One can imagine, in the early years in the Cuyahoga Valley, how welcome the warmer days must have felt to settlers like the Hale family of seven. The promise of springtime called to them from every corner of the farm as they threw open the shutters to the cabin, welcoming sunlight and fresh air to drive out the lingering malaise of winter.
After 17 years, the Hales moved into the first floor of a new brick home before the upper stories were complete. It was fresh and bright and snug against the elements and had a grand cooking hearth and a bake oven. Over the next few years, spaces were added and divided to make room for more as the Hale children married and started families of their own.
At one point, 14 residents in three generations called “Old Brick” their home. Why did the families remain together under one roof? More rare today, 19th century households combined to support the family business or farm, provide care for the ill or aged, or allow young adults to establish their own farms. When the patriarch pulled out the fiddle to entertain the household, Jonathan Hale saw the appreciative faces of his own children, young and old, with their spouses and his grandchildren circled around him.