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Take a drive on Heritage Barns of Bath Trail

Let’s take Bath Township by storm this summer.

Motorists are invited on a 20-mile journey with nine stops celebrating the community’s agricultural history. The inaugural Heritage Barns of Bath Trail is a circular route that drivers can complete at their own leisure, said James McClellan, president of Discover Bath Barns.

The volunteer-run committee, formed in 2023, focuses on “preserving and enhancing the heritage represented by the many barns in the community,” McClellan said. Bath has more than 60 barns, including nearly 30 that are more than 100 years old and several that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The ribbon cutting and official opening of the trail will take place on June 19 at 2pm at Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Road, Bath. The public is invited to join Bath administrators, local dignitaries and barn owners in the celebration. In addition, Discover Bath Barns has lined up guest speakers each month to discuss barn conservation, beginning with a lecture on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Crown Point Ecology Center, 3220 Ira Road.

Organizers propose to start the tour at the Heritage Corridors of Bath Wayside Exhibit at 1000 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road. The exhibit was built in 2015 as a gateway to the Heritage Corridors of Bath Scenic Byway and the Hamlets of Bath Township. The exhibition includes a pavilion, information panels, parking and a picnic area.

Sanding on Bath path

Other stops on the Heritage Barns of Bath Trail:

Barn 1: Bath’s historic town hall, barn and museum, 1241 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road. The barn was built in 1889, but the property has served as the civic and geographic center of the township since settlers held meetings on the property in an 1818 log cabin. Today, the property is home to the Bath Township Museum and Historical Society.

Barn 2: Lemmon Barn, North Fork Reservation of Bath, 4400 Everett Road. The farm, which dates back to the 1860s, was owned by the Andrew and Nemer families. In 1955, the Lemmon family purchased the property and operated Happy Hollow Farm and the Greenberg Riding Center. The barn was built around 1927 and moved to the property in 1962.

Shed 3: Underwood Shed, Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Road. Dairy farmer Ira Underwood built the barn in 1886. The Bath Community Players, now Western Reserve Playhouse, purchased it in 1966 and converted it into a theater. It organizes six to eight shows a year, as well as summer education camps for children and festivals.

Barn 4: Swigart Barn, Crown Point Ecology Center, 3220 Ira Road. The Swigart family farmed here in the 1850s. The barn was built in 1910 to replace a barn that had been destroyed by fire. The Dominican Sisters of Peace purchased the 115-acre property in 1967. Crown Point was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2010. Today, the barn is used to promote organic farming and environmental education programs, and serves as a venue for weddings and concerts.

Barn 5: Hale Farm and Village, Western Reserve Historical Society, 2686 Oak Hill Road. This was the homestead of Jonathan Hale, a Connecticut native who moved to Ohio in 1810 after purchasing 500 acres in the Western Reserve. The large red barn, built around 1850, is one of eight original structures on the property.

Barn 6: Hammond-Cranz Barns, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ira Road, just south of Oak Hill Road. Jason and Rachel Hammond founded the homestead around 1818. William and Mary Cranz acquired the property in 1863. Tourists will see two barns: a smaller one, built around 1864, and a larger one, built around 1885. Today the barns are part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Barn 7: O’Neil barn, Summit County Metro Parks, 2400 W. Bath Road. William O’Neil, founder of General Tire & Rubber Co., and his wife, Grace, donated their 242-acre family farm to Summit Metro Parks in 1972. The O’Neil family raised horses and cattle in the 1944 barn. Today the structure is home to a small colony of brown bats.

Barn 8: Welton/Barker Barn, 788 Wye Road. Hiram Welton owned the house and barn, built around 1850 in Ghent. The barn was used as a forge for many years. Today it is privately owned and houses a business.

All barns featured on the inaugural tour are owned by local nonprofits or businesses and, with the exception of Hale Farm & Village, are not open for tours.

Speaker series on sanding

The speaker series is free to the public, but reservations are required at http://bathtownship.recdesk.com/.

The grid:

∎ 7pm Tuesday, June 11, Crown Point Ecology Center, 3220 Ira Road, Bath. Tom O’Grady, director of outreach and director emeritus of the Southeast Ohio History Center, will present “The Barn Builders: An Architectural Legacy in Ohio’s Rural Landscape.”

∎ 7:00 PM Tuesday, July 9, Franklin Residence, 3433 W. Bath Road, Bath. Tim Franklin, president and principal designer of Franklin & Associates, will present “Barn Again: Understanding Options for Saving Barns.”

∎ 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 13, Polka Dot Pincushion, 3807 Brecksville Road, Richfield. Author Suzi Parron Smith presents ‘Following the Barn Quilt Trail’ via Zoom.

Discover Bath Barns is an initiative of the Heritage Corridors of Bath committee, which was created to preserve the historic nature of Bath Township. Designated in 2000 by the Ohio Department of Transportation, the 39-mile Bath Scenic Byway Heritage Corridors is one of only 27 in Ohio.

At least 30 barns are visible on the side road. See how many you can count while driving this summer.