Eastwood/Rooy Slaughter House & Icehouse

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Before electricity came to Richfield, much of the town’s butchering was done by Mr’s. Eastwood and Rooy.The Eastwood Farm still stands on Streetsboro Rd. near the center of West Richfield. Some few years ago, with the passing of Harry Eastwood, the Village of Richfield acquired the farm with the intention of perserving it as the Eastwood Nature Preserve. The town removed the two car garage, chicken coop and another smaller building. A parking area, public use vegetable gardens and a hiking path have been added. The house still stands but it is as yet unused. Some suggestions by various townsfolk for its future use include opening it as an art gallery or artist studios, or using it as an addition to the Richfield Historical Society.

The Eastwood Family are long time residents of Richfield, with three generations of Eastwoods and Webers still living locally. They are a great family who have long been important to the daily workings and lives of the Township and now Village. Harry and his brother Walter respectively ran one of the local dairies and slaughter houses, and the Eastwod Grocery at the corner of Broadview and Streetsboro Rds. (Harry provided the meat and milk and Walter sold it).

Before electricity came to Richfield, water was collected and stored in cisterns, pumped by hand or windmill from hand dug wells, or used from springs and ponds. In the rear acreage of the Eastwood Farm there was a spring that ran year ’round. Harry’s dad decided to build a slaughter house next to the spring, in order to make use of the water for clean-up and washing during fall butchering. Once he got the building up, he decided to dam the spring to make a pond (which became a favored swimming hole for later generations of Webers, Eastwoods and friends).

Harry and Mr. Rooy later continued the slaughter business for a number of years. They eventually developed a delivery route of traveling from farm to farm, delivering garden seed, plants and home and farm necessaries, etc. They would then pick up animals to be processed at their slaughter house, and would deliver the meat on their return on the route.

Just across the line fence from the slaughter house and pond was the Southern Rd. sawmill, run by Mack (Mr. McAlister). Harry and Rooy would pick up loads of sawdust at the mill every fall after the butchering was done. They placed a foot and a half of sawdust on the floor of their building, then would cut ice on the pond all winter. When the building was filled with the ice they would cover it all with another 1 1/2 ft. of insulting sawdust. Then Harry would have ice all summer for cooling his dairy milk before it was delivered to Eastwoods Grocery for sale.

When Mr. Eastwood was 99 years old, he donated the slaughter house to the museum. While I worked to remove the roof and cut apart the sides at the corners, getting the building ready for transport the the museum, Harry would everyday ride his tractor across the fields to check on my progress (except on Tuesday mornings when he went bowling).

One of the interesting things about the 100+ year old building was discovering that a number of the roof boards had come from even older barns. They still had whitewash on them from the time of their first use. Since it is likely that any barn would have had a fairly long life, the boards must have come from very old buildings from much before the turn of the century.

The restored slaughter house also contains the original windlast that Harry’s dad built. Mr. Eastwood had a 4′ across, 1′ wide flatbelt wheel that he acquired from a former factory in Cleveland. He attached the wheel to a tree he cut on the farm, and hung the windlast in the peak of the building. Harry remembered his dad debarking the tree and making the windlast when Harry was just a boy. The hoist was used to raise the newly “deceased” animals for much easier processing.

Mr. Eastwood, …Harry to most folks, was a great old guy. I learned much from him, and he is sorely missed.

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