Welcome to a brand new meme being hosted by Jes at Exposing the Drapes to my 20′s. I hope you will all drop over to Jes’ blog and participate this neat meme. I think this week I will introduce my hometown but in the future I am going to also introduce you to my grandparents’ hometown in Italy.
I live in Hinckley, Ohio. Hinckley was settled in 1795 by Judge Samuel Hinckley from Massachusetts by purchasing the land from the Connecticut Land company for a mere $.23 an acre. This tract of land was part of the original Western Reserve. Hinckley is 5 square miles but consists of 17,133 acres due to it being a hilly area. Ohio is known for being flat but not in Hinckley. I moved from Pittsburgh which is known for its hills to this area so it really feels like home to me.
The picture on the left shows the town hall in 1900 and the one on the right is a current pictures.
In 1818 there was a problem in Hinckley. Wild animals were causing issues for the local residents and farmers. Farm animals were being killed and money was lost because of the wolves and bears. A decision was made by the township leaders to solve the problem by hunting down these nuisances. The men and boys gathered together and organized a hunt. There were 600 men and boys who participated in this hunt for the bears, wolves, deer and other small game that would take down entire herds of sheep in a single night. This was carefully planned so that no one would get hurt. In the end only 2 hunters suffered minor flesh wounds from buckshot. The amount of game killed was 17 wolves, 21 bears and over 300 deer. The hunters feasted on the game that Christmas eve in 1818.
The hunters left the refuse from the hunt in the center of town and apparently the buzzards, or turkey vultures came and began to “clean up” the mess sometime around March.
In 1957 a naturalist for the Cleveland Metroparks had been tracking the return of these birds for the previous 7 years and noted they returned every March 15th. This claim aroused the interest of a reporter who wrote an article on February 17th that the buzzards would be returning once again to Hinckley on March 17th. This did happen. And it caused a small problem, over 9000 people visited Hinckley that day! The township was unprepared for that many people. We are talking about a township with gravel roads in many places back in 1957. There were not too many residents back then, maybe around 2000. The following year a pancake breakfast was organized and was a hit.
Each year the “Official Buzzard Spotter” will arrive at Buzzard’s Roost in the Hinckley Metropark very early each March 15th to spot the return of the buzzards. From 1974 to 1999 my father-in-law was the Official Buzzard Spotter. He was a captain in the mounted division of the Metropark rangers. For many years he took a lot of teasing and ribbing about that job. But in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s the national news channels got word of this little town ritual and he was featured on a few morning news shows. In 1991 he was featured on the news shows that year for a different reason. His son, my future husband, was one of the first Ohio servicemen to return from the first Gulf War. He returned in time for Buzzard Day and so there were cameras and reporters at the airport when my husband arrived. He did not know this was awaiting his return. What a neat honor for him!
Hinckley is a small town with big hearts. People here help each other, they care for each other and watch out for each other. Although we still have much of our rural feel, modern housing has its place with a few developments. It’s funny because years ago Hinckley was just another small town south of Cleveland but now it’s an affluent suburb of Cleveland or Akron. I like living here. But I wish we had sidewalks and could walk to the center of town. It’s just not possible with the hilly terrain.
We have a lovely park with a lake and walking trails here in Hinckley. We walk on the trails often as a family. There are two trails-one is black top and is about 3 miles and the other is gravel and goes around the lake. Both make the lake circle but the gravel trail is closer to the water. It’s a beautiful area.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my town. Now write about yours and join in the fun at Exposing the Drapes to my 20′s and leave your link.