New citizens group seeks to save historic farmhouse

Kent Weeklies

Dating back to the late 1990s, the Northampton Historical Society has been attempting to come to an agreement with the city of Cuyahoga Falls, as well as the Parks and Recreation department to allow communal usage of the Keyser-Swain Farmhouse. Members say several ideas from the farmhouse being used as an educational site, office space, and community group meeting place have all never come to fruition and no progress has been able to prevail.

A new group of citizens advocating on behalf of the Northampton Historical Society, organized by Cuyahoga Falls residents Sarah Deitrick and Beth Kinney and known as Friends of Keyser-Swain Farmhouse, are breathing new life into this last-chance effort project to save the farmhouse from destruction.

Built in 1877, the Keyser-Swain Farmhouse located in old Northampton Township is a significant historical landmark in the community. The home has fallen into a deteriorated state of neglect for almost three decades. Summit County has issued a condemnation notice for the house and it has been said that the cost to fully repair it  would be upwards of $500,000. As a part of the Parks & Recreation Department’s 2021 Continuous Improvement Plan, the house would be razed and space would created to build a rentable event venue.

Friends of Keyser-Swain, along with several other local historical societies, and historic preservationists, realize it will take a great deal of funding to get the house in good standing, but they say they strongly disagree with the $500,000 estimate. Getting new estimates from experienced contractors will need to take place. The group says the city should not lose a valuable historical asset like this when there is over 70+ acres in the park to build on. There is no other vernacular architectural style historic home still standing in this part of Cuyahoga Falls boasting the unique Eastlake/Italiante elements that the Keyser-Swain possesses. Lastly, the group says the farmhouse could be repurposed with a cohesive end use in conjunction with an events venue and could generate income once proper repairs are complete.

According to the citizens group, Carrie-Keyser Swain deeply loved her family farm. She was a prominent, active woman in the community involved in multiple groups, founding member of the Northampton Historical Society and a passionate historic preservationist. They add it was no secret that she wanted her family’s land, barn and farmhouse to be utilized for community recreation while keeping history alive for generations to come. 

The objective of Friends of Keyser-Swain Farmhouse is to propose a solutions-oriented compromise plan with the city of Cuyahoga Falls and Parks and Recreation Department. They also say they want to convey to them that so many people in and outside of the community want to save and preserve this place for the benefit of all. More time is needed to obtain new cost estimates and funding. Friends of Keyser-Swain Farmhouse will be meeting with Mayor Don Walters, members of City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department to further discuss the fate of the house in the coming days.