first all-purpose tractor. In time to come, the invention of the Farmall will take its place with the invention of the Reaper in the schoolboy’s history book.

The Reaper began man’s emancipation from hand labor in the harvest. The Farmall now frees him from dependence on slow animal power.

The harness, the curry comb, and the pitiless whip are being put in the corner where the cradles and sickles of old have gathered dust for generations. Even on the row-crop farm, where the horse makes his last stand, there is no longer any sound reason for keeping him. A thousand farmers have already joined the Horseless Farmers of America. In farming, just as in industry throughout the civilized world, the capacity of the machine and the power of the motor are taking up the burden of the human race.

The farmer with his Farmall and the equipment that goes with it is ready for every power job. He is master of time and season, broad acreage, big crop, and low-cost production. He has put the labor of many men into the hands of one, and made it far easier. He has made the farm interesting for himself  and his sons. He is using his Farmall tractor to give him leisure and profit so that he and his family may enjoy the good things of life.

–Farm & Fireside, The National Farm Magazine ~ 5 cents a copy. October 1929.  Published monthly by Crowell Publishing Co. at Springfield, Ohio. Branch Office -Chicago, Illinois.”

Indeed, I imagine Adam reading that ad and just a short while later building his own tractor, before he was to become an employed mechanic in his own right, just like Cyrus McCormick had before him.

(On a personal note: When Mr. McCormick retired from the daily workings of his factories, he established a farm in Richfield. Included in the several hundred acres of his farm were 50 acres that had originally been a part of our farm.)

A Box of Cigars & a Loom

The museum sells pumpkins, corn stalks, folk art & crafts, mums, cider and more to raise money for projects. Once a week, we drive over to River Styx Cider Mill to pick up cider.

Yesterday I decided to try a different route, and got a bit lost. As I drove down an unfamiliar road, I spotted a house sale sign. Usually I don’t bother with most sales, these days the majority of what people are selling is plastic. But for some reason this sale spoke to me.

I turned around and went back and drove up the very long drive. And fell down the rabbit hole.

Displayed around the driveway’s edge was a wonderful collection of the tools of an earlier age (that some folks call antiques). I choose a really nice clothes iron that opened so you could put hot coals in it, two unusual upright yarn winders, two oil lamps with holders, a Bisselus (later know as Bissel) push carpet sweeper and a box of ancient cigars.

Then we got talking. The family had lived there for quite a while. Mom was now in a care center, and the older adult children were preparing the family home for its next generation. They had spent several weeks clearing out the various out buildings, and I arrived after most things were already gone.

While what they still had was really great, I could only imagine what I had missed. But, as we talked, Karen said that eventually there would be other items available. I told her about the museum, and she decided to take me into the house. Nothing there was presently for sale and it remained how it had always been. (Hopefully they will give us a call when the time comes).

The kitchen is a gem. It contained a beautiful corner cupboard, an old old desk, a very early pie safe, extremely fine baskets hanging from the overhead beams and a wonderful Victorian ceiling lamp. I felt at home.

And then the basement. I nearly fell over. Turns out that mom had worked at Hale Homestead years ago as a weaver (I knew her from when I worked there). She also used to do various shows to demonstrate weaving. …And she collected spinning wheels, looms, bobbin winders, yarn winders, sheep shears, flax breaks and more. The basement was packed. An unknown museum.

The next day I took my whole family back to the sale. Laura immediately fell in love with a portable scarf loom. It’s unlike anything we had. It’s home now and Laura will use it to teach another generation of folks another form of the art of weaving.

I am so happy that I took that wrong turn that day. I learned so much, reacquainted with the life work of a long ago friend and was able to fill some holes in several of the museums collections.

Oh, and the cigars? I found an ancient box of Dutch Masters cigars. They originally sold for just .10 a piece. But old as they are, they still smell wonderful and appear just as smokable as always. They’re a neat addition to the Blaine-Stewart Cigar Shop.

Thor Washing Machine -World’s First Electric Washer

A very nice lady and her mother stopped by to drop off their old family heirloom electric powered Thor Washing Machine, made by Hurley Machine Co. (of Chicago & N.Y.). It is also marked Red Electric #709.

All the major parts of the washer are wood, with a small 25 amp. electric motor to run it. The agitator is a wood block with four “fingers” protruding down. As the block is turned, the fingers sweep back and forth to agitate the clothes and clean them. It’s in excellent shape with all its original red paint. It looks like it could be used as is. One thing that I found quite interesting about it are the electrical connections to the motor. The motor is under the wash tub, near the drain. The connections are all exposed and would have presented quite an easy opportunity for getting shocked. It might be one of the reasons so few of these washers remain today.

The Hurley Company is credited with making the first electric washer in 1900, with the patent issued in 1907. It may (or may not) be an interesting coincident that the machines number is 709, nearly the opposite of the year of patent. Whether this particular model is one of those first is not yet clear, but certainly it is very early. The washer was probably sold in a city where they first wired for electric.

We  are very happy to add this washer to the museum collection. It nicely fills in a gap of the evolving technology of clothes washing equipment.

The ladies also dropped off a quite unusual wood block plane.

“New” General Store

Every so often I run into some project that just seems to take forever to get done. The Hamburg Horse Shoeing & Jobbing building is a very good example. It’s been a number of years and, for one reason after another, I just never could get it finished. It stood roofless and windowless, year by year, deteriorating in the elements.

This has bothered me immensely, seeing the walls standing, shaking in the wind, with no roof to cover and support them. …It’s also caused me a number of sleepless nights. Every so often we’ll get a heck of a storm, and the winds blow mightily. Many blustery nights I have listened hoping not to hear the sound of the walls falling on the unfinished building.

But, over time, I have learned that if a project or job doesn’t go well, there’s always a reason. Something is just holding up the work. In the case of this building, I had all along planned to restore it to its original size, shape and style. While it never occurred to me that was ill advised; my angels, unseen helpers or something or other, helped me by delaying me.

Summer before last, The Gynn Building interfered. I simply had to get it moved before Mrs. Gynn passed. She wanted it moved and saved and I promised I would. As it was I just barely made it. We moved the building. Her nephew called from her nursing home. I told him. Her told her. She was pleased. She died the same day. Her last wish filled…

Last summer, I was scheduled to complete the Hamburg in August. Then I had what the Drs. told me was a not survivable heart attack (I’m not much good at doing what people tell me to do, so here I continue).

So finally, we arrived at 2015. And I discovered what all the fuss was about in completing this particular building. One day I had a revelation. What I had planned to do, by fully restoring it, was wrong. To put it back as it was originally would not have looked right. It would have been just too tall. It would have been in effect, a three story building in the middle of a village of one stories. The proportions were just all out of quilter.

So I decided to cut off the second floor and lower the roof line. Now it fits in very well with the look of the rest of the museum. And, as a side benefit, I don’t have to climb so high with a bum ticker (sometimes the world is a bit out of focus when you only have half a heart).

And thus the work is proceeding well. A building that I was asked often if I was tearing it down or putting it up, is finally becoming a productive part of the museum. The “Hamburg” is becoming the “new” Gen’l Store. With lots more room than the old General, for lots more 19th Century gifts, crafts, folk art, oddments, doodads, gegauls and soaps, syrups and foods.

—For more about the moving of this building to the museum, please see the posting about it on March 27, 2011.



Blaine-Stewart Cigar Factory

At the turn of the century there were 100 cigar factories in Ohio. By the end of WW2 there were just 40 left. The last operating cigar factory in the State of Ohio was the Blaine-Stewart in Hicksville, Ohio. When they finally closed in the early 1970′s, they had been in operation for many years using equipment that was over a hundred years old.

I was very fortunate to have acquired that complete shop and move it here to the museum. All the cutters, grinders, rollers, presses, molds, clamps and vices and cigar boxes and labels came with the shop. I even acquired the very large zinc lined, wooden storage chest still filled with curing tobacco. A nicer, richer smell is hard to imagine.

Originally, I set up the shop in the museum’s main barn. While it was there,  a couple of fellows visited from Pennsylvania just to see the old equipment and smell the fine cigar smell of the shop they used to travel so far to, in order to buy their cigars. They spoke with great affection of the quality of the cigars they had once so enjoyed.

Since then I have now moved the Blaine-Stewart Cigar Shop into the former Darrowville Post Office. I have also added to the collection a large number of other brand cigar boxes, two woven wood tobacco carrying baskets, spittoons, signs, tobacco we grow, chopping knives, ash trays and more. I also acquired a wonderful display case, complete with R. G. Dunn decals, which formally served as the sales desk of our friend Nina at the now closed Peninsula Antiques that once stood east of town on Rt. 303.

In tribute to the fine tobaccos once so commonly smoked and enjoyed, we painted the interior of the shop a color somewhat reminiscent of the color smoker’s fingers used to turn from holding lit cigars and cigarettes. A nice rich, brownish yellow. …How it all reminds me of my long passed but so fondly remembered Grandfather William.

This past week I have spent a great deal of time cleaning out the “old tool shop” where I keep many of my more modern tools. It had gotten rather cluttered over the years with much of the surplus I have collected. Along with chain saws, paint, tools of all kinds, gas cans and such, I had also saved large collections of nuts and bolts and nails, many of them still in the cans where various farmers had originally stored them. It has been interesting how often many of the repurposed cans, now full of nails and such, where originally tobacco tins. I had forgotten about the tins until this most recent cleaning. And so the cigar shop’s collection grows.

Worsh Day (Old N. Ohio Accent for Wash)

When I was young, I remember folks in Richfield still arguing about the War of Rebellion/War Between the States. Before the advent of mass television and media, and regions of the country were more isolated, it was much more common to have “regional” accents. Most such unique and “old time” differences are gone. It’s very rare to hear anyone still say worsh and the war is usually only mentioned when a few folks demand to erase any history or mark of those who lost. (As a personal note: My family had soldiers on both sides of the conflict. One uncle served on the Federal side, while his brother, also my uncle, served the Confederacy. One brother believed in the rights of the individual States and his sibling believed in Union. They “met” at Fredericksburg, and managed not to kill each other, …not for lack of trying. And several years later returned home, able to once again resume family ties.)

The museum now has a new exhibit, Wash Day. We recently relocated the Blaine-Stewart Cigar Factory, and in its place in the main barn we have gathered our large collection of worshing machines and devices. The collection begins with very early “easy washers” which are simply a tin cone affixed to a wood handle that you would lift up and push down in a bucket of water to remove dirt from clothes. The collection continues on to wood, tin and/or glass scrub boards. Washing machines later came into use incorporating these two devices to make washing much easier. And, of course, later yet, agitator and wringer washers were developed and came into use. In the collection is also many ironing boards, wood heated and electric irons, wash tubs and stands, clothes drying racks and gas powered Maytag Washing Machine engines.

It has been said that the advent of washing machines and devices were the single greatest invention that brought freedom to women. Come visit the museum to see the evolution of washing machines. From work saving, to life transforming.

Studebaker Buggy Rolls Into Museum.

Today we were finally able to add a “new” Studebaker buggy to the museum collection. We have been working for over a year to acquire the buggy, and we are very happy it has finally arrived. It is already on display and will shortly be restored to its original colors of black interior and seat, yellow exterior and red wheels and shafts. The buggy makes an interesting addition to the museum collection because Studebaker was among the few companies to make the transition from 19th to 20th Cent. transportation modes. The buggy joins our many other older buggies including two believed to be made at the Jaeger Buggy Shop of Bath, Ohio, and our several cars, trucks and tractors of the same era.
The company began in 1852 when brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker opened a blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana. Later two younger brothers would join and they would build the business into the largest wagon and buggy maker in the United States.
By the time the above ad ran in January of 1909, the company had already been experimenting with newer technology. In 1902, Thomas Edison bought the second electric car they assembled. The electrics were soon followed by a gasoline powered model in 1904.
By 1920 Studebaker horse drawn buggy production would cease. Later on, in 1966, the Studebaker Automotive Company, known at the time as a style leader, was driven out of business by the bigger Detroit auto makers.

Halter Feed & Grain Mill

In 2009, the owner of Halter Feed & Grain retired. After 50 yrs. of operation by the family, the Mill, located in Robertsville, Stark Co., was sold at action. The museum was able to save two feed baggers, conveyer belts and pulleys, the Halter Feed sign and a very nice printed Halter feed sack. We have now set up the Halter Mill display at the museum.

Over the years we have also collected many other feed mill items and equipment, including the Garman Farm hammer mill, several platform scales for weighing bags of grain, a quite rare oat crusher used for crimping oats to make a better more digestible horse feed,  a seed sorter, grain grinding mill, a number of table top corn grinders, hand trucks, feed and supplements signs, a neat price list sign board from Ashery Feed Mill, lots of feed bags and more. Next to the mill will be parked the Museum’s 1919 Model TT feed delivery truck.

This collection makes a new and interesting display to come see the next time you visit the museum.


The Winter of 2014/2015



It’s almost mid-March and there’s plenty of cleaning up to do from this (almost) passed winter. During February we never had a day above freezing. As a consequence, the snow just continued to build up. The result of that was that we had our first ever building collapse.

One morning I went out to feed the animals and there was the Harness Shop fallen into ruin. Unfortunately, the temp. that day and for the week following was in the single digits. It was just too cold to work outside. But finally it warmed up a bit and good friend and constant museum helper, Mendy, and my nephew Mike came over to help start the clean-up. The first day we managed to pull out from under the fallen roof several sewing machines and lots of harness. The next day we dug snow all day. What a job. It was 2′ thick and packed and heavy. We had to move it a shovel at a time and load it into wheel barrows to haul away.

It’s been several days now of hard work tearing apart the building, getting the space ready to build anew and saving the many machines and gear of the shop. We’ve moved it all into the old gen’l store and will set it up soon as the “new” harness shop. The space where the original harness shop was will become an expanded addition to the tractor and motorized farm equipment display.

Quotes We Like About Farming & History

“If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: that was the American dream.”    ~Edward Abbey

“A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia. “    ~David McCullough

“Our food crisis began when we stopped caring about where our food came from. It began when we no longer knew the people that grew our produce and raised the animals we eat. It began when we stopped cooking and started eating out of boxes and ate fast-food in our cars. It began when we started trusting companies that rely solely on profit to feed us. Monsanto exists because of our neglect. How we became so disconnected from such an important part of our very being is hard to understand.  –It’s Time to Reconnect! Support Local Agriculture!”    ~Anonymous

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”    ~Pearl Buck

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”    ~Mahatma Gandhi

“The challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present.”    ~David Thelen

“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”    ~Abraham Lincoln

“History is never antiquated, because humanity is always fundamentally the same.”    ~Walter Rauschenbusch

“It is hard for us today to realize how very widely communities were separated from one another when they depended for transportation wholly on the railroad and the horse and wagon – and when telephones were still scarce, and radios non-existent. A town which was not situated on a railroad was really remote. A farmer who lived five miles outside the county seat made something of an event of hitching up and taking the family to town for a Saturday afternoon’s shopping. (His grandchildren make the run in a casual ten minutes, and think nothing of it.) A trip to see friends ten miles away was likely to be an all-day expedition, for the horse had to be given a chance to rest and be fed. No wonder that each region, each town, each farm was far more dependent upon its own resources – its own produce, social contacts, amusements – than in later years. For in terms of travel and communication the United States was a very big country indeed.

No wonder, furthermore, that the majority of Americans were less likely than their descendants to be dogged by that frightening sense of insecurity which comes from being jostled by forces – economic, political, international – beyond one’s personal ken. Their horizons were close to them. They lived among familiar people and familiar things – individuals and families and fellow townsmen much of their own sort, with ideas intelligible to them. A man’s success or failure seemed more likely than in later years to depend upon forces and events within his own range of vision. Less often than his sons and grandsons did he feel that his fortune, indeed his life, might hang upon some decision made in Washington or Berlin or Moscow, for reasons utterly strange to his experience. The world at which he looked over the dashboard of the family carriage might not be friendly, but at least most of it looked understandable.”  ~The Big Change: 1900-1950 by Frederick Lewis Allen, published in 1952.

–Come to the museum. Learn about America’s agrarian past. And learn how to use those past skills and knowledge, to raise your own animals, grow your own food, make your own everyday tools, goods and clothing. Stop by anytime to talk, or take one of the museum’s many homesteading & self-reliance classes.

Animals at the Village

When you come to visit the museum, be sure to save time to see the many farm animals. At one time it was very common for kids to be raised with, handle and care for a variety of animals. When children were raised on farms there were eggs to collect, cows to milk, pigs to feed and barn cats to play with, often before the children ate their own breakfasts.

These days children very rarely spend time, or even know much about what happens, on a farm and “who” lives there. We often have school groups that come to tour and I usually take them into the barn to see who’s home. One time as we stood looking at the milk cows, I asked them where chocolate milk came from. No one knew. When I said it came from brown cows, many of them nodded  in agreement (I have noticed that many farmers tend to have a very dry sense of humor).

Come to the museum and introduce your family to our Big Black/Duroc Hampshire pigs, Jersey/Normandy milk cows, Jacob sheep, La Mancha milk goats, New Zealand rabbits and lots of different breeds of chickens (our favorites are the Aracana hens that lay blue or green or pink eggs).

We really like to raise heritage and less common breeds. This is partly because heritage animals can be much more hardy to difficult weather conditions and different available forages. They can also often have more successful births without human intervention.

Most people know that we are losing our diversity of seeds for the garden, not as many know that the same thing is happening with livestock. Mega farms tend to raise one of two particular breeds of animals because it helps make profit easier. Hereford cattle, Angus cattle and common white pigs are very often raised. For Thanksgiving turkey, most birds raised are “Big Bronze”. The problem is with almost exclusively raising one or two breeds, if ever a disease particular to that breed causes them to die out, we may all be forced to become vegetarians, or worse yet, we could lose whole species of animals, not just that one breed. Most chickens like leghorns have “forgotten” how to hatch eggs because it has been bred out of them. And in the case of the big bronzes, if they’re allowed to live past a year old they become so big they can’t fly and often can’t even walk.

We also do a certain amount of animal rescues. Sometimes people can’t or even won’t take care of their animals. When that happens, the animals are sometimes taken away so they do not suffer. There are farms where they are placed with people who will care for them. We have had beef cattle, goats, riding and draft horses, ducks, turkeys, llamas, pigs and lots of roosters brought here. When we find new homes for them, they move on. Stop by to see if we have any current rescues, along with the animals we raise.

The Museum Tool Collection Grows.


In the last several months the museum’s tool collection has continued to grow. The biggest additions are a hand cranked sheet metal bender, a foot powered lathe, a “bicycle” grinding wheel, a hand made blacksmith forge, a foot powered jig saw and several wood stoves.

The bender is something I’ve been wanting to get for the tin shop for some time now. It’s used for bending or “rolling” flat metal for making tea pots, large or small pans, buckets and such. I actually found it online for sale at a fairly high cost. But once the gentleman learned of its use for the museum, he decided to donate it. A couple friends and I drove up to Cleveland to pick it up. It’s a good thing the 3 of us went. The bender was far larger than I had anticipated and it was all we could do to load it on Robert’s truck. We had to take it apart just to lift it. But despite its weight and size, it’s a great tool to have.


The lathe is a real prize. Years ago I worked at Hale Homestead Farm & Village. Among the various jobs I held there was wood worker. There was a broken foot powered lathe in the shop, which I soon had working. I have always wanted such a lathe to use here. I believe our “new” one may be a bit older than Hale’s. You stand at it and push the foot treadle up and down with your foot, which turns a large cast iron wheel, which spins a belt, which turns a pulley, that spins the wood, (that swallowed a cat, to catch the bird, that ate the spider, …). Then hold a chisel against the spinning wood to shape it down it into stair step spindles, Shaker style clothes hooks, candle sticks, lamp posts, wooden bowls or whatever else you need or imagine. When we went to pick up the lathe, the gentleman also had an exceptionally beautiful Victorian hanging lamp, which we hung in the main house kitchen.

The bicycle grinding wheel was another donation. It’s really neat. You sit on a metal seat, much like a bicycle’s seat. Then you turn the foot powered pedals with your feet in order to turn the grind stone. It’s used for sharpening knives, chisels, garden tools like shovels and hoes, or smoothing metal edges before blacksmithing or welding. It’s a really nice tool for when you are working alone. Some of the older style grind stones had a hand crank on the side. You either had to hold the piece you were grinding with one hand while turning the crank with the other, or you needed a helper to turn the wheel. With the “bicycle” you can sit down, turn the stone with your feet and have both hands free for the work., without having to employ an apprentice.

We recently received two wood stoves. The first one was donated by a family in Garrettsville. They had it out in the barn, which was quite a neat structure. They took me upstairs to show me the burned walls from a barn fire a hundred years ago. The fire burned the roof right off the building (the current owners had found an old newspaper article about the fire), while leaving the first floor untouched (-hooray for firemen). The stove will need a bit of work to make it safe to burn, but it has a great look as is.


The second stove was also a donation. The Hinckley Historical Society called and asked if I could use it. They decided to close one of their houses and had too much furniture to incorporate into their other buildings. The stove is ready to use, has a great look, and will make a very nice addition to the Blaine-Stewart Cigar Factory. I’ve wanted to use the factory (the building was originally the Darrowville Post Office) during colder weather, and the stove will work just fine.

The forge is a real prize. It’s all homemade. It has a wood frame which holds a cast iron base of an old wood stove. The maker of the forge used a wheel from a corn sheller, attached a pulley to it to turn a belt that turned a fan. The fan was connected to the bottom of the forge by part of a tractor manifold exhaust pipe and some bent tin. Bits and pieces put together to make a perfectly working forge. It looks to me to have been made in the 1930′s when there was little money for store bought. It’s just the kind of thing I really like to collect and preserve, -one of a kinds.

“New” Model TT Arrives at the Museum

The museum recently acquired a 1919 Model TT (similar to the one pictured). It will make a nice addition to our gas station display and our 1920 Model T tractor, 1927 Flying Cloud REO, 1928 Whippet and 1934 Reo fire truck  (which was Richfield’s first fire truck). We acquired the 1919 from a sign dealer in Millersburg, with whom we traded a number of signs of a more recent time period which weren’t a particularly good fit for the museum. (If you happen to have signs to donate maybe we could turn them into a Model A !!)

Our “new” truck is missing a number of parts, but we found a really neat Model T junk yard/parts seller in Kansas. From the pictures it’s quite an incredible place. Acres and acres of cars & parts. As soon as the snow clears, we’ll see about getting a radiator and headlights. Once the frame is repaired and painted we’ll decide which truck bed body to put on it. In the early days of the selling of Ford trucks they came without a bed and guys would fit them out as they wished. We’ve seen many different types, with some being stake beds, some have large tanks for hauling liquids, some became fire trucks and some had insulated boxes for carrying ice, and etc. If you like old cars, and like to work on restoring them, stop on by. We’d love some help in returning the TT to its original condition.

1919 Model TT Truck

The Ford Model TT is a truck made by the Ford Motor Company. It was based on the Ford Model T, but with a heavier frame and rear axle.  The wheelbase of the Model TT was 125 inches (3,200 mm), compared to 100 inches (2,500 mm) for the Model T. They were often sold as a chassis with the buyer supplying the truck body as needed. Mass production with Ford produced bodies ran from 1925 to 1927, but production of the Model TT had started with the first chassis being released in 1917. In 1923, it cost $380.[2] In 1925, a hand operated windshield wiper was added.[1]
It was very durable for the time, but slow when compared to other trucks.With standard gearing, a speed of not more than 15 mph (24 km/h) was recommended, and with special gearing, a speed of not more than 22 mph (35 km/h) was recommended, according to Ford Dealers Data Book 1923.
It was replaced by the Ford Model AA truck.

Pumpkin time!!

We will be open 7 days a week daylight hours for the sale of pumpkins, honey &  maple syrup, cornstalks, locally made crafts, mums and more.  Museum and farm tours are always free, so bring the family, have a look at our newest buildings, then grab a red wagon and pick out your favorite pumpkins. Pies and baked goods available on weekends.



Birthday Parties at the Farm & Museum

The museum is now offering a fun day on the farm, learning lots of “old time” skills and crafts. For the perfect and very different birthday party, bring your child and friends to learn to make a candle, pull taffy, churn home made ice cream or butter, collect eggs in the chicken coop, milk the cow and make cheese and butter, play old time games or lots of other American heritage/Laura Ingalls Wilder activities.  Call or email for pricing and scheduling  (330)659-3507

The Museum’s Buggies, Wagons & Sleighs


The Museum has a growing collection of buggies and wagons. 110+ years ago horses, harness and wooden wheels formed the backbone of American transportation. Folks also occasionally used bicycles, but the few bikes were little used beyond the paved streets of the cities. Dirt roads were just too rutted and rough. Continue reading

The One Room School Houses of Richfield & Osborn Corner’s Grange


At one time there were 12 one room school houses in Richfield Twp. Continue reading

Barrel Making Shop

A couple years ago I received a call from Barbara Gynn, of Brecksville, Cuyahoga Co. She needed the roof fixed on one of her farm’s out-buildings. She called me because several years earlier I had fixed her brother Elton’s barn (He had asked Amish, local builders, contractors and others to fix it and no one could. –I did.). Continue reading