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.