Welcome to Harvest Festival 2021!
Use the self-guided tour below to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells of the Farm during the harvest season! Explore how preparing for the winter months changed for Northeast Ohio residents as you travel through time learning about historic indigenous and early frontier food preservation traditions to the seasonal treats of Western Reserve towns in the 1840s.
- Maple Sugar Bush | Begin your tour in the woods to get a sense of what this land looked like for the generations of indigenous and early frontier families who have called the Cuyahoga Valley home! TRY IT OUT: This is the perfect time of year to identify the many maple sugar trees on our farm. Try this leaf identification guide to determine which trees will be tapped in the late winter and early spring for maple syrup!
- Log Cabin | For historic native populations and early frontier families harvest time meant serious work in order to survive through the winter. Way before refrigeration humans developed (and stumbled upon) many methods for preserving food! Begin your exploration of food preservation with this demonstration on how to make your own sauerkraut! You can also look over this overview of food preservation techniques from the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia.
- Hale Barn | Meet our oxen Bert & Eddie! Before tractors and motorized farm equipment, draft animals did a lot of the heaviest lifting on the farm. Oxen like these two worked in pairs, joined by a yoke, to help clear and plow land and deliver the harvest to homes and markets. Stop by to say hi and learn more about the ox’s job on the farm.
- Cider Press | The Hales, like many families in the area, had a small apple orchard on these grounds. Started by Jonathan for family use, it was later expanded by his son Andrew to a source of commercial income. Across America and Europe apples have been harvested and pressed to create a drink called cider for hundreds of years, helping to preserve the nutrition of the apple and creating a delicious drink that was often safer to imbibe than local water through the ages in different places. It is only in post-Prohibition America that the name ‘cider’ refers most popularly to a non-alcoholic beverage. True cider is fermented, a process during which yeast turns the natural sugars in apples into alcohol and carbon dioxide. To learn more about the cider fermentation process, check out this article from Cider Scene. Stop by our cider pressing station to see how apples our manually pressed to get that delicious, pulpy, apple juice!
- Hale House | Besides food preparation for the winter, family labor was also needed to prepare the fabrics and items that would keep everyone warm and comfortable through a cold weather. Early frontier and rural families might be forced to work every step in the process of making a coat or blanket, from raising and shearing sheep, to washing and carding wool, the spinning, dyeing and weaving, and finally tailoring. Since the Hales raised sheep, Mercy and later Sarah Hale and their descendants were probably practiced at most of these steps. We know Mercy was also a skilled tailoress and dressmaker, who also purchased milled wool and manufactured fabrics to sew coats and other clothing for neighbors.
- Smokehouse | Behind the brick Hale House you will find a white washed smokehouse. This original structure would have been very important as the Hale family prepared for winter during the harvest time. Smokehouses were used to cure meats, most often pork from the hogs that families raised over the Spring and Summer. The process of smoking kept meat from spoiling, and provided a source of protein through winter months when hunting would be difficult. Materials used for smoking often varied by region and what was readily available, including different hardwoods and even corn cobs!
- Corncrib | This is the smallest of the original structures built by the Hale family still onsite at Hale Farm & Village! This mini barn-like building was used for one purpose–storing and drying corn after it was harvested from the fields! Originally invented by Native populations in the Americas, colonial populations quickly adopted the variety of styles and continued to change materials used for corn cribs into the early 20th century.
- Candles | Early families used readily found materials to help light their homes, like tallow made from animal fat or beeswax. We know Jonathan Hale, like other farmers of the Western Reserve, kept bees on site to help with pollination of their orchard and crops, and would have been happy to make some beeswax candles which burned cleaner and longer than the tallow kind. View some of Jonathan’s and other early Western Reserve residents’ beekeeping tools, on display in our Summer Cottage (built by Jonathan’s grandson C.O. Hale). While there you can watch the ongoing candle dipping demonstrations, and even dip your own mini beeswax candle ($).
- Herrick House | As farmers specialized, their ‘harvest work’ also changed. Specialized farmers like dairy farmers would not be able to produce as much butter and cheese during the fall and winter months while their cows stopped producing milk, or produced very little. Seasonal products like apple butter would provide a revenue source during the mid and later 1800s, as more people in the Western Reserve moved to the larger urban areas of Akron, Cleveland, and Youngstown, and didn’t have access to their own orchards. TRY IT OUT: Make an All Day Apple Butter at home using a slow cooker instead of a fire outside!
- Goldsmith | While the seasonality of life in the early to mid 1800s effected everyone at every level of society, harvest work and fall traditions were different for those in the upper classes. Facing less of a risk of starvation due to a poor harvest, upper classes had the opportunity to revel in the traditions of fall without as much of the worry. If they like, gentleman farmers might help their hired staff harvest what crops and orchard fruits they grew on their land. Upper class ladies would study periodicals like Harpers Weekly or Godey’s Lady’s Book to learn the latest seasonal tastes for hats and dress.
- School | While today fall marks the ‘back to school’ season, fall for farmers and rural communities in the 1800s was far too busy for children to attend school. As the harvest work wrapped up though, children would begin to look forward to their winter session of school! Take a peek inside our early 19th century log cabin, outfitted now as rural 1800s school house. Log cabins were often used and reused for many purposes–an early community school house was a common purpose. This log cabin was used as a school at on point in it’s life–it was the first Catholic School in Columbiana county!
- Family Fun Zone! Finish your Harvest Festival day with a seasonal scoop at Weber’s ice cream. A kiddie – size straw maze is available to entertain the little ones, while fall enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy picking a pumpkin ($) and painting it onsite!
Explore more of Western Reserve and Hale Farm history:
Founded in May 1867, the Western Reserve Historical Society is Cleveland’s oldest existing cultural institution. It was established as the historical branch of the Cleveland Library Association which dated from 1848. The Society’s creation was part of an important trend in the United States, the establishment of private organizations to oversee the collection and preservation of documents and objects relating to various aspects of national, regional and local history. To become a member, book an event, support, or learn more about Hale Farm & Village or The Cleveland History Center, visit our website HERE.
The Western Reserve Historical Society hosts the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum; a vast and varied collection of cars, boats, and planes that were designed in, built by, or influenced the Western Reserve area. As part of this collection we highlight the Winton Motor Carriage Company, founded in Cleveland in 1897 and reorganized to the Winton Motor Car Company in 1915. Alexander Winton, a Scottish immigrant, used his knowledge of mechanics to build superior motor vehicles. He also had a keen sense of what would entice the public at the time, and staged dramatic public performances of his motored cars and their endurance. Follow the link below to learn more about the first ever cross-country road trip that was taken in a Winton car with Bud, the bulldog co-pilot! Explore the images from our collection to picture the types of luxury vehicles that were bringing people out from Akron and Cleveland to Hale Farm in Andrew and C.O.’s Day!
The trip: Find out more click here! You can find the public records left by the Winton company in our archives Click Here ; and learn more about the Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection Click Here: ; Take a look at the turn-of-the-century automobiles that would have brought the public down to Hale Farm to enjoy vacation under C.O. Hale Click Here!
The Hales lived and farmed on this land through three generations, use the links below to learn more:
Support the varied residents of Hale Farm & Village! Find out more on how you can support our farm & horticulture program during 2021 “The Year of the Ox” : Click Here!
The Ohio and Erie canal changed the area. To learn more about the history of the canal and its current projects, follow the link to our partner, Ohio & Erie Canalway
In the nineteenth century women like Caroline Robinson could not own property, enter into contracts, or sue in the courts without their husband’s approval. After Mr. Robinson passed, Caroline was left to rely on male administrators of her husband’s estate. This ended up causing hard times for her and her family. Other women began to push back against the legal limitations imposed on them. In 1848 women like Caroline gathered in masse for the first United States Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, the first national convention in Massachusetts happened two years later. Soujourner Truth delivered her famous, “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at a regional convention in Akron the following year. For more information follow the link below or join us at the Cleveland History Center to explore the Women in Politics exhibit.
In the 19th century, the Western Reserve earned itself a reputation as a hotbed for abolitionism. Learn More about the Cozad-Bates House Here!
Preservation is key to fulfilling our mission at Hale Farm & Village.
Learn more about our latest preservation efforts here