History of the Chagrin Falls Historical Society
The Chagrin Falls Historical Society had its beginnings through the efforts of two librarians – Adria Humphreys, the Field Supervisor of the Chagrin Falls Branch of the Cuyahoga Library System, and Louise Ralston, the Chagrin Falls Branch Librarian. In 1949, members of the Library’s 60 Plus Club, interested in Chagrin Falls’ history, formed the Chagrin Falls Historical Society. They collected local memorabilia which was brought to and displayed at the Library, then located in the Village Hall. In 1950 membership increased to 21, and twelve people paid dues of $1 per year.
In 1951 the Historical Society’s first public project was the restoration of the Village Bandstand. In 1953 Ohio celebrated its 150th year of statehood, and the Village celebrated its 120th birthday with a parade and a demonstration by the Fire Department in Riverside Park. In 1958 the Library moved to its new building on East Orange Street. A small upstairs room in the remodeled Village Hall was reserved for the Historical Society. In 1963 Lora A. Shute left a bequest to the Village of Chagrin Falls to build a community building with an area reserved for an historical museum. In October 1966 Chagrin Falls Historical Society held an Open House in the new Shute Building at 21 Walnut Street.
Membership in the Historical Society is open to everyone. The Society sponsors monthly program meetings from September to May and publishes a monthly newsletter The Exponent. Programs include lectures, trips to other museums and historic sites, and social events, such as the annual Soups & Breads Luncheon. The Society also provides educational programs and tours for schools and groups from other organizations. We participate in the Holiday Caroling in Triangle Park, after which we have a Christmas Open House with hot cocoa and cookies, and a Santa Claus for the children, and cosponsor the Forest Citys Vintage Base Ball Team, The Winter Music Concerts at the Library and the biennial Home & Garden Tour in Chagrin Falls.
In addition to our monthly newsletter we publish a series of books on the history of the Village, and early factories and businesses, including Chagrin Falls – An Ohio Village History, The Drawings of Max Barnard, The History of the Ober Manufacturing Co. of Chagrin Falls, and The Stranahan Folding Canvas Boat Company.
Membership fees, augmented by contributions, donations and grants, enables us to support our programs and activities, as well as finance acquisitions of suitable items for our museum collections. The Society welcomes donations of Chagrin Falls artifacts and memorabilia.
The Society operates entirely with volunteers from our membership. Our dedicated Curator and members give generously of their time, talents and energy to make the Chagrin Falls Historical Society a viable and integral part of our community.
Our Museum is open Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment. We welcome your visits and encourage you to become a member. History is an exciting journey of discovery, education and preservation. We invite you to join us on this travel through time!
(History by Annie Gumprecht, Zo Sykora and Scrap Zalba, 2008)