HUDSON — The cultural and environmental history of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, told through one of its most historic properties — the Brown-Bender Farm and Jim Brown, notorious outlaw and innovative farmer — will be the topic of Hudson Heritage Association’s February meeting.
HHA welcomes National Park Service Outdoor Recreation Planner Bill Hunter to Barlow Community Center Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Hunter will share an overview of the history, geography and ecology of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He will focus on the infamous Brown-Bender Farm, located on Akron-Peninsula Road just south of Ira Road. The Greek Revival farmhouse, constructed in the 1840s, is nestled atop a winding driveway and overlooks the valley. It sits on what used to be a 300-acre property.
Its most famous resident was Jim Brown, a notorious counterfeiter who brazenly printed millions of dollars of phony currency on his property. He was often on the run, repeatedly arrested, sometimes acquitted and a few times incarcerated during the 1830s and ’40s. His wife, Lucy Mather Brown, skillfully managed the farm when her husband served time.
After Brown’s death, his son managed the farm successfully, growing crops, overseeing controlled lumbering and making nearly 5,000 pounds of cheese a year. In 1907, the Bender family purchased the property. Earva Bender lived 81 of his 87 years on the farm. It was acquired by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 1992.
In 2017, the site of the farm’s cornfield was leased to local farmers who will develop an orchard, small livestock operation and a vegetable farm.
"Through study of the historical geography of the Brown-Bender Farm, we can better understand the appearance of the rural landscape and the historical forces responsible for its production," said Hunter, a geographer and expert on historic political ecology and the urbanization of water.
Founded in 1962, Hudson Heritage Association works to protect Hudson’s historic buildings, the village streetscape and the city’s Western Reserve architectural aesthetic. HHA encourages the preservation of historic buildings by providing research, resources and education to homeowners who wish to maintain their historic homes. The association co-sponsors the Cleveland Restoration Society’s Heritage Home Program with the city of Hudson.
HHA also works with building owners to help them meet Historic Marker requirements and identifies those buildings with the HHA Historic Marker. The association shares and celebrates the history of Northeast Ohio by publishing books and newsletters, conducting workshops and field trips and hosting monthly meetings that feature local preservationists, historians and craftsmen.
For more visit www.HudsonHeritage.org or search "Hudson Heritage Association" on Facebook.