Crooked river historical places: 5 historic places to visit along the river

The Cuyahoga River has a rich history and because of this, the historic places that surround it are often overshadowed. The river’s history intertwines with the historic places that accompany it, and together they form the stories of Northeast Ohio. It seems unfair to include one without the other.

For this list, I curated a mixture of well-known places along the river, some of which can be found on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Service’s website, and places that remain hidden in the shadows of the river’s rich history. Each place is located in or around Cuyahoga Valley National Park. On your next trail hike keep an eye out for these names!

The places listed in this post are all registered under the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), a program authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. NRHP serves as the official list of the nation’s historic places.

Llisted in no particular order:

#1 – Conrad Botzum Farm, Cuyahoga Falls

Conrad Botzum Farmstead, image from Cuyahoga Valley National Park by Ed Toerek

This historic farm sits primarily separate and alone on its own sloping terrace in the Cuyahoga Valley. The land was previously owned by the Connecticut Land Company until John A. Botzum purchased it in 1876. His family endured a difficult journey to acquire the land. Botzum and his family were originally from Germany but fled in fear of being drafted into the German Army. Their journey to the farmstead included robbery and an attempted slavery. Gratefully, the family found sanctuary with friends and moved to Ohio in 1836.

The farm gained its historical importance because of its success in raising livestock. The Botzum brothers were able to produce 500 pounds of wool and raise 65 sheep, which was more than double the average of local farms at the time. John later transferred ownership of the property to his brother Conrad.Today the Conrad Botzum Farmstead serves as a popular location for weddings and special events. It has been owned by the National Park Service since 1991. Visit their website to learn more about the farmstead.

#2 – George Stanford House, Boston Township

The home of George Stanford

James Stanford moved his family from Pennsylvania in 1802 to acquire a 169-acre property on the western bank of the Cuyahoga River. The farm cultivated 100 acres under the ownership of James’ grandson, George C. Stanford. The house became historic for its representation of farm life and the life of those who lived in it. George and his father both served in various offices of Boston Township. They were both also elected justice of the peace.

The Stanford home now serves as a lodging area for people visiting the National Park, although the home continues to highlight the history made by the Stanford family. You can book a reservation here the next time you want to stay in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

#3 – Everett Covered Bridge, Peninsula

Photo by Tom Jones

Found in the Everett historic district listed in the NRHP, the Everett Covered Bridge is the last remaining covered bridge in Summit County. It stands out as an historical place because it is the last of its kind. During the 19th century Ohio led the nation in covered bridge construction and generated more than 2,000 covered bridges.

The bridge was supposedly built in response to the tragedy of a farming couple returning home after visiting their friends. A storm caused the river to rise. The couple struggled to pass and as a result, John Gilson lost his life. It is unknown, though, the actual date the bridge was constructed.

Throughout its years the bridge had to be rebuilt three times. The third reconstruction of the bridge took place in 1975 as local citizens, private organizations, and governmental agencies worked together to raise and acquire funds for the bridge’s reconstruction.

#4 – Tinkers Creek Aqueduct, Valley View

Tinkers Creek Aqueduct is one of three aqueducts constructed to allow canal water to pass over smaller bodies of water without interruption. The creek begins in Streetsboro and flows west to meet the Cuyahoga River. The creek itself is the largest tributary flowing into the river.

The aqueduct was rebuilt in 1845 and again in 1905 due to excessive flooding. In 2007, the aqueduct was removed by the National Park because of its deterioration. Reconstruction began in 2011.

It now stands as a historic place because it is the last aqueduct to survive in the Cuyahoga Valley.

#5 – Canal Exploration Center, Valley View

Located right above Lock 38 (listed in NRHP) the building housing the Canal Exploration Center is more than 150 years old. It was purchased by Moses Gleeson around 1837 and expanded in 1852.

Throughout its years the building housed a store, a home, a tavern, a boarding house and a blacksmith’s shop.

It is now a popular location to learn about the history of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Inside you can find research and information about the canal, along with a cool store that offers goods similar to the era of the building.

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