Donate to the Best-Keyser Farmstead

Help Save the Last One

Northampton Historical Society

Established in 1967 and incorporated in 1968, the Northampton Historical Society (N.H.S.) has the lasting mission of aiding the preservation of historic artifacts, structures, oral histories and heritage of the former Northampton Township. Carrie-Keyser Swain, daughter of Alva Keyser, a local historian, was very instrumental in forming the Society. She also led the effort to restore the 'Old Center Schoolhouse' that provided the society a place to hold social events and grow as an organization. The one room school house was destroyed by a tornado in 1992.


Artifacts and Archives

The Northampton Historical Society has undertaken several projects. A long term project, described below, is the farmhouse at Keyser Farm Park. Another is the preservation of historical archives and artifacts. All of them that we have need to be better preserved, and some restored. Archivial grade containers for storing paper and fabrics is expensive. Artifacts need protection. Everything should be kept in a climate controlled environment. Some items have been damaged through the years of inadequate storage and from the tornado that took out the One Room Schoolhouse where many of the items were displayed. Your donation of time, money, or clean, dry storage space will help to preserve the Township memories for generations to come.

This is the Last One

In 1877, Helen Best hired master builder and in-law, J.C. Johnston, to build a charming farmhouse. This quaint little farmhouse at 783 West Bath Road, overlooking the former town center, changed ownership several times until being purchased in 1905 by the Keyser family. A community park was created after the Keysers sold a portion of the farmstead to the City of Cuyahoga Falls in 1986. The Keyser family then sold the last portion of the farmstead to the city in 1993.

This is the last remaining vernacular house with Italianate and Eastlake style influence in the former Northampton Center and represents a vital link to our local architechture and historical heritage.

Project and Goal

For the citizens of Cuyahoga Falls the Keyser Farm Park is envisioned to become the hub of a unique community heritage site. In 2007, the Northampton Historical Societry approached the City of Cuyahoga Falls and the Parks and Recreation Department with their concept for the farmstead's revitalization. In return, the Parks and Recreatation Department commissioned local architect David Pelligra to complete a cost feasibility study on the farmhouse. Another study by Chambers, Murphy & Burge was commissioned in 2016 to reflect the current condition of the house and to plan for its future use. This information will be used for grant applications by the Park and Recreation Department.

The Northampton Historical Society, with best wishes and support of the Parks and Recreation Department, is actively raising funds to help with the restoration of the 1877 farmstead. Although the preservation effort will be led by the Parks Dept, we expect contribute in many of the areas not covered in that effort, such as period appropriate decor as well as appropriate historical displays. After asbestos abatement is completed in the farmhouse, repair and restoration will be initiated. The interior will follow along with improvements adapting the structure for future use and bring the house compliant with ADA guidelines. In 2012, Cuyahoga Falls celebrated its bicentennial — 200 years of proud history. The Society contributed funds and manpower, along with many others, to restore the The 19th century barn adjacent to the farmhouse. It will also be a major component of the renewal plan for preservation of the Best-Keyser Farmstead.

How You can Help

This is the last architectural treasure of its kind in the area. The N.H.S. has established a Preservation Fund from membership assets and is seeking donations from individuals and corporations throughout the area. Please consider a contribution so that together we may return the farmstead to its glory and dedicate to our community and its visitors a place for music, education and special events.

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