Valley history preserved at fairground

Standing at the south end of the Western Reserve Village is the church, which brings fulfillment to the dream of fair directors Bob Rose and C. Gilbert “Gib” James. The dream to preserve the Connecticut Western Reserve heritage of the Mahoning Valley by reconstructing a typical town began in 1965.

The church was originally designed during the 1800s and is currently used for wedding ceremonies by those in the community. The church and other village buildings are part of a non-profit foundation which maintains and continues the village preservation efforts.

The law office of Elisha Whittlesey was the first building moved to the village in 1965. Whittlesey was the nation’s first comptroller or controller of the U.S. Treasury under President Zachary Taylor. He also helped in the formation of the Mahoning County Agricultural Society, which is the founding organization of the Canfield Fair. Whittlesey’s law partner Judge Eben Newton served as the agricultural society’s first president. The two men had their law office built in 1840 on Canfield’s Village Green.

Another building, the log cabin, was relocated from Slater Road in Butler Township, Columbiana County. Following the log cabin’s relocation, the railroad station, watchman’s tower and country store were added.

Handmade bricks salvaged from another County Home building are used throughout the village. Completing the village are the restored Carriage Museum and gazebo.

The entire village is laid out around an oval grassy area, also known as a commons, with each building facing each other. This setup, including the brick walkways lining the area, was typical of early American towns.