Hidden treasures in Cahoon Memorial Park
“This is the most beautiful place on earth,” declared Margaret Cahoon, taking in the beauty of her farm nestled on the south shore of Lake Erie. And so it was.
In 1810, Lydia Cahoon found room in the family's crowded wagon to bring along a rose bush as they journeyed west to their new home in Dover Township. The story is told that it thrived and many rose bushes around the area were shoots off this rose. Thus, Margaret Cahoon, wife of Lydia's son Joel, gave the farm its name, Rose Hill.
“As this house has been in possession of the family for three generations, I hope it will continue for many more, but if it should be there is no longer one of the name to inherit it, I hope it may have founded upon it a benevolent institution bearing the name of Cahoon,” wrote Margaret in her autobiography. Today, Cahoon Memorial Park in Bay Village is the site of two hidden treasures, Rose Hill Museum and the Reuben Osborn Learning Center.
Family patriarch Joseph Cahoon built the homestead house in 1818 on the west hill overlooking the creek. As you walk through the door of Rose Hill you are immediately transported back to 1818 with the original fireplace, the hand-planed doors and Norfolk hardware. Joel Cahoon’s flintlock leans against the fireplace next to William Saddler’s powder box from the War of 1812. An 1810 Bennington Vermont pottery jar sits on a table and Henry Winsor’s 1800 cherry desk highlight the room.
Moving on, your eyes explore the Empire/Victorian Room and you immediately notice that success from hard work was enjoyed by these early families. The beauty of this room is only surpassed by the view of the valley out the windows. This room contains Cahoon furniture plus keepsakes from early settlers. In the library is the collection of Cahoon books, plat maps, and children’s books. Early settlers' papers are housed in acid-free folders in a Genealogy Room.
Downstairs in the cellar, the Wischmeyers' hand-carved boats, early farm tools, crockery, and tin ware tell the story of life on the farm. The original cooking fireplace, poplar floors and green tree plugs from 1818 are visible. On the second floor is a portrait gallery, period bedrooms, a millinery and a children’s room. You will notice the contrast between the rope bed in the 1818 bedroom and the Victorian, carved walnut featherbed. A 1900 bear named Teddy and the Wischmeyer buggy are displayed along with an assortment of toys, games, books and dolls.
Also in the park is the 1814 Reuben Osborn House. Inside you learn who we are and where we come from. Sit and watch a video showing picture stories of life in Dover Township. Enjoy the displays of picture boards laid out by Council Ward, or using the plastic overlay maps of 1854 and 1880, guide yourself to your present-day house and street.
Rose Hill Museum and the Reuben Osborn Learning Center are now open for the season on Sundays, 2-4:30 p.m. The public is invited to visit at no cost. Talking boxes guide you through the displays in Rose Hill and docents are on hand to greet you at the door. Greeters meet you in the entry room of the Osborn Learning Center and help you begin a self guided tour. If you have never been to visit, now is the time.
I am the Historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.