The Morris and Crane Farms


The Sharon Golf Club has a problem. The course was founded in 1965 by a group of young business men from the Akron area. They pooled their money and bought the Morris and Crane farms (for a total of 308 acres)  just north of Sharon Center in Medina County. But the farmers wanted to  keep their homes.

Mr. Crane was given the right to live out his life where he had always farmed. Just before his passing, he said to a young employee to please, “Don’t destroy my home”. With his death the course directors ordered the house torn down, but the young man remembered the last wish, so he advertised in several newspapers that the house was free for the taking. An Amish family decided to save the home, and, with a number of their community members, disassembled the house in just two weeks and rebuilt it in Sugar Creek. Mr. Crane’s wish was fulfilled. As somewhat of a parting gift, Mr. Crane gave the course a number of the more than 2000 Indian artifacts he had found on the farm while walking behind his horse drawn plow. The remainder of the points, drills and hammer heads were given to the Medina Co. Historical Society. Mr. Crane said that years earlier an old Indian gentleman told him that quite a few of the tools had been traded for with Indians living in what later became southern Ohio.

Now these many years later the Morris farm house and barn are also to be torn down. That same once young employee has once again advertised in 5 papers hoping that once again a fine old house and barn can be saved.

The Morris family had lived on their farm for many generations. When they sold the land, they kept the buildings and 5 acres. They continued to raise sheep that they used for training sheep dogs in the art of herding. The house is a very well preserved Victorian home reported to have been built in 1890. It has 5 bedrooms, and at the end of the upstairs hall is a maid’s sitting room and bedroom. The maid’s room has its own steep and narrow stairs that led directly down to the kitchen. The main stairs features a stained glass window at the top landing. Underneath the bottom of the steps is a closet that looks like it must have made an ideal hiding place for the Morris’ three daughter’s games of hide and seek.

The first floor has a number of spacious rooms all with very finely detailed pressed oak door and window moldings. The chandeliers still hang as they have for so long, and the front door continues to have its original hand cranked door bell used to announce visitors. The house has a full basement built of very finely carved sandstone blocks and has many rooms, including a coal cellar containing coal. The coal cellar door is covered by a canvas sheet taken from a horse drawn grain combine. Outside the backdoor is the largest cistern we have ever seen.

The barn is also very large and well preserved. It is evident from the several repairs that the Morris’ kept the barn in good working order. Entrance to the “upstairs” is by the typical barn bridge. As you enter there are two large grain cribs to either side. The crib to the right seemed smaller than it should be, so I stretched as high as I could and looked through a crack and there was a second room. I could find no opening to it. Not a floor or ceiling trap door and no wall door, just what seemed to be a sealed up room. I could see a push lawn mower and three hoes. Quite the mystery.

The crib to the left covered much of the back wall. As we looked in the crib door, there was a very loud hissing. It sounded like anyone’s worst nightmare snake horror movie. Mendy backed out, and I looked in. And there were two young fledgling buzzards. The park naturalist I talked with later said that buzzards have one of the most well developed voice boxes of any birds. –They certainly seem to. I also found a steel double tree that attaches to the pulled equipment with a rather unusual arrangement of bolt and spring, a leather horse halter and several ornate cast iron plow clamps. Downstairs were many feed troughs of a shape I had never seen before. When I learned later about the sheep, the use of the feed bunks became clear. The floor joists of the south end of the barn are full trees still covered with their bark, while the remainder of the joists are sawn wood. Upstairs is a similar situation with a number of the beams being hand hewn and the rest sawn. I wonder if the barn was originally built using some timbers from an earlier barn. All-in-all, it was a fun barn to explore.

So finally, these many years after the course was first established, the last bit of the Morris and Crane Farms are to be added to the golf grounds. The young man who saved the Crane house is now the golf course superintendent. He has once again advertised the house and barn as free for the taking. And another Amish family may be interested. Its sad to see another farm pass away, but because of liabilities of the occasional miss hit golf ball landing on the house or barn, the house must go. We are at least glad that the Sharon Golf Course is trying so hard to preserve a bit of Ohio farm history.

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