Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Constructing, Consuming, and Conserving America: Cuyahoga Valley
54 total

R. James Schroeder Interview, 23 June 2009

R. James Schroder has lived his entire life in Lake County. As a child Schroder worked at local nurseries. After graduating high school and a attending college for a brief time, he volunteered for the United States Air Force during World War II. At the end of the war, Schroder returned to the nursery industry and over time acquired his own nursery business. Schroder is confident in the continuation of the industry in Lake County.

Robert Allen Endebrock Interview, 23 June 2009

Robert Allen Endobroch was born in Springfield, Ohio. After moving to Columbus, Ohio Endobroch pursued a career in horticulture and botany. After graduating form Ohio State University Endobroch was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. During his service Endobroch was educated as a soil analyst by the Corp of Army Engineers. When he was relieved of duty Endobroch worked for the Department of Agriculture in Lake County Ohio. Endobroch worked for the Department of Agriculture for 29 years working…

Jim Zampini Interview, 23 June 2009

Born in Painesville in 1932, J. Zampini is a lifetime resident of Lake County. Zampini grew up surrounded by nurseries and eventually became the proprietor of his own nursery. He has been credited with creating new plant variations and using plants for community rejuvenation. Zampini recounts the changes the nursery business has undergone over the years. He also discusses the lasting impression the various waves of immigration have made on the industry.Though mechanization and chemicals are…

Rena Fiedler Interview, 2011

Rena Fiedler grew up on her grandparent's farm, the Stanford House, near Boston, Ohio. Her grandfather's aunt, Ellen Stanford, passed the house along her nephew, Ernest Dickenson. Rena's parents, William Hatch and Fanny (Dickenson) Hatch, lived at the Stanford House until Rena was in gradeschool. On the Stanford property, Rena's grandfather had many livestock, corn, and other produce. Rena remembers details about the farm, as well as life in Peninsula c. 1930s forward. The Stanford House…

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George Fisher, Jr. Interview, 2011

George Fisher and his wife grew up in Peninsula, Ohio, where they both lived for the rest of their lives. George's father purchased Fisher's Restaurant in the 1950s, which George's younger brother Richard eventually took over. George's wife, Florence, grew up on the Garvey/Ross property, now run as the Spicey Lamb Farm by Laura DeYoung (another interviewee). George provides valuable information about the Village of Peninsula and community life in the valley, as well as how the landscape has…

Daniel Schneider Interview, 2011

Daniel Schneider worked his parents farm as a kid and then worked at ford at a second job during second shift after high school.Mr. Schneider is a great example of old-time farming . He lauds the value of hard work and questions nearsightedness, which he attributes to the park system. He is a long time member of the Peninsula city council and also a former mayor.

Kathleen Varga Interview, 2011

Kathleen Varga and her husband John fought through many different obsticles on their farm. With John having a stroke, they had to adapt to different living conditions and struggle to keep the farm going. The September 11th attacks also proved to be difficult to go through and a move was necessary in order to keep their dream alive. Kathleen was able to think outside of the box and develope a farm that alomst became completly self sufficient through study of what animals she con have in her farm…

Jan Thomas Interview, 2011

Jan Thomas's family has lived in Boston Township for generations. In this 2011 interview Thomas describes life on the farm. They had no electricity until 1946 and even no bathroom until Thomas was in 6th grade. She discusses life in the community, what they did for entertainment, the church community, and her school experiences.

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Daniel Emmett Interview, 2011

Daniel Emmett's great-grandfather, Oliver Cromwell Moore, purchased a farm in present-day Richfield in the 1840s. His grandma inherited 65 acres of that farm, which passed down to Daniel's parents in 1944. Daniel grew up on his parents farm in Akron before moving to Richfield when he was 11 years old. Both he and his father established dairy businesses, which eventually required them to haul their own milk from Richfield to Akron. Daniel and his wife had cows, sheep, and at one point a…

Josephine Davis Interview, 2011

Josephine Davis lived what she described as a "great life." She loved every part of her family's old home in Brecksville, including the waterfalls and creek that she and her siblings played in. Several of her family members, including Josephine herself, worked at the nearby Jaite Paper Company mill, as well as maintained their chores and responsiblities on the family's subsistence farm. The family farm produced enough food so that they never when hungry, even during the Depression, and they…

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Carol Haramis Interview, 02 March 2011

Carol Haramis's family has owned a farm for 5 generations that is now an agro-tourism farm. They raise Christmas trees, day-lilies, and pumpkins. They also produce maple syrup and hold festivals on the farm. In this 2011 interview, Haramis discusses the history of the family farm and details some of the work required to run the farm.

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Robert Leciejewski Interview, 18 April 2011

This interview was conducted with the interviewer's father, Robert Leciejewski, an employee at Ford Motor Company in Brook Park. He has been an employee at Ford, on and off, since 1978. The interview discusses what it is like to be an auto worker in Cleveland, some of the challenges associated with the job, as well as special memories about the plant. the automotive global economy, Ford's infamous layoffs, and his hopes for the company in the future are also discussed. The interview covers a…

Chris Burgdorf Interview, 02 April 2009

Chris Burgdorf, full time superintendent Camp Manatoc,describes his educational background as a Parks and Recreation Management major at Kent State, his work as a ranger with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and his current duties as superintendent of the Boy Scout Camp. Burgdorf, whose father was an executive with the Boy Scouts, grew up in scouting, and explains the various activities that the boys engage in year round at Manatoc. He also provides a description of the camp facilites, and how…

Terry Smith Interview, 2011

Terry Smith began his farming venture in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 2005. He raises goats, turkeys, chickens, and recently started working with honey bees. He sells meats to local restaurants, and has tried hosting events on the farm, but with little success. There is no butchering done on his property, and he really enjoy farming.

Ott Wilson Interview, 02 May 2011

Vernong Ott Wilson was born in 1916 in Bath, Ohio, and grew up in the summer house of the Hale Farm property. Ott's family worked the Hale farm during the years when C.O. Hale was alive, as well as when Clara Belle Ritchie and her father took over the farm. Ott provided many memories of life on a farm during the Great Depression, and jobs he shared with his father hauling milk and farming. Ott also shared memories of bootlegging activities in Peninsula and Everett. His story gives a picture of…

Ott Wilson Interview, 20 July 2011

Ott Wilson's family purchased a house in Bath, Ohio in the early 20th century, and rented farm land from C.O. Hale, of the Hale Farm, during the 1920s and 1930s. Ott, his father and brothers did farm work on their land and for Mr. Hale, as well as Hale's niece, Clara Belle Ritchie, who later owned the property. This is Ott's second interview on the topic. He shares more information on farming activities and working on the Hale Farm. He also provides information about the Hale and Ritchie…

Heather Walters Interview, 2011

This oral history interview looks at Basket of Life Farm, a small farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The farm is run by Eric and Heather Walters who have a sixty year lease on the land. The farm is part of the Countryside Conservation Initiative and is a Community Supported Agriculture farm where individuals buy a membership and are given a share of whatever is grown.

Henry Fortlage Interview, 2011

Henry Fortlage was born and raised in Independence, and experienced the Cuyahoga Valley extensively growing up. In his interview he discusses his extended family's farms, his parents experiences growing up in the Cuyahoga Valley area, as well as his own. He touches on issues such as community changes, hunting, the river, farming, volunteer work in the park, and the wildlife within it. As a life-long resident and a current volunteer, his insight in to the park is fascinating and informative in…

Tom "Skip" Wilson Interview, 2011

This is an interview with Thomas “Skip” Wilson. Skip has worked for the mill since 14 years old and been doing it full time since graduating college. Milling is no longer the main focus of the facility and instead they are now focused on a customer oriented business. They have a good relationship with the Park but have an innate fear of “big government.” As a protection against this they opened up another facility not within the park in case they buy out the land. All-in-all Wilson has…

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Ronnie and Willis Meyer Interview, 2011

Willis Meyers' family has farmed in the Cuyahoga Valley since the middle to late nineteenth century. Willis grew up in Northampton, and has many memories of family, farm, and community life, businesses, technology, and transportation from the Great Depression era forward. Ronnie, Willis' son, currently owns the farm on Steels Corners Road, where he has had a successful horse farming business. Willis, 95 years old, has many memories of the history of the valley, and shared detailed stories about…

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Rebecca Jones Interview, 2011

Rebecca Jones is an interpretive ranger with the National Park Service at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This interview was conducted to get information about the history of different park sites, including the Ohio & Erie Canal, the Everett Road Covered Bridge (with contra dancing), and the Frazee House.

Phillip Urbank Interview, 2011

Phillip Urbank was born and grew up in the Cuyahoga Valley, growing vegetables, and raising Scotch Highland Cattle and, eventually, horses. Urbank shared his knowledge of local neighboring farming families, including how they fared during the National Park's period of land acquisition. He also told several stories about being a young boy in the valley, riding horses and fishing, as well as earning money through well-drilling. Urbank currently lives in Carroll County on a 32 acre farm, and…

AJ and Pamela Neitenbach Interview, 2011

AJ and Pamela Neitenbach manage the Neitenbach farm, which is part of the Countryside Conservancy's Countryside Initiative program. They grow vegetables and herbs, which they grow for medicinal and culinary purposes, and then sell these products at their roadside stand and at local farmers' markets. The Neitenbachs shared knowledge of these herbs, as well as details about starting and raising a family on a farm for the first time. As newcomers to the valley, the Neitenbachs learn from…

Gerald and Marilyn Polcen Interview, 07 March 2011

Gerald and his wife Marilyn Polcen describe their experiences farming sweet corn in Sagamore Hills including the challenges of the deer population. They talk extensively about the dairy cows they used to have. They relate stories from raising their family of the farm as well as growing up in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Dave Wingenfeld Interview, 2011

Dave Wingenfeld owns Canal Corners Farm & Market located at the corner of Canal Road and Tinkers Creek Road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Dave runs the farm's day to day operations with his two sons Danny, the oldest, and Noah, the youngest. Noah is currently a Student at CSU and also participated by being interviewed seperatley. Dave and his family live in the historic Gleeson House built in 1854. In 1974 Dave purchased the Swan Farm. Through the Countryside Conservency Initiative…

David Weyrick Interview, 02 April 2009

David Weyrick, author of "To These Things You Must Return," a popular history of the Boy Scout camp, Camp Manatoc, relates the history of the Camp, including the bequest of land by H. Carl Butler, efforts to raise funding for construction, and the purchase of more land as the camp outgrew its original space. As a long time Boy Scout volunteer, Weyrick talks about the history of Scouting in the Akron area, his involvement as a youth and as an adult, and his research while writing the history of…

Dorothy Vani and Myron Marfut Interview, 06 April 2011

Dorothy Vani and Myron Marfut grew up on the Lorenz property in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park during the 1950s. Coming from an Austrian descent, these two siblings illustrate their experiences of what farm life was like during this time in the Northeastern Ohio region. We were able to extract valuable information from this interview, such as how the farm was run solely by their mother because of a divorce over religious issues, the duties/chores that came with living the farmer's lifestyle,…

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Ott Wilson Interview, 02 May 2011

Vernon Ott Wilson was born in 1916 in Bath, Ohio, and grew up in the summer house of the Hale Farm property. Ott's family worked the Hale farm during the years when C.O. Hale was alive, as well as when Clara Belle Ritchie and her father took over the farm. Ott provided many memories of life on a farm during the Great Depression, and jobs he shared with his father hauling milk and farming. Ott also shared memories of bootlegging activities in Peninsula and Everett. His story gives a picture of…

Richard Bigelow Interview, 2011

Richard Bigelow grew up in Peninsula and lived on a farm in Richfield along SR 303. His grandfather brought the first Chevrolet dealership to Summit County in 1911. Richard and his brother Doug worked in the dealership and on their father's farm. Richard's grandfather eventually purchased the adjacent farm property. The Ohio turnpike eventually cut through the two properties. The family sold the farm to Nick Moletti for the Coliseum property.

Helyn Fiedler Toth interview, 13 July 2011

This is Helyn Toth's second interview, a follow-up to her interview about growing up on the Hunt Farm in Everett, Ohio. In this interview, Helyn focuses on the nearby Point Farm, (now called the Point-Biro Farm), that was started in the early 1880s by her great-grandfather Nathanial Point. On the Point Farm, the Point family mainly raise dairy cattle and shipped the unprocessed milk to milk companies in Akron.

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Hazel Broughton Interview, 2011

Hazel Broughton grew up on Sand Run Road in the Cuyahoga Valley and lived in the Szalay family's old home. She has detailed memories of her family's vegetable garden, her friend's family's Carter Store in Everett, as well as the popular local square dances in Peninsula. Hazel attended Everett Church of Christ throughout her life, and is currently the only member who was a part of the original church. She provided details about the church structure, as well as the layout of Everett in the 1940s…

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Pat Morse Interview, 30 March 2011

This is an interview of Pat Morse done on behalf of Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Valley Authority. The purpose of this interview is to discuss the area around Lock 26 of the Erie Canal, the Inn that Mrs. Morse's Grandparents maintained, the property around her childhood home, the beaver pond which is adjecent to her house. Other information about the community and other potential interviewees are given during the course of the interview. Another objective of this interview was to…

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Darwin Kelsey Interview, 2011

Darwin Kelsey directs the non-profit Cuyahoga Countryside Conservancy, which helps restore historic farming properties in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as well as assign the properties to contemporary farmers to work in sustainable ways. Kelsey has a history of working in museums and studying historic agricultural traditions, and goals to restore local community agriculture. Kelsey described the negative effects of the modern food system, with decreasing numbers of farmers and insufficient…

Marjorie Osborne Morgan Interview, 2011

Marjorie Osborn Morgan grew up on a dairy farm outside of Akron, Ohio. In this 2010 interview she discusses life in Cleveland and the dairy farm. She mentions some of the work her family farm did, as well as her experiences growing up, including going to school in a small one room schoolhouse.

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Mark Cheimalecki Interview, 01 May 2009

Mark Cheimalecki, long time member of Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Patrol, talks about his introduction to skiing in the 1970's,changes in ownership and management of the ski resorts, and the problems of X-treme skiing and snow-boarding. Cheimalecki describes the medical training,duties and procedures used by ski patrol members, as well as the importance of proper training and equipment needed to ski safely. He notes efforts by a group of African-American skiiers to introduce inner city youth to…

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Catherine Peterson Interview, 2011

Catherine's great grandparents began the Underwood Farm near the turn of the twienth century. They raised steers for meat and dairy cows. Her grandparents and parents lived on the property but farming became a second career as they pursued manufacturing work. Catherine and her husband resided on the property between 1995 and 2005 and still live in the area. The National Park Service owns the property currently adn is restoring the house and barn fur park service use.

Warren Roller Interview, 2011

Warren Roller's family moved into the Cuyahoga Valley in the 1940s and ran a truck farm and roadside stand. He shared memories of his childhood growing up on a farm in the valley, and interactions his family had with other local farmers and businesses. Warren's father eventually sold the property to Nick Moletti to be used for the Coliseum sports complex. Until recently, Warren and his wife raised and sold Clydesdale horses and sold hay from their 10-acre farm.