Stouffer Smoke House

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This is a building that never should have been moved.

The Stouffer Farm on Wheatly Rd. in Richfield Township, was originally owned and farmed by the Wheatly Family. When the Stouffer’s bought the farm, they lived in a very nice victorian house that fronted on Brecksville Rd. Another house and a barn, where farm help lived, stood nearby on Wheatly Rd. In the later years that house was lived in by the Vaughn Family who where the last of the farm’s managers. (The Vaughn weaving loom is now in the museum’s weaving mill.) A third farm house, another barn and a very large metal farm building was a distance east, down a long drive. Off the back of the main house was a summer kitchen. Right out the back door of the kitchen was a two story carriage building, a smoke house and four seater outhouse (people were apparently more “friendly” a hundred years ago). I was told that many years ago Grandma Stouffer baked pies, cookies and cakes in the summer kitchen, and would set them to cool on the open window sills. Local folk would drive by in their buggies and buy her cooling baked goods. She apparently also sold smoked meats to the passersbye (or so I was told). And thus began, what in later generations was to become the food giant, Stouffer Foods.

When these many generations later of Stouffers decided to sell the farm, the family member in charge (as I was told) was asked if it was possible for the corporation to financially help in saving this very beautiful and historic landmark. The farm and buildings no longer exist (except as the museum was able to save). It was also suggested that at least the house could be moved to the nearby museum, Hale Homestead & Village. That also was not to be. Richfield Village was also suggested as a possible savior, with the house possibly used in a variety of ways. …Alas.

The Museum of Western Reserve became the only one who was willing to save as much as was possible before the bulldozers rolled. We moved and, with the help of Boy Scout Troop 526 of Strongsville, restored the smoke house. The museum also moved the outhouse, saved the metal barn roof for use on various buildings at the museum, and arranged for the removal and restoration of the carriage barn where it became a music studio in Kent, Ohio.

The rest of the farm has passed into history, and now resides beneath the foundations of (a very upscale) corporate park. The family cemetery still stands on the south side of Wheatly Rd., surrounded by various food establishments that are somewhat popular with the (newly arrived) corporate crowd. The very fine wrought iron fence that once graced the cemetery was stolen by a couple of local “bad boys” who sold the fence at the Litchfield Flea Market. The resting place of the many Wheatleys and Stouffers is now protected by a most ugly and cheap chain link fence.

—Thus goes so much of America. Fallen to the more immediate needs of use and profit (not that there’s anything wrong with that, ….ah-h-h, most times).

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