Hazel Broughton grew up on Sand Run Road in the Cuyahoga Valley and lived in the Szalay family's old home. She has detailed memories of her family's vegetable garden, her friend's family's Carter Store in Everett, as well as the popular local square dances in Peninsula. Hazel attended Everett Church of Christ throughout her life, and is currently the only member who was a part of the original church. She provided details about the church structure, as well as the layout of Everett in the 1940s forward. Hazel currently participates in the church, as well as serves as the master of the Summitt County Grange chapter. In addition, Hazel provided details about the Park Service's transition into the valley, and what the changes meant for families living there.
Broughton, Hazel (Doolittle) (interviewee)
Conklin, Carolyn (interviewer)
Transcription sponsored by Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:00] And then we'll start. My name is Carolyn Conklin from Cleveland State University, and today is March 21st, 2011, and Hazel, introduce yourself, please.
Hazel Broughton [00:00:12] I'm Hazel Broughton.
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:14] Alright. And Hazel, just to start off, could you tell us your relationship to the Cuyahoga Valley, how you came to live there?
Hazel Broughton [00:00:23] I came to live there after meeting my husband, who was not my husband at the time. We dated prior to that. And then we married, and then we lived in Akron. Then we moved to Everett in Mr. Szalay's house. And that was 1954, May 1954.
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:49] And where did you grow up?
Hazel Broughton [00:00:50] I grew up on Sand Run Road and Akron. We moved to Akron when I was nine and a half.
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:57] And how did your family make a living in Akron?
Hazel Broughton [00:01:01] My father worked at Firestone. He was a machinist and he had gone to Hower Trade [School] to become a machinist. Before that, he had worked in a dairy which is now defunct of course. It was the Montrose Dairy. He worked in the creamery. He bottled milk. They milked the cows on the property, brought the milk in, and they did the pasteurization there in the creamery and he bottled milk in glass bottles.
Carolyn Conklin [00:01:35] Did you ever visit the dairy?
Hazel Broughton [00:01:37] Yes, because it was my great uncle. He was the superintendent. That's how my dad got the job. It was they had many, many dairy barns. I'm going to say maybe four as I remember it, and the cows just roamed in the pasture. Now there's houses there. Then they had a central spot which sat on the corner of Sand Run or, excuse me, Revere Road and Smith Road. And the creamery was a two-story building. He was on the lower floor. It was very cold. It was very wet. He had to always wear boots that went to his knees because of the constant water that they had to wash, you know, and clean the bottles. So the office was upstairs. And, yes, I remember. It was very cold in there, even in summer, because it was a stone building.
Carolyn Conklin [00:02:37] What's your strongest memory of your father?
Hazel Broughton [00:02:41] My father was very handy fixing cars, but he was not a handy person anyplace else, like mowing the grass. He didn't care if there was a flower around and he just... And he couldn't cook. He could do nothing in that way. But my father played the guitar. We used to sing together. Our family did so.
Carolyn Conklin [00:03:13] And how about your mother?
Hazel Broughton [00:03:14] My mother? My mother... Well, my mother was a jack of all trades. When we lived on Sand Run, she had a big garden. They grew everything and she canned it or we ate it in summer, in season. So, she sewed. She made she took adult clothes and cut them down for us, my sister and I, to make children's clothes. We didn't have much. We didn't have electric. We didn't have a bathroom, no running water. A pitcher pump. Her gasoline washer sat on the back porch, and I got my hand caught in the wringer one time trying to help my mom. But that's... My mom had a hard life. But of course, that was the '30s.
Carolyn Conklin [00:04:06] Can you tell me more about the garden, what was in the garden, and the process of canning?
Hazel Broughton [00:04:11] The garden? We grew just about anything Mom could canned green beans, tomatoes. She grew some they did have some potatoes, but mostly it was lettuce, onions, radishes, things that would be eaten in the summer. She did have lima beans and we did we had access to grapes on the property. She didn't grow them, but they were on the property. So she would make grape jelly and we would go and pick strawberries in season. We would pick raspberries or blackberries and she would make jelly. So I was the helper because I was the oldest girl of four.
Carolyn Conklin [00:04:57] And how do you can fruit and vegetables?
Hazel Broughton [00:05:02] The vegetables she mostly cold packed. And in later years, my mom was older and I was probably in my teens or early, maybe 13 or 14. She was tightening a lid to the jar because you had a lid and a ring and the ring you screwed on. So she was canning tomato juice. I happened to be there in the kitchen and she took it out of the cold packer and was screwing the lid tighter and it exploded, and she was burned very badly. And in those days, you just didn't run to an emergency hospital. But she hurriedly cleaned herself, you know, the tomato juice off. But it was... She had burns on both arms.
Carolyn Conklin [00:05:58] And so you mentioned that you had friends that lived around the Everett area and that you came to Everett? Tell us about that.
Hazel Broughton [00:06:05] Yes, my girlfriend's parents, when we lived in Kenmore, my girlfriend's parents bought the store in Everett. It had been known as Carter's store. It had two gas pumps in front. It was just a little general store that people could go in and pick up their groceries, bread, that sort of thing. But my girlfriend's mother had come from a family that had a store in Tennessee. Her mother and father were from Bristol, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee. One side of the street was Bristol, Virginia. One side of the street was Bristol, Tennessee. I was there once. Anyhow, they bought the store and Mr. Hamilton worked at Goodrich, at the B.F. Goodrich plant in Akron. They wanted to be in the country. They wanted a store. So they bought the store and Mr. Hamilton continued to work at the Goodrich. So, Jane, being the oldest of two girls, the older—she was our age, my sister Mary and I—and we had walked to school together in Kenmore. We had played together, rode our bikes together, so forth, and her folks moved to the country. So in the summer, we decided we needed to go see Jane and my mother took us and we went out to see Jane. Well, it just so happened that the Broughtons lived next door to the store. Mr. Broughton, which was my view, former future father in law. He worked at the Goodrich, too. So he and Mr. Hamilton shared rights to go back and forth to the Goodrich. So that's where I met Jack. He had just graduated from high school in Peninsula, Boston High. So I met him. And of course, Jane had met him first. And naturally there was rivalry. I thought, oh, wouldn't it be nice to date him? And she thought the same thing. And living next door, she had an edge. But anyhow, we didn't date until November. But Mr. Broughton called square dances. He and his small orchestra went around to the various places, Richfield, Northampton, Peninsula. They had rounded the square dances and in November of 1946 there was a square dance and a round dance together at the Northampton Town Hall, which is still there. He was calling this dance and I tried my best to get to go and I don't remember who took my sister and I, but we got to go. And I danced with Jack because I knew him. Of course, Jane was there too, and my sister and others that we were acquainted with. But Jack asked if he could take me home if I waited till the dance was over and he had to take his father and mother home. I said, okay, of course that was a drive clear to Kenmore. And that's what happened. We started dating and we dated for two years before we were married.
Carolyn Conklin [00:09:26] What is the difference between a round dance and a square dance.
Hazel Broughton [00:09:29] A round dance is a waltz or a foxtrot, and a square dance is where you have four pairs of partners, a girl and a boy, and they face each other just like a square on each side. And the caller tells you what to do. And the music, of course, plays the necessary and appropriate dance. And I don't remember all the calls, but I can tell you how it starts. Forward and back. So you would meet your partners in the middle and then you would allemande left, and you would turn to your left and you'd rotate hands around the circle till you were back with your partner. And that was the beginnings of my learning of square dancing. And of course, now there's country dancing and line dancing and all the others. [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:10:20] And what was it like to be at the square dance? What did it feel like?
Hazel Broughton [00:10:24] Oh, it was fun. And you worked up a steam because they were pretty boisterous and there would be maybe eight or ten squares. So now you figured there was eight people. And you multiply that by eight, you would have a big crowd. And in summer it got very warm in there and there was no air conditioning in those days, you know. Opened the doors in the windows. The best square dance I can tell you about is I experienced was a dance, which was called a street dance. And my father in law didn't happen to call this dance, but it was at the corner of Everett Road and Riverview Road. Now, they kept every road open to Riverview and you could make a left and go to Peninsula, but you couldn't turn right. That evening—it was a Saturday evening, I believe—they closed the the street off and we had a street dance. I had never been to a street dance. That was my first and only street dance. But we did. We just danced right in the street and the orchestra was on a hay wagon.
Carolyn Conklin [00:11:40] When the dancers were in a hall, like the Northampton Town Hall, did they decorate it? What did it look like inside?
Hazel Broughton [00:11:47] They really didn't decorate it unless it was like Christmas or something special. No, they... Everybody just came to dance, and there would be an intermission halfway through. And they usually would start about seven, eight o'clock, more like eight o'clock, and they would go 10, 10:30 with a half-hour break, because after all, those musicians did get tired. There usually was a pianist, a trumpet player, a violinist, and sometimes a drummer and/or someone that played the saxophone, another wind instrument. But they got tired so they'd take a break. So halfway through, they'd get a 20 to 30 minute break. So everybody else if there were refreshments there to buy or served, why, that's when everybody got their break.
Carolyn Conklin [00:12:35] And who attended the square dances? Was it a younger crowd or a cross-section of everyone?
Hazel Broughton [00:12:39] It was a cross-section. You had older people like my in-laws who were, you know, older. Then you had people my age and my husband's age who were like the 20-year-old or less bracket, and you had anyone in between. So, yes, but usually, not always but usually the older ones would sit out and clap while the square dancing was going on, but they'd get up for the slow ones, the waltzes and the foxtrots.
Carolyn Conklin [00:13:10] Do you have any more memorable stories from the dances?
Hazel Broughton [00:13:14] Well, I can tell you that I learned to dance before I ever met Jack. My uncle was Hungarian and Coddingville Dance Hall was the best in the area. They said it was a floor that swayed and don't ask me how that is. But there was some mechanism that when you were on this dance floor, it would sway, go up and down. I don't know how it was made. But my uncle loved to dance and he loved to polka. So he taught me how to polka. And that was before I ever met Jack and my father took me. So I was I was young. I was probably about 12 and my uncle would dance around the floor and he was one that took a lot of territory. And when you're dancing the polka, you try to all go in the same direction. If you don't, you're going to bump into somebody. But people were... The Coddingville Dance hall was a long hall, but it had beautiful hardwood floors and the orchestra was up on a stage and there were probably five or six in that orchestra. I don't even remember how many, but that was where I first learned to dance. And I love to polka. I just love to do it now. But I did that.
Carolyn Conklin [00:14:38] Can you describe the polka?
Hazel Broughton [00:14:40] Oh, yeah. It's two steps real quick and two steps to the left and two steps to the right and two steps and then you circle while you're doing this. And my uncle was a pro at it. He could, he could just maneuver. And that's where I learned to polka and I loved it. And fortunately my husband knew how to polka and he was a good dancer.
Carolyn Conklin [00:15:04] Were these dances, were they kind of unique to Everett? Did people come from far away or were they kind of in the different communities?
Hazel Broughton [00:15:15] They mainly were for the community, but people that liked to dance, they would get wind or knowledge of a dance being in Northampton on a certain night or they'd get knowledge of Peninsula's dances. Or... Now, the ones that Coddingville, they had theirs on two set nights a month. They weren't every week, but it was like the first and third or second and fourth. But usually they were held in a town hall, sometimes a school, or a church that had a gymnasium because a gymnasium had a good floor.
Carolyn Conklin [00:15:53] And were these... Were the dances held on most weekends? Was it a monthly event?
Hazel Broughton [00:15:58] It was usually on a weekend, usually Saturday night, and they would be set nights that, for instance, the Grange in Peninsula, the one I joined eventually after Jack and I were married, it was on a Saturday night and it would be like the first and third Saturday night. And then you might go to Northampton on the second Saturday night or you might go to another one, a different one. But they were correlated because you wanted to draw the same people. And if people liked to dance, they danced every weekend and it didn't matter. Now, the older they got, the less they attended. But it was fun. It was entertainment. And that was before TV, before a lot of other organizations. So.
Carolyn Conklin [00:16:50] And were the dances the main social event?
Hazel Broughton [00:16:54] Yes, yes, they were.
Carolyn Conklin [00:16:57] And so that, was that where you would meet new friends?
Hazel Broughton [00:16:59] Right. And then there was a group of young people, naturally, because after all, if their parents had danced, they were more likely to. But then, of course, we came into the jitterbug stage, you know, after the Second World War and rock and roll and all the other stuff that came. And, you know, old people don't think that's dancing. [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:17:29] What other social events were held?
Hazel Broughton [00:17:33] Well suppers, covered-dish suppers, and church and Grange were held, and in Everett, I have to tell you this, that my neighbors who lived across the street, every year they had to have for many years a neighborhood supper. It was just us involved. And they wouldn't invite everyone. They would invite just a couple. And then the next time they had it, they'd invite a couple different ones, because after all, there was only like 20-something families that lived in Everett. But I remember saying, well, isn't there something I can bring? Oh, no, you just come. We're just doing this for our neighbors. And I thought, how sweet.
Carolyn Conklin [00:18:24] So about how many people would come to these suppers?
Hazel Broughton [00:18:26] Usually six or eight, because they would fit around the dining room table, and if it was summer and she could have a picnic outside, there might have been a few more. But mostly it was just just the close proximity.
Carolyn Conklin [00:18:41] And what type of, types of food did you enjoy?
Hazel Broughton [00:18:45] Well, it was it was good old-fashioned home cooking because that's what she was. Usually it was like a roast beef or fried chicken or something of that sort. And then she would have mashed potatoes and gravy, of course, usually some kind of a vegetable, green beans, peas, you know, and a salad. And there was always dessert because my neighbor, he didn't think that dinner was ever, ever complete unless you had... What have we got for dessert? Chester would say. And it was usually a homemade pie. Sometimes it would be cake and ice cream. But you know, that... He was an old-fashioned guy and she was an old-fashioned... They were like my second set of parents because they were nearly the same age. And I did rely on them after we moved to 4722 Riverview Road because they were so handy and so wonderful. And she was a schoolteacher and she had several of my kids in school.
Carolyn Conklin [00:19:49] Do you have a favorite memory from one of those suppers?
Hazel Broughton [00:19:53] Yes, I do. My daughter, this was long after my daughter Deb had moved to Spain, stayed—she went as a student—stayed, married and had her first child. And they came back to visit. And this neighbor that lived right across from us, and naturally her little boy didn't speak English and she was fluent in Spanish. And my neighbors across the street invited us all because Debbie was home to visit. And we took her son, my grandson David, and we ate dinner. Well, of course, he didn't speak English and something was put on his plate that he didn't recognize. And he said, of course, I couldn't understand because I don't speak fluent Spanish... So he asked his mother what it was and she told him what it was. And he said, whatever it was, I don't even remember now. He said, do I have to eat it? And she said, yes, you do eat it and hush. And so he nibbled at it here and there. And I know whatever it was, he didn't... He thought it was horrid. And we all laughed about it afterwards. But we were not hurting her feelings because she fixed it in so much love, you know. [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:21:22] What other times did I guess members of the community get together?
Hazel Broughton [00:21:29] Well, church, probably because most of us that lived in Everett all went to Everett Church—Everett Church of Christ was its proper name—and we had we had hamburg fries in summer at the outside fireplace. And the neighbor that lived across from me, he was part of the reason we had the fireplace and he had a huge skillet. I don't know where he ever got the skillet, but it was a huge skillet, would hold a bunch of hamburgs and and he would usually put his apron on and he would fry hamburgs. And this was really sponsored by the adult Bible class but anybody could come. Those of us that had families and usually we didn't have much else. It was just hamburgs. Somebody would bring homemade pickles, somebody maybe would bring potato salad or baked beans or something like that. It was not a big event, but we'd have it outside. And now we had a few benches that we brought out in the summer so that we could sit. They brought a few tables out so we could sit at the tables. And it was just once a month we had a hamburg fry. And other than that, I remember them telling about the penny suppers they used to have before I ever attended the church. They had them in the church basement. And what they did is everybody brought dishes of food. So when you passed through the line and you took a spoonful of food of whatever, how many pieces, how many different dishes were along there, you paid a penny for every spoonful. And that's how they just had a little fundraiser. Now, I was not there for any of those, but I heard him talk about that, and they said that was so simple. But most of the garden produce was either grown in their own gardens or canned at their homes. So when they made something and they brought it, it was freely donated and then they just paid a penny for their portion. So I don't know how much they ever made, but I know that they must have had a lot of fun because they had a lot to talk about for that time. But I do remember the covered dish suppers at the church and everybody brought shared.
Carolyn Conklin [00:23:54] Is the Everett Church of Christ still there?
Hazel Broughton [00:23:57] The building is still there. It's on the National Historic Register. It was built in 1906, I believe, or seven, might've been 1907. And then it changed its name in 1992 to the Church in the Valley when John Fisk took it over as his church, and he died three years ago. So it's still Church in the Valley. It does have the plaque on the outside of the building that it is on the National Historic Register, Historical Register. And we have two services now, and unfortunately I'm the only one that attends from Everett Church of Christ. We have one other member and she is 91, but she doesn't attend anymore. She's still technically a member, but she doesn't come. She's not able healthwise. But whenever they want to know something about the church, they always come and ask me. And I said, I feel like I'm a fixture here. But I did see it through its first expansion when it was Everett Church of Christ. In 1967, we had additions put on and we were modern. We had bathrooms and we had running water. We got rid of the outhouse. And so since then, we have tore that addition off and added a giant, what I call a giant fellowship hall. We extended the sanctuary and so we practically doubled the original church size with what we have now because we have a basement under it and the fellowship hall and offices on the second floor. So.
Carolyn Conklin [00:25:56] What did the original church look like?
Hazel Broughton [00:25:59] The original church was just a frame, a wood frame building. It still has its belfry, and the bell is rung on Sundays yet. And it had... They bought the pews from some other church that went out of business. That was before I came. And they bought the pews. They are a curved pew. But when we added on for Church in the Valley, the carpenter outfit that did it, you have to look very closely to tell which are the new old pews and the old pews. And what we did according to what the design was, we moved the pews on each side forward and put the four on each side and back. So and he even made hymnal holders, the hymnal rack. He made them. They're not identical, but they're on the back. And but the wood is just a slight bit lighter. But if you didn't... And the ornamental wood cutouts on the end on the outside of the pews, he duplicated that. And we added two new windows, which are shorter windows. But he duplicated the wood trim because it's dark and it's wide trim and wide under. He duplicated that. And I said if I hadn't seen the old, I would have a hard time knowing that this was new because it looks identical. They tried to keep it identical for the historical part. So they've done it. They did a very good job. I'm very proud of it. I'm proud I lived through it. I thought it was never going to live through it. It seemed like it took forever because we had to do so much to jump the hurdles of getting the land from the park. And we got it for like a token fee of like 2,000 dollars because we needed the parking area behind. And now we have a beautiful, beautiful parking lot. It's very scenic. And fortunately, with working with the park as long as we did, we kept saying we'll get there. But we didn't think we were going to take that long. [laughs] But we got it. Mr. Debo of the Park was wonderful for us, for our planners to work with. And he's no longer the superintendent of the park. But that's... He gets he gets the credit. And he... This was something that had never been done in the Park Service before. Never before have they had hamlets like Everett and a church and all these other things within a park, a national park. Well, you know, when you're... When you're treading for the first time, there's a lot of hurdles and a lot of pitfalls. And we thought we were going to be a pitfall, but we persevered and we made it. And it's been there for three years now.
Carolyn Conklin [00:29:25] Can you tell me about that process? What were some of the challenges you had to go through?
Hazel Broughton [00:29:30] Well, one of the things that I thought was so stupid, I'll never forget when I heard it, we could not take out any... We were supposed to take out the old cedar trees, the old pine trees, but we could only take those pine trees out between da da da and da da da because Indiana bats might come and nest there. I said, really? Do they know Indiana bats are here? No. Well, we had to wait that out and then we had just a certain time, so many months, that we could take out those trees to start the process of the digging for the foundation. The other thing we couldn't do, we couldn't dig in the ground until so many people came out and dug for the artifacts that might be under there for the hope Indians that might have been there years and years before us. So we had to wait that out. So it was little things like this that, you know, you don't think about. You just know you want that land, you want to get started. It's got to all be excavated and dug out. We persevered. We made it.
Carolyn Conklin [00:30:43] And when was this?
Hazel Broughton [00:30:44] Three years ago. Three years ago.
Carolyn Conklin [00:30:46] And how long was the entire process?
Hazel Broughton [00:30:48] It was about... It was about... Well, probably it was more like seven years from start to finish, close to seven years. From the time we first approached the park, because that was our first step, we had to approach the park. And of course, we got a good saying going in church. We're waiting on Kansas City. It's sitting in Kansas City in somebody's basket, in or out basket, we're not sure which... And it got to be funny, but we didn't lose heart. It did seem like a long time, though.
Carolyn Conklin [00:31:33] What is your current involvement with the church? What do you do?
Hazel Broughton [00:31:36] What do we do? We have two services on Sunday morning, 8:30 and 11. We have—in fact, tonight I'm going to church board meeting—trustees meeting. We have that once a month. We have... Every three months, the first Sunday of the quarter, we have a combined service at ten o'clock and we have a luncheon afterwards. In between we have weddings. We're having a wedding at our church. One of our members is marrying this Saturday. She is... I think it's a six o'clock wedding. I play for the weddings on occasion. We have three of us that play. So this week I'm not playing, I have one in July and the other lady has one coming up. I think it's early July, I have mine at the end. And last year we had quite a few weddings. I can't tell you how many. I'd say maybe a dozen last year, but this year so far, we've only got four or five planned. That could change. In between, we have Wednesday night prayer service. Now that we have a new pastor who started July 1st, we are having a video series on a Sunday night. Once a month. He's tried to plan— it's only been for... this will be the third month that he's tried it since he started—a video series to draw people out on Sunday evening. Normally, we don't have a Sunday evening service. Once a month, he's now trying a two-hour prayer service on a Wednesday night. The weather has not been good for winter. [laughs] Unfortunately, we didn't have to cancel any Sunday services, but we did have to cancel few others. So our minister is 47 and he's young enough. He has three sons, wife. So he's young enough to try for us to include a generational gap there. We have more people that attend second service than we do first. And during the second service, we do have a Bible school for children, which we don't through the first. We do have a nursery and it's attended through the second service. Let's see, anything else going on there? We have quite an active group. We have a lady who has volunteered all her services outside for the flowers and we have one, two, one, one man, a member who has been mowing our yard. And this year, due to a change of one of our member's church, he changed from our church to another, he couldn't push the snow anymore. So we had to find a new snow plower. So we had to hire someone to plow the snow. And this winter, we really needed it because we're on a hill. And it did get icy a few times.
Carolyn Conklin [00:34:52] Okay, so we're going to switch topics.
Hazel Broughton [00:34:54] Okay.
Carolyn Conklin [00:34:54] So I want to take you back and ask you, you know, what do you remember about the local businesses in Everett?
Hazel Broughton [00:35:01] The local business in Everett, of course, the two businesses that we remember most was Szalay's selling sweet corn from their home, and that's where they sold it, next to the store. And they had it in their outbuilding, which was a good-sized two-story building. It's still there. And of course, that's part of the park offices now. So they sold corn. They start planting. They'll be planting corn again probably by the end of April. The soil has to be a certain heat for them to start. And of course, now it's the third generation and the fourth generation because John Jr., John Szalay Jr. and his son are now the third and fourth generation, so that they're still selling corn, but now they sell it from a different place than they used to. Where we used to live at 4563 Riverview Road, they built, after we moved from there, later they built the building behind which was there, is their present selling place. But they farm all the land and lease part of it from the park. And they do have in southern Ohio, they do have some leased land down there where they can bring tomatoes especially and some other produce. They truck it up to their Everett stand, you know, there. But originally, I can tell you that I remember when I first moved to Everett and lived in Mr. Szalay's house, old Mr. Szalay, their kids would be hoeing in the fields. And mind you, Paul had four kids and John had two kids, and there would be six kids of assorted ages out there hoeing in the fields because the mechanized that they have now and the fertilizing and getting rid of weeds and so forth was not there. And so I can remember those kids still standing in the field hoeing, probably not real ambitious because after all, hoeing is a dull, dull job. But that was... They sold the corn as soon... They always said they'd have it by the Fourth of July. That was the same. Fourth of July. Knee-High by the Fourth of July. But sometimes it isn't there. Sometimes it's a little later. But they end now with pumpkins and they go through Halloween. So November 1st, it's closed. It's done, it's gone. But they still sell their corn and other vegetables. And of course, the store had some meats, some produce, not very much produce because they had to buy it or truck it in. But it was mostly canned goods, packaged stuff, chips, packaged foods, boxed foods. But Mrs. Hamilton was a great lady. She knew... She was also the postmistress for a while when Everett still had the post office. And she was a fine lady and her husband too. They are both dead, but Jane is still alive and in lives in Texas, I believe. And their other daughter Sandy lives in California. But those were the two big, big events to buy. But, you know, it was so handy. If you didn't, you had to go to Akron or go to Hudson or go to Richfield because there was Country Counter in Richfield. Well, Richfield would probably have been about six, six to eight miles. But Akron, if you went the other way, would have been six or eight miles.
Carolyn Conklin [00:39:13] And what did the Carter store look like?
Hazel Broughton [00:39:15] The Carter store was pretty much like it looks now, it was still that gray shingle, except the gas pumps are gone up front. I don't know who took them out. I don't know if it was the park or who who did. But they went out. But she had very little frozen stuff because in those days we still didn't do... You had to go to a big grocery store to get the frozen. Now, when we lived there, we went to State Road in the falls because there were four, at least four grocery stores in State Road Shopping Center. It was wonderful, but I didn't drive until after my youngest was born. So my husband would take me and all the kids and he would sit in the car. Hurry up, don't take too long. You got boring, you know, sitting there with kids. But that was that was a godsend. And that was only like five miles.
Carolyn Conklin [00:40:15] Can you give me a sense of what kind of downtown Everett looked like, the layout?
Hazel Broughton [00:40:21] Pretty much like it does right now. The only thing was after Mr. Gifford moved to where the park office is now, he was a painter. He painted pictures and he worked at home, but he didn't sell necessarily at home. And then on the other corner, on the very corner of Everett and Riverview, for a while there was a little bit of... Somebody had some antiques in there. It didn't last very long. But Mr. Gifford, he lived there after Mrs. Point did. Well, there was one family in between. He was very strange. He was French Canadian. And he was not... He did not take part in neighborhood things. But actually, Mr. Gifford did paint some of the things from Everett, scenic things. But the store looks pretty much like it is... I don't know about inside. And of course, the store was just one big room. And then, well, she had the post office at one time, it was back there. But the house was separate. You know, the house was different.
Carolyn Conklin [00:41:40] What did the house look like?
Hazel Broughton [00:41:40] The house was just an old farmhouse. It was. Now I can't tell you what it looks like now because I've never been in it since it's been turned over to the park. But yeah. And after Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton sold it to the Robertses who lived south on Riverview, they had it and I don't believe they were postmen. I think the post office went to Peninsula. Then there was no more Everett post office. Because I can remember when Everett had the post office. You sent your mail Everett, Ohio. No zip code. No zip code! [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:42:23] And then I'm supposed to ask you about the Saeger family businesses, do you remember about them?
Hazel Broughton [00:42:28] The only thing I can tell you is what I have been told. They raised and sold chickens, and they had a two-story chicken house. As you look at the house, the house still is sitting just where it was. But to the left of the house, which would be south, they had a two-story chicken house. The foundation is still there. It's never been taken apart, wrecked, cemented, whatever. And now then, the way they drive... They've got the drive on the left side of the house. They pull in to their little parking area facing where the chicken house was. The chicken house was a two-story affair. It was pretty good-sized. It was... They raised the chickens there. They collected the eggs there and they sold them. I cannot tell you to who, I know they sold them locally because neighbors bought. Then on the other side of the house, which was the right side as we look at the house, our drive was there. We didn't have a drive on the left. Our drive ran across the little creek that came down from behind, over the hill, back of the church and on west. Behind the drive was a two-story building that the lower part was a garage and the upper part was for the chickens. Well, after the first building, the big chicken house blew over in what they said was a tornado. And I don't know if it was. After it was taken down, they never rebuilt that, but they still had this. So the Matthews continued for a while to have chickens, but after the initial one went, there was no more chickens. Saeger's evidently had a very good business. Where they took them... I don't know if they took them to Cleveland or if they went to Akron or where they went with their chickens. But I know people bought from them. And then, of course, the Matthews, theirs dwindled down because it was then that the chicken house went. Then that's when they decided to move to Florida, where they had relatives and they wanted to sell the house. And we bought the house on land contract and moved in there in 1960.
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:55] And that's where I want to go next. Can you tell me about the house that you moved in?
Hazel Broughton [00:44:58] The house? The house was all on one floor. It was a big house, only one bathroom, and we had four children. That was a feat, getting ready for school. But we had a kitchen that was good-sized. It had been added on from the original house, I was told later, and it was modern. I had propane for cooking. I had a propane stove. We had oil for heat. We had a big dining room, a big living room. And then there was another room that we made into a library. And my husband built shelves in it and we had a library. Our bedroom, our bedroom was off of the dining room, which was the front of the house. The end of the house was added on from the original house we heard, understood too. So actually the dining room and the living room and the library and the kitchen that was added on with our bedroom was the initial house. The end was two bedrooms and a bath in between. But thank God we had a bathroom. We had a full basement underneath. We had a cellar, stone, stone-made. We had... It was cool down there, it was very cool. No air conditioning, but we had electric and I don't know when electric came through Everett. I know when it came through on Sand Run where we lived, it was about 1938 or '39, somewhere along in there. That was before we moved to town. But but anyhow, we had... I just know when we first moved to Mr. Szalay's home, every storm would take my electric out. And I had his old antiquated electric stove, and invariably it would hit and I was fixing supper and my husband would get home from work and we'd planned to eat at 5 to 5:30. And somehow or another it always took my electric out. It really was... I was really glad when I moved down the road and had propane! [laughs] But, no, we had... We had a good-sized basement and it was... And I had my washer down there, so.
Carolyn Conklin [00:47:31] Do you have a favorite memory from that home?
Hazel Broughton [00:47:34] Yes, because my children grew up there, and they all graduated from Woodridge. And it was really... It was a wonderful place to raise children. I can't think of a... We didn't lock our doors in those days. And my oldest is... He was born in '49 and my youngest was born in '54. And I look back and I think we didn't lock our doors. We trusted everybody. We had a bread man and we had a milk man that delivered. So, you know, it was... It was really wonderful place. And we've often talked about that since. Our neighbors were good. They were good, good neighbors. And we all lived peacefully. And of course, we had a lot of... Our house, the one we bought, was on nearly, it was a little more than an acre of land, even though the foundation for that chicken house was still there, the yard beyond it was a big yard. And that's where I had my garden when I planted. And then it becomes so hard. We had a pitcher pump that still stands on that property. There's no handle on it, but the pitcher pump is still there. I had a man that knew me from bowling and he said he worked on the railroad. And he said, you've got a pitcher pump out there in the yard. Would you sell that? And I said, no, I couldn't part with it. But the pump handle's gone. But Szalay's have the same thing, standing by their barn. They have a pitcher pump still standing. So that's what they must have used years ago for their horses and their animals.
Carolyn Conklin [00:49:16] What did you grow in your garden?
Hazel Broughton [00:49:18] I grew green beans. I love green beans. I didn't mess with corn because the Szalays sold corn. [laughs] I had tomatoes. I tried lettuce. My radishes and carrots didn't amount to a hill of beans, so I didn't do them anymore. I had cucumbers, but it was just the basics, mainly green beans. I loved green beans, so.
Carolyn Conklin [00:49:41] And what did your husband do?
Hazel Broughton [00:49:42] My husband worked for East Ohio Gas. He started there... Let's see. He graduated from high school in May of '46. In January of '47, he started at East Ohio Gas. He was a meter reader when he started. He ended up going to all the schools that they had to learn the gas appliances. He learned how to adjust, install, whatever. And he ended up as an air conditioner technician and he retired in 1983. And of course, by that time, they were just beginning to bring in computers in the trucks. They were starting that year, but he ended up in air conditioning, worked up on the roof of many a building, mostly commercial. But he worked out of Akron.
Carolyn Conklin [00:50:42] And I understand he was involved with the Grange?
Hazel Broughton [00:50:45] Yes, when he was elected master of Union Grange in Peninsula, which is defunct now, he was the youngest master and he had his little item in the newspaper because rural and local news got published then. So he was the youngest master. Then we come along and now, you know, we've had several. He was 18 and he was elected master. He was not keen on organizations. He was sports. Didn't matter what was on sports, it was sports. And of course, as TV came along, that was his thing. But, yes, he was... He and his mother and dad were involved, as I am. I've been in 62 years.
Carolyn Conklin [00:51:32] And what does the Grange do?
Hazel Broughton [00:51:34] The Grange was... The original grange was formed in 1867 following the Civil War, and it was started because of the unruliness between the states and agriculture and Washington. So they basically... They fashioned it after a rural organization for farmers to mainly get their ideas together and be able to function and raise crops and livestock because it's both. Now, it is mainly a community service. We still are rural-minded, but it's past its prime. But we have a national Grange, we have a state Grange, we have a local Grange, and now we have four Granges in Summit County, of which when I started they were twelve, and we just lost one other Grange in November of last year, which was Tallmadge and I am Summit County Pomona Master, which is the county. And unfortunately, young people, younger people today, families do not join Grange anymore. There's too many other things to join, and we realize this. So it's fading. But I'm still... I still go to convention in October and we'll meet in Columbus. We... One thing I'd like to say about the Grange, they were the instigator for rural delivery of mail. They were instigator in free lunches in schools. While they didn't do it, they pushed it. They pushed it from the rural standpoint. So you can see that it's been important. But now it's mostly community service. And we do do a lot for community service. We work in connection with our communities and Deaf. Deaf is our project, for the Deaf schools in Ohio, especially down around Columbus, where we have the Columbus Deaf School. But it's local and I'm proud of it.
Carolyn Conklin [00:54:06] Shifting topics a little, I wanted to ask something that's kind of... I hadn't heard about before this project is just in the national park of how they acquired land and the process of taking over the Valley. And I'm just wondering from a resident standpoint can you describe the process of how that all occurred and changed?
Hazel Broughton [00:54:28] Well, in 1975, when the Park Service first came to be, their idea was a little radical for the times. And they really rubbed people the wrong way because they came on strong. They said what they were going to do and it didn't sound like we as residents had much choice. But I can only say for myself, some people carried a grudge, probably still do. I don't know if they're still alive. I haven't. They treated me fairly. However, the scare tactics that... I don't know if it was just gossip or if it was planted, who knows? But they came across kind of strong saying, you'd better sell your house, you better sell to us, you better move because you don't know who's going to keep your roads up. You don't know who your police department's going to be. You don't know who your fire department's going to be, your emergency squad. It's all going to be under park. Well, this was really strong for 1975 for the simple reason here we were, all of us that lived in Everett, what are we going to do? Are we going to have to sell? Well, we didn't have to sell. We could have taken life estate. But with those things that they had mentioned, it gave us a fear, a fear of what's going to happen if we stay. So most of us... We would talk when we would see each other, what are you going to do? Well, most of us hadn't made up our minds. My neighbors were directly across the street, they decided to take seven years. They would live there seven years. One of my friends up on Northampton Road, she took life estate and she, and her husband did die, and she lived... She did remarry, but she did live there until practically the end of her life. And she was near 90 when she died. I mean, she was in her late 80s. And I... In looking back, I thin,k and I believe most people would agree, the strength of what they came on with was a scare tactic enough to make people want to leave. Because if you had to worry about all these things and not know, your decision was, I'm gonna move. So I decided that for me at that time, I was a single mother, Jack and I had divorced and I said I could not see staying there in an empty house trying to pay the taxes and keep it up. So I decided that I would look for a house. So when we knew we had a deadline, and once they came and approached you, you had so long to decide what to do, you could either stay or you could go. And so I began to look for a house that I could afford. And they made an offer of the house, for the property. And so I looked. Well, in November of 1977, I decided in earnest I had to look because they had given me the amount they were going to give to me and I had three months from that date to find a house and get out. So I looked in earnest to try to find something that what they were going to give me would pay pretty much for the next house I was to buy. Well, all I did was move seven miles down the road and around the corner into Parkway Estates. And I found this house in November. Well, of course, you know, government, they don't move too swiftly. But I had three months that I had to get out. And anyway, I found this house and we moved. But unfortunately, I was running out of time and we had blizzard year, 1978, January, and my son was living with me then—he was going to Akron U. and he had moved back home to live with me—and I said, David, when we find a weekend that we don't have snow piles six foot high, we're moving. [laughs] So we did. We found one weekend and we moved in January of '78. Now, I do not feel my realtor told me that you better not use all of the money that the park gives you because there's closing costs and there's all this at the end. So I made an offer on this house and they accepted it. Well, then it was, am I going to get my check in time to do this? So my realtor took me to downtown Akron to the offices to pick up the check. Then we immediately went to the bank and deposited that so that it could get in for my realty, realtor office to, you know, validate my buying. But it was... We always, we have this saying with the government, hurry up and wait? You know, they say that? Well, it was true. And I was kind of frantic, but it but it happened. I do not regret moving. They treated me fairly. I do not feel that I was cheated. But I just feel that the atmosphere that they presented it all in to begin with. Now, of course, it's not the same park. You know, it's a national park. But I hold no grudges because I felt that I was dealt with okay. I don't... I just... Some people said, well, if the park hadn't come in, it would have been nothing but a mass of houses and businesses. I do not believe that because the biggest hold back to the Valley is the water. Everybody in Peninsula—I don't think I can hardly say this—everybody in Peninsula has to buy water. They're on the river bottom. If they have a well, it's probably not a real good one. You probably still have to buy water. So I don't think that along the Cuyahoga River that it would have become houses or businesses because we have that sewage plant going down there and, you know, we know what that's like. So I don't think so because they would've had a flooding problem just like we've had this spring so far, or this before spring. So I don't think so. But who knows? You can't see what isn't going to ever be. I am glad the park has developed it. The trails are wonderful. I have walked them. I don't walk all of them. And I have walked most of them. I think Seiberling Nature Realm on Smith Road is a wonderful place. I haven't been since they've reopened because they've, you know, redone it, redid it. So I think the park has been good and I think the relationship that Peninsula has with the park now is very good. And I think it's great. The things they have developed for people from the cities and the outside areas to come in, for kids, look what they can learn. They come and see the blue herons. They come and see the eagles. You know, there's... and there's places they can fish. And I know that you're not supposed to pick flowers and you're not supposed to do this, but that goes with your neighbor. [laughs] You know, you're not supposed to do your neighbor's either. But I think the park has been good, and I'm glad that they're there because they preserved a lot. So I have no animosity towards the park.
Carolyn Conklin [01:02:52] For residents who chose to stay, what changed for them? What did that entail?
Hazel Broughton [01:02:56] The only thing that changed for them was they could not let their animals run loose, which... Mrs. Schmidt lived on the other side of our church, Everett Church in the Valley. Her dog killed a squirrel or, I don't know, a skunk or something. Well, you know, people in the Valley, we always let our animals run loose. You know. And so she was going to get fined by the park. Now, I can't tell you when that happened because she's been dead for quite a while now. But anyhow, her dog killed something and they were gonna fine her. Well, it was kind of laughable, but it wasn't laughable. She should have kept her her dog on a leash, you know. That was one thing. Now, you can't... You cannot... You have to keep your property up. I mean, you have to mow your grass like any anyplace and you can't cut down trees or anything without the park's permission. And that still holds true. But it's their land. Now, I have one friend who lives in Boston Township. She and her husband will be allowed to stay there. Life estate. They're in their 70s. And they have life estate. So, as long as they keep their property up, but I don't think they've had any quarrels with the park. But there is... I don't know of anyone else that has life estate. That's alive. Now, I knew the one lady on Northampton Road and she has since died. And I don't know if there's anybody else. I really don't. But you could... You could take life upstate and that would entitle you to stay in that house as long as you lived. You couldn't lease it. Some of your family could come and stay with you or something like that. But you had to keep the property up. But you can't change it. That's the way the park has worked with their leases.
Carolyn Conklin [01:05:03] What other changes have you noticed in the Valley over time?
Hazel Broughton [01:05:09] Oh, I don't know that there is a lot of changes. I know one thing that for a while the park did not mow the edges of the road. And, of course, by me going to church out there, and of course we know the population of the deer has exploded because, you know, they have. So then when people complained about that, because when the weeds grow up right along the road, you have no chance of seeing any foul deer, whatever, animals. So they did start mowing. So they keep it pretty well mowed and all of the trails, they keep them clear. So I think their trails that they—you know, they've kind of hard surface the trails—they keep them. They keep the weeds down. One thing that they don't do is they don't keep after the poison ivy. So you got to watch that. [laughs] But, you know, that's something. And, you know, they don't believe in spraying. Well, I'm sorry. I still spray. If I've got poison ivy, I'm going to get rid of it. And there's only one way to get rid of it. Just yank it out. Well, I've had poison ivy, bad once, I'll never have it again. [laughs] But no, I think overall the changes that have come about with the park are good. Unfortunately, our roads are going to pot this year, but so is everybody's.
Carolyn Conklin [01:06:45] Well, we're just about out of time. Do you have any other memories you'd like to share?
Hazel Broughton [01:06:50] I don't think so. I'd like to say one thing about my father in law. My dad and my father-in-law was born in Peninsula. His father, who I never knew, boated on the old canal. And my father-in-law since he was the oldest, if his dad needed help on the canal, which took a whole day to go to Cleveland to Akron, Akron, to Cleveland, and I don't know what he took, I don't remember. I don't think I could have been flour from the flour mills in Peninsula, but my dad would have to help him take off school and go. But after the flood in 1913, there was no more canal. But the one thing I do remember about my mother-in-law telling about on Bolanz Road, just east of where Szalay's fruit stand is, their produce stand, she and her sister and Hazel Osborn, who lived in Everett, they were walking across that bridge. And this happened, I think, in April of 1913. That was the flood. They went out like all young people would, and they went out to see the water, see the flood. They'd walked across the bridge, which isn't the bridge like it is now. It was much different then. They walked across the bridge and they turned around and looked behind them and the bridge was gone and they were on Everett's side. So they were on the right side. But she told that story and she said, if you don't think that was a strange thing, you just walked across that bridge and the flood came and took it. That was in '13. And she was eighteen years old and she got married in June. She and Dad got married on her birthday, on her 18th birthday, in 1913 or 18, 1913. So those things I remember, but I have I go back and volunteer and Peninsula. I volunteer at Bronson Church and volunteer at GAR Hall and go to anything that they had. So, my heart is still with Boston Township and Everett and Peninsula.
Carolyn Conklin [01:08:59] Well, thank you so much.
Hazel Broughton [01:09:00] You're welcome.
Cuyahoga Valley Project
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"Hazel Broughton Interview, 2011" (2011). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 518014.