Belden Historical Society
The Belden Historical Society was organized in May 1984 for the purpose of collecting, cataloging, and preserving artifacts and folklore that are related to the history of our community, and procuring historical buildings in the area. Our area not only includes Belden, but also includes all of Grafton Township.
Shortly after organizing the historical society, the estate of Betty Schaefer donated money to purchase the Schaefer property located at the corner of State Routes 303 and 83, which contained a building to develop into a museum and another building that formerly housed a one-room school. The schoolhouse was built in 1883 and hosted students until approximately 1922. The museum was built in 1868 and was used as a school, community hall, and later as a general store. The park was created in the 1990s to commemorate veterans of Grafton Township.
For several years, the historical society restored both buildings. The museum received improved lighting, a used HVAC system, steel siding on the front, repaired floors, and new drywall. The schoolhouse received extensive floor repairs and new wallpaper to match the original.
Over the years, the historical society collected items and documents related to local history including items donated by residents and local organizations, including Grafton Township Trustees, Belden Church, and Belden School. The items and documents are housed at the museum. The one-room schoolhouse was restored with various desks and a replica woodburning stove.
In addition to restoring and maintaining the properties over the years, the group hosted monthly square dances, annual old-fashion days with crafts, flea markets, steam engines, car shows, etc. The historical society still organizes a Memorial Day parade and program to honor our local veterans.
In 2021, the historical society turned their properties over to Grafton Township but continue to operate the buildings for historical displays and programs.
Foundation repairs were made to the one-room schoolhouse in the spring of 2021 and to the museum in the spring of 2022. The one-room schoolhouse was painted in the summer of 2021. Slate roof repairs were made to the museum and one-room schoolhouse in late 2021. Additional improvements and upgrades are planned for the museum once funding is secured (i.e., by donations and/or grants). Improvements to the gazebo housing the veterans honor board are planned for the summer and/or fall of 2023.
Membership dues are $5 per individual and $10 per family. To become a member of the Belden Historical Society, please mail your dues to Bob Flickinger at 35939 State Route 303, Grafton, Ohio, 44044.
For more information about the Belden Historical Society, please contact President Linda Smolilo at 440-213-3210 or OurPalace@yahoo.com, Vice President Kimberly Tatro at 440-453-8168 or KimberlyTatro@gmail.com, Treasurer Bob Flickinger at 440-309-6210 or BobFlickinger@aol.com, and/or Secretary Chuck Smith at 440-309-6279 or CS3Grandsons@aol.com.