Century Village14653 East Park Street
Burton, Ohio 44021
440-834-1492 | centuryvillagemuseum.org
Western Reserve Settlement and the Creation of Century Village
Century Village is located at the south end of Burton’s historic square and is managed by the Geauga County Historical Society. Their collection of over 25 historic buildings serves as their museum and fulfills a vision that was dreamt up in 1873.
If you are traveling through northeast Ohio, you will start to notice that this region of the state has its own unique feel. The presence of nineteenth-century settlement lingers still through the presence of the town squares, village greens, and New England architecture. This 120-mile strip of land extends west from the Pennsylvania boarder to the western borders of Erie and Huron Counties, sharing roughly the same northern and southern parallels as Connecticut – which is by no accident. In 1662 the Connecticut Colony was chartered by Great Britain and described as extending west from Narraganset Bay to the South Sea, or the Pacific Ocean. At this time, no settler knew the true distance from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Essentially, they had no idea that these boundaries were laughably outrageous. Following the Revolution, the newly formed federal government required that all states revise their original charters and reduce their land holdings. In 1786 the leaders of Connecticut agreed to cede their original land claim but reserved this small parcel along the southern shores of Lake Erie for their citizens. What is known as the Connecticut Western Reserve remained a holding of the state of Connecticut until it was officially brought under the direct authority of the federal government by an act of Congress in 1800.
New Englanders began settling the Western Reserve following the signing of the treaty of Greenville in 1795, which secured a large portion of the Ohio territory for the US. In 1798 Burton became a permanent settlement and a center for commerce. Because of its location along the Cuyahoga River, trade and industry did well, and the area became a major producer of Ohio’s maple syrup. In 1873 plans for a county historical society were made at a local family reunion. Their mission was to preserve the names and stories of the original settlers of this region. These original members collected artifacts but didn’t make formal efforts toward creating a museum. It was not until 1938 that the current Geauga County Historical Society was incorporated. Their constitution placed a focus on state and local history education, as well as collaboration with other local organizations. By 1941 the Historical Society had acquired their first property, the Eleazer Hickox House and barn. Since then, the Society has continued to acquire local historic buildings and have created their own historic village near the town square.
Notes for Travelers
Situated high above the valley, Century Village rightfully boasts of being one of the prettiest locations in all of Ohio.