Jonathan Hale House - The Original Cuyahoga Valley Brick Home
Originally constructed in 1825 by Jonathan Hale and his family, the restoration of the Jonathan Hale House was completed by Sandvick Architects in 2008.
Who was Jonathan Hale?
In 1810, a farmer from Connecticut, named Jonathan Hale, journeyed alone to the uninhabited frontier of the Ohio Country (today known as Bath Township) to prepare land for his family who planned to arrive a few months later.
When Hale arrived at his newly purchased land, he was surprised to find a squatter had been staying there and built himself a log cabin on the property. Hale was impressed with the man’s work clearing the fields, so he invited him to stay on the property in exchange for continuing to care for the land. A few months later, Hale’s wife and their three children arrived in Bath.
As their family grew, Hale began plans to build a permanent home on their property around 1824. He was able to create bricks from the clay found in the nearby Cuyahoga River and locally sourced lime was burned for mortar. At this time, the concept of a brick Federal-Style home was still very new. Upon its completion, the Hale House was the second brick structure to be built in the Cuyahoga Valley.
The original house was completed in 1825 and the Hale family lovingly nicknamed their new home, “Old Brick.”
The large three-story home was built into a slope with no rear windows on the first floor. Today, the first-floor would be described as the “great room” with an open-floor concept including a kitchen, dining, and living areas.
The second-floor had a parlor that was used for special occasions and a formal dining room that was later used as a bedroom. The third-floor was originally divided into six small bedrooms with no fireplaces or heat; however, this was later changed to accommodate larger bedrooms.
Hale’s son, Andrew, married in 1838 and built a small home across the street from Old Brick. It was later moved and attached to Old Brick’s living room, forming the “South Wing.” Eventually, a North Wing was also added to store coal and other supplies.
Continuing the Legacy
Jonathan Hale died in 1854 and was buried in the Ira Cemetary. His son, Andrew, and his family continued to live in Old Brick and run the farm until Andrew died in 1884. Then, Old Brick was inherited by Andrew’s son, Charles Oviatt, who offered the home as a “summering house” for nearby city dwellers to stay on the weekends and for extended vacations. Old Brick soon became known as the “Hale Inn.”
Charles did not have any children, so when he died in 1938, the farm was purchased by his niece, Clara. Clara also never had any children to inherit the family homestead after her death in 1953. Instead, she left the property to the Western Reserve Historical Society and requested to establish the Hale Farm as a museum.
The Western Reserve Historical Society acquired the land in 1957, and in 1973 it became the first property in Bath to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Hale Farm & Village is an outdoor living history museum. It provides visitors with a rich history and understanding of what life was like on the Western Reserve during the 19th-century. The property contains 34 historic structures and the Jonathan Hale House continues to serve as the central focus of the entire property.
Cleveland Restoration Society
2008 Technical Achievement in Preservation
Cleveland Restoration Society/AIA Cleveland
2013 Legacy Award for Historic Preservation
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