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Willoughby Hills Historical Society, Inc.

Historical IndianThe Mission of the Willoughby Hills Historical Society is to discover and preserve the historic resources of Willoughby Hills and Willoughby Township, and to encourage a preservation ethic in our community.

The Willoughby Hills Historical Society was founded in March of 1988 and was certified as a Not-For-Profit Corporation on May 23, 1988.

It collects, preserves and displays or otherwise provides for study as far as may be feasible of printed material, photographs, and material objects illustrative of life, conditions, events and activities of the past.

The Society meets on the fourth Wednesday of the odd numbered months (except July & November) in the lower level of the Community Building in the "Historical Society Room" and our newsletter, REFLECTIONS, listing our program for the meeting, is sent to our members the week before the meeting.


Individual memberships are $5/yr. or $100 for life membership.  Family memberships are $7.50/yr. or $150 for life membership.  Click here for membership application.


For more information or a membership application, contact Frank or Mary Cihula at
(440) 946-5557 or e‑mail at whhs-oh@att.net.


All 2020 memberships extended thru 12-31-2021.

DID YOU KNOW?  (posted 12-6-2020)

Sorter’s Fruit Farms was located on the north-east corner of Chardon and Bishop Roads.  The following are excerpts from “The Adventures of Bruceter” 164 pages authored by Bruce W. Sorter in 2001.  He wrote his memoirs for his “present and future generations” to read.

“Some of my earliest recollections are of Sorter’s Fruit Farms.  The Fruit Farms cane into being about 1898.  My memories as a small boy are from the late 1930’s and the 1940’s.”  “The other part of Sorter’s Fruit Farm was where I lived for the first 17 years of my life in my parents’ farm home at the corner of Chardon and Bishop Roads.  They had 3½ acres of lawn that I knew intimately as I had to keep it mowed with a push the mower.  That means no motor of any kind.  I still have the calluses on my hands 50 plus years later to prove it.  During the week I would work on the fruit trees with other kids hired from the neighborhood as well as a few retirees trying to supplement their small retirements during the depression years.”  “Springtime meant one of the most beautiful sights I have seen.  The huge Japanese Cherry tree and the Magnolia tree in our backyard would bloom.  Looking out beyond the backyard to the orchard would be a sea of fruit trees in blossom.  In the spring my Dad and I would cut unwanted growth out of the trees.  Later we would thin out the apples where there were too many.  We would pick cherries, pears, prunes, plums, peaches, and apples as they came into season during summer and fall.”   “We picked the fruit using tall, skinny wooden ladders that came to a single point at the top.”  “The idea was to place the point of the ladder securely on a limb where the ladder wouldn’t slide.”  “In order to sell apples as long a possible we would store some apples in the storage cellars of the McKinney Estate on Bishop Road near Euclid Avenue.  The produce was hauled in an ancient (1917 I think) Buddy Stewart truck.  It was so old the windshield wipers were moved by hand to clear off the rain on the window.  There was a small wooden handle inside the window that was connected to the wipers on the outside.  With one hand on the steering wheel and one on the wiper handle you could move it back and forth to clean the rain off the widow.  My grandfather usually sold produce from the fruit stand on the corner of Chardon and Bishop Roads during the week.”  “On the weekend both the stand and the lawn in front of the house would be used for selling fruit.  Many people would come out from Cleveland to buy fruit for canning.  This was the time of the week that many sales would be made including Texaco gasoline and oil, honey, maple syrup, candy, ice cream and baskets of fruit, bittersweet bouquets, and cider.  Fireworks in seasons were sold from the small green building on the edge of the lawn between the stand and the house.”  “Lawrence Raven and I would frequently on the weekend end up filling the glass cider jugs.  My dad would bring the pressed apples from the Wickliffe Winery back home in large wooden barrels.”  “Lawrence and my job would be to take the bung out of the barrel, stick a piece of rubber garden type hose into the barrel, and suck on the opposite end of the hose until cider began to flow into the gallon jugs.  The idea was not to waste cider as we moved the hose from one jug to the next as they were filled.”

Willoughby Hills Historical Society, Frank J. Cihula.  All rights reserved.