Cuyahoga Valley NP--Jaite Mill Park Headquarters

About this Location

Located along the Cuyahoga River, the Jaite Mill Historic District is a significant example of an early 20th-century company town. A technological development—the electric overhead crane—changed manufacturing operations at this time. Industrial operations became horizontally oriented, rather than the traditional vertically oriented water or steam belt and drum systems, thus manufacturing operations required more land. Increasing numbers of unskilled immigrants arrived in cities looking for employment. Urban areas became increasingly densely built and populated. Housing for immigrants was often crowded and poorly built, resulting in public health problems.

In order for manufacturing to deal effectively with these conditions, factories needed to have enough land in an area with transportation access, and near adequate housing for workers. Ideal locations for industrial expansion had plenty of land, were accessible by train, and were not too far from the services available in urban areas. The only thing that these remote locations did not have was adequate housing.

The Jaite Paper Mill was built in 1905 adjacent to the Ohio and Erie Canal and a branch of the B&O Railroad. The following year, Charles Jaite built five two-family dwellings for his employees. Employees rented these for $7 a month, or approximately 23 percent of a worker’s monthly salary. In 1917, four additional houses were built. A company store and boarding house, worker showers, stable, freight depot, boarding platform, and a water tower were also constructed. Many of the early immigrants were recent immigrants from Poland—adding a new facet to the English, Irish, and German ethnic character of the Cuyahoga Valley.

About Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Warning: All areas of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are prone to deer ticks from the early spring until late fall, so prepare accordingly before birding.

Restrooms at locations identified on Cuyahoga Valley National Park map. Most areas have non-flush toilets; there are flush toilets available at the Pine Hollow parking lot on Quick Road and the Virginia Kendall Lake lodge building.

Content from Jaite Mill Historic District webpage, Cuyahoga Valley National Park website, and Ohio Ornithological Society