Westlake Says So Long to Historic Barn

Westlakers will be saying goodbye this week to one of the city’s most nostalgic features – the 19th century barn at 2871 Dover Center Road (about a half mile south of Center Ridge).

Built circa 1890, the Barn sits alongside the old 1828 farmhouse that is registered as an authentic Westlake Century Home.

The barn has been a well-known stop for fresh summer vegetables sold from its front door across the street from the Porter Library Dover Center driveway.

Known as the Asher Cooley House, the whole parcel is for sale with the pricetag at $295,000.

But, even though the house will stay, the barn will be razed this week.

“It is the oldest house in Westlake,” reports broker Gary Lustic of Terra Realty & Development.

Only two families have lived there in the 190 years of the home’s existence, starting with Asher Cooley back in the 19th century. It was sold to Frank and Claribel Power in 1941 and has remained in the Power family ever since.

The parcel is large. “It backs up all the way to Cahoon Creek,” says Lustic of the 2.31 acre lot.

But, although the home was built to last, the barn has seen better days.

“It is like a mash-up of two buildings,” says Will Krause of the Westlake Historical Society.

Both the Westlake Historical Society and the city have toured the soon-to-be gone structure, carrying away any memorabilia suitable for posterity. Some of their findings are noteworthy, including an early cultivator with a large wheel the farmer would walk behind, an oxen yoke, a large wooden vise, a bone-cutter for butchering, and a large cylindrical ‘tumbler’ in the attic which may have been used to turn and chafe grain while doubling as a counterweight hoist to the upper level.

The condition of the barn makes it hard to salvage, however, and presents a problem in marketing the property to prospective buyers who would have to resolve expensive structural issues on the heels of the real estate investment.

But folks will miss buying vegetables harvested from the gardens behind the classic red barn.

According to Lustic, it is not known if a buyer would be interested in preserving the classic Cooley homestead or making way for new development. 3-5 homes could be built on the lot.

About the Asher Cooley House

The Asher Cooley House at 2871 Dover Center Road was built circa 1828. It is zoned Single-family Residential, Single Family Residential Use and located nearly across from the Dover Center Road entrance drive to Porter Library. It was built by one of the first families of Dover Township and listed on the Ohio Historic Inventory. The home has been owned by the Power family, who have sold vegetables out of the circa 1890 barn for many years, reports Will Krause.

Asher Cooley, original home owner, actually purchased the land from the pioneer Connecticut Land Co. in the early 19th century. It was bequeathed to his son, Arthur John Cooley, who served as a State representative.

The Ohio Historical Inventory gives the barn a date of about 1890, but Krause reports the building is probably a mash-up of an older building, possibly a granary, with today’s barn. Other Cooley family members who lived there included lifelong farmer John McCrae and noted veterinarian Arthur Cooley, who was a leading area expert in animal husbandry in Cleveland. Brother George Lathrop Cooley was grandfather of well-known Westlaker Roger Cooley (who passed away last year) and made his name with the Farm Bureau (later to become Nationwide Insurance). He even built the water tower at Huntington Park in Bay Village.

Krause has called on regional historic experts to help sort the museum-worthy items from the barn that will be displayed at the Center Ridge Weston House.

Saving the barn would have been an expensive challenge. Guy-wires hold some of it together. Some antiquated structural logs still have bark on them, bespeaking the primitive construction standards of the day.

“But the amazing thing,” says Krause, “is that in almost 190 years only two families lived there.”

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