Saving a One Room School House

The Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment, located in Richfield, Ohio, has been undergoing rapid expansion this past summer in an effort to save a number of historic buildings from destruction by developers. We have just finished re-erecting the Karacek building which is now housing the Vaughn Loom and Weaving Mill. The Davis barn is in progress and we will shortly begin putting back up the Granger barn. We are also working on saving the above pictured Abbeyville School House.

The Museum of Western Reserve of Farms and Equipment, located on a 58-acre farm, is dedicated to preserving the tools, equipment, skills and way of life lived by Ohioans in the 1800’s. Jim Fry, farmer, historian and artist, began the museum in 1987 on his family homestead and has since collected 26 buildings including what may be the largest surviving early blacksmith shop in Ohio, the oldest barn in the state, the Stouffer farm (where the mega-corporation began) smoke house and one of the largest surviving post and beam barns in Summit Co.

The school house pictured above is presently in Abbeyville, Medina County. It was moved there many years ago from Berea in Cuyahoga County. The one room school houses in Ohio were all of a similar design, shape and style, as prescribed by the State of Ohio. The Abbeyville school fits this model with an important distinction. It is smaller than any other school house we have ever seen and could only serve a limited number of students, prehaps only eight or so. Some of the local elders in the area of the school believe it was in use until a larger one room school was built down the road. The “replacement” school also still stands and is now used as an equipment building on the farm were it was built. We are told the Abbeyville school we are working to save, which measures 20×14, was later used to house a family during the depression of the 1930s and on until the early 1940s.

Saving the many buildings in danger of emminent destruction and the building and organizing of the museum is a huge project. Any help will be gratefully accepted, with special needs of labor such as painting, landscaping, a variety of construction projects (with all skill levels appreciated) and monetary donations for building restoration. There are many opportunities for volunteers to use or learn skills. Donations of family or historical items are also gratefully accepted and will be cared for along with the name and history of the farm and family where it was used.

Click on  the many listings on the right side of this page for more information and pictures. Thank you for visiting us at,

Easy to find – located south of “downtown” Richfield. From the intersection of 303 and 176, go west on 303 to first left. Go left on Southern road a mile and a half to first farm on left. –Or just  4 mins. from exit 143 of I-77, at 2891 Southern Road, Richfield, Ohio 44286. Look for the large sign out front that reads, Stone Garden Farm & Village.

Contact Jim Fry at 330-659-3507 or by e-mail at for more details and dates of events.

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