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Local History & Environmental Science Students Explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

May 09, 2019

On Wednesday, May 8, Mr. Boarman's Local History and Mr. O'Brien's Enviornmental Science students took the day to explore the rich history of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Ten students were able to visit and learn about four different CVNP sites: the Beaver Marsh, the Everett Road Covered Bridge, Virginia Kendall, and Brandywine Falls. It was a beautiful day to learn about one of the nation's newest National Parks, and the only National Park in Ohio! Here is some brief historical information on each of the sites that were visited:

The Beaver Marsh has a rich history, rising from the ashes of land development and industry. At one point, it was a salvage yard full of old car parts, tires, bed springs, and anything else you could imagine. A group of individuals from the area helped to clean up this site in the 1980s, paving the way for the once absent beavers (fur-trapping originally led to their demise in the area) to make their way back into the Cuyahoga Valley and help to restore this lost wetland.

The Everett Road Covered Bridge is the last remaining covered bridge in Summit County and although we don't know its exact construction date, many believe that it is a result of tragedy. In the late 1800s, a John Gilson and his wife were trying to avoid fording Furnace Run due to higher water levels, but Mr. Gilson lost his footing and was pulled in by his horse and drowned. As a result, many believe that this historic truss bridge was constructed. 

Virginia Kendall was donated by Cleveland coal tycoon Hayward Kendall. Named after his mother Virginia, the land's development into a park is significant due to the Civilian Conservation Corp's influence during the Great Depression. The iconic stone staircase along the Ledges Trail, as well as the shelters and other projects around the park were the work of the young men of the CCC.

Brandywine Falls is home to the CVNP's tallest (65 ft.) waterfall and is the former home of a prosperous village. The falls was a thriving source of power for the village, allowing mills and distilleries to produce goods such as wool, animal feed, and whiskey. The lack of direct access to the Ohio & Erie Canal and the rise of railroads in the area led to the village's decline.