Crowell Hilaka has been the property of Richfield Joint Recreation District
since June 30, 2015
Grounds are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.
Enter at 4374 Broadview Rd. Richfield, OH 44286. The driveway, flagged with the RJRD banner, is between Giant Eagle and the blue "Highest Point in Summit County" sign. Visit the RJRD web site for the latest updates.
Friends of Crowell Hilaka are for forever grateful to the citizens of Richfield for saving this beautiful and historic treasure.
Crowell Hilaka, "Ohio's Hidden Treasure", is 336 acres of winding streams, lakes, and wooded uplands. It was farmed by the pioneer Oviatt family and then became the estate of inventor Jim Kirby. During the 1920s Kirby constructed a patented lake, a mill to generate electric power, a house air-conditioned with spring water, and a dance hall built on springs. Upstream, the Neal family built their fairy tale houses and operated a thriving fruit farm. The land was purchased by the Cleveland Girl Scouts in 1937 and enclosed for the protection of the girls. As time passed, few in Richfield remembered the beautiful estates. In 2015, the property was purchased by the citizens of Richfield. It is being transformed into a park for public enjoyment.
This video was produced by SkyCam.photography for the 2014 campaign.
What is a Friends Group?
A Friends Group is an organization of volunteers dedicated to supporting a park, landmark, or a civic organization. According to the National Park Service, “Friends groups are generally defined as nonprofit, 501c3 tax-exempt organization established primarily to support a specific park area or group of parks…Friends groups benefit parks in various ways, such as conducting fundraising efforts, providing volunteer services, assisting with resource management and preservation, and publicizing important issues.”
Friends groups partner with owners or governing boards to leverage scarce resources and enhance services.
A few examples:
Friends of the Crooked River http://www.cuyahogariver.net/riverday.htm
Friends of the Cleveland Public Library https://friendscpl.org/
Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore www.fccns.org
“Friends Groups are established to help support interpretive, educational , and scientific activities through fundraising, membership programs, friendraising, and awareness building.”
“ The only problem with Friends groups in the National Park Service is that there aren’t enough of them” - Curt Buchholtz, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Nature Center.
What are Friends of Crowell Hilaka ?
( aka FoCH. pronounced "folk" )
We are a fan club for the park. We love the place! We want to see it become an ecological, recreational, historic, and educational resource for the public. Some of us are newcomers. Some of us have a past association. Some of us live in Richfield. Some of us don’t. But we all want to work together with the RJRD board to make this the best place it can be.
Friends of Crowell Hilaka began in 2009. ( a detailed timeline of our history is in the ‘about us’ tab) We are a nonprofit corporation, registered in the state of Ohio. We are a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.
Because the park is so new, we are all still figuring out the best way to do things. One of the ways we hope we can assist is to raise funds for park improvement. We believe we can do this by promoting the unique features of the park throughout the Northeast Ohio region and by reaching out to the many Girl Scout alumni who hold this place dear.
Friends of Crowell Hilaka await the final decision on direction from the Richfield community. While waiting, we have assisted the RJRD during this transitional time:
-producing brochures and displays to educate people about Crowell Hilaka
- maintaining a website, facebook page, and email newsletter about the property
- identifying trails
- protecting trees from beaver damage near North House and along Pine Lake Trail
- building and re-positioning bridges
- researching Crowell Hilaka history
- giving talks about Crowell Hilaka and its history
- leading visitor tours of the park
- removing multi-flora thorn bushes, barberry, and other invasive species
- reaching out to experts in historic preservation and wildlife management for consultation.
- We wrote the successful preliminary application for the National Registry of Historic Places
( at the request of the RJRD board) .
- We successfully applied for the Ohio Historic Preservation pipeline grant ( per request of the RJRD board) .
- We hosted the Kirby Birthday party on September 27, 2015 to promote science fun
- FoCH members also volunteer with RJRD projects and committees
For the Future
FoCH has been given permission to conceptualize a series of four historic interpretation signs for the Kirby estate portion of the park. If the final designs are approved, FoCH will donate the cost of sign production and placement.
FoCH has been given permission to restore Kirby’s Mill. We are working with the RJRD board to research mill construction of the period, explore options, define the scope of work, and develop a plan for marketing and donor recognition.
We expect that the long range viability of these two projects will help determine the role of FoCH in the future of the park.
Become a Member of FoCH
FoCH regular monthly meeting 3rd Tuesday of every month
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at Richfield Historical Society Museum. 3907 Broadview Rd. Richfield, OH 44286
Chris Stanton, professor of biology presents: Cicadas and Citizen Science
March - Annual Meeting ODNR presentation: Animal Orphans - Fellowship Hall
Crowell Hilaka Memories Project: Camp alumni & families: What do you remember about Crowell Hilaka? What did it mean to you? We are collecting memories! Please click here for more information.
Healthy Heart Hike Feb 14 Event Canceled- but park still open.
Crowell Hilaka History Presentations
Talks illustrating the lore and legends of Crowell HIlaka show why this land is historically significant. explain the historical significance of this land.
March 8 Mystery of the Old Mill
7 pm Middleberg Hts Library
15600 Bagley Rd./ Middleberg Hts., OH 44130
April 5 Crowell Hilaka, Ohio's Hidden Treasure
6:30 pm Richfield library
Kirby's Mill Restoration Project
planning in progress
Shop and help! FoCH has joined the Amazon Smile program. A portion of your purchases can come to FoCH. Visit the Donate page for details!
Help the RJRD: Richfield Joint Recreation District is always accepting volunteers. Learn more
The Property Map - Directions
Original content on the FoCH website is the property of FoCH. It cannot be used without permission. Permission can usually be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and agreeing to attribute www.friendsofcrowellhilaka.org as the source