Frostville Museum is a local history museum that depicts life of early settlement in the historic Western Reserve of Connecticut. The museum is located in Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted, Ohio. Frostville’s collections include period buildings that represent a variety of architectural styles and tell the stories of some of the first families in the region.
Backstory and Context
Frostville Museum likely gets its name from Dr. Elias Carrington Frost, who moved to northern Ohio in the 1790’s. He opened a post office in a community that became known as Frostville. Around the same time, Aaron Olmsted, a shareholder in the Connecticut Land Company, purchased land in the same region and it became known as Olmsted Township. By the mid-1800’s, the growing community of Olmsted Township had split into three separate entities: Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, and North Olmsted. Frostville was incorporated into Olmsted Township, but the name lives on in the museum.
The museum bears Frost’s name, but the museum grounds and the original house museum are the former homestead of Martin and Margaret Prechtel. They were immigrants from Germany and moved to Olmsted Falls some time before the American Civil War. They developed the homestead into a farm and the family lived there well into the early 1900s. The property was eventually sold to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board in the 1920s. By 1962, it was a house museum in the care of the Olmsted Historical Society.
Aside from the Prechtel House, Frostville currently has eight buildings total including four other historic houses. The buildings were acquired by the Olmsted Historical Society and moved to the museum site. The buildings represent the early development and growth of the community in Olmsted Township.
All of these buildings were collected to represent the early development of Olmsted Township. These houses were transported to the museum grounds along with the Village Church, also known as the Barton Road Church. There is also the Wensink Display Barn which houses military memorabilia and The Gifford General Store gift shop. Some of the buildings on the property were purpose-built, such as the red Strelau Events Barn used for community events and programs. Frostville’s newest project is the construction of a one room school house.
The museum buildings are only open for tours once a week. However, visitors are welcome to wander the grounds any time that the Cleveland Metroparks is open. Frostville also hosts a variety of community events, including a farmer’s market, yard sales, and many seasonal and holiday programs. The Village Church is also available to rent for weddings. The Olmsted Historical Society keeps a calendar of events on their website.
Prechtel House, Olmsted Historical Society. Accessed February 26 2020. https://www.olmstedhistoricalsociety.org/prechtel-house.
Olmsted Township, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Accessed February 26 2020. https://case.edu/ech/articles/o/olmsted-township.
Frostville Museum, Cleveland Metroparks. Accessed February 26 2020. https://clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/visit/parks/rocky-river-reservation/frostville-museum.
Kubiak, Laurie. Frostville Village Church, Olmsted Historical Society. Accessed February 26 2020. https://www.olmstedhistoricalsociety.org/village-church.
Banks, Bruce. Wallace, Jim. The Olmsted Story: A Brief History of Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township. The History Press, 2010.
Olmsted Historical Society