Public Education & Awareness Award
Awarded a Public Education & Awareness Award in October 2021, Save Grove Hill, the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Chagrin Falls Historical Society were awarded for the campaign to save the 1878 Bancroft House at in Chagrin Falls, an outstanding contribution to historic preservation in Ohio.
The Bancroft House was considered a mansion when it was built in 1878, situated atop Grove Hill overlooking the growing community of Chagrin Falls. It is notable for its Italianate style architecture and for the beautiful WPA-constructed retaining wall surrounding it. It is also a place that many residents connect with the very soul of their community.
The house had been on and off the market for the last 18 years, it’s owner unable to sell. This is not an uncommon occurrence in Ohio when grand houses are thought to be too much to take on. But when an area developer purchased the Bancroft House in late 2019, and announced his plans to demolish it, subdivide its one-acre lot and build five new structures on the site, this immediately motivated a group of citizens to take action.
Organized as “Save Grove Hill,” the group began a social media campaign to express concern about what a loss the demolition would be for the Village. They also produced yard signs, launched an online petition, solicited major gifts, and sent thousands of letters to potential donors, all while working remotely during the pandemic lockdown.
The fortuitous personal connection one citizen had with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy soon added that organization to the effort to save Grove Hill. The Conservancy quickly got behind keeping the house and developing part of the property into a small public park.
The developer agreed to give the group time to raise the money to buy him out, which they did. After several months. Save Grove Hill raised over $600,000 and the developer accepted the deal negotiated by the Land Conservancy. The lot was split and the portion with the house was sold to a single family. The remaining portion will be developed into a park and donated to the Village.
The people of Chagrin Falls value their community’s history and historic places. Saving the Bancroft House and creating a park are a legacy for future residents and all of us to enjoy.