The Albert Cofta Farm House is a historic farm house in the Cuyahoga Valley area, now owned by the National Park. The home remains significant for its agricultural history within the Cuyahoga national park area. Across the 23-acre property, aside from the main farm house, numerous other structures remain, such as a well, granary, barn, milk house, corn crib, spring house and a garage. The historic home is a wooden-framed, two story Gabled Ell built in the Folk Victorian style.
Much of the home remains unchanged to this day, though the passing of time has definitely taken a toll on the home’s structure. The field which was once utilized as an open agricultural area is now overgrown and barely recognizable as the farmland it once was.
The home was built in 1910 by Polish farmer Albert Cofta, for his family. Cofta moved in with his wife Kate, and their daughter Matilda, and three sons, Benjamin, Frank and John.
The granary was one of the first structures built on this section of land, with construction completed in 1908. It sits about 100 feet southwest of the house. The barn was built this same year only about 30 feet from the granary. In 1947, the barn was modified with an addition. Following next was the home itself, completed in 1910.
For over 100 years, other than the interior of the farm house, most of the property has remained practically unchanged from the time it was constructed. For this reason, as it holds such great integrity as a historic farmstead, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 4, 2004.
It is worthy to note however, that at one point the home did see two additions to its south elevation. The first of the two was a small one-story addition with a gabled roof and asphalt roll roofing. Shortly after 1910, the second addition was constructed. It was built onto the south side of the previous addition, and included a small porch and concrete steps leading up to it. The octagon window was also installed with the construction of this addition.
In 1930, the milk house was constructed, and was placed along the north side of what was once a much heavier flowing creek bed. A large water tank underneath the main floor was constructed from concrete, and served as a holding tank used to cool milk after it had been drawn. To drain the tank, they would make use of a spigot on the south wall of the milk house.
Before the Cofta family took ownership of the land, it had gone through numerous owners during the 19th century. According to Summit County tax documents from 1894, Clarence and Levi Newell sold the land along with other parcels to Elixa, J.J. Stanley, and Chas. J Seabrook. The parcels included totaled 57 acres in all, and the value of Tract 5, Lot 7, where the Cofta house stands today, was valued at $760 with a real estate tax of $11.78. These taxes hint at the possibility of a previous dwelling. It has been said that a home once stood where the Cofta home stands today, but was destroyed by a fire and replaced by the Cofta home, though not enough information exists to be sure.
In 1901, the property was purchased by Byron B. Bauer, who had only owned it for a few years before selling it to John G. Spears in 1904. Spears had not owned the property for even a full year before selling it to Albert and Kate Cofta. The Coftas remained the final family to own or inhabit the land until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1989.
In 1911, with the addition of a new home, barn and other outbuildings, the property value increased from $910 to $1,910.
The home remains historically significant, as it serves as a great example of farming in the Cuyahoga River Valley during the early 1900s.
Albert and his wife, Kate, immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1880, and by 1888 had officially become citizens. Both were of Polish descent, and like numerous other Polish immigrants, had made their way to the Cuyahoga Valley to farm. Many of the immigrants found work at the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company, as well as the Jaite Paper Bag Company in Boston. It’s unknown however if any of the Cofta family had worked in the paper mills before starting their own farm.
Not much is known about the Cofta’s agricultural production, though it should be noted that at one point near the 1930s, the family diversified their farm into a dairy operation in order to meet growing demand from markets in Akron and Cleveland. In 1930, Kate died and was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland. Nine years following her death, Albert died, and left the farm to his son, Benjamin. Albert was also buried in Calvary Cemetery. Benjamin continued to run the farm until dying in 1950. From 1950 on, the family still kept ownership of the land, but farming took a sharp decline. Over decades, the property had begun to deteriorate until being purchased by the National Park Service in 1989.
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