Since its resurgence that started with saving the Singletary House in 2006, the Streetsboro Heritage Foundation has been gradually building its collection and improving the former home located off Route 14 behind Walmart.
I'm sure area children can't imagine Streetsboro without a strip of big box stores along Route 14.
The house is full of maps of Streetsboro before the development boom of the 1980s and '90s. I was particularly struck by how different a 1963 aerial photograph of the city square looked.
Another interesting item is a photo of members of the town gathered at the old United Methodist Church for the 1922 centennial celebration, which included names of many of the individuals in the photo.
The house itself is probably the greatest artifact of the museum. One of the oldest frame houses in the Western Reserve, according to the foundation, it was finished in 1828 and has served as a private home, antiques shop, a stop on the Underground Railroad, a tavern and, now a museum.
The home also has ties to Aurora, where its first owner -- Col. John C. Singletary Sr. (1784-1851) -- lived before moving to Streetsboro in 1828. He moved to Hudson in 1807, married Harriet Powers and they moved to Aurora to raise a family.
The house originally was located on the square at Routes 14 and 43, but it has been moved twice since then -- in 1971, when it was moved out to Henry and Betty Defer's former property on Route 14, which is the current site of Walmart, and in 2009, when it was moved to make way for the new Walmart.
THERE ARE some features in the home which belie its age, such as the timbers in the basement which are actually logs.
Inside the house, visitors by appointment can peruse a fascinating array of artifacts, news clippings, pictures and writings dating nearly to the 1822 founding of Streetsboro.
Numerous displays of writings, photos, maps and other historical documents are devoted to the city's early settlers. The downstairs is full of period tools, clothes and furniture, much of it dating from the 1800s.
As a guide, Streetsboro Heritage Foundation President Sarah Fast is a trove of information. A retired social studies teacher, she has an infectious enthusiasm for Streetsboro history.
She led me through the house, pausing to describe the many displays, which surrounded me in every room downstairs. The family displays read like a street guide: There are displays devoted to the Roots, Saunders, Russell family, Hannums and more.
Fast said she recently received a collection of information from an anonymous donor, who was given a large box of family history by Veron Gordon before she died in 1997 and was descended from the Russell family.
The collection includes writings books, tintypes with identities, diaries and one particularly interesting collection from Luther Russell, who served as a judge -- a collection of debts and fines which paints a picture of the types of jobs and living costs people of the time experienced.
Some of the fines he issued were against other community members for failing to complete assigned duties, for example, one person was assigned to be the "fence viewer," which Fast said is someone who "made sure nobody had rocks or fencing or anything on anyone else's property." The fine was $2 for not doing the job to Russell's satisfaction.
ALSO ON display is a college diploma of Sarah Russell from Bryant & Stratton College in 1865. Sarah Russell also recorded her family's history on small pieces of paper between the end of the Old Testament and beginning of the New Testament in her family Bible, which Fast said helped her piece together some of the town's early history.
The collection also included several diaries, including the judge's. "This is the biggest collection of stuff we've ever had donated," said Fast. "I've never come across a diary of anyone relating to Streetsboro."
Fast referred to the museum as "Streetsboro's best-kept secret," which is something she wants to change. "Our goal is to let the general public know we're back here and that the house is filled with displays," she said.
For a tour of the museum, call Fast at 330-221-8766.
Last weekend's Streetsboro Heritage Foundation fall festival was a great opportunity to get a taste of the history on display at the Singletary House. There were tours of the museum, live music, quilts, a bake sale, demonstrations on how to make wreaths from dried flowers, arrowhead carving in a teepee, homemade ice cream, antiques for sale and displays of traditional handiwork.
Unique was a "parade" of toasters and chairs. Fast said this was a sort of timeline, displaying the type of toasters and chairs which would have been used at different periods in history.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens