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Jonathan Hale and his family settled in the Cuyahoga Valley in 1810 and began a tradition of farming, family and entrepreneurship. In 1956 Clara Belle Richie, the great granddaughter of Jonathan, bequeathed the family farm to the Western Reserve Historical Society, “to be established as a museum so that the greatest number of persons might learn about the history and culture of the Western Reserve.”

The museum first opened its doors in 1958, and over the course of the next 60 years the Hale’s family farm was transformed into a experiential learning laboratory. It is this space that has been the platform for delivering programming which provides a lifetime of social value.

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Caption: Artist concept for the expansion of Hale Farm & Village’s Gatehouse Welcome Center, supported in part by the State of Ohio.

Hale Farm & Village Capital Improvement Project

Mary Jane Davis Hartwell Community Room

Hale Farm & Village (HFV) Northeast Ohio’s premiere living history museum is pleased to announce the addition of community engagement and interpretive space to the Gatehouse Welcome Center. The project is being generously supported by the State of Ohio, Mary Jane Hartwell estate, Lehner Family Foundation, Ohio & Erie Canalway Association and Sisler McFawn Foundation. Local architectural firm Braun & Steidl have been selected to design the project with an expected completion date of summer 2019. This is the fourth phase of a capital improvement project that began in 2007.

“Since commencement of this project HFV has experienced continued annual attendance growth. To support this momentum HFV is creating a community engagement space to promote strategic initiatives focusing on adult workshops, professional development, youth education and community connection,” explains Kelly Falcone-Hall, CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society. The new space will expand existing Gatehouse Welcome Center amenities and provide a multi-functional space. The expansion will increase HFV’s capacity for interpreting the Hale’s family farm, and integrating the story of the Cuyahoga Valley, the Canalway and the importance that crafts, trades and entrepreneurs have played in the history of Northeast Ohio.

The Gatehouse Welcome Center is the “gateway” to the Hale experience and hub of educational and public activities, servicing over 75,000 youth and general audience visitors annually. Capital improvements to the Gatehouse Welcome Center keep this hub of educational program activities and visitor amenities attractive, functional, safe, and accessible. The design of the structure will be consistent with the existing Gatehouse Welcome Center. It will consist of 2,500 sq. feet of conditioned space that will be flexible enough to accommodate multiple programs simultaneously or one large group. It will be connected to the current space using natural materials and through an open design bringing the historic landscape into the building

Highlights include:


  • Four season space for HFV crafts & trades demonstrations and workshops
  • Space for community and corporate engagements
  • Increased capacity for school and youth programming and interpretation
  • Space for professional development of local teachers, artists and preservationists


Previous phases of this Capital Improvement Project have consisted of preservation needs for 32 historic structures and infrastructure upgrades throughout the property. The project enhances Hale Farm & Village’s mission to preserve and share the story of the Western Reserve through an experiential learning community that creates a lifetime of social value. Our educational and social impact is built around our core interpretative themes: early American crafts & trades, historic preservation, agriculture & horticulture, and local & American history.


For more information on how you can support this initiative please contact Jason Klein, Director Hale Farm & Village jklein@wrhs.org or 330-666-3711 x 1713.


Media Release – Ground Breaking for Mary Jane Davis Hartwell Community Room – April 2019

Media Release – Siegfried Buerling Honored By Akron Garden Club

Media Release – Gatehouse Expansion Project

Media Release – Sow & Grow Farm Festival and Plant Sale – June 8 & 9 -2019

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