Pressed Flowers | History and Tutorial

Humans have long had a fascination with collecting and preserving flowers, a practice believed to date back to ancient civilizations. In the 16th century, Japanese artists began the practice of Oshibana, in which they would create large pictures using pressed flowers as their medium. As trade with Japan increased in the mid-1800s, citizens of the western countries became fascinated with the use of pressed flowers as an art form. By the late 1800s, flower pressing had taken hold as a favorite pastime in England and the United States.

There were many reasons that an individual might collect flowers during this time, from the sentimental (preserving a flower given as a gift from a loved one) to the scientific (keeping a botanical scrapbook to aid in identifying native blooms). Regardless of the reason, the practice of pressing flowers was highly regarded as a creative pastime, and many would take pains to ensure that their work was beautifully displayed. Flowers of the time were often found framed behind glass in elaborate arrangements, sometimes with pieces of ribbon to complement the blooms, or meticulously organized in scrapbooks with their taxonomical description written next to them.

Fortunately, many examples of this old-fashioned pastime still exist today, thanks in large part to the original artists’ efforts to preserve the specimens. For example, the Western Reserve Historical Society has in its collection a floral bouquet from the grave of Abraham Lincoln, preserved by the wife of a Tiffin, Ohio judge in 1865. As can be seen in the photo, the flowers have remained remarkably intact in the 155 years since their pressing.

Perhaps the most appealing part of this pastime was its accessibility. Although some used tools such as the field press (a small device designed to clamp the specimens tightly between two boards), sophisticated equipment was not required to get a satisfying end result. In fact, the only items needed to take up this new hobby were a large book, a few flowers, and a bit of patience.

The same goes today as it did over 100 years ago. For those in search of a new hobby, flower pressing is easy to begin and can be done using items that most have on hand at home. Whether you want to preserve a few blooms or start your own botanical scrapbook, follow the instructions below to get started on your own flower pressing project.

 

Materials Needed:

For pressing:

–     Botanical materials (flowers, leaves, grasses, etc.)

–     Large book

For arranging:

–     Base: large blank journal or scrapbook, notecards, canvas, etc.

–     White school glue, diluted

 (1 drop water to quarter-sized drop of glue.)

–     Paintbrush

1)     Collecting | When it comes to collecting materials to press, the options are limitless. Flowers are, of course, a popular option, but leaves, herbs, and grasses also make for very interesting artwork. When choosing flowers, look for those that have recently bloomed and are fresh but not overly damp. Note: Be prepared to press your materials shortly after collecting them. Flowers tend to wilt quickly once they are picked, so the sooner you can get them pressed, the better!

2)     Pressing | Next, press your materials by placing them between the pages of a large book. (Botanical materials tend to leave imprints behind as they dry, so it’s best to use a book you don’t mind getting a bit stained. You can also protect your pages with wax paper, baking parchment, or coffee filters.) Be sure to lay the leaves and petals as flat as possible before closing the pages. To aid in the pressing process, you can place a large object on top of the book to weigh it down.

Typically, it takes about a week for most plants to fully dry. To determine if your items are ready, carefully pick them up. If they remove easily from the page and feel stiff and crisp, it’s time to take them out. If they still feel pliable or seem to stick to the page, it is likely that they still have moisture in the petals and should be left a bit longer.

3)     Arranging | How you present your pressed flowers is entirely up to you. Some popular options include affixing the plants to a notecard, using them to make a design on a piece of canvas, or cataloging them in a scrapbook. Some even make jewelry out of pressed flowers by suspending them in resin and attaching the piece to a necklace chain or ring base.

Regardless of your medium, you will likely need to paste your flowers to the base of your choosing. To do this, mix a drop of water with a quarter-sized dollop of white school glue. The result should be a paste that is slightly diluted but still sticky. Using a small paintbrush, apply the paste to your base in a thin layer. (Less is more!) Then, gently place your flowers on the paste in the design of your choosing. Note: It is generally helpful to plot out your design before pasting it down, especially if your design is particularly elaborate.

Allow the paste to fully dry (approximately 15 minutes). Then, you are ready to display your finished product!

Almira L. White Memorial Window

Almira L. White, nee Greenleaf (1838-1900) was the wife of Thomas H. White, founder of the White Sewing Machine Corporation, the parent of the White Motor Corporation. This memorial window now located in the Bingham-Hanna House at WRHS comes from the First Unitarian Church, formerly located at Euclid Avenue and East 82nd Street.  It was rescued by members of the White family.

The theme of the window appears to be a verse from the Bible, “And why take ye thought of raiment, consider the lilies of the field, see how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin” (Matthew 6:28).  Depicted beneath an elaborate Gothic canopy, the thoughtful figure is neither a saint nor an angel, but a woman who has been interrupted at her work, as is evident from the distaff in her left hand wound with flax fibers to be spun.

Although the window is not signed or stamped, it is attributed to Tiffany Studios.  Louis C. Tiffany’s innovations in stained glass include the use of opalescent glass with muted colors that give a painterly effect.  Chips of bright glass in the neck edging, flowers, and foliage draw attention to these areas.  The face, hands, and foot were created by fusing powdered tinted glass and metallic oxides onto a clear sheet of glass, and not by painting on the features as had been customary before Tiffany.  Surface sculpting of the glass creates three-dimensionality in the fold of the garment.  All these kinds and thicknesses of glass could not have been joined by traditional single-width lead stripping.  Instead, Tiffany pioneered the process of sheathing the edges of the glass pieces with copper foil and joining the pieces with lead solder.  The thinner joint lines are part of the overall design, leading the eye from one form to another.  The Almira L. White memorial window is an excellent example of Tiffany’s belief that craft could achieve the level of importance formerly accorded only to fine art.

 

Earth Day Then & Now

Happy Earth Day! Cleveland has much to be proud of on this 51st Earth day, and it’s all because of the June 22, 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire.  A month after the fire, Time Magazine published an article on the nation’s environmental problems, and it was that article along with Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes’ successful lobbying for better environmental legislation that helped to ignite national environmental policy change. Following the fire Carl Stokes testified before Congress advocating for greater federal involvement in pollution control, which led to the first Earth Day event on April 22, 1970 and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later that same year.

Although Stokes acknowledged the importance of reducing air and water pollution, as Cleveland’s first black mayor he was the first to broaden the focus on how these issues affect low-income and minority communities. Stokes remarked at the first Earth Day event “I am fearful that the priorities on air and water pollution may be at the expense of what the priorities of the country ought to be: proper housing, adequate food and clothing.”  So as we reflect on this Earth Day and continue to champion for the environmental movement, let’s not forget to champion for our urban environments as well.

Constructing Culture

By John J. Grabowski, Ph.D.

Before AsiaTown, Cleveland, like many other major American cities had its Chinatown.   Situated on and around Rockwell Avenue between East 21st and East 24th it was the second location for a community that had originally located on St. Clair, in the area just behind Old Stone Church.   With Chinese immigration severely restricted by an act passed in 1882, it was a small community.  Only about 800 Chinese were in the city in the 1930s.   For those who visited the restaurants along the south side of Rockwell, the area was “Chinese” – signified not only by cuisine but by the colors, lettering, and symbols that adorned the buildings, most particularly that of the On Leong Tong at 2150 Rockwell.  Today that structural symbolism carries over into AsiaTown.   One sees it at the shopping mall on the northwest corner of Payne and East 30th street and in the signage along Payne Avenue.  Design elements on the Asian Evergreen Apartments at Payne and E. 39th echo the name of the building.

 

These examples bring up the broader question as to how our city’s architecture reflects the diverse cultures that make up greater Cleveland.    For the most part, our buildings, including our homes, business blocks, and churches, reflect common American or European styles.   That certainly is the case on Rockwell because behind the signs and adornments, the structures reflect the era in which they were built.   But there are exceptions and they can be found largely in religious structures.

 

Many Christian denominations, most particularly Roman Catholic had churches created by and for particular ethnic groups – Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, and many others.   Yet, the architectural style of these buildings usually reflected common European architectural idioms.   What differentiates them are the languages used on their cornerstones and often on the stained glass windows and on the labels of statues within the buildings.   Within the Jewish community, language and symbol were cultural signifiers in structures of a variety of styles.   A prominent one for major congregations was Byzantine – most apparent in the domes on Temple Tifereth Israel (the Maltz Center for the Performing Arts) in University Circle, in the Euclid Avenue Temple (later Liberty Hill Baptist Church) and on the Cleveland Jewish Center – Anshe Emeth (now Cory Methodist Church) in Glenville.

 

It is, however, within the Eastern Orthodox Christian community that the exterior of the building often indicates a difference.   St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral (opened in 1912) has become a major symbol of our community’s diversity and one of the “must sees” in the Tremont Neighborhood.  Its multiple domes set it apart.  Yet, it is not alone – when many Orthodox Churches moved from the city the architectural style transferred to the new building they built in the suburbs.

 

These structures and the neighborhoods in which they were built are the consequences of the large scale European immigration that changed the demographics of the city in the years before the 1920s when immigration was restricted by the Quota Acts of 1921 and 1924.  Some would say that over that time Cleveland transformed from a New England city to an “Ellis Island” city.   But saying that neglects those who came to Cleveland from elsewhere in the United States – African Americans from the South, Appalachian migrants, and those from rural areas and small towns.   Migration and suburbanization would transform the population of old neighborhoods and old structures, both churches and businesses, were adapted to those changes.

 

That is essentially what AsiaTown has done along Payne Avenue where older structures have taken on new identities.   That transformation was made possible by the Immigration Act of 1965, which replaced the discriminatory laws that preceded it.   It opened up America and Greater Cleveland to cultures from across the globe seeking opportunity and security.   By the late 1970s the bulk of immigrants no longer came from Europe, but from South Asia, Asia, the Middle East and South America.  Their presence in Greater Cleveland can be seen in the languages in shop windows along Detroit Avenue and along West 25th Street, and in new religious structures that make statements about identity, culture, and belief – the Islamic Center of Cleveland and the Shiva Vishnu Temple, both in Parma, are important examples. But they are not alone.  Today there are over a dozen mosques, four Hindu temples, and three Buddhist temples in Greater Cleveland.  Each adds, both on the inside and outside, to the constructed culture of the community.

 

The multi-cultural evolution of our community has been astounding, but even more astounding, perhaps, is the manner in which old structures are repurposed and new structures and styles become accepted and considered symbols of a community that has a history of demographic change.  It is not, at times, an easy process for some now – and it wasn’t in the past.   The history of our immigration laws tells that tale.    Yet, the popularity of AsiaTown provides, one hopes, a counter narrative.

Honoring the African American Archives Auxiliary’s Founders | Dr. Middleton H. Lambright, Jr.

By Regennia N. Williams, PhD

In recognition of the fact that April is National Minority Health Month, and in light of recent reports of the disproportionately high morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans during the COVID-19 global pandemic, I invite readers to join me in examining the role of African American physicians in the history of the healthcare profession.

I am convinced that the story of Cleveland’s Dr. Middleton H. Lambright Jr. has lessons for the world.  Many biographical sketches of Dr. Lambright mention that this Glenville High School alumnus studied at Tennessee’s Meharry Medical College, was one of the co-founders of Glenville’s Forest City Hospital (1957)—where he became Chief of Surgery; that he served as president of the Metropolitan General Hospital Medical Staff, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University and President of the local affiliate of the American Medical Association in the 1960s.

None of the biographical statements that I reviewed, however, included the fact that, in 1971, he was one of the co-founders of the group that would later be known as the African American Archives Auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Dr. Lambright’s willingness to say yes to the preservation of Black History suggests that he understood the significance of his work with Forest City Hospital, a product of the Black Hospital Movement and an institution located in a neighborhood that was over 90% Black by 1960.

Making a Place for Ourselves: The Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945 (Oxford University Press, 1995), Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble devotes an entire chapter, “Cleveland: A Black Hospital at Last,” to a discussion of the history of Forest City Hospital.  Having previewed the book, I now look forward to reading the entire volume and learning more about the work of Dr. Middleton H. Lambright, Jr. and Dr. Middleton H. Lambright, Sr., two African American physicians who were active in the Black Hospital Movement in Cleveland.

*For more information of Cleveland’s Glenville Neighborhood and African American sites historical memory, please see:

Frazier, Nishani. Harambee City: The Congress of Racial Equality in Cleveland and the Rise of Black Power Populism.  Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2017.

Leo A. Jackson Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society. The following abstract is  included in the catalog description:

Leo Jackson (1920-1996) was an African American attorney and appeals court judge in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a member of Cleveland’s city council from 1957-1970 where he represented the Glenville neighborhood and Ward 24. The collection consists of affidavits, agendas, applications, budgets, campaign literature, campaign signs, case files, certificates, charts, correspondence, court documents, expense statements, flyers, forms, journal entries, judicial opinions, lists, magazine articles, magazine clippings, magazines/publications, manuals, maps, meeting minutes, memoranda, newsletters, newspaper articles, newspaper clippings, notes, notices, ordinances, petitions, reports, resolutions, rosters, speeches/statements/remarks, syllabi, thesis, and transcripts. The collection also includes seven audiotapes, four film reels, 37 black and white photographs, and 12 color photographs.

 

The finding aid for the Leo Jackson’s Papers (22 containers and 2 oversize folders) is available online HERE.

For information on National Minority Health Month, visit: https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/

Slavic Village – What’s in a Name?

By John J. Grabowski, Ph.D.

Slavic Village is one of the neighborhood names in Cleveland that gives a hint of the city’s diversity.  However, the name is a creation of the late 1970s when the area along Fleet Avenue was rebranded in order to create a new, more marketable identity.   At that time Little Italy was well on the way toward its evolution from an insular ethnic enclave into a tourist attraction.   In 1977 Teddy and Donna Sliwinski and Kaszimier Wieclaw formed Neighborhood Ventures Incorporated to transform the commercial stretch along Fleet into a more recognizable entity.  Wieclaw designed distinctive Polish Hylander style facades for many of the commercial buildings to provide a more uniform and identifiably “ethnic” look.   A Harvest Festival (now the Village Feast) was initiated to attract people from outside the area.

 

The renaming seemed to make sense – the area had been populated by “Slavic” peoples since the late nineteenth century.   Poles concentrated along the eastern part of the street centered on E. 65th and Czechs on the western end near E. 49th.   But the rebranding, then and now, raises a number of questions.   Who is empowered to name a neighborhood – particularly one that had existing names with origins that stemmed from the community itself?  The Czech’s called their area “Karlin” after a district in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.    That was natural given that the city’s main Czech neighborhood, just to the north at E. 55th and Broadway was called “Praha”   The Poles called their area “Warszawa” after the largest city in Poland.  That fit too, given that Warszawa was the largest Polish neighborhood in Cleveland.   There was pushback on the renaming.   One person living on Fleet Avenue had a large banner on the porch reading something like “Waszawa” not Slavic Village”.

 

Now over four decades later, “Slavic Village” has become “the” name of the area – and, indeed, the area has expanded around North and South Broadway.   What was once “Krakowa to the south on the border with Cuyahoga Heights is now part of the village and so is Praha.  Jackowa sits on the border with the Garden Valley neighborhood but it is often considered part of Slavic Village given its Polish roots.

 

Yet, this process of choosing and changing names opens other interesting questions.  In addition to the authority to choose a new name there is the question as to “whose” history the name might reflect.  Should it be the “current” resident community, the recent past residents or a deeper historical past. There were Irish and Welsh in Slavic Village before the Czechs and Poles arrived, and before them, native Americans – did they have names for area that we no longer know?  A century from now, will “Slavic Village” and “Little Italy” still resonate  as place names with the residents of Cleveland?

Honoring the African American Archives Auxiliary’s Founders | Mrs. A. Grace Lee Mims

By Regennia N. Williams, PhD

 

From the Glenville High School Library to the Studios of WCLV Radio and Beyond

An oft-quoted passage from Mr. Kermit Pike’s manuscript history of the African American Archives Auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society (formerly known as the Black History Archives Project) states:

 

In 1971, twenty-three people served on the original Black History Archives Project: Russell T. Adrine, Dr. Tillman Bauknight, Myrtle J. Bell, Professor Thomas E. Campbell, Ernest C. Cooper, Russell H. Davis, Lawrence L. Evert, Ralph W. Findley, Rev. Donald G. Jacobs, Ronald M. Johnson, Butler A. Jones, Dr. Middleton H. Lambright, Robert P. Madison, Professor August Meier, Mrs. A. Grace Lee Mims, George A. Moore, Professor Wilbert Nichols, Ralph L. Pruitt, Robert L. Southgate, Dr. Booker T. Tall, John B. Turner, William O. Walker, and Harvey M. Williamson.

 

At least two of the group’s founders had known each other for many years.  Mrs. A. Grace Lee Mims and Mr. Robert P. Madison were, in fact, fictive kin—with family ties that linked them to their ancestors’ experiences in rural Snow Hill, Alabama, Mims’ birthplace.

 

At the age of 15, Madison’s father, Mr. Robert J. Madison, enrolled in the Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute, a much-needed private boarding school for African Americans, because Alabama did not provide education for Black children beyond the eighth grade.  Mims’ maternal grandfather, William J. Edwards, was the founder of the school.  A generation later, she, too, would attend Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute.

 

In the preface for his 1918 publication, Twenty-Five Years in the Black Belt, Edwards described the motivation for both the establishment of the school and the writing of the book:

 

In bringing this book before the public, it is my hope that the friends of the Snow Hill School and all who are interested in Negro Education may become more familiar with the problems and difficulties that confront those who labor for the future of a race. I have had to endure endless hardships during these twenty-five years, in order that thousands of poor negro youths might receive an industrial education, – boys and girls who might have gone into that demoralized class that is a disgrace to any people and that these friends may continue their interest in not only Snow Hill but all the schools of the South that are seeking to make better citizens of our people. I also hope that the interest may be sustained until the State and Nation realize that it is profitable to educate the black child as well as the white.

 

Mims’ bandleader and college professor father, her pianist mother, and her six musically inclined siblings all seem to have valued education as highly as did Edwards. After graduating valedictorian from Snow Hill Institute, Mims earned her undergraduate degree at Virginia’s Hampton Institute, where she met her future husband, Howard A. Mims.  When she travelled to Cleveland, Ohio to pursue her Masters in Library Science at Western Reserve University, she benefited greatly from the hospitality of her extended family members, the Madisons.

 

After living and working for a time in Michigan, Dr. Howard A. Mims and Mrs. A. Grace Lee Mims settled permanently in Cleveland, where she worked for the Cleveland Public Library, and, by the 1960s, at Glenville High School—where she built an extensive Black Studies collection, coordinated a Black Arts Festival, designed a lecture course on Black history and culture, and continued to pursue a career as a classically-trained vocalist who never hesitated to perform the music of Black Americans, including jazz and spirituals.

 

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate from Cleveland State University, Mims is also known for her service on the boards of numerous arts organizations, her work as a voice faculty member at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and her programming activities at WCLV Radio, where she hosted “The Black Arts” for more than 40 years.  Her good friend Robert P. Madison was a long-time program sponsor.

 

In the wake of Mims’ passing on October 4, 2019, I learned that Mr. Madison had asked staff members at WCLV about the possibility of obtaining a recording of a Black Arts program for which he served as a special guest. For a while it seemed that, with very little in the way of identifying information, including the programs theme and broadcast date, no one at radio station would be able to find that recording.  Nevertheless, as one of Mims’ former students, I continued to reach out to family members, letting them know that I was interested in obtaining the Madison interview and anything else related to my teacher’s work in Cleveland.

 

On the evening of Saturday, February 22, 2020, the family member who is the executor of Dr. A. Grace Lee Mims’ estate invited me to come to her East Cleveland home to pick up a small box of arts-related material that might be of some value. Inside, among the approximately two-dozen recordings was a tape labeled “1/98 Black Arts, Leontyne Price w/ Robert Madison Interview.”

 

Listening to that January 7, 1998, recording at the Cleveland Institute of Music was almost like being in the same room with two good friends who really loved each other and their work.  Someday soon, I hope to share digital copies of this recording with members of the Madison family and others.

 

Dr. A. Grace Lee Mims was an incredible educator and ambassador for Black history and culture, and we were blessed to have her with us for 89 wonderful years.

Honoring the African American Archives Auxiliary’s Founders | Mr. Robert P. Madison, Architect

By Regennia N. Williams, PhD

On July 17, 1954, Robert P. Madison established his architectural firm. The opening, took place exactly three months after the Supreme Court’s Landmark decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which declared that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. The firm was located at 1335 East 105th Street in the Glenville, one of Cleveland’s most segregated neighborhoods.

 

In Designing VictoryA Memoir by Robert P. Madison with Carlo Wolff, Madison described the significance of the opening in the following manner:

 

The office of Robert P. Madison, Architect was the first one owned by a black man licensed to practice architecture in the state of Ohio. There were all sorts of celebrations and hoopla, and the Call & Post, a wonderful newspaper that largely served the black community did a lot of good things for me, like running articles about Madison the architect.

On, April 15, 2020, The State Library of Ohio and the Ohioana Library Association, with the Ohio Center for the Book and the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council, announced that Designing Victory, A Memoir had been selected as one of the 20 books for the 2021 & 2022 Choose to Read Ohio (CTRO) booklist.  According to the announcement:  “CTRO helps libraries, schools, families, book clubs, and others build communities of readers and an appreciation of Ohio authors, illustrators, and literature. CTRO promotes reading across the Buckeye State by encouraging Ohioans of all ages to read and share books created by native Ohioans and Ohio residents.”

 

The African American Archives Auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society had already announced on April 1, 2020, that Designing Victory, A Memoir would be the focus of its global online reading initiative, “The World Reads with Cleveland,” and the Auxiliary looks forward to using the CTRO toolkit to introduce this book to more Ohioans.  The announcements for both projects are included below.

Italian Neighborhoods in Cleveland

By Pamela Dorazio Dean

Between 1880-1920, more than 25,000 Italians immigrated to Cleveland. While many are aware of the Little Italy neighborhood’s connection to the Italian immigrants, it was not the only place they settled. There were multiple areas throughout Cleveland in addition to Little Italy where Italians made their homes. These areas maintained their Italian population until the 1970s when the flight to the suburbs emptied many of the inner-city neighborhoods. Following is a list of what were once the major Italian neighborhoods in Cleveland.
Big Italy – The first Italian settlement in Cleveland which was located along Woodland Avenue from Ontario and Orange Avenues to East 40th Street, near what was known as the Haymarket District. This was primarily a Jewish neighborhood until the Italians started moving in the 1880s and by 1900, the area became all Italian.
Little Italy – The most recognized Italian settlement in Cleveland is located between East 119th to East 125th Streets and is centered on Murray Hill and Mayfield Roads. Italians began settling here in the 1880s. Most were stone carvers and cutters who worked for Joseph Carabelli at his monument works company located on Euclid Avenue across from Lake View Cemetery.
Collinwood – The Italian section of Collinwood was located to the east of the Five Points intersection in the area between Ivanhoe Road and Saint Clair Avenue. Italian immigrants started to move here in the 1910s. It was one of the few Italian neighborhoods that held on to its Italian population through the 1970s. Many Italians were attracted to this neighborhood because they were able to find jobs working with the railroads.
Luna Park/Our Lady of Mount Carmel-East – This Italian neighborhood developed where there was once an amusement park, which is why it is referred to as Luna Park in addition to the name of the Catholic church established there. In 1938, the last remaining building of the park was demolished and a neighborhood was developed. Its center was East 110th and Woodland Avenue. The Orlando Family of the Orlando Baking Company had its first bakery in this neighborhood and Little John Rinaldi of the “Big Chuck and Little John Show” grew up here.
Blue Rock Spring – This small Italian settlement was centered around Frank Avenue and Petrarca Road in what is now known as the Cedar-Glenn neighborhood. It was adjacent to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel-East neighborhood, so it often gets grouped together with it. Petrarca Road was once part of Woodhill Road. It was renamed in the 1940s for Pfc. Frank J. Petrarca, a neighborhood boy who became the first Congressional Medal of Honor in the state of Ohio during WWII.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel-West – The Italian community in this area was centered around West 65th and Detroit Avenue and extended north to Lake Erie. It is named for the Catholic church established there. Today the area is known as Gordon Square and is part of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.
Saint Rocco – The Italian community was centered around Clark and Fulton Avenues, between West 41st Street and West 31st Street. It is named for the Catholic church established in the neighborhood.

The Hale Inn

Generations of the Hale family were known for their entrepreneurial spirit, from farming to brick making, apples to syrup. It was during the summers of the later 19th and early 20th centuries however, that the Hale grounds would come alive with guests from the cities. “Hale Inn,” as it was called in later years, was best known as a summering place between 1880 and World War I.
 
Andrew Hale as early as 1870 began using the brick house for “genteel paying guests”, but it was his son C.O. Hale that made it his principal interest. C.O.’s horticultural talent transformed the farm into a showplace with gardens, hedgerows, flowers, beehives and abundant fruit trees. The Hale Inn became an important source of income for the Hales and a favorite getaway for city dwellers who longed for a refuge from Cleveland and Akron. Guests were lodged in the bedrooms of the Hale House and during busy seasons C.O. and his wife Pauline would even give up their own room and sleep under the beams in the corn room above the north wing. Meals were cooked and served in the south wing by Pauline and girls from school or college that would help in the summer months.
 
Guest books from this time provide names, amusing anecdotes and activities. Eventually, prominent families of the region built one-room cottages on the property. Some guests such as William Higgins of East Ohio Gas and Howard Jones of Standard Oil even kept riding horses on site. Other names found in the guest book include; W.T. Holliday president of Standard Oil Ohio, Victor Morgan of The Cleveland Press, Judge Arthur Day, Mrs. Solon L. Severance, Frank Wilcox, Frank Seiberling and Albert J. Hoovers. On one occasion in 1902 a Tally-Ho Party from Akron stopped off and all 20 members signed the guest book.
The summer cottage that remains at Hale Farm & Village today has been used for many purposes over the years. If you have visited the museum more recently you probably enjoyed a candle making demonstration here. You may also recognize it as the cavalry command staff headquarters during our annual Civil War Reenactment or the backdrop for local musicians during our Music in the Valley event each July.

Luxury Air Travel

By John Lutsch

Barely twenty five years after the Wright brothers first flew, travelers were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air in the enormous rigid airship Graf Zeppelin, which first entered service in 1928. She was impressive to behold, measuring 776 feet long; the size of a contemporary ocean liner! Luxuriously appointed, she provided comfort in the form of Art Deco-inspired wood paneling, upholstered seating, dining and sitting rooms, and ten passenger cabins. She could cross from Germany to America in approximately 112 hours, at a cruising speed of 73 mph. Providing lift for the giant craft required nearly four million cubic feet of highly flammable hydrogen, and although precautions were taken, hydrogen proved the undoing of airship travel with the Hindenburg disaster of 1937.

Although Charles Lindberg’s epic nonstop transatlantic solo flight in 1927 paved the way for future travel, aircraft engines were prone to failure, and passenger capacity was extremely limited. Also, there was the very real possibility of an aircraft having to make an emergency water landing, thereby eliminating land-based planes.

Slowly, seaplane and flying boat designs improved, from manufacturers Sikorsky, Martin, and others, along with the reliability of the engines that powered them. By the end of the 1930’s, the Boeing 314 ‘Clipper’ embodied the pinnacle of exclusive, luxurious air travel, providing accommodations for 77 trans-oceanic passengers. Seats could be converted to sleeping bunks, and meals were provided on linen-covered tables, prepared by four-star hotel chefs. The white-coated stewards served six-course meals with accompanying tableware of solid silver. At a cruising speed of 188 mph., the big Boeing could transport passengers between San Francisco and Honolulu in 19 hours, for a one-way fee of $675.00 (in 2019 dollars, $12,000.00) This was first-class ticketing only, reserved for the very well to do.

Today, the common assumption is that even though international air travel has become ubiquitous, it is a rather ‘cattle car’ affair. Emirates Air, based in Dubai, has turned that notion on its head with its First Class suites. The accommodations are magnificent, utilizing the Boeing 777 Dreamliner as a foundation. Six suites span the cross-section of the fuselage in two groups, and the middle suites have ‘virtual’ windows that project a live image of the environment surrounding the aircraft in flight. Hydrating skin care products are provided, as well as leather Bulgari amenity kits, Hennessy spirits, and Dom Perignon champagne. Over 4000 channels of entertainment are available, and aircraft-wide WiFi is provided. The seating is premium leather, which folds into a NASA-designed zero-gravity bed; hydrating pajamas are included. The suite is equipped with a wardrobe where clothing can be stored, and the lighting and temperature are passenger-controlled. A multi-page menu offers freshly prepared gourmet meals at any time, served of course, on white linen. Entertainment is supplied via a 32 inch flat screen television, and the lucky passenger enjoys complete privacy with floor to ceiling walls.  Prices begin at around $10,000.00 one way. For the long-haul traveler, there is nothing better in the sky!

Guest Writer Dan Hanson: Ethnic Events in Cleveland

By Dan Hanson, ClevelandPeople.com

“Ethnic heritage is often connected to religions and faith. For Christians, this is Holy Week culminating in Easter on Sunday.  For Jews, Passover begins at sunset tomorrow night and ends next Thursday (April 16).

It’s different this year but hopefully Ukrainian families are still making Pysanka.  That goes for you too Albanians, Armenians, Belarusians, Bulgarians, Croats, Czechs, Estonians, Georgians, Germans, Hungarians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Macedonians, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and others.

Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians be sure to continue the tradition of spanking or whipping with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka (in Czech) or korbá (in Slovak) on Easter Monday.

Poles, make sure you soak your partner with water on Dyngus Day (Monday).

We hope the Italians will still make the traditional Easter cake called the Colomba Pasquale.

If you are Swedish or Finnish we hope the small kids will still dress as Easter witches. Spiced schnapps on the Swedish Easter table still sounds good.

I know the Irish will pause to remember the men and women who died in the Easter Rising which began on Easter Monday 1916.

Mexicans will still make flour tortillas, Pescado Zarandeado and braided Easter bread.

I am not sure if local Hispanic churches will hold the traditional processionals on Good Friday, sometimes they include reenactments of the Crucifixion. This is always a highlight of Semana Santa.

For many African-Americans, Easter Sunday’s church service is always the focal point of the day. The gathering in new clothes to represent a new life for Christ on Resurrection Day. Without being able to attend Church, Fr. Dave R. Ireland, S.T.D., Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish suggests that you dress up for Easter even though you are staying home.  That will make it seem more special as the special day warrants.

Those are just a few ways people who value their ethnic heritage will be celebrating.  We hope you share your traditions (and photos!) with us.

We asked for some advice in celebrating these holy times while isolated because of the virus.

Rabbi Pinchas Landis is the Education Director for Partners In Torah.  He said, “At the beginning of the Passover Seder, we make a proclamation, opening our homes wide to those who need a place for the holiday. Then, we ask the four questions stating ‘How different this night is from all other nights!’ This year, we will say ‘How different this Passover is from all other Passovers’ as we are unable to truly follow through on the proclamation we say inviting all to join us.

But, there is one Seder in history that this year’s Seder will mimic. During the first Seder ever, when the Jews were still in Egypt, the Seder took place during the plague of the first born. The Jews were commanded not to leave their houses during the plague (sound familiar). We should all privilege to see not only a repeat of this part, but a repeat of what came next which was ultimate redemption! May we see it speedily in our days!”

Keep those traditions alive and hang in there, Cleveland.”

Hough Bakery Easter Traditions

For nine decades, Hough Bakery was the go-to bakery for Clevelanders, from weddings to birthdays to Easter traditions. One of Cleveland’s most iconic local brands, Hough Bakery was opened by Lionel Archibald Pile, an immigrant from Barbados, in 1903. Archie, as he was called, and his bakery quickly became a Cleveland staple. By the mid-1970s, he and his four sons were operating more than 70 locations. One of their most popular holiday products was their daffodil cake.
What is a daffodil cake? It’s a holiday favorite most closely tied to the beloved Cleveland bakery; a moist angel food cake frosted with buttercream icing and sprinkled with bits of grated citrus and crushed pineapple. This particular confection was available only at Easter and was a constant fixture for many Clevelanders. Relive the glory days of one of the most fondly remembered bakeries by making your own daffodil cake this Easter!

Daffodil Cake Recipe

 

Cake:

1 cup cake flour
1 ½ cups plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup egg whites (10 large eggs at room temperature)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated orange & lemon zest plus more for garnish
2 Tablespoons orange juice

Glaze:

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Tablespoons crushed pineapple
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift flour with ½ cup sugar. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites with salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. With mixer at same speed, beat in 1 cup sugar, sprinkling ¼ cup at a time over egg whites. Beat until sugar is just blended. With rubber spatula, gently fold in flour by fourths until fully incorporated.
  2. In another bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg yolks with orange & lemon zest, juice and remaining 2 Tablespoons sugar until thickened and pale in color. Fold in one-third of white batter.
  3. In ungreased 4” deep 10” tube pan, alternate yellow and white batters to give a marbleized effect ending with white batter on top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until straw inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. To cool cake, invert tube pan and let hang until completely cooled. Do this by resting pan on center tube or by placing tube over funnel or neck of bottle. Cake will shrink if warm when removed from pan. To remove cooled cake, use thin bladed knife or spatula to loosen cake all around side and tube. Invert cake onto wire rack and lift off pan.
  5. In small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, pineapple and melted butter until smooth. Brush all over cooled cake and let sit until partially set. Garnish cake with orange zest, either finely grated or in thin strips. Makes 12 slices. Enjoy!

From Cars to Cans

Today, Clevelanders can celebrate the April 7th National Beer Day holiday with a choice from any number of thriving local craft breweries. On the original ‘New Beer’s Day’ in 1933 the area breweries weren’t ready to release new production yet, so the city celebrated the passing of the Cullen Act, legalizing the production & consumption of beer (with up to 3.2% alcohol content) with beer shipped in from outside the city. Regardless, as President Roosevelt famously quipped after signing the bill, it was a “good time for a beer”, and Clevelanders joined the nation in drinking over 1.5 million barrels of beer on that day. Cleveland brewing would be up and running just a month later when Pilsener became the first of the local breweries back on the scene in early May with its beloved P.O.C beer.
Cleveland breweries experienced a glorious, but brief, Brewing Renaissance after Prohibition’s repeal. The popular demand would also inspire more companies to turn to the profitable business of brewing as Prohibition rattled to its death. James Bohannon, President of Cleveland’s luxury car manufacturer Peerless Motors, believed the car company could not survive the looming Depression, but did see potential in brewing as early as 1931. The company began refitting its 8 acre manufacturing plant on Quincy Ave. into a brewery, and in 1933 officially reorganized as the Brewing Corporation of America.
The brewery and Black Label would see continued success through the 1950s—becoming the 4th largest brewer in the nation (although at that point it was controlled by Canadian Breweries Ltd.) At the same time, due to heavy competition paired with a gradual decrease in beer sales both in the city and across the country, all of the historic Cleveland brewers would slowly close their doors. Original beer production would end in Cleveland in the 1960’s, though Carling carried on until the company decided to close its Cleveland production in 1971. The Peerless building was then purchased by C. Schmidt and Sons, a Philadelphia company, and continued as the sole production brewery in Cleveland until it too closed its doors in 1984.
This adaptation of the Peerless factory is a favorite story with WRHS staff. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum boasts a sleek 1932 Peerless automobile built as a special project between Peerless and the American Aluminum Company (ALCOA). The chassis and engine were built completely out of aluminum here in Cleveland, while the aluminum body was done by the ALCOA team in Burbank, CA. The prototype was driven out to California with a temporary body in order to finish the build at ALCOA. Completed, it returned to Cleveland to find the company closing and reorganizing as a brewery. The automobile was kept on the floor of the brewery for some time as a type of mascot. It was so beloved that workers even hid it during WWII to keep the aluminum body from being scrapped for the war effort!

Then and Now: The Rev. Dr. E.T. Caviness and Black Church Leadership in Cleveland

By Regennia N. Williams, PhD

Since the 1960s, the Rev. Dr. Emmitt Theophilus (E.T.) Caviness, pastor of Cleveland’s Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, has been a leader in the struggle to secure and protect the civil and political rights of American citizens.  His influence extends beyond the sanctuary of his church in the Glenville community, and the stories about his work are recounted in numerous publications, including the many books and news articles related to the legacy of Mayor Carl B. Stokes.

Stokes was elected in 1967, the year after the Hough Riots.  From the outset of his tenure as the mayor of Cleveland, he sought to establish close ties between his office and leaders in various faith communities. Rev. Caviness worked with Mayor Stokes to make that happen.  In a March 30, 1968, Call & Post newspaper article announcing the appointment of the Rev. William Arthur LeMon as Stokes’ administrative assistant, the mayor stated, “If there is any one segment of leadership in the community that I owe to being where I am it is, perhaps, the clergy.”

Within a week of making this statement, Mayor Stokes called on local pastors and others to help keep the peace following the April 4, 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In describing that moment in Cleveland’s history, Stokes wrote in Promises of Power: A Political Biography:

In the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, almost every large city in the country with a sizeable black community had violence and looting of some sort. We were able to keep that from happening in Cleveland. In a way it was unfortunate that we succeeded as well as we did, because it only confirmed the establishments wager that in backing me they were buying insurance. Not that I didn’t make a good deal of it myself at the time, taking reporters along with me as I walked the streets, calming people, talking them into cooler emotions. I tried, though, to get across the point that the community had calmed itself. It wasn’t just me out there; we had clergymenathletes, street clubs, militants out patrolling, working to keep the lid on. Obviously, they were out there because I got them together to do it, but they were the ones who really handled it.

A cover story in the Sunday, April 7, 1969 Plain Dealer echoed the mayor’s sentiments: “Last night the mayor resumed his vigil in Hough, Glenville, and Central areas [. . .] In a predawn meeting yesterday, he urged some 75 Black nationalists to help in quieting fears in the Negro neighborhood. He met with a group of clergymen and new executives later in the day, asking for continued close cooperation.

Fifty-two years later, in April 2020, Rev. Caviness recalled that he monitored activities from his office at Greater Abyssinia while Mayor Stokes (who had “protection”) monitored the situation in the streets of Glenville.   Their team succeeded in keeping an uneasy peace that spring, but their efforts did not prevent the Glenville rioting in the summer of 1968.

Pastor Caviness’s leadership duties, however, continued beyond the 1960s.  He served as the administrative assistant to Mayor George Voinovich, as a member of the Cleveland City Council, on a number of local boards, and, for more than 30 years, on the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization that Dr. King established in 1957.

He currently chairs the board of the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and is convinced that the struggle for voting rights must be continual.  As the nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th amendment and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment–which sought to enfranchise African American men and all women, respectively, Rev. Caviness says, “Everyone has to have that right. We’ve got to remain vigilant, on our guard, and stay alert to what is transpiring in our country.”

“CLERGY BACK NEW AIDE — A group of prominent clergy surround Mayor Stokes and his new Administrative Aide, Rev. W. Arthur LeMon. Seated are (left to right) Rev. John T. Weeden, St. Timothy Baptist Church, and president of Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Cleveland & Vicinity; Mayor Carl B. Stokes; and Rev. LeMon.” Rev. E. T. Caviness, Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, is standing on the far right. (John W. Mott, photographer. Call & Post file image.)

Dr. Shirley Smith Seaton: A Biography

By Regennia N. Williams, PhD

To say that Dr. Shirley Smith Seaton is “Famous in the Neighborhood and Beyond” would be an understatement. However, that is how members of the African American Archives Auxiliary (AAAA or Quad A) of the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) described her in 2015. Today, there is abundant evidence to suggest that this Cleveland, Ohio native, long-time resident of the city’s Fairfax neighborhood, and award-winning educator and administrator is even more “famous” now than she was in the past.

Dr. Shirley Smith Seaton (right) and Dr. Regennia N. Williams at the Cleveland History Center, c.2008. (Photo courtesy of Regennia N. Williams.)

Dr. Seaton is a product of the Cleveland Public Schools. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Howard University, a graduate degree in education from Case Western Reserve University, a doctorate in education from the University of Akron, and a certificate in Chinese history and culture from Beijing Normal University. Dr. Seaton served as an instructor and administrator at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, and she was the Director of Social Studies for the Cleveland Public Schools. Through her work with Cleveland’s WEWS and WVIZ television stations, parents, students, and teachers throughout the region also benefitted from her distance learning activities.

As a Fulbright alumna, philanthropist, and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Coalition of 100 Black Women (Greater Cleveland), Inc., she mentored and helped dozens of students and emerging scholars achieve their educational and career goals, and she supported family members as a wife, mother, and grandmother. Dr. Seaton is a former WRHS board member and a former Quad A trustee.

Selected Bibliography

Aplin, Norita, Shirley Seaton, Juanita Storey. The Negro American: His Role, His Quest. Cleveland: Cleveland Public Schools, 1968.

African American Archives Auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Printed
Program for “Famous in the Neighborhood and Beyond,” Saturday, September 19, 2015. Personal Archives of Regennia N. Williams.

Ross, Lawrence C. The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. New York: Dafina, 2019.

Seaton, Shirley Smith. “A Study of Rapport among Elementary Teachers Reassigned and Not Reassigned to Meet Court-Ordered Desegregation in the Public Schools of Cleveland, Ohio.” EdD diss. University of Akron, 1981.

Happenings at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Preservation Center

As an organization we are very lucky to have an extensive workshop to take care of our ever-increasing fine collection of transportation artifacts. We not only take care of the daily needs of the static items on display, but we also currently maintain a significant group of vehicles that run, drive and head out into the public at various events, car shows and public engagements. This is no easy task for a non-profit and we rely heavily on the help of many skilled volunteers and their experience to do the ‘heavy lifting’ at the center. The volunteers bring a skill set that is as broad as it is deep. We have multiple engineers from all fields, skilled trades of all types, architects, dentists, machinists, machinery builders, painters, etc.  These fine people are the engine that continues to drive the machine at the center and enable us to continue to push forward with new and exciting additions to our collection. With a collection surpassing 175 transportation items in addition to the aircraft and motorcycles this is no easy task as far as upkeep and repair.

One of our items that needed major restoration and preservation work was our White Motors M2 Half Track from WWII. White Motors from Cleveland, Ohio started as a sewing machine company and eventually spread into an automotive company with their introduction of a steam powered automobile and heavy trucks for industry. As all major manufactures during this time period, war time production took precedence and White Motors built vehicles for the war effort churning out thousands of vehicles including various versions of half-tracks. The first thing we needed to do was asses the situation and formulate a plan to tackle the repairs. The situation was dire in some respects as we are always battling time and the availability of parts. The longer an item goes before having work performed, the harder, longer and more costly it is to locate the requisite parts.  With this piece of history approaching its 80th birthday, time was not on our side. 

Our inspection of the vehicle indicated quite a few areas that needed addressed initially. We had no operational power brakes and the unit had been bypassed for some reason in the past. All the grease fittings, bearings, spindles and rotating assemblies had grease that had hardened to the consistency of a solid resin. The drivetrain including the engine, transmission / transfer case and radiator was leaking profusely and required immediate attention. None of the gauges worked, the wiring was a disaster and was completely frayed, corroded or even nonexistent.  To add to those problems, various incorrect modifications were done to the armor and frame of the vehicle making it miss the mark of being a true example of a White manufactured war time M2 track. This vehicle was going to need some help, but luckily, we are equipped with an extensively equipped facility and an extremely enthusiastic crew. 

From Colonel to Keepsake

Nearly a century ago, a young man flew repeatedly across the length and breadth of North America with a lion cub in his cockpit for company. Largely a character of his own creation, ‘Colonel’ Roscoe Turner became a household name during a period when aviation was evolving as a viable method of international transportation, and the dashing pilots of the day became instant public heroes.

Unlike today, where celebrities are ‘famous for being famous’, the luminaries of the 1920’s and ‘30s actually were required to achieve something specific, especially the pilots, by extraordinary accomplishments and feats of daring. Altitude records, speed records, distance records, trans-oceanic flights; all were qualifiers for aviators willing to risk it all for a moment in the sun.

For World War I veteran Turner, his love of flying held the promise not only of notoriety, but a viable means of survival in an economically uncertain world. A master of self-promotion, Turner understood that an instantly recognizable persona was required to capture and hold the public’s attention, and he used his military-inspired uniform, diamond-studded pilot’s wings, waxed moustache, and lion mascot to great effect.

One of the West Coast’s largest oil refiners, the Gilmore Oil Company, became one of Roscoe’s early sponsors, and the aircraft he flew (and eventually raced) sported the company’s cream, red, and gold livery, while the brave little lion cub, who had his own custom parachute, was christened ‘Gilmore’.

A rapid way to achieve fame (and some fortune), was in the arena of air racing, with participation in popular events such as the Bendix Cup, Thompson Trophy, Schneider Cup, MacRobertson Trophy, and the Pulitzer Trophy. In North America, arguably the most prestigious venue was the National Air Races, held at the Cleveland Airport from 1929 onwards. During the week-long activities, hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the nation would gather to watch their heroes, like Roscoe Turner, defy death hurling their powerful racing planes around a ten mile course with fifty foot high pylons marking the turns. Some of the pilots did indeed perish pursuing victory, reminding all who participated that the stakes were incredibly high.

Turner, always striving for a competitive edge, struck a deal with Jimmy Weddell, a Louisiana racing plane manufacturer for one of his Weddell-Williams Model 44’s, a low-wing monoplane design powered by a Pratt and Whitney Hornet radial engine. The Model 44 was a proven design, having achieved a second place finish in the Thompson Trophy in 1931. Registered as NR61Y, Turner’s Model 44 appeared in Gilmore Oil colors for the 1932 Thompson, and eventually placed third, behind two other Model 44’s. 1933 saw Turner claim the top spot in the cross-country Bendix race, a first place in the Shell Oil Speed Dash, and a disappointing sixth in the Thompson after winning, then being disqualified. 1934 brought ultimate victory for NR61Y and Turner with an outright win in the Thompson Trophy, the climax of three years of hard work and innovation. The plane was repainted in the all-gold color scheme it wears today. The following year, Turner and the Model 44 took second in the Bendix Trophy, and by 1937 the aircraft was handed over to pilot Joe Mackey, as Turner was developing a new racer. NR61Y would continue to soldier on into 1939 where it continued to compete respectably in the Thompson.

Fast forward eighty years, when in 2019, the Hallmark Company produced a Christmas Ornament-sized replica of Turner’s Model 44, now registered as NX61Y, as it appeared in the late ‘30s. The miniature plane is part of the ‘Sky’s the Limit’ series of ornaments, and does a creditable job of depicting even the tiniest details of the original. It is fascinating that an aircraft that thrilled crowds so long ago remains in the public consciousness. The real Weddell-Williams Model 44, number NX61Y, is displayed prominently in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, hanging from the ceiling in the attitude of banking around a racing pylon. She remains the only original Model 44 in existence, representing a page from the ‘Golden Age’ of air racing we’ll never see again.

“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & Village

“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & VillageWhile DIY, or “do it yourself”, projects have become a trendy way of life in recent years, recycling and repurposing has always been a part of farm living – especially at Hale Farm & Village. Preserving the story of the Western Reserve is the backbone to the InHale initiative, and we could not do it without the help of community members who volunteer their versatile skills and talents.

When making new developments and improvements, we encourage repurposing materials recovered on our 90+ acres of land. But, what exactly is repurposing? Repurposing can be done by modifying material to fit a new use, or by using the material in a new way. Ultimately, instead of throwing away used or worn material, that material can be reworked to create something that appears brand new.

 

“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & VillageSo how does this work at a living history museum? “Back in 2015, all twenty-two sets of shutters on the three-story brick Hale House were restored and repainted,” offers Joe Tokarsky, Preservation Lead at Hale Farm. “Also, our sheep were given new feeders and our crafters were given new looms from repurposed wood.” All of these projects directly support the mission of the museum and our ability to provide quality programs for our visitors and the community.

The latest repurposing project at Hale Farm is a multipurpose, saltbox shaped wood shed, built entirely out of repurposed wood from old fencing in the Hale Farm south pasture. The man behind the scenes of these various projects is Bill Dunick. Dunick has been volunteering at Hale Farm & Village for two and a half years, offering us his expertise in carpentry and repurposing. Dunick resides in Kent, Ohio and is a Kent State graduate in Industrial Arts. He worked in engineering and manufacturing management for forty years and has built three homes in his lifetime. A friend of Dunick’s was a volunteer at Hale Farm and suggested he join the team as well. Although Dunick’s superb and efficient work has been in high demand on the farm, he is free to work at his leisure. Dunick volunteers at Hale Farm not only for his enjoyment of carpentry, but because of the importance of repurposing. “As a society, we need to repurpose. Today we throw things away; I see a pile of what you would think is trash as a new creation that can be repurposed.”

As a volunteer, Dunick chooses his hours and is provided with tools, space, and materials to work with. There are plenty of projects to go around at Hale Farm & Village, so if you are interested in creating and preserving, please click here for more information about volunteer opportunities.

The latest BUZZ at Hale Farm & Village….BEEKEEPING!

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & Village

Every spring, Hale Farm & Village is buzzing with activity, welcoming school field trips and preparing the grounds for more visitors during the busy summer season.

But “buzzing” is taking on a whole new meaning this year as the Hale Farm staff is bringing back to the farm an old form of entrepreneurship the Hales themselves practiced: beekeeping.

In partnership with Urban Honey Bee from Clinton, Ohio, Hale Farm’s staff has been developing educational lessons on beekeeping. Museum educator Joe Skonce worked with Urban Honey bee to write an interpretation for teaching the evolution and innovation of 19th century beekeeping practices. Laura Urban and Mike Conley also developed and provided a new educational hive exhibit. This “bee-free” hive includes a brood chamber and honey supers, minus the bees, of course. The frames do contain full-color photos and accompanying text, showing what bees do. The educational hive was launched to visiting school groups April 13 and is a mobile exhibit that will be featured in different areas of the village and farm throughout the program year. One lesson for school children, part of Youth Entrepreneurship Education, includes teaching the characteristics of entrepreneurship:

  • Assuming the risk in starting a business for the purpose of making a profit
  • Special skill or resources leading to starting a business
  • Productive resources, including natural, human and capital

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & VillageIt’s known from Hale family journals that hives were kept on the farm for pollination and production of honey. Among Hale family collection pieces is a bee box, used for bee lining, the practice of locating a wild hive by tracking a bee back to the bee tree.

Since the historical connection to beekeeping is so strong, Hale Farm’s educators will include beekeeping as a permanent lesson in their youth education programs.

So not only is beekeeping a part of the entrepreneurship lessons, but candle making demonstrations in the Summer Cottage also will connect the wax with hives and bees. Interpreters in the gardens of Hale Farm also will mention the importance of bees as pollinators of plants.

Urban Honey Bee has been a friend to Hale Farm & Village over several seasons, speaking on the business of beekeeping and how to start an apiary at special events, including Sow & Grow and Harvest Festival.

Last fall, Urban Honey Bee principals Laura Urban and Mike Conley asked Hale Farm & Village if they could become more involved in the museum’s vision through teaching about beekeeping on-site and keeping active hives at the farm.

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & VillageThat led to Laura, Mike and Joe working together to develop this year’s beekeeping educational interpretation. And Hale Farm & Village now has two hives – with bees – behind the Goldsmith House in an area that’s not open to the public.

Urban Honey Bee will also be very present at Hale Farm this summer, starting with the Sow & Grow Farm Festival in June, where they will teach a workshop on getting started in beekeeping. They will also hold a honey-tasting event in July and teach a “Is Beekeeping for You?” workshop in August.

Starting in the fall and going through winter, Urban Honey Bee plans to teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping classes at Hale Farm to whomever is interested in getting into the business.

So if this latest buzz from Hale Farm has piqued your interest in the honey business, stay tuned to our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages for upcoming information on beekeeping talks and classes.