Alling Croquet Club

One of Twinsburg’s more unique sports fads in the middle of the twentieth century was croquet.

The elite of Twinsburg met and played often at the Alling Croquet Club. Led by Dr. R.B. Chamberlin the club was state of the art for its time and even featured a lighted scoreboard. The matches continued after Dr. Chamberlin’s passing in 1955, the only difference being they were conducted with a bronze plaque honoring Dr. Chamberlin present in the southeast corner of the club.

The sport gained such popularity in Twinsburg that the Bulletin printed tournament scores on the front page of the newspaper in the mid 1950s.

Twinsburg Horse Show, 1957-1960

One of the nearly forgotten events of Twinsburg’s past is the annual Horse Show. First staged in 1957, the show was conceived as a means for the Twinsburg High School Boosters to raise $2000 needed to purchase new uniforms for the football team. Co-sponsored by the Boosters and the local Saddle Club, the show was held at Curry Farm on Route 82, west of the Chrysler Plant. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the first show featured over one hundred and fifty horses from three states and “scores” of riders.

Ultimately, the venture proved unprofitable and was short-lived, with the final show being held on September 5, 1960 (Labor Day) at the Curry farm location. There were twenty classes in the final Central Ohio Saddle Club Association event. Ann Stueber served as the judge and Shirley Nowak was the steward.

VFW Post 4929, 1946

Far too many VFW posts are mainly meeting places where veterans can engage in the consumption of alcohol and possibly a game of cards, but VFW Post 4929, founded in 1945, has proven vastly different. “Our post became noted for the fact that we’re serving veterans—which is what the veterans’ VFW post is supposed to do,” according to Commander Joe Jasany. The veterans who attend Post 4929 meetings do so to aid other vets. The goal of every member of the post is to better the lives of their fellow veterans by supporting them and their families (paying for funeral arrangements, a motorized wheelchair, etc.) and veterans hospitals, and performing too many other charitable deeds to mention. ”We played bingo for fifty-one years out at Brecksville VA. We served coffee and doughnuts at Brecksville VA for 41 years every Saturday,” Jasany proudly said.

VFW Post 4929 was started by World War I veterans Leonard Roach and Herbert Richner Sr., who felt there needed to be a place for returning soldiers to visit where they would be able to learn how to readjust to civilian life.

The Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW was formally instituted in 1946 with a membership totaling forty-three. During their existence they played a crucial role in programming for Post 4929. Thousands of hours were spent volunteering at the Brecksville VA Hospital and other facilities benefiting veterans.

Commander Joe was the catalyst in bringing more attention to veterans and in acquiring the old City Hall building as a headquarters in 2000. Prior to its acquisition, the VFW had to meet at a school, a church, or someone’s house for over thirty years. The post hadn’t had a building since the 1960s, when it was located in the Brass Horn, a local watering hole. Losing the Brass Horn as a home base ultimately was a blessing as it was the impetus for altering the focus of the post from alcohol consumption to more altruistic aims.

The membership of Post 4929 increased by twelve after the Cost of Freedom tribute, bringing the total to forty-four members. New members joined from Garfield Heights, Solon, and as far away as Eastlake due to the post’s commitment to its mission: the betterment of veterans’ lives. Most recently, its name has been changed to VFW Post 4929 and Museum, as some of its meeting rooms have been converted to a museum, including a display case dedicated to everything that was left behind from the Cost of Freedom tribute, no matter how trivial the items may seem to the general public.

Educational Facilities

The pages of history record and recall stories and statistics of the earliest schoolhouses to dot the countryside, these antiquated institutes of learning were long vacant by the time the first truly modern school came into being. While the first centralized school brought all the students under one roof, it was the “Old School” that many remember so fondly.

The source of countless lessons learned and friendships forged, the old schoolhouse located just off the town square served the area’s children for nearly seventy-five years. Welcoming its first students in the fall of 1921, the two-story red brick schoolhouse was a replacement for the older, whitewashed building that once stood behind it. Games were won and lost, field trips were taken, and countless bells rang, signaling the end of one period and the beginning of another. For more than thirty years, the school served all grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The edifice, now vacant, evolved in numerous ways after closing its doors in 1992, including its utilization by Kent State University. Congressman Steven LaTourette used the space while campaigning, it was the first location of the Twinsburg Senior Center, and at one point a proposal to transform it into a perambulator museum was bounced around.

Exterior of vacant school building taken April 26, 2016.

Exterior of vacant school building taken April 26, 2016.

All of Twinsburg’s current educational facilities except the new high school and the Kent State University Regional Academic Center were constructed in the mid-twentieth century, a time rampant with civil unrest and racial tensions. For those who attended area schools during this time, race relations were present, though subdued in comparison to other areas of the country. As is the case with most things though, time’s passage washed away much of the tension, as new students, new initiatives, and new administration came and went. As our world grows increasing diverse, so too does the student body. Individuals from all corners of the world converge amid the lockers and lunch tables, mirroring the melding of ethnicities, nationalities, ideologies, and opinions that occurs on the web on a daily basis. Today, most school-age students from the three communities attend school in one of five facilities:

  • Wilcox Primary (kindergarten through first grade)
  • Samuel Bissell (second and third grade)
  • George G. Dodge (fourth through sixth grade)
  • R. B. Chamberlin (seventh and eighth grade)
  • Twinsburg High (ninth through twelfth grade)

The newest addition to Twinsburg’s educational landscape is Kent State’s Regional Academic Center. It offers a less expensive alternative for college students from both Twinsburg and neighboring cities such as Oakwood and Bedford. The building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified as a “green” building. Kent State University has had a presence in Twinsburg since 1991, when it began offering training and education to employees at the Chrysler stamping plant.

Twinsburg Heights Community Center

The Community Center was the social epicenter of Twinsburg Heights. Many longtime residents, when asked to name their earliest memories of the area, spoke of its dirt roads and the Community Center. John Curry, an elder statesman of the Heights, has said: “My fondest memory is the Community Center.”

It was home to the Mothers Club, a social group of older women from the community with similar interests. According to Carlton Powers: “The Community Center evolved from the Mothers Club, as far as I can remember.” Once it became the Community Center it benefited not only the woman in the neighborhood, but all residents. The first building was just a very small brick building, constructed completely by the men in the neighborhood.

Every June through August, there was a summer youth program at the center. For almost all the children in the Heights, this was the highlight of the sweltering summer months. As they grew older, many of the former attendees of the summer program became volunteers, donating their time to the youngsters that followed in their footsteps. The center offered hot meals, sports activities, swimming, educational programs, and numerous other activities for the children.

Adults benefited greatly from the community center as well; WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) programs were offered, and a local doctor gave free examinations there. The greatest contribution it made to the community was as a gathering place. It truly provided a sense of community to so many residents. Sadly, the center closed down earlier this decade due to a lack of support and funding (many of the residents who previously frequented the institution had moved away).

Ladies VFW Auxiliary

In 1946, the women of Twinsburg formed the Ladies Auxiliary to VFW 4929.  Since then they have had a long history of serving the community and supporting VFW 4929 in its many charitable activities.  Well run and efficient from its beginning, their history of the first year of the organization foreshadows what it would become.

PDF: VFW Auxiliary First Year History 

Twinsburg Little League

Twinsburg has always been very proud of it’s Little League Baseball program.  Ran by Franklin Hoon for many years, it has a reputation as one of the best run Little League programs in the area.  During the 1959 season the program was printed compliments of VFW 4929,

1959 Twinsburg Little League Schedule

Community Theatre

For the vast majority of the three communities’ two hundred years of existence, there was a lack of local theater in the area. That all changed in December 1996, when the Twinsburg Youth Theatre debuted with a production of Babes in Toyland. First conceived in 1994 by Meredith Shreve, the youth theater started its transformation into a multigenerational community theater in 2001 after many adults approached Shreve with their desire to perform onstage. Before the 2001 production of Annie, adults only worked behind the scenes, building sets, dropping backgrounds, and so forth.

Shreve, originally from Cleveland, moved to Twinsburg in 1993; soon after her arrival she started serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission, in part due to her realization that there was no community theater. In particular, she recognized the importance of a theater program for children. According to Shreve, “Theater is a very great way for kids to have some activity and earn self-confidence and grow within themselves and express themselves.”

Thousands of adults and children have been involved in the community theater over the first twenty years of its existence. Almost all of them have participated solely for their love of the arts and sense of community, as there has never been any financial compensation. It is a nonprofit endeavor that pays for all the necessities in putting on a top-flight musical production via ticket sales, concessions, program sales, and fees paid by performers. All of these proceeds go toward funding expenditures such as royalties, rigging systems, choreographers, costumes, and other related requirements.

The productions have often been mounted on a grand scale, with as many as 120 people working on a single musical. World-renowned Hall Associates Flying FX supplied their exceptional effects for the flying sequences in Peter Pan.

One of the drawbacks to the community theater is that it is financed in part by a pay-to-perform platform, as all performers must pay a fee of fifty dollars to act in a production. This reduces the opportunity of underprivileged youths to participate in the community arts program. For those who have had the good fortune to participate in the community theater, it has brought great joy, a sense of achievement, and lifelong rewarding relationships with their fellow performers.

If there is any doubt as to the community theater’s positive effect on Twinsburg, it should be quelled by Mayor Katherine Procop’s statement that she couldn’t think of  anyone who has brought more joy to the community than Meredith Shreve, through her devotion to the theater.

Twinsburg Community Theatre commemorated its twentieth anniversary in 2016 with a musical revue, a first for the theater. The production celebrates twenty years of Broadway, including fan favorites Wicked, The Little Mermaid, and Phantom of the Opera.