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Penfield Township History
Founded in 1820 by Peter Penfield and Calvin Spencer, both
from the state of New York, the
township today has 25 Square miles containing 14,080 acres. 60% of the
usable land is devoted to Agriculture (mostly row crops) while 30% contains
woodland and 10% is rural residential.
2000 CENSUS FACTS:
Population – 1,690
564 Households – 75% of households consist of married
couples. Many households have 2 wage earners with the median family income of
The median house value is $180,900 – 72% of the homes
have been built since 1970, 32% of them in the past 10 years.
The median age of the residents is 38 years old – 81%
of the workforce comprise private wage and salary workers, 12% are classified
as government workers and 7% are self employed.
Occupations are further broken down as such: 27.6%
Management, professional, and related occupations, 26% Sales and office
occupations, 22.1% Production, transportation, and material moving
occupations, 12.8% Service occupations, 10% Construction, extraction and
maintenance occupations, and 1.5% Farming, fishing and forestry occupations.
OUR TOWNSHIP HISTORY:
Township 3, Range 17, became by the original drawing, the
property of Caleb Atwater who paid the Connecticut Land Company 25 cents an
acre or about $4,000. He deeded the land to his six daughters in equal
section that were put on the market when the original settlers came.
In 1818, Peter Penfield and Calvin Spencer came from eastern New
York and found the land suitable for settling. In
the fall of the following year, Penfield returned with his son, Alonson and
selected land. The 1820 census reveals one family of two persons, that of
Alonson Penfield. The following year, Peter and his nephew, Lathrop Penfield,
returned. They had to cut their way through the woods that was a wilderness
that stretched from Elyria to
Harrisville (Lodi) and from Medina
to Wellington. For 30 days they
cleared the forest to open the road to Butternut
Ridge Road, with no remuneration. Excerpts from
the book Penfield then and Now
The first election was held in April 1825 with Truman Penfield
as Clerk. The first mail was delivered by foot and deposited in a hollow tree
at the river crossing (thought to be Indian Hollow and Rt. 18). This was the
first post office in the Township. The first road was known as the River
Road, going from Spencer and Homer, known as Foster
Road. Friendly Wyandot Indians lived in the
Township and disappeared 10-12 years after the settlers came.
Early business conducted in the Township included:
Putting in a plank sidewalk two miles east and west and one
mile north and south of the center.
Buying the Baptist Church
in 1910, blacksmith shop, and store. The church was later named the Society
Hall (torn down in 2004).
Setting aside a parcel of land at the intersection “for
a resting place for the weary traveler.”
Putting a $30,000 bond issue on the ballot for roads in 1913.
Results were a vote of 128 yes, two no. In 1917, slag was put on the west
center road from Penfield to the town line. In 1919, a new road was put in made of
slag east of center to met Litchfield. In 1925, Peck
Wadsworth Road was cindered for one mile from North
Center Street. In 1926, the Jones-Sooy
Road was cindered. In 1927, Webster
Road was cindered jointly with LaGrange
Township. In 1934, Smith
Road slag was shared by Penfield
County, and Medina
County. The 1913 bond issue is
the only time on record that the Township Trustees asked for money for the
township. The small park at the intersection was taken over by the State of Ohio
in the 1930s. Rest rooms, picnic tables, grills, and a swing set were
installed. In the early 1990s, it was abandoned by the State of Ohio
and the Township took over the maintenance.
The Izaak Walton League received rezoning to have their club
grounds on Foster Road.
In 1980, the Trustees purchased 9.34
acres for the Recreation
Park for $42,000. An off shore
drilling grant for development of the park was received in the amount of
$170,911. Several other grants were received ranging from $100 to $3,000.
Another ODNR grant was received later to purchase and additional two acres
next to the park.
In 1992, a
Solid Waste grant of $5,000 was received from the County. Another grant of
$67,800 was received from the same source for the erection of a recycling
building which was a matching funds grant. Another grant from ODNR in the
amount of $30,008 would serve as the match and be used for recycling
equipment and recycled plastic picnic tables and benches. The building was
opened on May 26, 1993
with Earth Day activities.
In 1995, 15.9
acres of land adjoining the park were purchased for
$4,200 an acre. A $10,000 Solid Waste grant paid for a climbing toy in the
small park and the Betterway Corp. gave $8,766 for a gravel drive to the back
field. In 1997, the Sheriff’s Department opened the Southern satellite
station in Penfield in a corner of the recycling building. A $1,000 grant
bought a new sign for the small park, Grafton Prison Farm inmates painted,
puttied, and made general improvements in the Township for only the cost of
materials. A $18,401 State grant was obtained to repair a wash out by the
river on Short Road. In
1998, two electric scoreboards were donated to the park by the Pepsi Company.
1999 brought a $6,115 grant from the Stocker Foundation for
playground equipment in the small park, $3,910 from Solid Waste for mulch in
the playground, and $1,000 to install a sidewalk to the comfort station at
the small park. An 18-acre parcel was added to the Recreation
In 2000, the Township began participating in “Pride
Day.” This is an annual clean up day, where participating entities are
furnished dumpsters, paint, mulch, etc. by the County at no cost. Jean Eglin
has chaired both Earth Day and Pride Day since they began. A $10,000
“Buy Recycled” grant put protective material under playground
equipment. In 2001, tile made of tires was bought with a “Buy
Recycled” grant and placed under the swings in the park.
With renovation of the small hall underway, a $10,000 grant
was received from Solid Waste to help defray costs. The People to People
grant fund paid $500 toward a new roof on the cemetery building with the Nord
Foundation Grant paying the balance.
Another “Buy Recycled” grant paid $7,500 toward
the parking lot at the halls in 2004.
In 2005, a
cinder bin was erected at a cost of $8,741. A man was buried in Penfield and
he left $10,000 to the Township for cemetery uses.
All four of the Officers were awarded recognition by the
National Association of Townships and Towns. Fiscal Officer, Eleanor Gnandt
received $5,000 and was recognized by the House of Representatives and the
Auditor of State for her ability to get grants. Thomas Younglas also received
$5,000 and Richard Conrad $1,000. The money was used for Township purposes.
No money was given but only one person was chosen nationally and that honor
was bestowed upon Trustee Lloyd Gordon. All four awards were based on
outstanding contributions to the Township beyond the normal duties.